So much for the canard that Russia wants Trump to win — Venezuela air incident kills that
Guess what just went out the window when a Venezuelan jet interfered in an unsafe manner with U.S. fighters over the Caribbean Friday.
Here is what is being tweeted now from the U.S. Southern Command:
1 of 2 JUST RELEASED #Venezuela SU-30 Flanker “aggressively shadowed” a U.S. EP-3 aircraft at an unsafe distance July 19, jeopardizing the crew & aircraft. The EP-3 was performing a multi-nationally recognized & approved mission in international airspace over #CaribbeanSea. pic.twitter.com/edjmPqXbmP— U.S. Southern Command (@Southcom) July 21, 2019
2 of 2: This action demonstrates #Russia’s irresponsible military support to Maduro's illegitimate regime & underscores Maduro’s recklessness & irresponsible behavior, which undermines int’l rule of law & efforts to counter illicit trafficking. Pics & vids https://t.co/848FdmAeaE pic.twitter.com/1W9syCd1xs— U.S. Southern Command (@Southcom) July 21, 2019
OK, the first thought that came to mind is perhaps some surprise that Venezuela even has gas for jets at all, or working jets, given the country's lack of spare parts.
But oh, those Russian advisers have been busy, arriving like the cavalry when Venezuela's democrats first started challenging the regime — and just this week, sending in more crack troops to work on countering what they call U.S. economic warfare. The jet stunt was their handiwork, not Venezuela's. It resembled quite closely their cat-and-mouse games played over Syria's skies and in the Black Sea.
They also timed this jet stunt just in time for secretary of state Mike Pompeo's tour of Latin America last week, thinking it completely through.
So they're not just kicking around our ally Colombia anymore. The Russians, via Venezuela, are now challenging us directly, and in our own hemisphere.
Their aim? To make us look weak. They are calculating that President Trump isn't going to get the U.S. into any war over Venezuela, particularly with an election season on.
It's wasn't just Pompeo's tour that was the point of opportunity for them, either. They also knew about Iran's provocations, seizing two British tankers and prompting Trump to dispatch military resources to the region. They know that Trump is gummed up over there, so what better time than now to stage a new provocation?
This, in addition the already dangerous threat to Colombia posed by Venezuela's disintegration — not just in terms of the destabilizing refugee flood (Colombia has more than a million Venezuelan refugees) and through the rise of the ELN, a nasty Colombian fringe Marxist narco-terrorist guerrilla group that has suddenly grown powerful and taken control of much of southern Venezuela. Now there's an actual military threat, and what better way to make the U.S. look weak?
They're taking advantage of Trump's reluctance to use military force, by starting something over the Caribbean. Net result? Them strong, America weak. Now, it's quite arguable that Trump should have acted earlier and done a Noriega on the Maduro dictatorship six months ago, but the president is rightly wary of not getting the U.S. mired in any nation-building, which is a significant risk, given the devastation and humanitarian crisis that characterize Venezuela now.
That's led them to calculate that Trump is a paper tiger, which is a perfect time to expose him as weak. That, in a way, is even better than a military victory to them. They may well be doing a different kind of election interference with this move, trying to undercut Trump's election chances. You sure as heck cannot argue that they are trying to boost them.
It's unknown how Trump will react, but it's going to be quite a highwire act for him now.
One hopes they will be unpleasantly surprised, much as Syria's dictator was when he used chemical weapons on his own people. Maybe it's really getting to be time.
Or maybe there will be nothing. The one thing that is certain is that the Left's narrative about the Russians wanting Trump to win has been blown out of the water. Russians always have called such leftists useful idiots for a reason.
Image credit: U.S. Southern Command, Twitter screen shot.