The New York Times has an op-ed this morning, entitled “Venezuela’s Military in the Spotlight” by Ernesto Londono, which mocks Venezuelan President Vicente Maduro for preparing for a looming invasion by the U.S. military. Londono asserts the U.S. government has no interest in invading Venezuela and that Maduro is just trying to divert attention away from his domestic problems.
I wonder where Maduro picked up that strategy. Let me think. You don’t think it might have come from the playbook of the Washington national-security establishment, do you?
What reasonable explanation is there for the fact that Americans are the most frightened people in the world, notwithstanding the fact that they live under the most powerful government in history, one that spends more on the military than the next 8 countries combined?
U.S. officials have long pounded into the heads of the American people how they live in constant danger of being taken over by the communists, the terrorists, Saddam Hussein, Iran, Osama bin Laden, the Muslims, ISIS, the North Koreans, the drug dealers, the Taliban, and the illegal aliens. Russia and China have recently been added to the list of boogeymen who are coming to get us.
The result is not surprising: ever-increasing budgets for the national-security establishment, i.e., the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA.
Call it the fear racket. It works in Venezuela and it works here.
Interestingly enough, it is the U.S. national-security state itself that provokes many of the crises, and then uses the crises to say, “See, you need us to protect you (from the enemies we have produced for you). Keep those trillions of dollars in tax revenues flowing into the military-industrial complex.”
That was certainly the modus during the entire Cold War, a war that the U.S. national-security state was called into existence to wage against America’s WWII partner and ally, the Soviet Union. Americans were exhorted on a constant basis to look for commies because they were everywhere. And they were coming to get us. Look, under the bed, I think I see a Red! Invade Vietnam because if we don’t, the dominoes will start falling to the commies, with the final big domino being the United States. Look, a Red dagger 90 miles away pointed at America! Invade Cuba, assassinate its leader, embargo the entire country. If we don’t, Fidel will become president of the United States too.
Maduro’s paranoia — or subterfuge, if you wish — could never be a match for that of the Washington, D.C., national-security establishment.
After all, at least Maduro has some indirect evidence to back his claim of a looming U.S. invasion. Isn’t that what the U.S. national-security state did to Cuba at the Bay of Pigs? Didn’t the U.S. destroy Chile’s democratic system in order to install a military strongman in that country? Didn’t the CIA effect regime-change operations also in Guatemala, Iran, and Nicaragua? Didn’t the U.S. government support the military coup in Egypt that destroyed that country’s experiment with democracy? Haven’t U.S. officials been furnishing Egypt’s military goons with weaponry so that they can fortify their dictatorial regime? Don’t they do the same with Saudi Arabia? Don’t U.S. officials hate Maduro and didn’t they hate his predecessor Hugo Chavez because those two foreign rulers insisted on staying independent of U.S. rule?
If Maduro is being somewhat paranoid, who can blame him? Even paranoid rulers are sometimes made the targets of U.S. regime-change operations.
Londono makes an intriguing observation:
The military could play a key role if the standoff between Mr. Maduro and the opposition intensifies. Although opposition leaders have not endorsed a coup, maintaining that the president’s ouster must come through legal means, they have called on the armed forces to act in accordance with the Constitution, rather than Mr. Maduro’s dictatorial edicts.
What he is suggesting is that if the military concludes that Maduro’s policies pose a threat to the “national security” of Venezuela, it is a distinct possibility that the military will step in and “save” the country by ousting Maduro and taking control, just like U.S.-installed Augusto Pinochet did in Chile.
The reason that’s intriguing is that that is precisely how the U.S national security establishment views the role of the military in every democratic country, including here in the United States.
Most of the time, the president and his national-security establishment are on the same page. But what happens if a president begins implementing policies that threaten “national security”? What then? Then the U.S. national-security establishment has the unpleasant responsibility of saving the country by effecting a regime-change operation at home.
What if the Constitution doesn’t provide for that? No matter. As any believer in a national-security state structure will tell you, the Constitution is not a suicide pact, meaning that it’s okay, even imperative, for the national-security establishment to violate the Constitution if that’s the only way to save the country.
That’s, in fact, what the Pentagon and the CIA were inculcating into the minds of their Chilean counterparts in the early 1970s in the run-up to the Nixon-Pinochet coup. They were telling them that they had a duty to save Chile from their democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, whose socialist polices (and the CIA’s secret economic policies in Chile) were creating.
When the head of the Chilean armed forces objected and pointed out that the constitution of Chile prohibited a regime change operation, no problem. The CIA simply orchestrated his kidnapping and assassination. National security is everything. Nothing, not even a country’s constitution, can stand in the way of protecting national security.
Maybe that’s one reason why not one single president since Kennedy has dared to challenge the hegemonic position of the national-security state within America’s federal governmental structure. They might be too afraid that if they were to do so, they might be considered a threat to national security. Of course, let’s not talk about that in the context of America’s governmental system. That might be considered a conspiracy theory. Let’s talk about that concept only with respect to foreign regimes, as Lodono and the New York Times do. (See “JFK’s War Against the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne, Regime Change: The JFK Assassination by Jacob Hornberger, The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State by Jacob Hornberger, The Kennedy Autopsy by Jacob Hornberger, and CIA & JFK: The Secret Assassination Files by Jefferson Morley.)
Maduro might be play acting to save his skin or he might genuinely be concerned about a crisis arising from a U.S. regime-change operation. In either event, he’s clearly operating with the Washington national-security playbook in mind.