One of the peculiar things about reality television is that even those who lost a specific competition, generally receive free publicity and often revitalise their career. While Donald Trump may be running the White House like a disorganised version of his old reality show ‘The Apprentice’, those who are in the proverbial ‘firing line’ of Trump, are not only enhancing their prestige, but often doing so at Trump’s expense.
Against this backdrop, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has returned from a visit to three Eurasian nations as part of a tour which commenced with his time in Moscow as part of Russian Energy Week.
At the energy summit, Maduro expressed his desire to lead a global movement among energy producing nations, against the hegemony of the US Dollar. In so far as Venezuela hopes to promote such an idea, Maduro said that in addition to trading oil in Chinese Yuan, Venezuela is also interested in trading its vast oil reserves in the Russian Rouble. While Russia continues to improve relations with Saudi Arabia, it is fair to said that Venezuela remains one of Russia’s strongest ally in OPEC.
After leaving Moscow, where Maduro held private talks with President Putin, Maduro visited Belarus where he discussed military cooperation with President Alexander Lukashenko. According to Maduro the meeting in Minsk covered areas of military cooperation which “has been very successful”, before adding that such things will continue to be expanding in the future.
Maduro then went to Turkey where he signed a series of energy related agreements with leaders in Ankara. This could well likely be a contributing factor in Washington’s escalated diplomatic row with Ankara.
Maduro, upon returning to Caracas, stated that Donald Trump’s antagonistic and threatening remarks about Venezuela and about himself personally have actually increased Venezuela’s prestige abroad.
President Maduro said,
“A whole new world is opening up for Venezuela thanks to Trump’s sanctions. It’s an honour that the head of the empire (Trump) mentions me every day. That means I‘m doing something right”.
“Donald Trump has become the head of the Venezuelan opposition. He has made me famous around the world. Every time he mentions me, they love me more”.
Maduro’s words are more than political rhetoric designed for political consumption, although they are that also. More significantly though, Maduro’s statements indicate just how isolated the US has become under Donald Trump, even among Washington’s traditional allies.
In respect of North Korea, Russia and China have called for dialogue while EU leaders have rejected military measures against Pyongyang. America’s former dependant in South East Asia, Philippines has also pursued an independent foreign policy under President Rodrigo Duterte. Pakistan and Turkey likewise find themselves at odds with the US and are engaging with both Russia and China in highly important areas of economic productivity and security. Even South Korea has expressed approval in respect of President Putin’s plan to ease regional tensions through tripartite cooperation between Seoul, Pyongyang and Moscow.
Just today, Germany, France and Britain issued a joint statement expressing their commitment to the JCPOA (aka the Iran deal) while the German Foreign Minister directly warned Donald Trump of the dangers inherent in ditching the deal.
Finally, China and Russia have publicly stood up for Venezuela after Trump threatened Caracas from the floor of the UN General Assembly during his maiden speech at the institution. Latin American countries, European countries and other Asian countries have also expressed their opposition to Washington’s antagonistic approach towards Venezuela.
In this sense, Nicolas Maduro is correct. There are objectively more countries which see things from the Venezuelan perspective than from that of the Trump administration. America’s isolation continues to grow on many fronts.