Trump spooks Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro at the UN

Badgered repeatedly about prospects of U.S. military action in Venezuela at an impromptu press conference with Colombia's newly elected conservative president, Iván Duque, President Trump tried hard to blow the matter off before stating the obvious about Venezuela's military:

Q    President Trump, I'm sorry, I don't want to talk about the military action again, but how dangerous is Maduro's regime for national security?  And what you are going to do against him to stop him?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, it's dangerous for their security.  It's dangerous for their people's security.  It's a regime that, frankly, could be toppled very quickly by the military if the military decides to do that.

And you saw how the military spread as soon as they heard a bomb go off way above their head.  That military was running for cover.  That's not good.  I don't think the Marines would have run.  What do you think, General Kelly, do the Marines run when they hear a bomb go off?

GENERAL KELLY:  They don't know how to run.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  They don't know how.  (Laughter.)  You know what they do?  They run toward the bomb.  Right?  That's even better.

Prior to that, he kept up his stance about not discussing military matters, taking a dig at President Obama for constantly telegraphing U.S. intentions to its enemies.

Q    Would you think of sending troops to Colombia, and maybe from there trying to manage the relationship with Venezuela?  Maybe getting closer –

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I don't want to say that.  I don't like to talk about military.  Why should I talk to you about military?  I'm going to tell you like President Obama – he used to say exactly what he was going to do – and then it would be 10 times tougher to do it.  I don't do that.  (Laughter.)

And that was after he was asked about it two times earlier:

Q    President Trump, have you thought about a military intervention to Venezuela – or in Venezuela?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, we're looking very strongly at Venezuela.  It's a horrible thing that's going on there.  It's a very disruptive, dangerous – it's a horrible place right now.  And this used to be – I remember not so long ago, Mr. President, that was the richest country in South America by a lot, and now it's a country that's going through tremendous turmoil.  People are dying.  People are being killed.  They're also dying of hunger and lots of other things.  The medical is in horrible shape.

We will always be looking at it.  We have been looking at it.  And we'll see what happens.

But what is going on in Venezuela really is unacceptable.  And I know from the standpoint of Colombia and other nations fairly close by, it's very unacceptable also.

Q    What's the most important thing for Maduro to do?  What should Maduro do?

Q    Every option is still on the table, Mr. President?  Every option is still on the table against Maduro's regime?  Every option, including military option?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  But, see, Maduro – if you look at it, you're asking about the regime.  The Maduro regime is obviously is not doing the job.

First of all, it's brutal, and people are seeing what's happening.  It's a horrible, horrible thing to witness.  It's one of the truly bad places in the world today.  And there are some other pretty bad places.  But it's not acceptable to us, and it's not acceptable to many of the surrounding countries.  Many of those countries, including Colombia, are taking in refugees who are literally starving.  They're literally starving.

It's having a big impact on other countries.  So – and they're doing a very good job with what they have to work with.  They don't have that much to work with, but they're doing a good job.  They're trying to help.

So the last response in the four-Venezuela-question press conference was pretty much the kicker.  Trump opted to spook Maduro.  He spoke of the things pretty much everyone noticed (revealing no classified information): that Maduro's military is crappy, that it scattered and ran when it came under fire, and with this kind of indiscipline and disorder, Maduro could pretty easily be thrown out if one of them got a mind to do it.

As an additional kicker, it didn't sound as though Trump would be all that upset if it actually happened – which the Miami Herald interpreted as a signal for the military to have at it, handwringing, of course.

This is interesting stuff, quite unlike the democracy posturing of the past two U.S. administrations, trying to sound all respectable as Latin nations, fearful of Venezuela unleashing its agitators in their own countries, constantly propounded.

What's more, Trump was telling Maduro the U.S. wasn't going to get involved in the mess he made, but if his own locals did, not a problem.  In fact, the only thing Trump actually did was dish more sanctions on the Chavista elites, including Venezuela's utterly sleazy first lady, Cilia Flores, the one with the nephews who were busted by the DEA as drug-dealers.  That threw the burden on Maduro to find who was out to get him, giving him a recipe for paranoia.  That has got to scare the heck out of him, given that he wouldn't know where to look.  And with Trump obviously laughing at him, it explains the harrumphing rage from his administration coming out of Caracas, with a Maduro official calling the whole statement "grotesque."

Fear.  Trump deals fear to scummy third-world socialist dictators.  He leaves it to the Venezuelans as to how it will be done, but he stands there and lays it out for everyone to laugh at, as well as let it become conventional wisdom.  Bloomberg has a report out noting that ever since Trump brought up military intervention, polite society has now made that a topic of discussion at a minimum and drawn quite a few advocates.  Prior to that, such talk virtually never existed.

Oh, and he not only stated the obvious about Venezuela's military, but also stated the obvious about Venezuela's socialism at his earlier United Nations General Assembly speech:

The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.  (Applause.)  From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure.  Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems.

It's a good thing to hear things told the way they are – both around the military and around the failure of socialism.  Truth is fearsome, and Maduro is undoubtedly scared.

Badgered repeatedly about prospects of U.S. military action in Venezuela at an impromptu press conference with Colombia's newly elected conservative president, Iván Duque, President Trump tried hard to blow the matter off before stating the obvious about Venezuela's military:

Q    President Trump, I'm sorry, I don't want to talk about the military action again, but how dangerous is Maduro's regime for national security?  And what you are going to do against him to stop him?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, it's dangerous for their security.  It's dangerous for their people's security.  It's a regime that, frankly, could be toppled very quickly by the military if the military decides to do that.

And you saw how the military spread as soon as they heard a bomb go off way above their head.  That military was running for cover.  That's not good.  I don't think the Marines would have run.  What do you think, General Kelly, do the Marines run when they hear a bomb go off?

GENERAL KELLY:  They don't know how to run.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  They don't know how.  (Laughter.)  You know what they do?  They run toward the bomb.  Right?  That's even better.

Prior to that, he kept up his stance about not discussing military matters, taking a dig at President Obama for constantly telegraphing U.S. intentions to its enemies.

Q    Would you think of sending troops to Colombia, and maybe from there trying to manage the relationship with Venezuela?  Maybe getting closer –

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I don't want to say that.  I don't like to talk about military.  Why should I talk to you about military?  I'm going to tell you like President Obama – he used to say exactly what he was going to do – and then it would be 10 times tougher to do it.  I don't do that.  (Laughter.)

And that was after he was asked about it two times earlier:

Q    President Trump, have you thought about a military intervention to Venezuela – or in Venezuela?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, we're looking very strongly at Venezuela.  It's a horrible thing that's going on there.  It's a very disruptive, dangerous – it's a horrible place right now.  And this used to be – I remember not so long ago, Mr. President, that was the richest country in South America by a lot, and now it's a country that's going through tremendous turmoil.  People are dying.  People are being killed.  They're also dying of hunger and lots of other things.  The medical is in horrible shape.

We will always be looking at it.  We have been looking at it.  And we'll see what happens.

But what is going on in Venezuela really is unacceptable.  And I know from the standpoint of Colombia and other nations fairly close by, it's very unacceptable also.

Q    What's the most important thing for Maduro to do?  What should Maduro do?

Q    Every option is still on the table, Mr. President?  Every option is still on the table against Maduro's regime?  Every option, including military option?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  But, see, Maduro – if you look at it, you're asking about the regime.  The Maduro regime is obviously is not doing the job.

First of all, it's brutal, and people are seeing what's happening.  It's a horrible, horrible thing to witness.  It's one of the truly bad places in the world today.  And there are some other pretty bad places.  But it's not acceptable to us, and it's not acceptable to many of the surrounding countries.  Many of those countries, including Colombia, are taking in refugees who are literally starving.  They're literally starving.

It's having a big impact on other countries.  So – and they're doing a very good job with what they have to work with.  They don't have that much to work with, but they're doing a good job.  They're trying to help.

So the last response in the four-Venezuela-question press conference was pretty much the kicker.  Trump opted to spook Maduro.  He spoke of the things pretty much everyone noticed (revealing no classified information): that Maduro's military is crappy, that it scattered and ran when it came under fire, and with this kind of indiscipline and disorder, Maduro could pretty easily be thrown out if one of them got a mind to do it.

As an additional kicker, it didn't sound as though Trump would be all that upset if it actually happened – which the Miami Herald interpreted as a signal for the military to have at it, handwringing, of course.

This is interesting stuff, quite unlike the democracy posturing of the past two U.S. administrations, trying to sound all respectable as Latin nations, fearful of Venezuela unleashing its agitators in their own countries, constantly propounded.

What's more, Trump was telling Maduro the U.S. wasn't going to get involved in the mess he made, but if his own locals did, not a problem.  In fact, the only thing Trump actually did was dish more sanctions on the Chavista elites, including Venezuela's utterly sleazy first lady, Cilia Flores, the one with the nephews who were busted by the DEA as drug-dealers.  That threw the burden on Maduro to find who was out to get him, giving him a recipe for paranoia.  That has got to scare the heck out of him, given that he wouldn't know where to look.  And with Trump obviously laughing at him, it explains the harrumphing rage from his administration coming out of Caracas, with a Maduro official calling the whole statement "grotesque."

Fear.  Trump deals fear to scummy third-world socialist dictators.  He leaves it to the Venezuelans as to how it will be done, but he stands there and lays it out for everyone to laugh at, as well as let it become conventional wisdom.  Bloomberg has a report out noting that ever since Trump brought up military intervention, polite society has now made that a topic of discussion at a minimum and drawn quite a few advocates.  Prior to that, such talk virtually never existed.

Oh, and he not only stated the obvious about Venezuela's military, but also stated the obvious about Venezuela's socialism at his earlier United Nations General Assembly speech:

The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.  (Applause.)  From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure.  Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems.

It's a good thing to hear things told the way they are – both around the military and around the failure of socialism.  Truth is fearsome, and Maduro is undoubtedly scared.