So far, the U.S. national-security establishment’s regime-change operation in Venezuela has met with failure. Having designated Venezuelan public official Juan Guaidó as the new president of the country, U.S. officials have still not been able to deliver him the reins of power. At the very least, Guaidó isn’t collecting taxes from anyone, which is usually a good sign of who wields political power within a country.
A couple of days ago, Guaidó, perhaps acting on orders of the CIA and other U.S. officials, declared that the revolution to put him into office was on. He called on the Venezuelan people to take to the streets and rise up against the Nicholas Maduro regime and for the Venezuelan military to turn against Maduro.
The result was failure. Only a few hundred people showed up and the military establishment declared its loyalty to Maduro. Guaidó’s right hand man, Leopoldo Lopez, who was aligned with Guaidó on revolution day, quickly ensconced himself in the Chilean embassy and then later in the Spanish embassy.
The Los Angeles Times yesterday pointed out that there is one constituency in Venezuela that matters most — the military. Whoever gets the military on its side will win the regime-change battle. The Times’ observation says as much about Venezuela’s government as it does about the U.S. government. Both governments are what are known as “national-security states.” A national-security state is characterized by an extremely powerful and permanent large military-intelligence establishment, one that wields overwhelming power within the overall governmental structure.
In the United States, the national-security branch of the government is composed of a triumvirate consisting of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. In Venezuela, like in Egypt, North Korea, and other national-security states, all of the powers that are wielded by the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA are simply combined within the overall military establishment. Thus, when we refer to the Venezuelan “military,” we are referring to a combination military and intelligence establishment, one that wields such omnipotent powers as assassination, military arrests, indefinite detention in military facilities, torture, trial by military tribunal, secret surveillance, and all the other powers exercised by the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.
In any national security-state, the military-intelligence establishment wields the real power within the government. As Michael Glennon, professor of law at Tufts University, explains in his excellent book National Security and Double Government, in the U.S. governmental system the national-security part of the federal government is the part that is actually in control but permits the other three parts — the president, the Congress, and the federal judiciary to maintain the veneer of power.
For example, recall President Trump’s order last December to withdraw all troops from Syria. Very quickly, the Pentagon rejected that order by announcing that the troops would be withdrawn within 3 months, not immediately. But it never had any intention of even doing that. This week, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Mulroy announced that U.S. troops would be in Syria “for the long haul.” If that’s not proof of who’s in charge, I don’t know what is.
Consider who President “America First” Trump has brought into his inner circle — John Bolton and Eliott Abrams, two of the fiercest foreign interventionists and anti-communist regime-changers during the Cold War. At the same time, he appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo as U.S. Secretary of State. Not surprisingly, Bolton, Abrams, and Pompeo are leading the charge for regime change in Venezuela. Also not surprisingly, Bolton and Abrams are repeating their old Cold War anti-communist diatribes against Russia and Cuba and threatening severe action against them for supporting the Maduro regime. No doubt we’ll soon be hearing how the dominoes are going to fall and how the Reds, once again, are coming to get us.
No doubt Bolton, Abrams, Pompeo, the Pentagon, and the CIA really did believe that the Venezuelan people would rise up and be willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the Pentagon and the CIA. In convincing themselves that the Venezuelan people love the CIA and the Pentagon, they make the same mistake they made in Cuba during their disastrous regime-change invasion at the Bay of Pigs. At that time, they were convinced that the Cuban people would rise up against Cuban leader Fidel Castro and embrace the CIA’s invaders. It didn’t happen, just as the Venezuelan people didn’t rise up against Maduro a few days ago.
What the Pentagon and the CIA and Bolton and Abrams fail to realize is that there are two issues here confronting the Venezuelan people as well as the Cuban people. Many, if not most, Venezuelans and most Cubans hate their socialist economic systems but the fact is that they hate the CIA and the Pentagon and their regime-change interventionism even more. Thus, the darkly ironic part of all this is that Pentagon-CIA interventionism are responsible for making both the Cuban and Venezuelan socialist regimes even more deeply ensconced than they would be without U.S. interventionism.
Of course, there is still a chance that the Pentagon and the CIA could cause their counterparts in the Venezuelan national-security establishment to turn against Maduro, especially with the payment of handsome bribes to generals and colonels with U.S. taxpayer-funded money. That, of course, was what the CIA tried to do with Chilean congressmen to encourage them not to confirm democratically elected Chilean Salvador Allende as president in 1970.
Finally, there is the possibility of a full-fledged U.S. invasion of Venezuela, which would oust Maduro from power and most likely replace him with a brutal right-wing, pro-U.S. military general rather than Guaidó, like those tyrannical generals who were appointed to take over in Guatemala and Chile after those U.S. regime-change operations.
The solution to all this mayhem? Leave Venezuela to the Venezuelans, dismantle America’s national-security state apparatus, and restore America’s founding governmental structure of a limited-government republic and its founding principle of non-interventionism.