Foreign Policy

Lindsey Graham served the military honorably on both active duty and the reserve for 33 years. He was a lawyer and as such never deployed to a war zone. But he has not allowed his failure to see combat divert him from his mission of giving America’s youth every opportunity to die in a pointless war.

His latest target is Venezuela. He thinks Trump should invade the disintegrating nation if the Venezuelan military doesn’t kick incumbent Nicolás Maduro out and install National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó as the President. He offered this on Fox News:

“Trump said rightly, Maduro’s not the legitimate leader of Venezuela. The entire region supports the Trump approach, that Guaidó is the legitimate leader.”

Holding back this regime-change in Graham’s mind is Cuba’s pernicious influence. But this armchair warrior has a plan – although it isn’t his plan:

“We’re not occupying Venezuela, but if Maduro refuses to go and the Cubans keep using their military apparatus to prop him up, it is in our national security interest to do in Venezuela what Reagan did in Grenada.”

Let’s give that a quick analysis. Grenada is a country of some 135 sq. miles with a population of 107,000. Venezuela is 354,000 sq. miles with a population of 31 million. It’s the difference between occupying the city of Orlando versus the states of Texas and Oklahoma combined. For the chicken hawks, war is always easy. Give the locals some ‘shock and awe’ and it will all be over by Christmas.

But it never is.

Graham had some more strutting to do. If wars were won by bluster the US would be undefeated. But we never seem to learn that missiles and tanks can’t beat a determined guerilla force. Eighteen years on, we are still hunkered in our Kabul bunker in Afghanistan, while swathes of the country are no-go zones for the US military. But Lindsey is indifferent.  

“I would do exactly what Reagan did. I would give Cuba the ultimatum to get out of Venezuela. If they don’t, I would let the Venezuelan military know, you’ve got to choose between democracy and Maduro. And if you choose Maduro and Cuba, we’re coming after you. This is in our backyard.”

Geographical proximity is no reason for war. Venezuela is not a threat to us. Cuba is not a threat to us. The country is unsustainable. If Cuba does have 20,000 troops there – which is highly unlikely – they are just a drain on either Cuba or Venezuela’s scarce resources.

The country is rotten and toppling over in its own decay. It will not last long.

The fall of Idi Amin provides an object lesson. In 1971, after his coup, Amin was the undisputed ruler of Uganda, by 1979 he was deposed and in exile. Is eight years a long time? Hardly. It is less than half the time we have spent in Afghanistan and two years shorter than our combat mission in Vietnam.

And the distinct advantage of the strategy is that no Americans die.

There is no reason why we can’t find some country that needs a few dollars, say Guatemala, and for a fraction of the cost of an invasion, we could bribe them to welcome Maduro with open arms and let him live out the rest of his miserable existence in exile — as Amin did in Saudi Arabia.

Maduro would leap at the opportunity. He knows his ousting is a foregone conclusion. It’s his choice whether to enjoy a long retirement or a short one. And just to reinforce his choices we could send him a brochure of sandy Guatemalan beaches — and inside tuck a video of Muammar Gaddafi meeting his end being sodomized with a bayonet.

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