Did Donald Trump want to declare war on Venezuela?
By Joe Harker
When the head of state of the most powerful country in the world wants to know why he can't just declare war on another nation, the world might be in trouble. Donald Trump repeatedly asked his staff why he couldn't invade Venezuela in 2017 during meetings to discuss sanctions on the country. His advisors had to convince him otherwise and remind him that US allies would not approve of the decision to invade.
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela, ordered his armed forces not to drop their guard against the possibility of a US invasion. He also accused the US of wanting to invade Venezuela to gain access to their oilfields. He said: "You cannot lower you guard for even a second, because we will defend the greatest right our homeland has had in all of its history."
Maduro is a former bus driver who became a trade union leader and was elected to the National Assembly in 2000. He became Foreign Secretary in 2006 and ascended to the Presidency after his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, died of cancer in 2013. He won an election later that same year and was voted in for a second term this year, though the poll was condemned as an unfair election. He has been widely condemned for his record on human rights and the suppression of democracy.
Venezuela is in crisis and Donald Trump had voiced concerns about the country in a speech to the UN but he later imposed sanctions on the nation and turned away refugees. He professes concern and practices condemnation, causing major economic damage to the country as it is in turmoil. US sanctions are a significant blow to the economy of a country and Venezuela is suffering both under its President and the one in the White House.
Trump has managed to unite US allies in South America, though he has managed to array them against his nation as they have rejected his threats of military action. While many South American leaders have been fierce critics of Maduro they are not willing to side with Trump on military action and have backed Venezuela instead. Yet another stunning piece of international diplomacy from the US President.
There is something exceedingly disturbing about a US President who considers declaring war seemingly on a whim and needs to be talked out of it. For people to have to explain to the President that declaring war on Venezuela is not something the US should be doing is worrying, particularly as he brought the issue up several times. The US holds hegemony over the American landmass but it should not be able to abuse that and declare war just because the President fancies it.