Rising tensions in Venezuela


The Trump administration keeps ratcheting up the pressure on Venezuela, even going to the extent of threatening to send in US troops and also calling for a coup by the military against president Nicolas Maduro. Now Trump has told Russia that the troops that they have in that country should “get out”. But the Russians view this as not merely boorish behavior but hypocritical as well, given the fact that the US has troops stationed in so many countries.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova condemned Mr Trump’s remarks in unusually undiplomatic language.

“What does it mean, get out? Is it the tourists who have to get out? Is it the energy companies that have to cancel their contracts? What does it mean, get out?” she said in remarks quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency.

“To tell Russia to ‘get out of Venezuela’ is going completely over the top. This is total boorishness on a global scale.”

She added that there were no “legal let alone moral” grounds for Mr Trump’s demand.

Russia has said its presence there is in line with the defence co-operation accords between the two countries.

“We do not think that third countries should be concerned about our bilateral relations with some states,” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in remarks quoted by the Russian news agency Tass.

“We are not interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela in any way… we hope that third countries will follow our example and let Venezuelans decide their own fate.”

He added that the US had a presence in many parts of the world, but “no-one tells them where they should be and where they shouldn’t be”.

Yes, but what Russia does not understand is that the US has every right, given to it by their god, to order the affairs of the world to its liking, and no one else has the right to question it.

Comments

  1. jrkrideau says

    Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova condemned Mr Trump’s remarks in unusually undiplomatic language.
    Obviously whoever wrote that has not listened to some other of Zakharova’s briefings. 🙂 I think that she is as “direct” as Lavrov.

    I think I remember watching a briefing where she was describing Obama as the worst President the US ever had. Overall, she is much more entertaining than watching Lavrov.

    I have only seen Peskov, Putin’s spokesperson, once or twice and cannot remember how blunt or entertaining he is.

    I wish I spoke Russian.

    The Trump administration keeps ratcheting up the pressure on Venezuela

    And the pressure has gotten to the point that Russia is getting very annoyed. Abrams and Lavrov met in Rome late last week or early this week? Reportedly, Abrams did not look at all happy leaving the meeting. I don’t recall Abrams words exactly but it was something to the point of ‘we did not make progress but we clarified positions’. My suspicion is that Abrams is not used to being lectured.

    A really serious thing here is that the USA has no understanding of Russia whatsoever from what I can see . The US Govt tends to think that Russians are going to think and react much as they would and it will not.

    The entire mindset of the Russian Govt in international affairs is defensive. Russia has been invaded any number of times from the East (Mongals), the South (lots of people but let’s say mainly the Ottomans) and the west from the Teutonic Knights to Napoleon and Hitler. Soviet losses in WWII are not really known but seem to be guestimated at 20 to 60 million. I cannot remember Allied losses on the Western Front but I remember reading that there is one cemetery at St Petersburg (Leningrad) with more dead than all of the USA’s casualties in the war. It tend to concentrate the mind. Actually Putin’s mother just survived the Siege of Leningrad. So Russia is not really likely to want to expand or take over whatever unless it increases its defence in depth.

    The USA has not been invaded since the War of 1812 and even then, the invasions were not existential threats to the nation. Hitler was such a threat.

    So the mindsets are going to be vastly different. The Russians may be able to understand the US but the vastly different experiences, and frankly US exceptionalism and relative ignorance of the rest of the world means the US just will not grasp the other viewpoint. I see this continuously in the lack of comment about the Russian defensive mindset.

    Anyway, back to Venezuela, (I wish, it is a balm 4C here at the moment.)

    Last weekend the Russian military flew in a passenger plane and a large freighter (An-124, about the equivalent of a USAF C-5 Galaxy) with a reported 35 tons of cargo, about 100 specialist personnel and Chief of the General Staff of the Ground Forces Col. Gen. Vasily Tonkoshkurov.

    What Russia does not understand is that the US has every right, given to it by their god, to order the affairs of the world to its liking, and no one else has the right to question it.

    Oh, they understand that very well indeed. They just have had enough of American arrogance.

    It is likely, though by no mean certain, that China is getting to feel that way too in relation to Venezuela where it is doing business. It is already pissed off about the South China Sea and the attacks on telecommunications companies such as Huawei.

    I suspect that from a strategic point of view Russia does not feel that they can abandon an ally to what is clearly US aggression. This is not just for Venezuela but to maintain credit closer to home. The situation on the western part of Russia’s southern border is not exactly stable.

    Venezuela and Russia have had some kind of relations probably going back to Chávez’s day. Certainly the Venezuela military has been equipped with modern Russian weapons. Not a lot but more or less top of the line.

    From an economic point of view,Russia has some fairly large investments in the oil business, mining and minerals in Venezuela that a US sponsored coup d’état would probably destroy. The oil situation is a major worry I think. The USA is currently the world’s major oil exporter but that seems partly due to the US sanctions on Venezuela. If the US gains control of Venezuelan oil it vastly increases their reserves/exports.

    Russia’s shambles of an economy in the early 1990’s has been recovering but Russia is still far too dependent on oil exports. Having the US flood the market, presumably with Saudi help, would be not deadly but very damaging.

    I cannot see Russia actually using military force itself but it is signalling some very strong support for the Maduro Govt. Sending General Tonkoshkurov is a rather clear message in itself.

    The USA may be in for a rude awakening. Trump and his merry band of psychopathic incompetents may not grasp it but hopefully there are enough sane adults around to tell them the facts of life.

  2. says

    I’m wondering if we’re starting to see the end of the American empire. Stuck in an endless war with a military that’s too stretched out and a president who is alienating allies while sowing discord at home…

  3. johnson catman says

    from the article linked by jrkrideau @2:

    According to the state department readout, Pompeo pledged “U.S. support to end China’s campaign of repression against Islam and other religions.” The readout referred to the so-called “internment camps since April 2017” in Xinjiang as well as China’s “repressive campaign”, which has made the million or more Uighurs “unable to speak for themselves, move freely, think for themselves, and undertake even the most basic practices of their religion.” The readout alleged that Chinese authorities subject Uighurs to “torture, repressive surveillance measures, homestays and forcible service of pork and alcohol.., confiscations of Qurans, and instances of sexual abuse and death.”

    So, Pompeo is claiming that China is doing the same kinds of things that the US is doing (or wants to do) to Muslims, but it is bad when they do it and okay for the US to do it. Got it.

  4. jrkrideau says

    Of topic for Venezuela but as the topic partly started with Maria Zakharova, I thought this show would interest some readers. Warning, even reading the conversation it is a good idea not to have a drink in hand. The Russians are mocking the US/Western press and loving it.

  5. jrkrideau says

    @ 3Tabby Lavalamp
    I’m wondering if we’re starting to see the end of the American empire. Stuck in an endless war with a military that’s too stretched out and a president who is alienating allies while sowing discord at home…

    We are seeing the end but it is not just starting. The relative decline in US world power has been going on for at least 30 years or more. Some of this is natural.

    At the end of WW11, the USA was the only world power still left standing. Its industrial economy was roughly 50% of the world’s economy. So as the other powers recovered and expanded its share of the world economy declined and, to some extent, its overall influence. Just what one would expect.

    Probably by the end of the Vietnam War and certainly by the time massive military overstretch, and an attempt to run the world was beginning to put really serious strains on the “Empire”

    Internally policies that allowed/encouraged outsourcing, hollowed out the middle class and enriched the 1% have done tremendous damage to industrial capacity, infrastructure and education, further hurting the Empire.

    The USA has been, pretty much continually at war since about 1950 but the really damaging and draining wars have begun, I think, with the unneeded Afghan War after 9/11 and on into the mad Iraq War. This last plus the débâcle in Syria and the Libyan idiocy has really hurt the USA financial, heavily overstretched the military and alienated allies, non-aligned, etc., countries.

    Trump seems to be doing real damage but he is just continuing a long tradition. What may be most noticeable is that in a short two years or so, he has emphasized that one cannot trust the USA to keep an international agreement, to pay the slightest attention to international law.

    His remarkable ability to alienate allies and neutrals has resulted in the forging of new alliances, the development of new trading patterns and seems to be destroying the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

    We are seeing the end of the American Empire. Trump is only one of many players and presidents who has contributed but, I think, he deserves the Palme d’Or in the presidential class even edging out George W. Bush. And, at one point, I was willing to claim that I could make a case that GWB was an Al Quaeda agent.

  6. jrkrideau says

    @ 6 hyphenman
    That second link is the same as the first, it appears.

    Re the first, thanks. Totally forgot the interventions and it adds to the defensiveness argument nicely. Hand up any country who has not invaded Russia?

    Someone tried to talk my father into that party. Since he hated the Canadian army , he declined.

  7. jrkrideau says

    @ 4 johnson catman
    So, Pompeo is claiming that China is doing the same kinds of things that the US is doing (or wants to do) to Muslims, but it is bad when they do it and okay for the US to do it. Got it.

    See Mano’s last sentence in the original post. He is a prophet.