• The U.S. Will Regret Interfering in Venezuela

    The U.S. Will Regret Interfering in Venezuela

    U.S. policymakers have frequently failed to plan for what comes after the overthrow of a foreign government, but in the case of Venezuela the Trump administration and its allies failed to plan for the beginning:

    Longtime observers, however, say the generals doubt the promises will be kept. This is a major reason why the revolution isn’t moving as quickly as some had hoped when Guaido electrified the world on Jan. 23 with his declaration. This has led to impatience and finger-pointing. U.S. policy makers and those around Guaido — as well as leaders in Brazil and Colombia — are eyeing one another and worrying about failure. Officials in each camp have said privately they assumed the others had a more developed strategy [bold mine-DL]. READ MORE...

  • U.S. Sanctions Deepen the Misery of Venezuelans

    U.S. Sanctions Deepen the Misery of Venezuelans

    The cruel and unjust sanctions imposed on Venezuela last month are already having the predictable effect of hurting the people most of all:

    When President Trump slapped surprise oil sanctions on Venezuela aimed at toppling President Nicolás Maduro, exports plunged and banking froze as the effects hit harder and faster than expected.

    But in recent days it has become clear that Venezuela’s state oil company, the main target of the sanctions as Mr. Maduro’s bankroller, has found a few ways to survive, with some Russian help. READ MORE...

  • Venezuela and Our Regime Change Addiction

    Venezuela and Our Regime Change Addiction

    Noah Feldman helpfully rips off the fig leaf that the Trump administration and other governments are using to justify their interference in Venezuela:

    But the constitutional argument that Maduro isn’t really president is nothing more than a fig leaf for regime change. Even as fig leaves go, it’s particularly wispy and minimal. The U.S. policy is, in practice, to seek regime change in Venezuela. It would be better to say so directly.

    It may seem convenient now for the U.S. to hide its objective behind a constitutional argument. In the long run, however, it’s far from clear that President Donald Trump’s administration should be embracing a legal argument that invites foreign countries to rely on doubtful interpretations of the local constitution and declare that they know who the president genuinely is. That kind of argument can be flipped against governments the U.S. wants to support — or even, albeit symbolically, the U.S. itself. READ MORE...

  • Misplaced Hope Is Not a Strategy

    Misplaced Hope Is Not a Strategy

    The Venezuelan military is not on board with the effort to remove Maduro:

    The leader of Venezuela’s armed forces declared loyalty to President Nicolás Maduro on Thursday and said the opposition’s effort to replace him with a transitional government amounted to an attempted coup.

    The pronouncement by the defense minister, Vladimir Padrino López, came a day after an opposition lawmaker proclaimed himself the country’s rightful leader during nationwide antigovernment protests and pleaded with the armed forces to abandon Mr. Maduro. READ MORE...

  • The Growing Rift with Europe Over Iran

    The Growing Rift with Europe Over Iran

    The Trump administration is organizing an anti-Iran conference that will meet in Poland next month. Many European governments are planning to snub the administration by staying away:

    A U.S. effort to enlist Europe in its pressure campaign against Iran faced a setback after officials said ministers from several European Union members will likely skip a summit organized by Washington on Iran and the Middle East.

    The summit, which will be co-hosted by Poland and the U.S. and take place in Warsaw, was announced during Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s tour of the Middle East last week. The two governments said it would focus on terror, extremism and missile proliferation in the region and threats posed by proxy groups, activities Washington has accused Iran of engaging in or promoting. READ MORE...

  • The Senate Rejects Rubio’s Attack on Free Speech Again

    The Senate Rejects Rubio’s Attack on Free Speech Again

    Josh Rogin wrote this last week about the “pro-Israel” hawkish attack on the First Amendment:

    McConnell is attempting to show that, on Israel, Republicans are actually largely in agreement, whereas Democrats have a growing problem. The political battle over foreign policy leading up to 2020 has begun, and McConnell just fired the opening salvo.

    Picking a fight over Rubio’s Combating BDS Act does show that the GOP is almost completely in lockstep behind this terrible legislation, but it’s not clear why McConnell thinks this is to his party’s advantage in future elections. Rubio’s bill is such a clear violation of the First Amendment that it makes it extremely easy for even the most hawkish Democratic senators to vote against it without having to endorse the BDS movement. READ MORE...