Allow Venezuela to Fail
Are we stepping on the same rakes again -- in Venezuela? Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently tweeted “My message to the Venezuelan people is clear: the United States stands firmly with you in your quest for freedom and democracy.” He also confirmed that the military option is on the table. In other words, the U.S. is ready to liberate the Venezuelan people from themselves.
For those who suffer historical amnesia, it is worth pointing out, that the Venezuelans had democratic elections and they have chosen socialism. Hugo Chavez was a socialist, and he ran on a socialist platform and got elected with wide popular support. So was his successor Nicolás Maduro.
Whether the Venezuelans voted for socialist serfdom knowingly or they have been duped is irrelevant. If people are ignorant or complacent, they deserve the government they elect. As Barack Obama famously said, “Elections have consequences.”
We have to be mindful, though, that every ism -- socialism, capitalism, fascism, etc. -- has its supporters and benefactors. Those who imagine themselves on the receiving end have every reason to think they will be better off with socialism. State bureaucracy, army, and police support the government that provides them with the benefits they would not have otherwise.
The imposition of sanctions does not impact this segment of the population, but is making a gap between them and the rest of the people much wider. Any attempts to replace the regime by staged demonstrations and riots would likely fail. The existing political forces, embedded in the military and police are stronger and better organized than the opposition. If an order cannot be negotiated it will be imposed by force.
Current events should not tilt the scale toward intervention without consideration of the impact on the ongoing political debate in this country. Given the Democratic Party's proclivities, interference with the Venezuelan affairs would provide the likes of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and a host of other Democratic loons a propaganda coup blaming the U.S. for destroying the country of triumphant and prosperous socialism. In this context, evolution of thinking about how we approach socialism in the post-Soviet era internationally and domestically is required.
If the United States could succeed in removing the Maduro regime, what would be the lesson for irresponsible voters? If they need fear no consequence -- other than a return to the prior status quo thanks to the assistance of American Marines -- wouldn’t a recurrence of socialism there or somewhere else be possible, even probable?
Military intervention may well turn into another unmitigated disaster costing American lives, and we would undoubtedly end up adopting Venezuela, pumping billions of taxpayers’ money into a futile effort to rebuild the failed nation. Even if socialist Venezuela burns down to the ground, it isn’t worth the life of a single American Marine.
The most pragmatic way to deal with Venezuela’s socialist rule is to make it an example for those who take their liberty for granted. We need to remove all the sanctions and let Venezuela be an illustration of democratic socialism for all the left-wing lunatics willing to vote for it.
Removal of sanctions would also address the United States’ legitimate concern regarding the growing influence of Russia and China in the region. The reason the Russians and Chinese support the regime is not ideological, but rather political and commercial. Russia, China, and Venezuela are on the same sanction list, which drives them into economic and political amalgamation. As a result of sanctions, Venezuela cannot sell its oil on the open markets, so the Russians and Chinese buy it at a discount, making healthy profits. They also see an opportunity in acquiring Venezuela’s assets on a chip. Removal of sanctions would significantly diminish their interest in the country.
America’s democratic aspirations for the region have been embraced by administrations of both parties. Unfortunately, security concerns and democracy have been in conflict. The United States has had a difficult time finding leaders who wouldn’t use democracy as a means to achieve their own dominance and treat it as irrevocable.
Venezuelans had democracy, but they failed to keep it -- and there is no reason to believe that Juan Guaido’s rule would lead to the restoration of democratic principles.
We all have to absorb the historical lessons that socialism cannot be defeated -- it self-destructs. Therefore, we should not interfere with socialism while it is in the process of destroying itself.
Alexander G. Markovsky is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, a conservative think tank that examines national security, energy, risk-analysis and other public policy issues. He is the author of "Anatomy of a Bolshevik" and "Liberal Bolshevism: America Did Not Defeat Communism, She Adopted It.” He is the owner and CEO of Litwin Management Services, LLC. He can be reached at email@example.com