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Venezuela rhetoric heats up after US attempt to invoke Monroe Doctrine

Once again, Russia wishes to play by the book, pressing the US to do the same in regards to the life and future of Venezuela.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a discussion over the situation in Venezuela over the phone with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday, 2 March. The conversation, according to TASS, indicated Russia’s readiness for talks regarding its ally, but only if conducted in strict compliance with the United Nations Charter. However, the United States appears to be fanning the flames of the next Russian – US diplomatic row.

Venezuela has become a flashpoint as the socialist government of the country was brought to a state of collapse. At present, the results of the country’s presidential elections are hotly disputed, with the US allying itself behind Juan Guaidó, the rival to incumbent President Nicolás Maduro, who is backed by Russia.

This situation created a new stage for conflict between the interests of the Russian Federation and the United States, with that conflict living on at least two levels:

  • According to the Monroe Doctrine, the resolution the US made in the 1820’s to prevent European colonization or intervention in Western nations, the Russian involvement amounts to a breach of trust.
  • According to the US press, Venezuela is a socialist cesspool, with Maduro the present instrument of that grief as the hand-picked successor to Hugo Chavez. The country is reportedly in severe economic crisis, even to the point where waves of immigrants are reported to be fleeing Venezuela to the United States in caravans.

What remains unclear, at least from the point of view of the press in both countries, is how much of the Venezuelan crisis was manufactured by US interference at overt and covert levels. As the country is a Russian ally, naturally, this is a concern to the Russian Federation.

Several months ago, the first significant incident calling the Monroe Doctrine into question was the stationing of two Russian supersonic bombers on an island just off the Venezuelan coast.

The results of the presidential elections are presently in dispute. Wikipedia offers this chronology of events (emphases added):

Presidential elections were held in Venezuela on 20 May 2018,[3] with incumbent Nicolás Maduro being re-elected for a second six-year term.[4] Considered a snap election, the original electoral date was scheduled for December 2018 but was subsequently pulled ahead to 22 April before being pushed back to 20 May.[5][6][7] Some analysts described the poll as a show election,[8][9] with the elections having the lowest voter turnout in the country’s democratic era.[4][10]

Several Venezuelan NGOs, such as Foro Penal Venezolano, Súmate, Voto Joven [es], the Venezuelan Electoral Observatory and the Citizen Electoral Network, expressed their concern over the irregularities of the electoral schedule, including the lack of the Constituent Assembly‘s competencies to summon the elections, impeding participation of opposition political parties, and the lack of time for standard electoral functions.[11]

Because of this, the European Union,[12][13] the Organization of American States, the Lima Group[14] and countries including Australia and the United States rejected the electoral process.[15][16] However, countries including China, South Africa, Cuba, Iran, Egypt, Russia, Syria, Turkey and others recognized the election result.[17]

The two leading candidates opposing Maduro, Henri Falcón and Javier Bertucci, rejected the results, saying that the election was critically flawed by irregularities. Bertucci asked that the elections be repeated without Maduro.[18][19] Maduro was inaugurated on 10 January 2019. In the days thereafter, Albania, Canada, Iceland, Israel, Kosovo, the United States, and a number of Latin American countries recognized National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaidó as the legitimate Venezuelan President after the start of the 2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis.[20]

The situation here is rather tense, but Russia wished to have discussions with the US authorities provided those discussions were in the spirit of the United Nations Charter, which the US is on record for disregarding time and again as the situation warrants.

TASS reported that FM Lavrov and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed Venezuela over the phone, with the Russian side appearing to express a grievance against the United States’ activity in regard to the Venezuelan nation:

“In connection with Washington’s proposal to hold bilateral consultations on Venezuela, it was pointed out that we were ready for them but only in strict accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter, since only the people of Venezuela have the right to determine their future,” the foreign ministry said.

In his conversation with Pompeo, Lavrov condemned US threats against Venezuela’s legitimate leadership, which represent “undisguised interference in domestic affairs of a sovereign state and a gross violation of international law.”

“Instigation and destructive influence from outside, under the hypocritical pretext of humanitarian aid deliveries, have nothing in common with the democratic process,” the foreign ministry stressed.

This last statement is related to the US effort to send “aid” to Venezuela, ostensibly under the direction of Guaido, to bolster his position as the real leader of the country. However, Nicolas Maduro is on record as having actually won the election. That claim is disputed, with the usual charges that “the election was irregular”, alluding to the notion that it was not valid.

But more took place on March 4th, regarding a series of statements by US foreign policy adviser John Bolton, who invoked the Monroe Doctrine in regards to Venezuela (code for “Russia, keep out of this…”). This move appears to be the diplomatic equivalent of pulling a rabbit out of a hat, and it is not being viewed as a favorable move. In a new report from TASS we learn:

White House National Security Adviser John Bolton’s statement that Washington is not afraid of pursuing the Monroe Doctrine against Venezuela is a slap in the face to the entire Latin American region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after talks with his Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani.

Lavrov recalled that after the United Nations was established in 1945, international law has been ensured through the Charter of this universal and the most legitimate organization. “The theory and practice of ‘backyards’ is insulting, to a large extent,” Russia’s top diplomat stressed.

“I believe that Latin American states will react to John Bolton’s statement. He mentioned that the Monroe Doctrine could be used in Venezuela, insulting the entire Latin America,” he noted. “Moreover, several days ago Washington threatened that Venezuela is not the end of the story, and Cuba and Nicaragua would be next.”

Earlier, John Bolton said Washington planned to create a broad coalition to topple Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The White House adviser also said the US was sticking to the principles of the Monroe Doctrine.

The Monroe Doctrine’s applicability here is certainly in question. After all, Soviet-allied activities took place in Central America for decades in Nicaragua, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico and other places, (even as American-allied manipulation was in play in Eastern Europe), but now, suddenly a nearly 200-year old statement is pulled into use as the founding principle why the US should have jurisdiction over the nation with the largest known oil reserves in the world?

Venezuela, then is a place with enormous strategic importance, and is therefore a potential flashpoint diplomatically and maybe even worse.

What appears to be unfolding is another page in a regrettably well-known playbook. The geopolitics of oil are in play, and it is highly possible that all the suffering and crisis in Venezuela is not simply the result of socialism, but perhaps socialism plus interference from the outside. What appears to be different this time is that US efforts seem to be a bit more frail than in the past, and it is possible that the United States will not get its way here.

If so, this will be a major blow for the image of power of the US, and how the powers that be there react to this is the next question.

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Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

There is absolutely no question of the Monroe Doctrine’s “applicability”. That’s because it has absolutely no legal standing! The Monroe Doctrine is not a part of international law, like the UN Charter. It is not even a treaty agreed on by more than one nation. All that the Monroe Doctrine has ever been is a statement of intent by the US government. Originally it declared that European intevention in the Americas would be frowned upon by Washington, with the implication that such disapproval might be backed up by military action. Today the Monroe Doctrine is no more legitimate or authoritative… Read more »

Isabella
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Isabella

Well said Tom. This issue of the truth of the so-called Munroe Doctrine needs shouting as loudly and as often as possible. Too easy for a lie repeated over and over to be assumed a truth, again.

Sally Snyder
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Sally Snyder

As shown in this article, it appears increasingly likely that Venezuela is being used as a proxy for the new Cold War:
https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/03/venezuela-proxy-for-cold-war-part-2.html
Over the past week, Russia has made its plans for Venezuela very, very clear and yet Washington’s John Bolton insists on taking a war footing.

jrkrideau
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jrkrideau

Several months ago, the first significant incident calling the Monroe Doctrine into question was the stationing of two Russian supersonic bombers on an island just off the Venezuelan coast.

Nonsense. The two Russian Air Force planes flew to Venezuela, stayed a few days and flew home. The term “stationing” is completely misleading.

It is a pity that the article does not note that the “disputed” election was declared free and fair by over 100 international observers.

Did Mike Pompeo write this article?

Yuri
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Yuri

Excellent points, jrkideau. Moreover, it is both highly surprising and disappointing for me to see a writer like Mr Hanisch, who professes support for the Orthodox religion, quote from a totally dubious source like Wikipedia, a front for Western intelligence and headed by Jimmy Wales, a (ex?) porn king.

MIke
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MIke

I guess Russia shouldn’t have placed two bombers there… Not too brilliant way to proceed if you dont want the US involved!

Isabella
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Isabella

Why not?? What the blazes does it have to do with US?? If Venezuela wants them to visit -which is all it was, a visit – and Russia wants to go, it has nothing to do with anyone else. On the other hand, maybe US should get the hell away from Russia’s border, with it’s many bases and missiles aimed at Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Isabella
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Isabella

“At present, the results of the country’s presidential elections are hotly disputed,”
A statement like this needs amplification. Disputed by whom? Not in Venezuela among the millions who made the effort to go and vote. Only among those who boycotted the elections, and the white wealthy Spanish rulers, who want it all for themselves. The opinion of American vassals counts for nothing, therefor among the thinking nations of the world, also, there is no dispute. To leave the sentence like that implies a legitimate dispute world wide. America and it’s vassals are not the world.

Isabella
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Isabella

The so-called “Monroe Doctrine” gets much of it’s power from it’s use of the effect of words on the listeners perception. Once again, as I’ve said so often when trying to show why Russia should eschew all use of the word “Eurasia”, a name carries vast power. People long ago knew this, as any student of mythology and Occult [which only means secret] beliefs knew also. Once you name something, you own it. Can you imagine having a newly born child, your pride and joy, and then discovering your Mother-in-law had gone down to the Registry office and had the… Read more »

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Peace on Korean Peninsula within reach, if only Trump can remove Pompeo & Bolton (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 152.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss the results of the Putin-Kim summit in Vladivostok, Russia, aimed at boosting bilateral ties between the two neighboring countries, as well as working to contribute to a final peace settlement on the Korean peninsula.

Putin’s meeting with Kim may prove to be a pivotal diplomatic moment, as North Korea continues to work towards normalizing ties with the U.S. amidst ongoing denuclearization talks with the Trump White House.

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Via the BBC…

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un needs international security guarantees if he is to end his nuclear programme.

Such guarantees would need to be offered within a multinational framework, he added, following talks near Vladivostok in Russia’s far east.

Mr Kim praised the summit as a “very meaningful one-on-one exchange”.

Mr Putin said North Korea’s leader was “fairly open” and had “talked freely on all issues that were on the agenda”.

The meeting followed the breakdown of talks between the US and North Korea in February, when Mr Kim met US President Donald Trump in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

Those talks reportedly stalled over North Korea’s demand for full economic sanctions relief in return for some denuclearisation commitments – a deal the US was not willing to make.

Speaking after the talks on Thursday, Mr Putin said he wanted to see full denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.

But he said this could only be achieved through respect for international law.

“We need to restore the power of international law, to return to a state where international law, not the law of the strongest, determines the situation in the world,” he said.

Mr Kim greeted Russian officials warmly when he arrived in Russia on Wednesday.

The North Korean leader was entertained by a brass band in Vladivostok before he got inside a car flanked by bodyguards, who – in now familiar scenes – jogged alongside the vehicle as it departed.

What do we know about the summit?

According to the Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin believes the six-party talks on North Korea, which are currently stalled, are the only efficient way of addressing the issue of nuclear weapons on the peninsula.

Those talks, which began in 2003, involve the two Koreas as well as China, Japan, Russia and the US.

“There are no other efficient international mechanisms at the moment,” Mr Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

“But, on the other hand, efforts are being made by other countries. Here all efforts merit support as long as they really aim at de-nuclearisation and resolving the problem of the two Koreas.”

What do both sides want?

This visit is being widely viewed as an opportunity for North Korea to show it has powerful allies following the breakdown of the talks with the US in February.

The country has blamed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the collapse of the Hanoi summit. Earlier this month North Korea demanded that Mr Pompeo be removed from nuclear talks, accusing him of “talking nonsense” and asking for someone “more careful” to replace him.

The summit is also an opportunity for Pyongyang to show that its economic future does not depend solely on the US. Mr Kim may try to put pressure on Moscow to ease sanctions.

Analysts say the summit is an opportunity for Russia to show that it is an important player on the Korean peninsula.

President Putin has been eager to meet the North Korean leader for quite some time. Yet amid the two Trump-Kim summits, the Kremlin has been somewhat sidelined.

Russia, like the US and China, is uncomfortable with North Korea being a nuclear state.

How close are Russia and North Korea?

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union (of which Russia is the main successor state) maintained close military and trade links with its communist ally, North Korea, for ideological and strategic reasons.

After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, trade links with post-communist Russia shrank and North Korea leaned towards China as its main ally.

Under President Putin, Russia recovered economically and in 2014 he wrote off most of North Korea’s Soviet-era debt in a major goodwill gesture.

While it is arguable how much leverage Russia has with the North today, the communist state still regards it as one of the least hostile foreign powers.

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Putin meets Kim for the first time (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at the historic meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the city of Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.

The meeting marks the first ever summit between the two leaders.

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Via RT…

Leaders of Russia and North Korea sat down for a historic summit in Vladivostok, expressing hope it will revive the peace process in the Korean Peninsula and talks on normalizing relations with the US.

The summit on Russky Island, just off Vladivostok, started a little late because President Vladimir Putin’s flight was delayed. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had made the trip by train, arriving on Wednesday.

In brief public remarks before the talks, the two leaders expressed hope the summit will help move forward the reconciliation process in the Korean Peninsula. Putin welcomed Kim’s contributions to “normalizing relations” with the US and opening a dialogue with South Korea.

Kim said he hoped the Vladivostok summit would be a “milestone” in the talks about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, but also build upon “traditionally friendly ties” between Russia and North Korea.

The North Korean leader also made a point of thanking Putin for flying all the way to Vladivostok for the meeting. The Far East Russian city is only 129 kilometers from the border with North Korea.

The historic summit takes place less than two months after Kim’s second summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi fell apart without a breakthrough on denuclearization. The US rejected North Korea’s request for partial sanctions relief in return for moves to dismantle nuclear and missile programs; Washington insists on full disarmament before any sanctions are removed.

Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the main subject of the Kim-Putin summit, but there will also be talks about bilateral relations, trade, and humanitarian aid. The first one-on-one meeting is scheduled to last about an hour, followed by further consultations involving other government officials.

Following the summit, Putin is scheduled to visit China.

 

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Kim And Putin: Changing The State Of The Board In Korea

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


Today is a big day for Korea. The first face-to-face summit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un takes place.

At the same time the 2nd annual Belt and Road Forum kicks off in Beijing.

This meeting between Putin and Kim has been in the works for a while but rumors of it only surfaced last week. But don’t let the idea that this was put together at the last minute fool you.

It wasn’t.

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

I know that sounds bold. But hear me out.

And while no one seems to think this meeting is important or that anything of substance will come from it I do. It is exactly the kind of surprise that Putin loves to spring on the world without notice and by doing so change the board state of geopolitics.

  • Russia’s entrance into Syria in 2015, two days after Putin’s historic speech at the U.N. General Assembly
  • 2018’s State of the Union address where he announced hypersonic missiles, embarrassing the U.S. Militiary-Industrial Complex which accelerated the Bolton Doctrine of subjugating the world
  • Flying 2 TU-160 nuclear-armed bombers to Venezuela, creating panic in D.C. leading to the ham-fisted regime change operations there.
  • Nationalization of Yukos.
  • The operation to secure Crimea from U.S. invasion by marines aboard the U.S.S Donald Cook during the Ukrainian uprising against Viktor Yanukovich.

Both Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping are angry at the breakdown of the talks in Hanoi back in February. It was clear that everyone expected that meeting to be a rubber stamp on a deal already agreed to by all parties involved.

In fact the two meetings between Kim and Trump were only possible because Trump convinced them of his sincerity to resolve the ‘denuclearization’ of North Korea which would clear a path to rapid reunification.

It’s why they went along with the U.S.’s increased sanctions on North Korea as administered through the U.N. in 2017.

That John Bolton and Mike Pompeo destroyed those talks and Trump was unwilling or unable (who cares at this point, frankly, useless piece of crap that he is) to stop them embarrassed and betrayed them.

They are now done with Trump.

He’ll get nothing from either of them or Kim until Trump can prove he’s in charge of his administration, which he, clearly, is not.

And they will be moving forward with their own agenda for security and Asian economic integration. So I don’t think the timing of this meeting with that of the Belt and Road Forum is an accident.

And that means moving forward on solving the Korea problem without Trump.

It is clear from the rhetoric of Putin’s top diplomat, the irreplaceable Sergei Lavrov, that Russia’s patience is over. They are no longer interested in what Trump wants and they will now treat the U.S. as a threat, having upped their military stance towards the U.S. to that of “Threat.”

If Bolton wants anything from Russia at this point he best be prepared to start a war or piss off.

This is also why Russia took the gloves off with Ukraine in the run up to the Presidential elections, cutting off energy and machinery exports with Ukraine.

To put paid Putin’s growing impatience with U.S. policies, he just issued the order to allow residents of Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics to apply for Russian passports.

This will send Bolton into apoplexy. Angela Merkel of Germany will be none too pleased either. Putin is now playing hardball after years of unfailing politeness.

It’s also why Lavrov finalized arms and port deals all over the Middle East in recent weeks, including those with Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and India.

Bolton, Pompeo and Pence are ideologues. Trump is a typical Baby Boomer, who lives in a bubble of his own design and believes in an America that never existed.

None of them truly understand the fires they are stoking and simply believe in the Manifest Destiny of the U.S. to rule the world over a dim and barbaric world.

Putin, Xi, Rouhani in Iran and Kim in North Korea are pragmatic men. They understand the realities they live in. This is why I see Putin willing tomorrow to sit down with Kim and flaunt the U.N. sanctions and begin the investment process into North Korea that should have begun last year.

Putin would not be making these moves if he didn’t feel that Bolton was all bark and no bite when it came to actual war with Russia. He also knows that Germany needs him more than he needs Germany so despite the feet-dragging and rhetoric Nordstream 2 will go forward.

Trade is expanding between them despite the continued sanctions.

Putin may be willing to cut a deal with President-elect Zelensky on gas transit later in the year but only if the shelling of the LPR and DPR stops and he guarantees no more incidents in the Sea of Azov. This would also mollify Merkel a bit and make it easier for her politically to get Nordstream 2 over the finish line.

There are moments in history when people go too far. Bolton and Pompeo went too far in Hanoi. He will pay the price now. Putin and Kim will likely agree to something in Vladivostok that no one is expecting and won’t look like much at first.

But the reality is this summit itself marks a turning point in this story that will end with the U.S. being, in Trump’s transactional parlance, a “price taker” since it has so thoroughly failed at being a “price maker.”

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