Russia claims its Venezuela intervention is justified by - are you ready - the Monroe Doctrine

With the Mother of All Weird Logic, Russia's embassy in the U.S. just put out this tweet:



I look at that and all I can think is: Whuhhh? Why'd they bring up the Chukotka Peninsula, a spit of land up there by the Arctic Circle as their justification for defending Venezuela's Maduro regime? What they're doing is using the Monroe Doctrine to justify their propping up of a brutal communist dictator operating 6,171 miles out from their capital by saying they, too, are part of the Western hemisphere.  

That's a new one. Up until now, Russia, and the left, have blasted the Monroe Doctrine as wicked U.S. imperialism designed to hold Latin America down, distorting its protective aims for the region's developing democracies. Now Russia is using the terms of the doctrine as its justification -- claiming that it's part of the Western hemisphere. It's attempting to nullify the doctrine, by including itself within it, errantly misreading it a bit, given that many European countries have territories in the hemisphere around the Caribbean. The doctrine was put there to ensure none of them started any new 'projects' - which is exactly what Russia is doing in Venezuela.

And to do it, it's going to 'protect' Maduro.

Which is rather horrific, given that millions and millions of Venezuelans want the communist monster out of there, and have begun setting up a transition regime to facilitate its removal. Russia is one of those very few overseas powers that stand in the way, and doesn't particularly care if Venezuelans like it or not, let alone can make themselves free or not. Its financial interests - and its grievances against the U.S. for its involvement in Eastern Europe - are likely the real reasons.

So instead of just saying those things (which might make a deal possible), it argues that our Monroe Doctrine logic supports them - and we don't have a leg to stand on in opposing their role. that the status quo must stand, using our policy against us. Russia's now the 'protector' of the hemisphere' same as us, to take the logic further.

The Russians also have a longer, strangely unlinked (Do they lack the technical prowess for this? Do they really not want anyone to see it because even they consider it 'out there'?) companion post out on Facebook. Here's the English part:

'The arrival of Russian military-technical cooperation experts in Venezuela continues to provoke a nervous reaction in Washington. [US officials] have even begun saying that the US would consider the appearance of the representatives of armed forces from countries outside the Western Hemisphere [in Venezuela] as a provocative action posing a threat to regional peace and security," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement published on Saturday.

Part of Russia's territory, the Chukotka Peninsula, is located in the Western Hemisphere. So for Russia the American continent is a close neighbor."
Zakharova also refuted claims that Russian military specialists arrived in Venezuela to conduct "military operations." The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman stressed that Russia had already "clearly stated the purpose of the arrival of its specialists in Caracas."

"There can be no talk of any 'military contigents'. Accordingly, speculation about Russia holding some kind of 'military operations' in Venezuela are completely groundless," the spokeswoman noted, suggesting that perhaps Washington was mistaking Moscow's actions for its own behavior, including in countries like Colombia, where US military instructors are operating out in the open.

Finally, commenting on the US threat to issue new anti-Russian sanctions over the matter, Zakharova stated that the US's sharp reaction seemed to be connected to the fact that its "planned speedy coup in Caracas has not succeeded."

According to the spokeswoman, Washington has already introduced so many sanctions against Russia that "Moscow has simply lost count and stopped paying attention to them."

"For our part, we can only recommend that the US stop threatening Venezuela, strangling its economy and pushing for civil war, in open violation of international law. We call on all Venezuelan political forces who put the interests of their country above their own personal ambitions to engage in dialogue, and are prepared to assist in such dialogue in any way possible," Zakharova concluded.

Notice the second strike against Colombia, where President Trump, I think very unwisely, has strained relations with, due to Colombia's failures in halting the cocaine trade. The longer Russian note sought immediately to drive the wedge further there, appealing to Colombia's national pride (a courtesy it oddly doesn't extend to Venezuela) by noting U.S. troops walking around in the open in Colombia. Colombia's failures on the cocaine trade are not entirely Colombia's fault, as it happens - they are due to something that was foisted on it by Colombia's previous president - the odious FARC peace treaty that Colombia's voters rejected in a referendum, but which went through anyway. The former president at the time was angling for a Nobel peace prize, and he got it. Colombians, on the other hand, got the shaft, as well the result they feared - more drug lords, abetted by Venezuela. And now Russia is not only telling America the Monroe Doctrine also makes it a protector (of dictators) due to its hemispheric spike of land, it also seeks to separate the U.S. decisively from its ally Colombia.

Both Russian embassy posts on Twitter and Facebook link to a weird new flag I don't recognize, a sort of Russian-Cuban montage of a design that appears to be modern, and which, if it is, doesn't help their case. It has the look of Russia planting a new flag.

Is it mockery? Or is it stupidity? It's kind of inchoate.

But one thing does seem certain from these wobbly misfiring posts: They may have very little understanding of the hemisphere and its sensibilities, but they're playing a hardball game propping up the Maduro dictatorship, and they're not going to get out easily. It looks like they're committed to this one, and probably calculating that President Trump isn't. 



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