My contrarian view of Venezuela’s regime change drama – that it’s regime change theater put on by President Trump for purely domestic political reasons – was confirmed on the big day when the conflict was supposed to come to a head, when the looming confrontation proved to be … dueling concerts! Regime change as entertainment – there’s something so American about that.
What the heck, a little music is what every regime change operation needs: however, the theme song of this one is turning out to be more John Cage than John Philip Sousa. Instead of “President” Guaidó rallying his forces and leading them into battle, he’s trying to cross a bridge that has never been used with 1000 cans of Chef Boyardee, 500 cartons of mac-and-cheese, and enough airline “food” (courtesy of Richard Branson) to kill off a number of Chavistas.
That flopped big time, with the trucks transporting this culinary Trojan Horse set on fire and the whole incident degenerating into an argument over who lit the match.
What did neocons expect? Did they really think the Venezuelan army, at that dramatic moment, would lay down their arms and defect to the opposition? The whole thing was a farce, and I mean that literally – in the sense that this stunt was never meant to succeed, or even to be taken seriously. It’s all a show, produced and directed by that expert showman: Donald J. Trump.
As I explained in a previous column, this fake regime change campaign is a ploy by Trump to stick the neocons with a well-publicized failure. After all, his newly-appointed special envoy to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, declared Trump “unfit” to be President: the rest of the neocon network is now marching at the head of the “Resistance.”
It sure is fun watching Trump destroy his enemies. Extra added fun: watching the hysterics on the left go ballistic at my suggestion that the conflict in Venezuela is unlikely to result in all-out civil war, with the US fully participating. Oh no, it must end in massive slaughter.
Gee, whatever happened to “Give peace a chance”?
Wars and the threat of them invariably expose the hypocrisy and true allegiances of both sides, and this Venezuelan brouhaha yields some prime examples. On the left we have the ideologues in denial as the government jails opponents, and cracks down on the opposition with violence in the streets. On the right, we have “anti-communist” conservatives who have already forgotten the lesson of Iraq. “Send in the Marines!” they cry. To which one can only reply “And then what?”
That’s a question they assiduously avoid for the same reason it’s the first thing the generals want to know. And that’s the core reason I think there will be no military conflict involving the US: the Pentagon will never allow it. With our terribly over-stretched forces – some soldiers going four or five deployments without a break – and our ever-expanding list of enemies, another front in our foreign policy of endless war is the last thing the military wants.
As the opposition falters, they are increasingly calling for outside intervention: a multilateral OAS force with the US doing the heavy lifting.
Which once again proves how clueless they are. Here we are experiencing a worldwide rebellion against unelected self-proclaimed leaders and “experts,” and the neocons want us to fight a war on behalf of some guy named Juan who has no more claim to the Venezuelan Presidency than I do.
Trump loves to ask the audience at his rallies “Are you tired of winning yet?” In the case of the neocons’ Venezuelan adventure, you can count on us folks in the peanut gallery asking them: Are you tired of losing yet?
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.