Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 31, 2019

Venezuela - Coup Attempt Part Of A Larger Project - Military Intervention Likely To Fail

The Trump administration has launched a large political project to remake several states in Latin America. The Wall Street Journal headlines:

U.S. Push to Oust Venezuela’s Maduro Marks First Shot in Plan to Reshape Latin America
The Trump administration’s broader aim is to gain leverage over Cuba and curb recent inroads in the region by Russia, Iran and China

The plan includes regime change in Venezuela, Nicaragua and eventually Cuba. The removal of any Russian or Chinese interest is another point. It is a multiyear project that has bipartisan support. It will likely require military force.


The targets: Raúl Castro of Cuba, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela.
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The project seems to echo the "New Middle East" plan then Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice launched in 2006. It largely failed due to U.S. incompetence but left behind severely damaged states.

That the U.S. is going for such a wide ranging plan in the western hemisphere might explain why Trump is pressing to end the other military projects in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

The starting shot for the new plan, the U.S. led coup attempt in Venezuela, is already in trouble. The U.S. selected puppet Juan Guaidó had called for demonstrations in support of his coup that were supposed to take place yesterday. But even the NYT, which propagandizes for each and every regime change operation the U.S. undertakes in Latin America, could find only little evidence of support:

Mr. Guaidó also took part in protests on Wednesday at the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas, where he was swarmed by international reporters. Wearing a white lab coat, he linked arms with medical students and marched with them up a roadway, before speeding off on the back of a motorbike.

The demonstration was one of a handful in the city on Wednesday, though on a smaller scale than some recent demonstrations. Some workers walked out of their jobs for hours in protest against Mr. Maduro and his government, gathering on corners through the capital.

Videos from Venezuela showed a crowd of some hundred people in the better off quarters of Caracas. Meanwhile pictures of several pro-Maduro demonstrations in various cities showed much larger crowds. New demonstrations will be held on Saturday and are likely to show similar results.

The Washington Post claims that anti-government protests took place in two of the more destitute areas of Caracas. But the report contradicts itself. It starts:

As the opposition campaign to oust President Nicolás Maduro dramatically escalated, the warren-like streets of the Puerta Caracas slum filled with pot-banging, anti-government demonstrators. A culture center run by Maduro loyalists was burned down. Hungry, beaten-down residents felt a rush of hope.

Then night fell, along with the boot steps of government forces.

Maduro called the arsonists “fascist criminals,” and residents in the western Caracas enclave paid the price. Mask-wearing special forces, locals said, swarmed the neighborhood last week, kicking in doors, rounding up young people and imposing an effective curfew.

Twenty propaganda filled paragraphs later we learn that the described arson of a culture center took place before the coup attempt happened and likely has nothing to do with it:

The uprisings began the night of Jan. 22, with residents of Puerta Caracas banging pots and lighting dumpsters on fire. Around midnight, neighbors say, a group of hooded boys threw molotov cocktails at the culture center.

Early Wednesday, family members said, Abel Pernia, 19, was heading to a doctor’s appointment when armed intelligence police officers grabbed him, shoved him against a wall and handcuffed him.
...
... [more] protests erupted in Petare last Wednesday and continued until dawn. A group set fire to barricades, threw stones and attacked an outpost of the National Guard. Security forces repelled them with tear gas as residents chanted “we don’t want food boxes! What we want is for Nicolas to leave!”

Neighbors said that criminal gangs were among the crowd and created havoc by violently confronting the police. The response was immediate.

The coup attempt was launched on January 23. The arson incident took place on January 22. The following day the police came and arrested people involved in it. More gang riots followed.

The whole story has nothing to with the coup attempt or with general protests against Maduro. It is about gang crime in some slum quarters. Gang fighting has long been a problem in Caracas. A special police force, the FAES, was set up in 2017 to get it under control.

That the Washington Post has to use an unrelated incident to proclaim that the poor people support the coup attempt shows how little real evidence it has to support that propaganda claim.

The public in Venezuela is evidently not supporting the foreign induced coup attempt. A recent poll shows that more than 80% of the people are against sanctions and other international interventions to remove President Maduro. 80% also support talks between the government and the opposition which Maduro repeatedly offered but which the coup plotters reject.


It is very unlikely that civil disobedience or demonstrations will be able to remove the government of Venezuela. The opposition simply does not have enough people on its side to create more than inconveniences.

It is also not the plan.

It is obvious that the U.S. wants a violent conflict. Either the Venezuelan military will have to launch a coup or the violence will have to be brought in from the outside.

The military has for now declared that it is not willing to do anything against the government. Other measures will have to be taken. That the Trump administration selected Elliott Abrams, Ronald Reagan's "Assistant Secretary of Dirty Wars", as special envoy to its puppets is telling:

The choice of Abrams sends a clear message to Venezuela and the world: The Trump administration intends to brutalize Venezuela, while producing a stream of unctuous rhetoric about America’s love for democracy and human rights. Combining these two factors — the brutality and the unctuousness — is Abrams’s core competency.

An oped by the U.S. selected dude, who was created by the U.S. regime change machine, was published in today's New York Times:

Juan Guaidó: Venezuelans, Strength Is in Unity
To end the Maduro regime with the minimum of bloodshed, we need the support of pro-democratic governments, institutions and individuals the world over.

Notice the "minimum of bloodshed"? One wonders how many thousands of dead will do.

Guaido explains the murky legal foundation for his claims to presidency:

I would like to be clear about the situation in Venezuela: Mr. Maduro’s re-election on May 20, 2018, was illegitimate, as has since been acknowledged by a large part of the international community. His original six-year term was set to end on Jan. 10. By continuing to stay in office, Nicolás Maduro is usurping the presidency.

My ascension as interim president is based on Article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution, according to which, if at the outset of a new term there is no elected head of state, power is vested in the president of the National Assembly until free and transparent elections take place. This is why the oath I took on Jan. 23 cannot be considered a “self-proclamation.” It was not of my own accord that I assumed the function of president that day, but in adherence to the Constitution.

The early election in May 2018 was held on demand of the opposition parties some of which, urged by the U.S., did not take part in it. There is no evidence of fraud that lets one doubt the results. Maduro won among several candidates with more than 60% of the votes. One might argue that has more legitimacy than some other elected people.


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Not liking the outcome is not a reason to declare an election illegitimate.

If Maduro's first term ended on January 10 why did it take it Guaido, as head of the National Assembly, thirteen days to find that Maduro's second term was 'illegitimate'? Moreover, if article 233 is used as justification to temporarily usurp the presidency then Guaido has the duty to hold new elections within 30 days. So far he has not even called for them. His reasoning is not convincing at all.

Guaido goes on to say that he needs support of the military. But this does not sound like he has it:

The transition will require support from key military contingents. We have had clandestine meetings with members of the armed forces and the security forces. We have offered amnesty to all those who are found not guilty of crimes against humanity. The military’s withdrawal of support from Mr. Maduro is crucial to enabling a change in government, and the majority of those in service agree that the country’s recent travails are untenable.

He further claims, like the Washington Post above, that the gang violence before the coup attempt shows that Maduro has lost all support:

Mr. Maduro no longer has the support of the people. Last week in Caracas, citizens from the poorest neighborhoods that had been Chavista strongholds in the past took to the streets in unprecedented protests. They went out again on Jan. 23 with the full knowledge that they might be brutally repressed, and they continue to attend town hall meetings.

Guaido ends by calling for external support for his endeavor.

What he needs are billions of dollars to build up some mercenary army that will help him to overthrow the government.

The U.S. seized Venezuelan assets but will have trouble handing them to Guaido. The main asset is CITGO, which owns refineries and gas stations in the United States. But CITGO is deep in debt. Its refineries depend on the heavy oil from Venezuela. If might well go into bankruptcy in which case the debt holders will take it over. At least 49.5 % will go to the Russian company Rosneft. The legal process will take years.

So how much U.S. money is Trump willing to invest in his plan?


Venezuela will have trouble defending itself against a foreign military attack. The Maduro government is not the most competent, the military is quite corrupt, and money is scarce. China and Russia may support it with some additional loans, but are otherwise unlikely to come to its help. Cuba and Nicaragua may be willing to send troops but have little else to offer.

But the Bolivarian movement in Venezuela has millions of supporters. Most are poor people who would lose out under a new rightwing government. While the Venezuelan military may be corrupt and not very willing to fight, many people will surely take up arms to defend the gains they made under Maduro and Chavez.

It might be relatively easy to invade Venezuela and to defeat its regular military. But the following occupation would be a very difficult endeavor. The Pentagon has seen how this worked out in Iraq. It will likely warn against the use of any U.S. troops in Venezuela. Other countries will likewise be careful not to get into such a mess.

The CIA and the coup plotters can hire thousands of throat cutting thugs to do some extreme damage to Venezuela. But they have little chance to win more than a completely destroyed country.

Might that be the real aim? Is the project for the New Middle East Latin America one of complete destruction?

Posted by b on January 31, 2019 at 01:59 PM | Permalink

Comments
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@88 psychohistorian

Neither you nor I can say for certain that Russia and China are doing something not visible to the world. However, I believe that multple visible, in-Trump's-face gestures of support for Maduro's government are required to dissuade Trump from furthering a military option of any kind. I feel there is reason to fear the worst with Bolton and now Abrams on Trump's regime-change team.

There is too much speculative assumption in your interpretation of the Empire's transition for me to have faith that the Empire will devolve as you say. Hopefully, we agree that the Empire is the U.S. and Israel on top with all the vassal community in descending order of importance to it. I'm not sure the demise outcome you describe is imminent, or even in the near, or not so near future, unless of course there happens a global economic meltdown like we've not seen yet. The Empire devolving or collapsing is not something I count on. What I have faith in is an organized resistance to it that becomes a serious check on its power and a block on irreversible domination. What Russia did in Syria proves the Empire hasn't achieved that yet, but it's getting dangerously close.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 31, 2019 11:46:53 PM | 101

Even National Propaganda Radio is getting antsy:
Juan Guaidó Claims Police Raided His Home As He Struggles To Consolidate Power
The police denied the claim. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 31, 2019 11:47:47 PM | 102

@69 S

The region/state of Zulia does look like a perfect target for a US-sponsored breakaway state from Venezuela. There is a faction there that calls for autonomy, apparently. Andrew Korybko, whom I often take with a grain of salt, nevertheless speculates compellingly about it as a weak link in this piece today:
An Invasion Of Venezuela Isn’t That Far-Fetched Of A Scenario

I would like to know a lot more about this part of the country before I felt comfortable as to its safety.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 31, 2019 11:56:47 PM | 103

@karlof1 49
"an investigation continues" Well now I can sleep soundly--a totally commensurate response when you're under attack from a superpower. If you play it that way, then you still arrest this traitor pending the investigation. Learn from what the orcs did to Uncle Saddam: humiliate him, put him on TV unshaven and in prison garb. Admittedly I know only a bit about Venezuela, and yet enough to know that image matters there--a lot. While you're at it, you disband his entire party which has now been exposed as a CIA front. But personally I'd be totally fine with summary execution.

The Dark Throne was able to arm-twist the Lima Group into supporting their coup. If now they hesitate publicly about use of force, this only means that they either plan to do it covertly, or some further arm-twisting is needed. Nothing reassuring here, the Lima Group will do as it's told; or are you claiming that they're stronger than the wealthy EU countries.

-----------------------
@dh 52
"be patient" Ah, the old mantra "Time is on Russia's side" in the face of endless retreat and humiliation. At the start of the uprising against him, Basher al-Assad let things more-or-less run their course; papa Hafez slaughtered 20000 Muslim Brothers in Hama, until there was nobody whose moderation could be praised by the West. Pray tell, which solution was less bloody, and better for Syria?

"Let [Guaido] bribe a few army officers" Then when those officers get their hands on Maduro, I assure you they'll deal with him the Elliot Abrams way. Sorry but I have to question your good faith if you say such terrible things.

------------------
Sigh, the dick of Uncle Sam seems to secrete a substance which affects the brain. The good people of Venezuela better internalize pronto that said uncle is about to inflict everything on them which he inflicted on Libya. Then they should consider if they want to do something about it.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Feb 1, 2019 12:01:28 AM | 104

@ Grieved | Jan 31, 2019 11:56:47 PM | 102
An Invasion Of Venezuela Isn’t That Far-Fetched Of A Scenario
Yes, it is farfetched.

And here's his lead sentence:
"Both supporters and detractors of the Venezuelan government seem to be of the mind that the country’s crisis is rapidly approaching a climax, with the specter of a military invasion looming large on the horizon."
I see none of that, so forget him.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 12:06:01 AM | 105

@ Ma Laoshi | Feb 1, 2019 12:01:28 AM | 103
uncle is about to inflict everything on them which he inflicted on Libya
No, the US had a UN resolution to ease the bombing of Libya.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 12:09:42 AM | 106

Yeah Right@89

“One day the US govt will issue yet more bonds and no one else buy them because they will have lost faith in the dollar.

At that moment the music stops and Uncle Sam will find itself short of chairs.

The USA can run up trillions in debt for as long as it can maintain faith in the dollar. If/when that faith is lost then the USA will be bankrupt and a Venezuelan-style hyperinflation will be its fate. And at that point just printing more money will simply accelerate that process”

The Fed is the buyer of last resort. There is no limit as to how much they can buy.

The USD is supported by the central banks central bank - the BIS. It and the CB of those with reserve currencies (eg ECB, BOE, BOJ) will prevent a crash. China and Saudi Arabia have significant USD investments and would not like to see a run on the dollar either. The US is still Chinas largest customer.

Hyperinflation generally results from a collapse in exchange rates induced by a country with large amounts of debt in currency not
their own and who must import large amounts of food and/or energy The US has no significant debt in non USD and their currency is protected as indicated above and has significant food and energy resources. Such an event as you describe is unlikely.

Posted by: Pft | Feb 1, 2019 12:15:24 AM | 107

By all accounts, there is much corruption in Venezuela, in the military and elsewhere. like Syria, Venezuela will have to go through the distillation process that separates those that are loyal to their country from those that can be bought by foreign investors. Tough times for Venezuelans, even tougher when Trump gets his first batch of dial a yield.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 1, 2019 12:16:29 AM | 108

It's too bad Venezuela isn't corruption-free, like USA and Oz.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 12:19:00 AM | 109

Wonderful article in The Economist:

A chance, at last, for liberation

Venezuela’s failed revolution may itself be overthrown

America’s intervention could topple the government of Nicolás Maduro

So a democratic political revolution is to overthrown with foreign military violence. And who exactly is going to be liberated?

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 1, 2019 12:19:07 AM | 110

Speaking of faith in the dollar the EU has just inaugurated a new Iran trade mechanism. The Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (Instex) will allow trade between the EU and Iran without relying on direct financial transactions. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 12:22:25 AM | 111

Don Bacon 108

For sure.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 1, 2019 12:23:53 AM | 112

@ 109
And who exactly is going to be liberated? . . .The Economist?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 12:23:57 AM | 113

@109 ghostship... all these articles from neo con central read the same way.. it's just as they said with regard to the invasion of iraq.. the people of iraq will be showering the american soldiers with flowers and etc. etc.. they are so full of shite they believe their own bs while being quite okay with the '''collateral''' damage - so long as it isn't them that are the collateral damage...

Posted by: james | Feb 1, 2019 12:24:21 AM | 114

@ Peter AU 1 | Feb 1, 2019 12:23:53 AM | 111
I should have used /s.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 12:24:52 AM | 115

@114 don.. it was pretty obvious!

Posted by: james | Feb 1, 2019 12:27:28 AM | 116

@ Zachary Smith with the Hardin link which I read/skimmed

My reflections

Hardin seems to equate economics with hard sciences and I have serious trouble with that. Economics is the worst of the social sciences because it is based on the myth of science base cover to elite decision making...the invisible hand...

Hardin never writes about private/public finance in what I read and his treatment of usury shows that lack of context. Usury in the context of public finance becomes more of risk management with the non-failing risk benefits going to the public commons instead of private pockets.

Hardin also overplays hyperinflation, IMO. Hyperinflation is a creation of the financial players in a private planned economy and does not happen in a public planned economy.

I no longer believe in being cynical but snark is ok...grin. Negativity at the core is counterproductive to thriving as a human.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 1, 2019 12:28:21 AM | 117

In Iraq the US army was so knee-deep in flowers that it took them several years to pacify Baghdad. Eventually the new government, now allied with Iran, threw the US out of the country.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 12:30:26 AM | 118

Don Bacon 108

Hit the wrong button and posted before finishing. Like oz there will be some in Venezuela that will and have been bought by the US. Unlike oz, those that cannot be bought will stay in power.

Re your post @ 105. Trump simply does not care about soft power, convention, international law or anything else that does not have teeth.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 1, 2019 12:32:54 AM | 119

And Iraq was a full-on deal. At its peak the principal US military airfield had the most air traffic in the world, with Heathrow in second place. Planes in the air all the time! And still they lost, because wars are won or lost on the ground, man against man. The deep thinkers in the US national security office don't have a clue about that.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 12:36:58 AM | 120

don - you are on a roll!

Posted by: james | Feb 1, 2019 12:37:11 AM | 121

@ Peter AU 1 | Feb 1, 2019 12:32:54 AM | 118
Trump simply does not care about soft power, convention, international law or anything else that does not have teeth.
I disagree. current headline:
Senate Republicans Rebuke President On Syria And Afghanistan Policy
I'm not saying he's a peacenik, that would be un-American, but indications are that he's less deadly than the run-of-the-mill politico in Washington. None of them would have done Korea either (besides Syria and Afghanistan).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 12:43:46 AM | 122

@Don Bacon 105

"No, the US had a UN resolution to ease the bombing of Libya."
Strictly speaking you're right of course, but did the lack thereof mean that the orcs just left Syria alone? See also: Yemen.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Feb 1, 2019 1:29:10 AM | 123

@ Don Bacon 121

My take on Trump. He is a business man. Sole owner. He sees cold war era crap - Korea, NATO ect as a waste of time, past its use by date and showing no profit. The petro-dollar lurk similar - it has run its course and maintenance is higher than returns. To Trump, the swamp are those that are sill living the cold war against communism, those that are running around trying to prop up the petro dollar showing no net profit for the US. The US needs a new lurk, a new scam to maintain its position (according to my take on Trump). Trump seems very much into the US culture of exceptionalism, at the same time, he is ceo of a company that cannot be dragged through the courts by anyone. There are no rules. Although earlier I thought the rise of Trump could be a breath of fresh air for the world, now the rise of Trump is more like a cold wind rising.

As for being less deadly (than a H Clinton admin), I think so to. at the same time, I feel Trump will take risks to ensure US maintains its top spot, exceptional status, whatever it should be called.

Much appreciate your comments here Don.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 1, 2019 1:50:42 AM | 124

@121 DB

Trump wants to have his cake and eat it too. Case in point, NK. Trump invented the wheel...according to only him. Kim will never give up the nukes.

Trump is less deadly; he only wants regime change in Venezuela, with all options on the table and Abrams and Bolton on the regime change team. He talks about scaling down Syria and Afghanistan, while he's fixated on Iran. One of those Republicans, a Neocon tool, Adam Kinzinger, always compliments Trump's Iran policy, so does Tom Cotton and Lindsey Graham.

Trump is headed where no leader dared to go: straight into the perfect storm. He knows more than the generals, and in his opinion his intelligence chiefs are passive and naive on Iran. What does this mean? Don't tell me I don't have a reason to take on Iran! MAKE ONE UP DAMMIT!!!

Oh yeah, he's less deadly.

Posted by: Circe | Feb 1, 2019 2:01:15 AM | 125

Telesur link on the american spy planes

US Military Planes Soar Over Colombia, Land in Bogota
https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/US-Military-Planes-Soar-Over-Colombia-Land-in-Bogota-20190131-0022.html

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 1, 2019 3:23:19 AM | 126

North Korea continues to be a shining example. Unless you have the means to do some damages, no matter how small, you would not be free of bullies.

Posted by: Steve | Feb 1, 2019 4:23:15 AM | 127

Echoing Karlov@68:

In the Italian press today, the Italian Foreign Undersecretary, Manlio Di Stefano had this to say about Guido (a la Pompeo): "Non lo riconosciamo, non vogliamo un'altra Libia"
Translated: We don't recognize him. We don't want another Libya.
Well said. At least there is some sense, if little, in the EU halls of power. Thanks for mentioning Italy, Karlov.

Posted by: m | Feb 1, 2019 4:51:24 AM | 128

George Galloway and Adam Garrie do a reasonable job discussing Venezuela's historical background and Bolivarian Revolution. The bottom line: less talk and more walk needed when it comes to 'revolutions'. Prognosis: very uncertain times dependent on the military.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r05IcTGYL_I [31min]

Posted by: imo | Feb 1, 2019 5:28:01 AM | 129

The message is "keep pricing your oil in dollars or we will trash your country." The gold mines will come in handy to refill Fort Knox.

Posted by: Johny Conspiranoid | Feb 1, 2019 5:46:37 AM | 130

The overt declarations that the US foreign policy will switch focus on East-China Sea or Ukraine, might just be a ruse. Possibly the Empire wants to set “it’s own backyard” in order in South- & Middle-America. Once the Southern flank is secured, they have more resources to take on one of either Russia or China, while smoozing the other. Securing sovereignty of Turkey and supporting continuation of status quo by Erdogan, regardless of his internal politics, ensured that FUKUS could not do as much damage in the Middle-East. Hopefully the Westfalian structure will find it’s continuation in Venezuela.

Posted by: Amir | Feb 1, 2019 6:11:20 AM | 131

@107 Pft "The Fed is the buyer of last resort. There is no limit as to how much they can buy."

That I don't doubt. But that still doesn't make the US dollar a self-licking ice-cream.

Look, there are far more dollars sloshing around the world than the US economy could ever need - or use - precisely because so much of the international trade is denominated in US dollars, and to do that you need to have US dollars even if you aren't, you know, American.

But if those dollars cease to be needed for international trade because either
(a) countries decide to trade in their own currencies or
(b) the dollar is replaced by Some Other Global Reserve Currency
what happens then?

Sure, the Fed can buy up all those no-longer-needed US dollars.

And then, what, exactly?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Feb 1, 2019 6:22:06 AM | 132

The self-indenture of Europe as a US flunkey must run deep if the Parliament ("elected", therefore the least un-democratic part of the EU structure, and which does sometimes buck the neoliberal EC agenda on things like agricultural poisons and the environment) votes so lopsidedly to parrot the Trump party line.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 1, 2019 6:36:09 AM | 133

USA has already blinked:

US to Ease Sanctions on Venezuelan PDVSA If Guaido Assumes Control - Treasury

This kinda confirms the thesis that blocking Citgo will hurt American refineries more than Venezuela itself.

Posted by: VK | Feb 1, 2019 6:46:29 AM | 134

Sounds to me more like a carrot being dangled to potential turncoats within the PDVSA.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 1, 2019 7:14:22 AM | 135

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 12:22:25 AM | 111
(INSTEX)

Lots of ifs, buts and maybes, though.
PBS NewsHour opened a window on the EU's Principled Wimpiness when they interviewed David O'Sullivan, EU Ambassador to US yesterday for 6+ minutes. EU's excuse is that 'No Iran Nukes' is a good idea and Iran honored its end of the deal and should be enjoying the benefits. However the only Euro-Wimp companies likely to trade with Iran will be ones which won't be putting any current significant trade with the US at risk.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 1, 2019 7:44:42 AM | 136

@Yeah, Right #132

No, the Fed can't buy up all those no-longer-needed US dollars. What will it buy up these dollars with? Gold? It doesn't have nearly enough gold to do that.

The only buyers of these no-longer-needed dollars will be those who will then immediately spend it on some U.S. goods. So all these dollars will stream back into the U.S. as payments for U.S. goods. The U.S. industry, of course, will not have enough productive capacity to manufacture such a great amount of goods, so it will have to either raise the prices (inflation) or refuse selling to foreign buyers. In the latter case foreigners may transfer these dollars to Americans, who will then attempt to buy goods and smuggle it out of the country for a cut. Again, U.S. producers will have to either raise the prices (inflation), or refuse selling to their own citizens.

The only way to avert this scenario is to stop or reduce the influx of foreign-owned dollars by regulating who can buy what. So, for example, the Russians won't be allowed to spend their dollars on U.S. goods and also not allowed to transfer their dollars to other countries; in other words, all Russian-owned dollars will be frozen (forever). Repeat the process with other "adversaries" until the influx of no-longer-needed dollars decreases enough to match existing productive capacity. Of course, this process of confiscation will be presented to the U.S. public as sanctions against "the reprehensible behaviour" of Russia, China, et al.

Posted by: S | Feb 1, 2019 7:53:11 AM | 137

The title of this entry refers to a likelihood of failure. As others on this thread have noted, that will depend on what the goals and standards for "success" actually are. On the one hand, the US imperial / neo-colonial machinery seems hopelessly incompetent, if the stated goals of US foreign policy were the actual goals. "Freedom, democracy, stability...?" It is to laugh.

But if the goal is actually to run a protection racket--you're with us or we burn your house down--that makes out like bandits, either way, through the military-industrial-surveillance-disinformation complex, that is as focussed on constructing the machinery for the suppression of internal dissent, as on any foreign-policy objectives, other than enabling Israel, perhaps, then burning down each village in order to save it, smells like success, like napalm in the morning.

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Feb 1, 2019 8:44:06 AM | 138

i see no assurances that the u.s. will not invade, and the suppliant dem party support is another sign. since when did an aggressive war by the u.s. get stopped by being a "bad idea"? especially in central or south america? they prefer to do it by cutouts like pinochet, and sanctions, and death squads, but there is a long history of direct interventions, including by the sainted kennedy.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Feb 1, 2019 8:53:22 AM | 139

Censorship by Twitter again:
Twitter deletes thousands of pro-Venezuela accounts
https://sputniknews.com/science/201902011072014210-Facebook-Twitter-Delete-Thousands-Disinformation-Accounts-Without-Proof/

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 1, 2019 9:23:58 AM | 140

@ Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 1, 2019 7:44:42 AM | 136
Lots of ifs, buts and maybes, though.
That's life. The important message is the political one, that the EU can show some independence to Uncle and get away with it.
'See, EU, that wasn't so difficult, was it. You can actually do something on your own.'
Italy is showing some backbone on Venezuela b/c it got hurt badly on Libya, which was mostly a Hillary initiative. Obama and Gates were cool on it and buckled to Hill. (Thank god we've got Trump now and not her.)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 9:24:45 AM | 141

The US will certainly not 'invade' in the traditional sense. Instead it will insert terrorist contras and inaugurate a civil war. This has several advantages, not the least of which is that the terrorists (Hello ISIS) can carry out any atrocity they wish and the US will deny responsibility. Will in fact blame the victim.
Concurrent with the terrorist attacks in the border areas will be car bombs and violent gangs operating in Caracas itself-we've already seen several of these. The fact they will be tools of the US can also be denied. In fact they can be cited as evidence of the 'violent criminality'blamed on the government.
Of course, as the violence increases the difference between inserted contra gangs and an all out invasion will diminish. It will be as it was in Syria where up to 100,000 terrorists in US pay have been operating, with no more than a few hundred Special Forces plus CIA agents actually invading.
The script is a very old one. And it includes-watch this space- No Fly Zones, to save the people, you understand, from barrel bombs, chemical attacks and a government 'killing its own people.'

Posted by: bevin | Feb 1, 2019 9:26:29 AM | 142

Yeah, Right @ 132

The biggest benefit that I see for countries trading in their own currencies or a new reserve currency is to stop/limit the power of US economic sanctions/warfare.

I think it would take longer for the US dollar to lose all value. But the US is doing a great job of ruining its own economy by spending on just the opposite things that Stephanie Kelton recommends.


@StephanieKelton

Replying to @mike_cal @AOC

The federal government is not like a business and does not need a *financial* return on its investment of public money. But it should aim to deliver a real *social* return, in the sense that investments of public money should be aimed at improving the human condition.

31 Jan 2019

Posted by: financial matters | Feb 1, 2019 9:27:08 AM | 143

@ pretzelattack | Feb 1, 2019 8:53:22 AM | 139
i see no assurances that the u.s. will not invade
You have mine (for what it's worth).
There is no threat to the US, there has been no Pentagon acceptance of Bolton, and no military or naval moves, no UN resolution (as on Libya), no Trump interest in sending troops into harms way anywhere, rather he's withdrawing (albeit slowly) against the establishment wishes, no agitation by Russia and China in the area, no Mad Dog Mattis in charge of the Pentagon, and most important no Hillary.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 9:31:34 AM | 144

@142 If Guaido, 35, enlists the drug gangs in Caracas he will lose his middle class supporters.

Infiltration from Colombia is more of a threat but I imagine the Venezuelan military is prepared for that.

I see Guaido, 35, didn't get far at the UN so he is now trying to make a deal with Russia and China. That may not play too well in Washington.

Posted by: dh | Feb 1, 2019 9:46:58 AM | 145

It is amazing that Maduro still not have got the americans out of the embassy, or rather the whole of the west i.e. EU, that are all a threat to Venezuela now to say atleast.

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 1, 2019 9:59:37 AM | 146

Maduro's playing a smart game, knowing that the US is really up against Russia and China as well as Venezuela, and so he's not making any rash moves that would capture the headlines and invigorate the war-hawks.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 10:03:42 AM | 147

The regime change op does not seem to be going too well. At some point the US will have to change strategy. Then Guaido may become more useful to the US Deep State dead than alive, cf Navalny in Russia.

A CIA hit team could take him out, then Russia/Maduro would be blamed. Russia is high on the list because the MSM has already squawked about 100+ Russian mercenaries entering the country and Venezuela's gold being taken to Moscow. Russia is also one of the main targets in the planned resource looting exercise.


Posted by: Yonatan | Feb 1, 2019 10:08:19 AM | 148

@ 144 what does it matter if there is a threat to the u.s.? grenada wasn't a threat to the u.s, iraq wasn't a threat to the u.s., honduras wasn't a threat to the u.s. they'll just lie about the "threat". the only thing that matters is how much pushback this provokes in the rest of the world.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/02/trumps-brilliant-strategy-to-dismember-u-s-dollar-hegemony.html
this article seems to give some long term hope, at any rate.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Feb 1, 2019 10:08:50 AM | 149

It is a fact that most Venezuelans had not heard of Guaidó before last week. Something that is puzzling me is how did all those people come to demosntrate last week but yet on Wednesday, as can be seen , they had less than 1000 people. Was there a celebration for the 23rd January public holiday in the streets or were people called under false pretext or are the images simplu adulterated. I have been thinking about this for a few days now and it simply makes no sense that so many would come out in support of someone they hardly know.

On another note, El Pais published an article today where it reveals that the USA telephoned both the Portuguese and Spanish government before Guaidó self proclaimed and they put pressure on Spain and Portugal to accept Guaidó as president. I recommend the reading of the article to see how it unrolled.

"Trump put pressure on Spain to break ties with Venezuela’s Maduro"


https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/02/01/inenglish/1549008276_796682.html?id_externo_rsoc=FB_CM_EN&fbclid=IwAR1xLHF2qLkJ3hlcKVImUVOqPuN-xb3vy6n-VlArLZ8PfaYjZr5Uq3McMs4

Posted by: isa | Feb 1, 2019 10:20:17 AM | 150

@140 Zanon

That's an important story. So further down I read Facebook and Twitter took down:

1,196 accounts "which appear to be engaged in a state-backed influence campaign targeting domestic audiences."

In other words, the U.S. and the Zionist media can use psy-ops and propaganda to sway Venezuelans, but the Venezuelan state can't influence the Vz people and neither can anyone else.

I call that for what it is: exclusive U.S. meddling and U.S. censorship in Venezuela. It should be condemned and denounced. Facebook and Twitter are now U.S. tools of tyranny being used worldwide censoring the truth. Just as it's time to use another currency for global commerce, it's time to use competitive means for social networking. Damn! Zionist influence is everywhere.

It's like swimming against a current. We must denounce and condemn all the tools of tyranny used by the AZEmpire for exactly what they are! And all the spying on the web? It's the Wild Wild West! Free thought and speech are out the window. People are nothing without non-violent weapons to push back on the AZ Empire. Everyone, everywhere must fight the Empire's web censorship and psy-ops tyranny or we having nothing left but WAR and that's what will happen if this repression continues.

Posted by: Circe | Feb 1, 2019 10:24:21 AM | 151

Germany is a key country on Venezuela, and recently it has made no ultimatums and no threats to recognize Guaidó .
"The European Union has been trying to create such a dialogue for years. . .A substantial dialogue that leads to new elections is necessary, . . we back a strong voice for our Latin American friends.". . .here

In other news, Germany has flipped the US off on military expenditures.
STUTTGART, Germany — Germany has missed a deadline for reporting to NATO how it will increase defense expenditures, failing to deliver on a key priority for the Trump administration . . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 10:33:06 AM | 152

Circe

From the link:

It's incredible (literally, it's not credible) that social media companies are capable of detecting these vast disinformation campaigns coincidentally always based in countries the US government and military-industrial complex have deemed are adversaries of the US, and yet they seem incapable of uncovering real, actual coordinated disinformation campaigns originating on US soil.

Twitter, Facebook is now under neocon organizational power, whatever they read and dont like they simply remove.

What could we do? Could we do anything besides raising the censorship social media is engage in wherever it is possible? We are against big powers here...

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 1, 2019 10:42:03 AM | 153

Bolton: US military intervention in Venezuela not imminent . . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 10:46:38 AM | 154

Circe

Also, I guess you already know this but note also that there is zero evidence that the accounts Twitter accuse is controlled by any state.
This is censorship full stop.

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 1, 2019 10:48:32 AM | 155

from UN News
Independent UN rights expert calls for compassion, not sanctions on Venezuela.
“Sanctions which can lead to starvation and medical shortages are not the answer to the crisis in Venezuela,” Mr. Jazairy said in a statement, prompted by the imposition of sanctions on Venezuela’s national oil company by the United States. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 10:51:02 AM | 156

We don't know what the future will bring....but the fact that the tall mustachioed guy is still there speaks volumes...coup failing...

Posted by: notlurking | Feb 1, 2019 10:57:08 AM | 157

pretzelattack@149

Yes, thanks, Michael Hudson in true form..

""This showed that international finance was an arm of the U.S. State Department and Pentagon.""

""The U.S. Senate’s Batista-Cuban hardliner Rubio accused this of being “theft,” as if feeding the people to alleviate the U.S.-sponsored crisis was a crime against U.S. diplomatic leverage.""

""On January 31 the dam broke with the announcement that Europe had created its own bypass payments system for use with Iran and other countries targeted by U.S. diplomats. Germany, France and even the U.S. poodle Britain joined to create INSTEX — Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges. The promise is that this will be used only for “humanitarian” aid to save Iran from a U.S.-sponsored Venezuela-type devastation. But in view of increasingly passionate U.S. opposition to the Nord Stream pipeline to carry Russian gas, this alternative bank clearing system will be ready and able to become operative if the United States tries to direct a sanctions attack on Europe.""

""The World Bank, for instance, traditionally has been headed by a U.S. Secretary of Defense""

""It is as if the IMF now operates out of a small room in the basement of the Pentagon in Washington.""

Posted by: financial matters | Feb 1, 2019 11:00:52 AM | 158

Zionist America is a WAR behemoth in thrall of global power and in reverence, worship of their ALMIGHTY...DOLLAR in which it trusts. Zionist America is not GOD. It is a false perversion of God. It is G.O.D. INCORPORATED, and not all the rest of the world wants to be manipulated into its image and crass golden likeness and bow down in servitude to this COLOSSAL PAGAN benevolent/humanitarian POSER whose goal is complete domination!

Venezuela must remain the bastion of resistance that Chavez and Bolivar dreamed it should be. Venezuela shouldn't be turned into the oil spigot where the AZEmpire guzzles with wanton abandon while its people eat cake. Ugly Zionist Americans Trump, Bolton and Abrams (real ugly): HANDS OFF VENEZUELA! YANKEE GO HOME!

Posted by: Circe | Feb 1, 2019 11:08:09 AM | 159

@148 "A CIA hit team could take him out, then Russia/Maduro would be blamed."

I imagine that idea has already been submitted for presidential approval. At risk of evoking the Wrath of Circe I think it may be a step too far for Donald. Not to say somebody won't give it a shot anyway.

Posted by: dh | Feb 1, 2019 11:12:04 AM | 160

@ financial matters | Feb 1, 2019 11:00:52 AM | 158
The World Bank, for instance, traditionally has been headed by a U.S. Secretary of Defense
Baloney.
One retired SecDef as president, Robert Strange McNamara here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 11:17:05 AM | 161

Yonathan

No Not shooting Guaido, that doesnt make sense. But, foreign snipers could start shooting at guadio-demonstrators, that could very well occur and is probably one of the plans now if "nothing" happens coming days to Maduro himself.

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 1, 2019 11:17:55 AM | 162

@ Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 10:33:06 AM | 152

Incorrect, unfortunately the German lackeys have been out in full force. Foreign minister Heiko Maas has made a lot of noise recently in support of the Obama imposter.
See his twitter account.

Posted by: Hmpf | Feb 1, 2019 11:21:39 AM | 163

@154DB

OH,and you believe that mustachioed Zionist Pinocchio tool in service of the Neocon Regime Change Machine? You are clutching at Trump's trousered ankles dragging around in hope of what's behind the door slammed shut by Trump himself. Get some dignity and stop pushing the illusion of Trump that never meant anything. He's a con--a Neo...con. So get over the loss and come into the light already!

Posted by: Circe | Feb 1, 2019 11:27:50 AM | 164

@161 DB

Baloney! You forgot this guy who also came from the DoD:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Wolfowitz


Posted by: Circe | Feb 1, 2019 11:36:28 AM | 165

@ Hmpf | Feb 1, 2019 11:21:39 AM | 163
Incorrect (my 152, i.e. "[Germany] has made no ultimatums and no threats to recognize Guaidó")
What did I write that was incorrect?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 11:37:32 AM | 166

@142 bevin... that is how i see it too...

@148 yonantan.. i mentioned that a few days ago...actually, either guaido, or maduro being assassinated is a real possibility.. when one is striving for chaos, there are a lot of options..

Posted by: james | Feb 1, 2019 11:39:17 AM | 167

@ Circe | Feb 1, 2019 11:36:28 AM | 165
Baloney! You forgot this guy who also came from the DoD . . .Wolfowitz
Baloney back to ya -- Wolfowitz was not a Secretary of Defense. Try to pay closer attention.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 11:40:38 AM | 168

@156 DB

Great! Now if you could only square that with what faux populist cult leader Trump is doing. This is but one reason why Trump's a no-good Neo-con, but you're still unconvinced as per your ongoing whitewash.

Posted by: Circe | Feb 1, 2019 11:45:26 AM | 169

Don Bacon @ 161

Probably close enough for government work

Paul Wolfowitz, US Deputy Secretary of Defense
Robert Zoellick US Deputy Secretary of State, headed the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
John McElroy, assistant secretary of war
Lewis Preston CEO of Morgan Stanley
James Wolfensohn president of New York Fed
Eugene Black president of Federal Reserve
Barber Conable he refused to accept personal contributions larger than $50., he persuaded his former colleagues to almost double Congress's appropriations for the Bank (maybe one of the good guys)
Alden Clausen, CEO of Bank of America
Eugene Meyer, head of the War Finance Corporation

this group as a whole probably did not have the best interests of the people they were lending money to in mind

Posted by: financial matters | Feb 1, 2019 11:46:47 AM | 170

86% of Venezuelans Oppose Military Intervention, 81% Against US Sanctions, Local Polling Shows

The vast majority of Venezuelans oppose military intervention and US sanctions to try to remove President Nicolás Maduro from power, according to polling by the local firm Hinterlaces.
More than eight out of ten Venezuelans oppose international intervention, both military and non-military, in their country, as well as the crippling sanctions imposed by the United States to force leftist President Nicolás Maduro out of power.
According to a study conducted in early January 2019 by the local polling firm Hinterlaces, 86 percent of Venezuelans would disagree with international military intervention. And 81 percent oppose the US sanctions that have gravely hurt the South American nation’s economy.
This poll was conducted before the Donald Trump administration launched a political coup in Venezuela on January 23, attempting to replace its government with a right-wing opposition that has made it clear that it seeks to impose neoliberal capitalist economic policies. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 11:49:30 AM | 171

@168 DB

Big deal, I clearly wrote he came from the DoD. So he was Deputy SoD. Nitpicky detail, since technically, he was to Rumsfeld what Cheney was to Bush: the Machiavellian brains behind the figurehead.

Posted by: Circe | Feb 1, 2019 11:55:47 AM | 172

I don`t suppose many of the poster here visit the Atlantic Council`s youtube channel, but if you can filter out the garbage more than a little bit of truth seeps out when they talk. In particular, yesterday I watched the Atlantic Council`s “Supporting the New Venezuelan Interim Government” forum. They had numerous guest speakers, including two representatives of the Guaido Coup (Carlos Vecchio & Julio Borges), unsurprisingly, the two coup representatives reject all dialogue with the Venezuelan government, demand the removal of Maduro and the complete adoption of their policies (`Democracy`, personal liberty``, no specific policies.). The two coup representatives also stressed to the audience that now is the time to act and that the US must assist them quickly to overthrow the Venezuelan government.

This is when the first little bit of truth seeps out, according to them the overthrow of the Venezuelan government is just a first step and that the entire region must go through a “fall of the Berlin Wall” process [their terminology) ending the influence of Cuba throughout Latin America. This the process must be irreversible and redefine the ideological prism of the economic and human rights, a historic change in the direction of Latin America. The logical inference from this is that the democratization period that Latin American went through in the early 2000`s when some countries took tentative steps to become more democratic and provide social services to the underclasses must be reversed; undoubtable this means neoliberalism with a vengeance, the complete privatisation of the economy and the elimination of government support for the poor). Both representatives are very vague on ALL details, in particular, they keep repeating how Guaido`s power seizure is legal , Again, a little bit of truth seeps out when the coup representatives mention that they have been in the US for the last 19 month speaking to US political figures, given the high status of the other members of the Atlantic council forum, it is obvious that the Atlantic Council meeting was planned far in advance of the actual coup which occurred only a week ago. Most likely they were aware of the coming coup and it’s leaders, I should point out that the lead speaker of the forum is quite fawning and sycophantic to the coup representatives. The representatives claim that 99% of the military don’t support Maduro and that the coup and other countries must focus “like a laser” on ending the military’s & Cuba’s support for Maduro, no details on how this would be done beyond the offer of an amnesty to members of military.

The Ambassadors of EU, Paraguay & Chile speak next and are surprisingly even more harsh in their rhetoric than the representatives from the coup, they repeatedly call Maduro a dictator and tyrant. Ambassador Silva claims that Maduro is committing “genocide” on Venezuela through mismanagement. Edward Royce (former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee) then links Maduro’s government to China, says the Chinese company ZTE is creating a Chinese-style social credit system for Venezuelan to run a police state, Royce rages from several minutes also claiming that Iran and Cuba are helping Maduro stay in power and that this is bad (he of course doesn’t say why this is bad or what they are specifically doing, again, the assumption is that Iran & Cuba = Bad). At this point I notice that all of the speakers seem very glum and angry (a clear difference from most Atlantic council meetings that are rather jovial and light-hearted, the audience is silent, there are no jokes or smiles anywhere) – The visual impression I get is that coup`s results within Venezuelan are not what they expected and that the Council has changed the topic of the forum from `meet the new government of Venezuela` why we must support these losers to become the new government of Venezuela`` . All of the speakers mention how expelling “Maduro, the dictator” will not be easy and it will take a long time (no talk yet of a generational struggle). Surprise! Mr. Royce blurts out that Russia and Turkey (really, Turkey?) are manipulating social media to prop up the Maduro government and that most tweets supporting Maduro are coming out of Turkey . At this point, Mr. Royce suggests that neighbouring countries should create radio programs to beam counter-information (propaganda) into Venezuela to counter the Maduro government`s hold over the media. This is a rather unusual request, the US already has a massive propaganda radio service in Latin America called Voice of America, ether Mr. Royce is hopelessly clueless or he recognizes that Voice of America is utterly discredited among South Americans so he wants new, semi-independent, arms-length propaganda radio programs to lead the regime change mission in Venezuela. Heading into the closing remarks, more truth leaks out as the Ambassador of Chile (Silva) and Mr. Royce admit the government was elected democratically, but it is no longer Democractic, so it needs to be replaced. Silva goes even further and says this is regular “problem” in Latin America of them (the people) electing left-leaning governments that stop being democractic (the inference being that latin America needs to stop electing left-leaning governments).

Q&A begins, it is for the most part another love-in with the two representatives of the coup, however, an independent reporter asks Royce & Julio re: Elliot Abrams appointment given his background in Latin America’s “Dirty Wars” (I’ll commend the reporter for being exceptionally diplomatic by saying “involvement in Latin America” as opposed to “organizing death squads in Latin America”, I would not have been so diplomatic), again more truth leaks out when Julio says that he`s already spoken to Mr. Abrams and he`s certain they can work together. Since, Abrams was only appointed 4 days ago (including a Sat & Sun), it`s quite likely that Abrams was already involved with the coup long before his official appointment

Posted by: Kadath | Feb 1, 2019 11:59:11 AM | 173

Don Bacon

Germany is a key country on Venezuela, and recently it has made no ultimatums and no threats to recognize Guaidó .

Wrong. Unfortunately, they have,

Merkel reiterated that the European Union did not recognize the legitimacy of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who she said had until Sunday to call a new election before opposition leader Juan Guaido is recognized as the head of state by European states.

https://sputniknews.com/latam/201902011072041626-germany-eu-venezuela-crisis/

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 1, 2019 12:04:10 PM | 174

" it simply makes no sense that so many would come out in support of someone they hardly know."@151
They didn't January 23 is an anniversary which, every year, is celebrated by the left in Venezuela. The media was deliberately misleading people by claiming that a pro government rally was in fact an opposition event. The opposition are a small minority, those anxious for street violence are a tiny sliver of the public which is really why the US is reduced to choosing Guaido as its 'President' apart from his obvious utility as a target for (CIA) snipers or imprisonment by the state (the list of potential charges being mind bogglingly long...) the guy is without political qualities. He is a small time protester, incapable of speechmaking, thinking on his feet, making decisions of his own.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 1, 2019 12:08:26 PM | 175

Swarms of weather baloons carrying internet relay stations invading fro the Caribean, super duper and very rare Electronic warfare platforms measuring all sorts of things and capable of capturing even the faintest transmissions taking off from Columbia, maybe even the IDF itself with... seismic equipment lurking from the sidelines past Brazilian borders (allegedly rescuing miners in Brazil).
Ladies and gentleman the 'invasions' have began!

Posted by: OSINT-suggests | Feb 1, 2019 12:09:10 PM | 176

@ Kadath | Feb 1, 2019 11:59:11 AM | 173
Good, the neo-con Atlantic Council senses yet another loss coming up.
. . . All of the speakers mention how expelling “Maduro, the dictator” will not be easy and it will take a long time (no talk yet of a generational struggle). Surprise! Mr. Royce blurts out that Russia and Turkey (really, Turkey?) are manipulating social media to prop up the Maduro government and that most tweets supporting Maduro are coming out of Turkey . . . more truth leaks out as the Ambassador of Chile (Silva) and Mr. Royce admit the government was elected democratically, but it is no longer Democractic, so it needs to be replaced. . .

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 12:09:39 PM | 177

@ Zanon | Feb 1, 2019 12:04:10 PM | 174
Wrong. Unfortunately, [Germany] have . .recently made ultimatums and no threats
The situation and the outlook are changing daily, from "slam dunk" to "wait a minute." (my words)
Merkel's off-hand remark was not recent, it was more than a week ago. The Foreign Ministry more recently is not saying that, as I wrote.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 12:16:46 PM | 178

@170financialmatters

You're point was not lost on the technicality; it was won on the undeniable substance. Absolutely right. The WB exists in tandem with and for the cause of the AZEmpire's benevolent, humanitarian war machine.

Posted by: Circe | Feb 1, 2019 12:18:08 PM | 179

Don Bacon

No, this was a statement she did today, thus "German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday ","Merkel reiterated".

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 1, 2019 12:23:33 PM | 180

The thing that gets me about discussions like this is - they'e all about how a new war will transpire. Lots of ideas etc. It's very informative and interesting, BUT, the point is for there NOT to be another war. The intelligence, knowledge, energy should be directed at how to PREVENT an attack/invasion of Venezuela, or any other country for that matter. By playing war games in these discussions you only contribute to the feeling of inevitability and hence hopelessness. You make the US out to be really unstoppable, invincible, free to be do as it please anywhere, at any time, for whatever reason. That's exactly what the rulers there want. That's exactly why this new assault on Venezuela is so pure and naked. To demonstrate how everybody will just watch and or test their forecasting skills. That's no good.
The destruction of Venezuela, which has been ongoing, should be stopped, a military phase must be prevented and that's what all of us should be dedicated to. Yes we can ( which is not a quote of a most terrible recent POTUS, but a simple truth we all need to believe in). Because it's true.

Posted by: JB | Feb 1, 2019 12:29:16 PM | 181

Link is along the lines of Maduro is not Chavez — persons, and time, the zeitgeist, change, evolve -- attacks from abroad become more agressive.

What’s Been Learned Won’t Be Easily Forgotten: A Conversation with Antonio Gonzalez Plessmann.

https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14235#

----------------------------------------------------------------

b wrote "It is obvious that the U.S. wants a violent conflict."

Not sure. One tries it on, as the Brits say. Que sera, sera - a characteristic of the Hegemon is to adopt the attitude: whatever, we can handle it. Because the ‘losses’ are never tallied, no account book to do so exists.

Ex. The invasion of Iraq was a *failure*? How exactly? Des-troy and genocide is superb. Some ppl make out like bandits. Fine. Move on, leave…and do it again..

(see e.g. also Red Ryder 58, bevin 142..)

Imho this Venez. caper will fizzle out, or won’t lead to massive bombing and destruction and invasion of yet another country. Not for now. Optimistic, I am.

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 1, 2019 12:31:00 PM | 182

Is the 'wall' the real reason it is necessary? To keep out all the displaced poor people that will suffer from the war? Trump, alined with Maggot Bolton, is not what I expected when I voted for Trump. Where is the "Art of The Deal?" Where is the 'let's sit down and make a deal?' Mister businessman? I am a Vietnam vet. I know about war. My wife is from Vietnam and has had her home blown up 3 times! Still she suffers from the trauma. We all suffer is some way. My army friend had him legs blown off, my marine friend is dead! Trump and Maggot Boulton never experienced war. What else can I say? All politicians are liars and are the stench of death!!!

Posted by: Brendan O'Neill | Feb 1, 2019 12:32:32 PM | 183

@ Don Bacon | Feb 1, 2019 11:37:32 AM | 166

A couple of days back in a statement he urged the government of Venezuela to announce new 'believable' - whatever that means - elections to be held shortly and gave them 8 days to comply or else Germany would recognize Guiado as legitimate.

Posted by: Hmpf | Feb 1, 2019 1:00:10 PM | 184

@Bevin 142
I'll add that short of a full scale 911 event, we wont see mobilization on the scale needed. The US military is not capable of taking and holding territory based on what I can glean from recent events worldwide. While they cannot kick in the front door there is plenty of monkey-wrenching that can be done as per your above list of dirt tricks. I'm betting that they would settle for a Libya like destruction scenario. But what of the back-lash? Something tells me that the citizenry of the rest of South and Central America is seething for all the good it will do. Unlike the USofA revolutions DO happen however....
Venezuela has on the one hand been softened painfully over the last decade and on the other has hopefully been preparing for this eventuality.
As on poster above noted, they know its the Sino-Russo presence that is being struck at. This is not to say that they are coming to anyones rescue in the traditional sense, but it's probably a good thing to get an early start as far as mounting some sort of defense.
There may very well be a Maidan type event in the works to stoke the fires of selective outrage....

Posted by: Chevrus | Feb 1, 2019 1:00:14 PM | 185

Breaking: Paveway finds solution to U.S. Border Crisis on intertubes: Mercy Corps

Ever heard of NGO Mercy Corps? I vaguely recall the name, but never really took notice.

I stumbled across this article today on Aletho News (one of the US government's naughty-list sites)

< A Humanitarian Crisis in Venezuela? A Case Study into NGO Mercy Corps
By Nina Cross | Venezuelanalysis | October 31, 2018

The 'solution' to the U.S. border crisis was right there in front of me:

"...In March 2018, Mercy Corps carried out a “rapid needs assessment” (RNA) of Venezuelan migrants arriving at two main points along the Colombian border. The information gathered was used to “demonstrate” the dangers involved during and after crossings from Venezuela, and the reasons for leaving the country..."

Nearly all were leaving Venezuela because of sanction-produced hyperinflation, but Mercy Corps ignores that tired old chestnut of a solution ending sanctions by offering new twist on humanitarianism:

"...Instead, Mercy Corps’ RNA [note: Rapid Needs Assessment] identified 3 basic needs to be met by the Colombian government: a path to legal entry into Colombia that did not involve passports, the legal right to work in Colombia with the same wages and protections as Colombians and access to shelter, food and water. It is on this third point which Mercy Corps looks to fish for substantial (tax-free) donations and financing from the Global North.

There 'ya go, Trump! Stop throwing money at a useless, expensive border wall and IMMEDIATELY give Mercy Corps another $500 million to implement this policy along the U.S.-Mexican border:

1. Allow a path of legal entry for potential tax slaves into the US that does not involve passports,
2. Guarantee htem the legal right to work in the U.S. with the same legal rights ($15/hr) and protections as USAians and
3. Give those poor economic migrants access to shelter, food and water.

Of course I'm being snarky here. Mercy Corps is the U.S. based CIA/Soros NGO that is paving the way (sorry) for the globalist agenda one American at a time. [cartoon lightbulb above head shines] Me: Hmmmm. I wonder if this has anything to do with self-declared President(E) Nancy Pelosi objecting to the wall?" For what it's worth, the wall is an asinine idea. But then again, so is creating chaos to keep the floodgates wide open for future tax/debt slaves. Somebody has got to pay 'the man' back!

Mercy Corps, you're our last hope!


Posted by: Paveway IV | Feb 1, 2019 1:00:33 PM | 186

How long before ISIS sets up show in Venezuela? LOL.

2001 AUMF: the gift that keeps on giving (to neocon asshats).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 1, 2019 1:06:10 PM | 187

shop

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 1, 2019 1:06:30 PM | 188

@182 Noirette

Maduro may not be Chavez. He may be lackluster and not have Chavez's brass and sass, but the important thing is that he believes that Venezuela should remain, in the spirit of Bolivar and Chavez, a rock of independence and resistance against which the AZEmpire stumbles and falls. That's what matters and Venezuelans now in difficult times need to recognize the gringos to the North do not come in friendship, they contributed to the present crisis, have blood on their outstretched hands and are on the scene there just to conquer and plunder for the Empire's benefit. Venezuelans should not be swayed by the immediate relief and gratification these mendacious messengers of regime change offer that come with a very high price tag.

Posted by: Circe | Feb 1, 2019 1:11:45 PM | 189

Michael Hudson explains the big picture, with some details about Venezuela.

quote
Michael Hudson: Trump’s Brilliant Strategy to Dismember U.S. Dollar Hegemony

> So last year, Germany finally got up the courage to ask that some of its gold be flown back to Germany. U.S. officials pretended to feel shocked at the insult that it might do to a civilized Christian country what it had done to Iran, and Germany agreed to slow down the transfer.
>
> But then came Venezuela. Desperate to spend its gold reserves to provide imports for its economy devastated by U.S. sanctions – a crisis that U.S. diplomats blame on “socialism,” not on U.S. political attempts to “make the economy scream” (as Nixon officials said of Chile under Salvador Allende) – Venezuela directed the Bank of England to transfer some of its $11 billion in gold held in its vaults and those of other central banks in December 2018. This was just like a bank depositor would expect a bank to pay a check that the depositor had written.
>
> England refused to honor the official request, following the direction of Bolton and U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. As Bloomberg reported: “The U.S. officials are trying to steer Venezuela’s overseas assets to [Chicago Boy Juan] Guaido to help bolster his chances of effectively taking control of the government. The $1.2 billion of gold is a big chunk of the $8 billion in foreign reserves held by the Venezuelan central bank.”
>
> Turkey seemed to be a likely destination, prompting Bolton and Pompeo to warn it to desist from helping Venezuela, threatening sanctions against it or any other country helping Venezuela cope with its economic crisis. As for the Bank of England and other European countries, the Bloomberg report concluded: “Central bank officials in Caracas have been ordered to no longer try contacting the Bank of England. These central bankers have been told that Bank of England staffers will not respond to them.”
>
> This led to rumors that Venezuela was selling 20 tons of gold via a Russian Boeing 777 – some $840 million. The money probably would have ended up paying Russian and Chinese bondholders as well as buying food to relieve the local famine.[4]Russia denied this report, but Reuters has confirmed is that Venezuela has sold 3 tons of a planned 29 tones of gold to the United Arab Emirates, with another 15 tones are to be shipped on Friday, February 1.[5]The U.S. Senate’s Batista-Cuban hardliner Rubio accused this of being “theft,” as if feeding the people to alleviate the U.S.-sponsored crisis was a crime against U.S. diplomatic leverage.

It is worthwhile to note that our global imposition of the mythical “efficiencies” of forcing Latin American countries to become plantations for export crops like coffee and bananas rather than growing their own wheat and corn has failed catastrophically to deliver better lives, especially for those living in Central America. The “spread” between the export crops and cheaper food imports from the U.S. that was supposed to materialize for countries following our playbook failed miserably – witness the caravans and refugees across Mexico. Of course, our backing of the most brutal military dictators and crime lords has not helped either.

It is as if the IMF now operates out of a small room in the basement of the Pentagon in Washington.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/02/trumps-brilliant-strategy-to-dismember-u-s-dollar-hegemony.html

Posted by: mauisurfer | Feb 1, 2019 1:19:18 PM | 190

@ willie 22 3:26:04 PM

According to my Hammond atlas of the world, the SW corner of Spain (Portugal, really) is about 3,800 miles from the NE corner of Venezuela, while the southern tip of Florida is about 1,100 miles from Venezuela.

From NW Venezuela to the far NW tip of the US (Washington state) is about 3,300 miles.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Feb 1, 2019 1:34:12 PM | 191

https://www.rt.com/news/450320-twitter-venezuela-accounts-removed/

Posted by: snake | Feb 1, 2019 1:46:48 PM | 192

As I reported yesterday, roughly 3/4s of the planet's people support Venezuela's legitimate government. Venezuela continues to trade with the many nations supporting it. The main domestic crisis isn't the coup; it's the economy. I linked to an article discussing economic solutions with a prominent Venezuelan and offered my own assessment, but it appears nobody took notice. To reiterate, the essence of my suggestion was More Revolution through the further nationalization of vital economic realms being kept from properly performing by their oppositional owners--the 5th column within Venezuela that needs to be defeated and driven from the nation once and for all--let them join Rubio in Florida and watch it sink under the waves!!

As the info provided about the Atlantic Council's forum and the WSJ article show, the entire affair's being driven by ideology--the absolute need to install Neoliberal Zerosumism throughout the Western Hemisphere as a counterweight to Eurasia's rising Win-Winism. It ought to be a no-brainer as to which system the poor South of the border would prefer as they've been subjected to Zerosumism for centuries.

So, the Battle for Venezuela is yet another theatre in the Hybrid Third World War being fought over the Paradigm Change from Unipolarism to Multipolarism and the associated rise in Win-Winism's attempt to defeat Zerosumism as a method for political-economic management.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 1, 2019 2:05:28 PM | 193

Michael Hudson's latest essay without annoying ads or commentary.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 1, 2019 2:12:20 PM | 194

Breaking News: Pence Calls for Action NOW!

https://sputniknews.com/latam/201902011072045106-pence-maduro-government-usa-venezuela/

They sense that the slow motion coup isn't going their way.
Pence is signaling for the blood to flow.

Big egos at stake, as well as their Hegemon must win in this takedown.
Expect some False Flag killings, bombs and riots.

They need chaos to form and panic to spread.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Feb 1, 2019 2:13:49 PM | 195

@173 Kadath

Thanks very much for that informative summary on the Atlantic Council's ongoing machinations. I don't think I could have made it through that much AC sewage without puking. Hope your olfactory and digestive systems are OK.

Posted by: farm ecologist | Feb 1, 2019 2:26:28 PM | 196

@ mauisurfer with the Hudson quote that someone else provided as well
"
It is as if the IMF now operates out of a small room in the basement of the Pentagon in Washington.
"

I am sorry this is news to Mr. Hudson and he makes it sound like it is a recent development instead of built in from the start. But then again that is why he is still alive and reporting/propagandizing at the level he does.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 1, 2019 2:46:56 PM | 197

Hudson's essay is a majestic tour de force, a must read for everyone on the planet not a Neoliberalcon. I hope it gets translated into every language. Wow! I wrote my comment @193 prior to reading his essay, which proves my thesis. But the audience most needing to read Hudson resides within the Outlaw US Empire. IMO, what Hudson describes in the first part of his essay are decades of Treason for in pursuing their Unilateralism and attempt to attain Full Spectrum Domination of the planet's people the very first casualty was the US Constitution itself as it does not allow the practice of Unilateralism as myself and Don Bacon have shown over the past several days thanks to the ratification of the UN Charter.

Bottomline: Most of the Executive's committing Treason; not all Congresscritters are committing Treason but the institution as a whole certainly is Treasonous. Strong words? You bet!! And they're 100% accurate. Only the judiciary has yet to show itself as Treasonous. But IMO, the federal government as currently constituted is illegitimate under the Primary Law of the USA--its 1787 Constitution as amended.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 1, 2019 2:49:50 PM | 198

Red Ryder | Feb 1, 2019 2:13:49 PM | 195

And now Bolton is begging Maduro to flee "while he still can"!

Bolton to Maduro

Please leave! Things must not be going that well for the non-coup...

Posted by: TheBAG | Feb 1, 2019 3:09:06 PM | 200

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