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If the Army Stands With Maduro, What Is Plan B?

Are we inviting a civil war in Venezuela? Should the shooting start in Caracas, what do we do then?

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org:


“Pay the soldiers. The rest do not matter.”

This was the deathbed counsel given to his sons by Roman Emperor Septimius Severus in A.D. 211.

Nicolas Maduro must today appreciate the emperor’s insight.

For the political survival of this former bus driver and union boss hangs now upon whether Venezuela’s armed forces choose to stand by him or to desert him and support National Assembly leader Juan Guaido.

Wednesday, Guaido declared Maduro’s election last May to a second six-year term to be a sham, and had himself inaugurated as acting president.

Thursday, the defense minister and army chief General Vladimir Padrino Lopez, with his top brass, dismissed the 35-year-old Guaido as a U.S. puppet, and pledged allegiance to Maduro.

Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the U.N. Security Council: “Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side. … Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem.”

By Friday, however, the world had already taken sides.

Russia and China stood by Maduro, as did NATO ally Turkey, with President Erdogan phoning his support. Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba and Bolivia were also with Maduro.

Backing Guaido are Venezuela’s neighbors Ecuador, Brazil and Colombia, the U.S. and Canada, and the Organization of American States.

Britain, France, Germany and Spain have sent Maduro a diplomatic ultimatum: Agree in eight days to new elections or we back the 35-year-old Guaido, who, until this year, was an unknown.

All options are on the table, says President Donald Trump. But Russia called Guaido’s action a “quasi-coup” and warned that intervention could result in “catastrophic consequences.” Vladimir Putin also phoned Maduro with his support.

The stakes for all sides here are huge. Russia has contractors in Venezuela and has lent the regime billions. In a show of solidarity, Putin recently flew two strategic bombers to Venezuela.

China has loaned Venezuela tens of billions, with Caracas paying Beijing back in oil.

Cuba has sent military and intelligence officers to maintain internal security. Hugo Chavez had seen in Fidel Castro a father figure and modeled his new Venezuela on Castro’s Cuba — with similar results.

Where hundreds of thousands fled Castro’s revolution in the 1960s, three million Venezuelans have fled to Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia and other South American countries and the USA.

The economy is in a shambles. Though Venezuela has the largest oil reserves on earth, production is a fraction of what it once was. Cronyism and corruption are endemic. Inflation has destroyed the currency. There is poverty, malnutrition and shortages of every necessity of modern life.

Yet, still, the crucial question: What will the soldiers do? And if the military stands with Maduro, and Maduro refuses to go, what do the Americans do to force him out?

Invade? That would invite disaster. Venezuela is not Panama, Haiti or Grenada. Larger than Texas, its population is more than 30 million. And U.S. forces are already committed around the world.

A blockade and sanctions would magnify and deepen the suffering of the people of Venezuela long before they would bring down the regime. Would our allies support a blockade? And if years of suffering by the Venezuelan people have not shaken Maduro’s hold on power, what makes us believe more of the same would persuade him?

Maduro and his army are being offered amnesty if they peacefully depart. But what would Maduro’s fate be if he flees?

If he gives up power under U.S. threat, he is finished and disgraced as a coward. Would he not prefer to go down fighting?

And if the leadership of the army should abandon Maduro, there are younger ambitious officers who would surely see a rewarding future in fighting to save the regime.

Are we inviting a civil war in Venezuela? Should the shooting start in Caracas, what do we do then?

Did anyone think this through?

Maduro is an incompetent brutal dictator whose ideology has helped to destroy a nation. But if he can change the narrative from a confrontation between a tyrant and his persecuted people to that of an embattled defender of Venezuela being attacked by Yankee imperialists and their domestic lackeys, that could resonate among the masses in Latin America.

And from all indications, Maduro intends to defy the U.S. and rally the radicals and anti-Americans in the hemisphere and the Third World.

Guiado’s constitutional claim to the presidency of Venezuela was a scheme cooked up in collusion with Washington, made in the USA, with Secretary of State Pompeo, John Bolton and Sen. Marco Rubio signing on, and President Trump signing off. This was Plan A.

But if Plan A does not succeed, and Maduro, with America’s prestige on the line, defies our demand that he yield, what do we do then? What is Plan B?

“Assad must go!” said Barack Obama. Well, Assad is still there — and Obama is gone.

Will the same be said of Maduro?

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Robert BruceShaun RamewejrkrideauGio Conbuddha9 Recent comment authors
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Olivia Kroth
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The author writes: “Russia and China stood by Maduro, as did NATO ally Turkey, with President Erdogan phoning his support. Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba and Bolivia were also with Maduro.”

Not to forget El Salvador, Uruguay, Iran, Syria, South Africa, who all are standing on President Maduro’s side, because he is the democratically elected President of Venezuela.

I could imagine that Nicolas Maduro will be President of Venezuela longer than Donald Trump will be President of the USA.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

US sanctions against Venezuela’s state oil company is fruitless.
Despite the sanctions and the opposition’s attempts to control the country’s oil industry, Venezuela continues to extract and export oil. Supply volumes are impressive – 1 million barrels per day.
According to official data of the IMF, the people of Venezuela live much better than those in poor Ukraine.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

More Deep State scheming of the US gone awry, ha ha ha!
Pompeo and Bolton: Dick und Doof (Fat and Stupid, two famous German comedians).
The fat one should go on a diet, the stupid one should shave his moustache and retire in an asylum for fools.

therevolutionwas
Guest
therevolutionwas

The citizens of the US had a chance to end the empire by voting for Ron Paul as President. Those who were even aware that their was big problems brewing in the US were unwilling to give up the welfare state and easy money from the Fed. Most people were, as Paul Craig Roberts says, “insouciant” and remain so. It appears that other nations will have to do away with the empire, and I hope they are planning on doing it economically rather than militarily.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

In Venezuela, the citizens are mobilizing against the coup of opposition activist Guaido and a possible invasion of US troops. In this video by TELESUR, Diosdado Cabello, President of Venezuela’s National Assembly, is speaking to a large crowd of citizens in the state of Apure, Central Venezuela (Los Llanos, the Grasslands). He is talking about media manipulation in favour of the opposition.

Platon
Guest
Platon

More mayhem from the Talmudo-Satanists of the USA.
Does anyone not in their pay still take any of these incompetent, deviant monsters seriously?
Quarantine the USA behind its two-ocean sized moats.
All nations must stand up for the survival of the Human Race which means the utter isolation of the USA as the source and vector of global madness.

hoyeru
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hoyeru

hey asswipe, Maduro is NOT a dictator. take your USA propaganda elsewhere. Under communism, millions of Venezuelans were brought out of poverty.
I lived and grew up under communism too, and I was NEvEr hungry in my life, never lacked medical care and never SAW A SINGLE BEGGER or a homeless on the street. Nobody was rich, but nobody as starving beggar on the street either.
Shame on the duran for publishing such BS.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

I also do not like US propaganda, hoyeru.

I visited Venezuela several times in 2013 and 2014, when President Chavez was still alive. I never saw any hungry people there.

buddha9
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buddha9

This article repeats the lies of the US govt mafia stealing the wealth from poor people. The article claims Moduro is a brutal dictator: nonsense where’s your evidence
also the economic collapse has everything po do with sanctions and little to do whatever way Moduro organizes the economy .

Gio Con
Guest
Gio Con

Buchanan has to mouth the MSM claptrap about Maduro being a “brutal dictator,” and shed tears over the suffering of the Venezuelan people — but he utterly fails to even mention the 20 years of US economic sabotage and coup attempts that have contributed to the corruption and suffering in Venezuelan. But then, Pat Buchanan is just another flunky right-wing politician who only sees what the MSM wants him to see.

jrkrideau
Guest
jrkrideau

/ Hugo Chavez… modeled his new Venezuela on Castro’s Cuba
No, Chávez was too much the democrat and allowed US gov’t officials and faux US NGO’s to remain in Venezula for one thing. Castro tossed them all, apparently on Che Guevara’s advice. Venezuela has a mixed public/private economy somewhat like Sweden or Norway do.

I never thought Pat Buchanan was all that smart but be should try to, at least, pretend to be telling something near the truth.

Robert Bruce
Guest
Robert Bruce

Pat never seems to have the fortitude to go all in and never completely knocks the existing order.

Shaun Ramewe
Guest
Shaun Ramewe

Plan B for the political-meddling media-faking resource-thieving terrorist-abetting false-flagging coward-pervert Zio-Yank war criminals is to mass murder innocent civilians by bombing them and sending in black-flag mercenaries – like in sovereign oil-rich lied-about pro-democracy Syria.

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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge


Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)

 

 

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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch

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After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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