2019-05-11 21:08:09 UTC
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U.S. military action in Venezuela may become a necessity
By Rick Scott
I am not interested in “nation-building.” And as a Navy veteran, I am very
cautious when it comes to the idea of using military force. I hate to
disappoint those who want the United States to right all the world’s wrongs,
but long ago I came to terms with the fact that we cannot do that.
I do want the United States to continue to be a beacon of hope and freedom,
but we simply cannot commit military forces unless we absolutely must.
Which brings me to Venezuela. I was at the border between Colombia and
Venezuela a few weeks ago. What is happening in Venezuela is a human
tragedy. Let’s look at the facts:
The United Nations estimates that 3.4 million refugees have fled the
country. Almost 90 percent of the population lives in poverty, and shortages
of food and medicine are becoming desperate.
This is a man-made crisis. Nicolás Maduro, the ruthless dictator of
Venezuela, is killing his own citizens, including women and children.
Venezuela has a legitimate constitutional leader: Juan Guaidó, who, as
president of the National Assembly, the last democratically elected body in
the country, is constitutionally required to serve as interim president
until new free and fair elections take place. President Trump has skillfully
called the world’s attention to the situation, and has amassed the support
of more than 50 countries that recognize Guaidó as the legitimate president.
Venezuelans are the losers in the political conflict between the government
and the opposition, and the United States is making it worse.
As an aside, Democrats would do well to study Venezuela as they contemplate
their current flirtation with the most discredited idea from the 20th
But, as I said, it is not the United States’ job to send our young men and
women into harm’s way to right all of the world’s wrongs. So even if you
conclude that the above list of facts does not justify the intervention of
the United States, there is a massive and far-reaching problem I haven’t
mentioned yet: our own self-interest.
Venezuela is in our hemisphere. Russian troops are already in Venezuela.
Do you think it would be in our national interest to allow the Russians — or
the Cubans, the Iranians or Chinese — to install military bases there? Naval
ports? Should we allow Hezbollah to roam free?
We must do all in our power to ensure that doesn’t happen.
Similarly, we don’t want a Syria in our hemisphere — a place where foreign
powers and terrorist groups can set up camp and sow discord throughout the
continent. Consider the ramifications this would have for our southern
border and for the stability of the United States. This is not complicated.
There used to be a thing called the Monroe Doctrine; it was taught in
history classes. President James Monroe made it clear in 1823 in his annual
speech to Congress that the Western Hemisphere was closed to future
colonization, and any attempt by a foreign power to oppress or control any
nation in the Western Hemisphere would be viewed as a hostile act against
the United States.
To that I say: amen. I have no interest in dictating anything to the people
of Venezuela. But I absolutely do believe we should dictate a few things to
the Russians, the Cubans and the Chinese. No, we will not allow you to set
up shop in Venezuela. We will not allow you to take over that country, and
we will not allow you to establish any military presence in our hemisphere.
We should never allow another Cuba, and we must not stick our heads in the
sand and pretend we don’t know what is going on.
When it comes to our security, the current migration crisis from Central
America on our southern border will pale in comparison with the mass exodus
the Maduro regime will unleash under the direction of Russia and Cuba.
Dictators in Latin America have effectively used mass migration against the
United States time and time again.
To be clear — I respect those who are cautious about the dangers of military
intervention. I am generally among them. But it’s time to also acknowledge
that inaction can be an equally dangerous course, if not more so. Doing
nothing always seems safe, though it can be the most reckless and
If the cause of freedom is crushed in Venezuela, and it results in foreign
powers establishing a launching pad and outpost there for their hostility
against the United States, we will look back on the spring of 2019 and
wonder how it is that we were so shortsighted, how we ignored the wisdom of
President Monroe. I pray that is not the case.