President Trump’s remark during a press briefing Friday on Venezuela continues to have the (possibly intentional) effect of creating turmoil within the international community.
Speaking at his golf club in Bedminster, NJ, Trump responded to a reporter’s question on the continuing turmoil in Venezuela, which is not only suffering an epic financial collapse but a power grab by the Maduro government that some observers have said puts the country on a pathway to dictatorship.
Trump’s response was, frankly, very surprising:
“We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary,”
Trump’s inclusion of a military option to address Venezuela not only surprised civilians but those at National Security and the Pentagon as well:
H.R. McMaster, Trump’s National Security Adviser, flatly told MSNBC earlier this month that military intervention from any outside source was not a possibility.
“No. I don’t think so,” McMaster said. “What’s really required is for everyone to have one voice about the need to protect the rights and the safety of the Venezuelan people.”
Later Friday, Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said the Defense Department has not been ordered to make any military movements related to Venezuela — but is prepared for that if need be.
The prospect of U.S. forces engaged in Venezuela is also predictably very unsettling for other Latin American countries as well, even those who are against Maduro.
Columbia, for example, a country considered one of the U.S. most loyal South American allies, swiftly released a statement condemning “military measures and the use of force” following Trump’s remark, despite having previously threatened to cease diplomatic relations with Venezuela.
However, it is possible, perhaps even likely, that Trump is deliberately inflating the degree to which the White House is considering putting American boots on the ground in Caracus to settle that country’s problems.
Trump’s own words suggest as much.
As president-elect Trump said, “We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with.”
Furthermore, Trump has just announced that the U.S. is “locked and loaded” to face North Korea, a country that is obviously a greater national concern that Venezuela.
And let’s not overlook that the president – as he did when he tweeted “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!,” despite being aware (as he later admitted) that no such tapes existed – the president is a master at bluffing.
But as our own Allen West has said many times on these pages, unpredictability isn’t a strategy.
[Note: This article was written by Zachary Smith]