No matter how far to the left much of the mainstream media may swing, I’ll confess to never having seen this one coming. At the Washington Post this week, Jackson Diehl pens an op-ed about the horrific conditions in Venezuela. Regular readers are already familiar with the tragic story because we cover it here every week. Four million refugees have now fled the country and are outstripping the humanitarian aid available in Colombia and other neighboring nations. The lack of food, potable water and medical supplies inside Venezuela literally has people falling down dead in the streets. Violence and starvation are rampant.
And who does Diehl predict will get the blame for all of this carnage? Why, Donald Trump, of course! Give these two paragraphs a gander and see if you can follow this “logic.”
The most plausible and most disturbing forecast was this: By December, an additional 1 million Venezuelans will pour into Colombia and other nearby countries — and the region will be unable to cope with them. The Trump administration will find itself facing demands that it mount some kind of intervention to stanch a crisis on the Venezuelan-Colombian border far worse than anything ever seen on the U.S.-Mexican frontier.
Meanwhile, the claim that the United States is responsible for the humanitarian catastrophe, now confined to the Maduro regime and the fringe left, will have gravitated to the mainstream. That’s because even though the ban on Venezuelan oil purchases that Trump rashly ordered in January failed to accomplish the goal of forcing regime change, it has had a devastating economic effect.
The title of this piece is literally, “The Venezuela crisis is going to get much worse — and Trump will get the blame.”
So let’s see if we’ve got this straight. The humanitarian crisis on the Venezuela-Colombia border is going to get so bad that the Trump administration will “face demands that it mount some kind of intervention.” Who exactly is going to be making these demands? (I mean, outside of the Washington Post, of course.) And what sort of intervention are we talking about? A military intervention? I think Colombia might have something to say about that, even assuming you could convince a majority of the American people that what we really need right now is another war, this time in South America.
Or perhaps you’re talking about a humanitarian intervention? There’s already been plenty of that going on. But you may recall that when the truckloads of food and other aid showed up at the border, Nicolas Maduro ordered tanks and trucks to block the bridge so it couldn’t be delivered.
Diehl then goes on to blame the chaos and starvation on Trump’s decision to sanction Venezuelan oil sales. You’ll recall that this action was taken in January of this year. Venezuela has been in a full-blown implosion for years now. And just for the record, there wasn’t much oil to block the sale of. The state oil company had long since been so badly looted by the corrupt government that they were barely able to produce anything and tankers were lined up in the harbors because the country couldn’t deliver on their promises or pay for things they had ordered.
Venezuela’s decline began with the ascent of Hugo Chavez and the socialist revolution. But it really accelerated when Maduro got hold of the reins of power. His rampant corruption, strongarm tactics and socialist policies have brought what was formerly one of the richest and most productive countries in South America to its knees. Its people are suffering because they live under the thumb of a tyrant. And unless you want us to invade the country (and take ownership of that disaster under the Pottery Barn Rule), there’s not a lot more we can do about it at the moment. The idea that you can somehow lay this disaster at the feet of President Trump is as laughable as it is insulting.