For all the talk about Donald Trump and Vladimir Puting being secret best buddies, you wouldn’t be able to tell it from the news of late. Now another bump in the bromance road has emerged. As we discussed previously, the Russians have put nearly 100 special forces troops on the ground in Venezuela, bolstering the naval and air force presence they already had in that nation. The White House has moved quickly to weigh in on the subject and President Trump is telling Putin to get his military out of the country. (Reuters)
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday called on Russia to pull its troops from Venezuela and said that “all options” were open to make that happen.
The arrival of two Russian air force planes outside Caracas on Saturday believed to be carrying nearly 100 Russian special forces and cybersecurity personnel has escalated the political crisis in Venezuela…
“Russia has to get out,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, where he met with Guaido’s wife, Fabiana Rosales.
The fact that the wife of Juan Guaido was in Washington and meeting with the President received almost zero attention on cable news this week. Speaking of how Maduro has plunged their nation into darkness, Rosales said, “But let me tell you that there is light, and the light is here,” They are clearly placing their hopes on the shoulders of the United States.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of State is already getting in on the act and talking about how much it will cost to help rebuild Venezuela’s economy after Maduro is gone. Estimates run into the tens of billions of dollars, and the White House has already asked Congress for a half billion in Venezuelan foreign aid to help them out.
The problem is, all of this is very premature. Maduro isn’t gone yet and there’s really nothing going on right now that would indicate he plans on going anywhere any time soon. Juan Guaido is still free to move around at the moment (a fact that’s nothing short of miraculous) but the Venezuelan generals are not abandoning Maduro. Having the Russian military in the country makes it even less likely that they will jump ship.
The President is talking about “all options being on the table” in terms of getting the Russians out of Caracas, but do we really think that Putin is taking that threat seriously? He was invited into the country by Maduro, so there’s zero recourse under international law for trying to force him out. And there’s also no way that we’re sending American troops down there to shoot it out with the Venezuelan (and Russian!) military. Putin knows this, and I find it doubtful that he’s going to be taking orders from us. In short, events are currently moving in Maduro’s favor and our options to change that are rapidly diminishing.