This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, August 14, 2017:
Inquiring minds are asking: what on earth is the US doing meddling in the affairs of Venezuela? The media has broadcast the rolling and accelerating disaster taking place there, with some even properly blaming it on socialist practices unleased by Marxist Hugo Chavez (they are called “Chavism” and its supporters are called “Chavists”) and his protégé, Nicolas Maduro.
Those policies, enforced with increasing vengeance upon a powerless citizenry, have all but destroyed a country that once was one of the most prosperous in South America.
Grant the point. But does this justify in any way U.S. interference? Does it justify sanctions, freezing of assets of Maduro and his henchmen, and removing the freedom of Americans to do business with him, or them? Notice please that the sanctions only apply to about 30 of Maduro’s people and not to any of the 20 or so American oil refineries currently supporting Maduro’s Marxist regime to the tune of a billion dollars a month.
Here are some other questions:
- How well did America’s efforts at nation building do in Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan?
- How did things work out in Vietnam after we left?
- If hyperinflation is justification for meddling in Venezuelan, why didn’t the US intervene in Zimbabwe, or in Argentina, when their currencies were being destroyed?
- Aren’t there more repressive regimes around the world than Argentina – in Africa, for example?
- What makes Venezuela different?
- Is it the vast reserves of crude oil lying beneath the ground – the largest proven reserves in the world?
North Korea’s fat boy, Kim Jong-un, that hapless country’s Supreme Leader, on the other hand, is posing a direct threat to Guam, an unincorporated U.S. territory, with his potentially nuclear-tipped ICBMs. And yet Trump is using diplomacy in an attempt to defuse and resolve that crisis before the fat boy blows up Guam. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford made that very clear on Sunday:
As a military leader, I have to make sure that this president does have viable military options in the event that the diplomatic and economic pressurization campaign [against North Korea] fails.
[But] even as we develop those options, we are mindful of the consequences of executing those options, and that makes us have more of a sense of urgency to make sure that we’re doing everything we absolutely can to support Secretary [of State Rex] Tillerson’s current path [of diplomacy].
In Venezuela Trump has ruled out diplomacy. When Maduro offered to meet with Trump next month while attending the UN General Assembly in New York City, the White House’s snub was emphatic: “The United States stands with the people of Venezuela in the face of their continued aggression by the Maduro regime. President Trump will gladly speak with the leader of Venezuela as soon as democracy is restored in that country.”
Trump ramped up his rhetoric on Venezuela on Friday:
We have many options [to help Venezuela’s citizens] … this is our neighbor. We are all over the world and we have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away.
Venezuela is not very far away and the people [there] are suffering. They’re dying.
We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option, if necessary….
I’m not going to rule out a military option. Venezuela is a mess.
But, as Henri Falcon, the opposition governor of Lara state (one of 23 Venezuelan states), responded: “This mess is ours! Sort out your own, of which you have plenty.”
Another question arises: just where does the Constitution give Trump the authority to wage war? In Article 1, Section 8 the powers are given to the Congress, not the Executive. But with the passage of time, the increase in ignorance over what the Constitution does, or is supposed to do, and the “Elastic Clause” (the Necessary and Proper Clause), Congress has gotten away with giving its war-making authority to the Executive Branch. It’s called the War Powers Act. Passed overwhelmingly by the Congress in 1973, it allows the president to proceed with military adventures for 48 hours without even notifying Congress. And then he is allowed to keep those troops abroad for 60 days, plus another 30 days to “withdraw” them.
It’s been regularly violated and ignored. Presidents Bush, Clinton, and Obama regularly sent troops abroad in violation of the act. In June 2011, for instance, Congress rebuked President Obama for maintaining American troops in Libya for violating the act. Does anyone remember anything about that? Does anyone remember any Congressional sanctions placed on Obama for that violation? Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman said that by violating the act, “the White House has shattered the traditional legal process the executive branch has developed to sustain the rule of law over the past 75 years.”
Did anyone notice?
If the Constitution were being followed, threats from Congress would end Trump’s threats to Venezuela.
Venezuelanlysis.com: Trump Considers Military Option in Venezuela
The Wall Street Journal: Top U.S. General Readies Military Plan for North Korea, but Pushes for Diplomacy
The Wall Street Journal: Trump Won’t Rule Out Military Option for Venezuela