The media frenzy about Venezuela is starting to feel like the build-up to the US invasion of Iraq. But will a new invasion of Venezuela happen? Here are some considerations:
It was nearly a year ago that Trump stunned his top aides by suggesting that the US invade Venezuela. Then National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson quickly talked him out of that hairbrained scheme. But those representatives of the mainstream of the US capitalist class are gone, replaced by the likes of Mike Pompeo and John Bolton. Especially Bolton is an unreconstructed neo-conservative who believes that since nobody can stand up to the US military, they can invade anywhere they like, with or without allies. In fact, allies are an incumbrance. So, if it were left strictly up to his influence, it seems the answer would be probably “yes”.
However, one of the main complicating factors is Trump’s history as a money launderer for the Russian mafia capitalist class. That history has placed him under the powerful influence of the capo di tutti capo of that mafia: Vladimir Putin. We saw it in Trump’s performance in Helsinki and again with his call for US troop withdrawal from Syria. Since Putin supports Maduro, he will be pressuring Trump to keep his hands off.
Interests of US capitalism
From the point of view of US imperialism, a US invasion of Venezuela would be a disaster, just as it is turning out to be in Iraq. (Who cares about the interests of the masses of people? That matters there no more in Iraq or Venezuela than they do at home.) It is easy to send US troops in, but the problem is what do they do after they’re there? Think: “quagmire”. But how much do these considerations influence the simpleton in the White House?
Another factor is what is happening inside Venezuela. It seems it would be much better for Trump if Guaido were able to win over the military and take power. Will he be able to do that? At present, Maduro seems to be resting mainly on the support of the military tops, who as Simón Rodríguez explains are “part of the new Chavista bourgeoisie. They own companies that contract with the State, import, control state networks of food distribution, have a mining company, a television channel and even direct PDVSA.” So far, this “Chavista bourgeoisie” has seen its bread buttered on the Maduro side, but as the chaos continues in Venezuela, will that continue?
Also, they must have their connections with military leaders in surrounding countries. What influence will those countries, for example the Brazilian government, have? And is there a possibility that some of the Latin American countries could invade, maybe under the name of the OAS? (Oaklandsocialist is hoping to get a clarification of such questions.)
Trump’s attacks on “socialism”
Back to Trump: In actuality, it seems his interests would best be served by the situation remaining as it is. Maduro is his perfect foil to use in his attack on the “socialist” Democratic Party. And a US invasion would quickly turn into a nightmare for him. But again, that simpleton doesn’t think things through beyond when he wants his next Big Mac.
So, overall, it seems the main influences would tend away from a US invasion. But the propaganda campaign right now sure feels like it did during the build up to the US invasion of Iraq. So, who knows? Often times, the real, underlying dynamics are only fully revealed after the fact. The best we can do is try to figure out the different pressures at present.