Venezuela is a Dark Mirror Into Populism’s Soul
The people I sympathize with are the Venezuelans who are the victims of the clash between the cynical power politics of the US’s geopolitical ambitions and Donald Trump’s ridiculous Energy Dominance policy and the inept governments of first Hugo Chavez and now Maduro which brought the country nothing but pain.
Those I have zero sympathy with however, are the conservatives who are so in the thrall of Trump’s cult of personality that they excuse his bloodthirsty policies because it, to them, is a proxy for their own desired war against the Democrats here at home.
It’s a sick and pathetic justification to the inhuman practice of trade restraint and hybrid warfare to combat the evils of ‘socialism.’
Now, don’t get me wrong, as a libertarian I am fully opposed to all forms of collectivism, that includes using military force to overthrow a government you don’t like.
The only time that is justified at all is if it is your own government or that of an invader. Both can be considered self-defense. But Venezuela selling oil against the wishes of the Trump Administration is not self-defense folks.
To be generous seeing the inequality and poverty of Venezuelans and wanting to change that is noble. It is the hallmark of conservative thought.
But compassion is not a universal good. It can become toxic. And the idea that we have a duty to protect Venezuelans from their government is the height of hubris.
Would any of these Americans ever think it okay for presumptuous and compassionate Russians or French to forcibly change our government because of the poverty here? Because of the insane costs of health care, education, housing or food?
Of course not.
The truth is that the American populist right has given fully into their anger and powerlessness to stop the degradation of their own society and have now transferred those feelings onto Venezuela.
We just spent more than two years fighting back against a coup here in the US started by people who didn’t like the outcome of a lawful election, both Americans and foreigners (and not Russians).
The people clamouring on Twitter for Guaido’s victory today are the same ones who defended Trump against the Democrats’ coup attempt against him.
Every Trump supporter who is cheering on Guaido today or is thoughtlessly repeating the neocon talking point that ‘this isn’t a coup’ is a hypocrite of monumental proportions.
Look at the level of outrage here in the US over the mere thought of outside influence, no matter how inept, innocuous or ineffective over our elections.
Now imagine how you look to the rest of the world as you cheer on Guaido’s equally inept attempt to oust Maduro from power.
And you justify this to yourself because Donald Trump told you Maduro rigged the election against Guiado?
These will be the same people who will cheer on war with Iran next.
And for the same reasons the Left would cheer on a war with Russia.
And when their sons and daughters die on the battlefield or in another terrorist bombing they’ll do what? Show humility? Shame? Fat chance.
When people are in the throes of ideological possession it doesn’t matter what part of the political spectrum them come from. Justification of the eradication of The Other is what dominates their thinking.
That was the whole point of RussiaGate. It was to radicalize both the American Left and the American Right to accept a righteous war against whatever their Team Leaders told them was just.
The American people elected Donald Trump to end foreign wars, end the regime change operations and bring peace to the world.
Those people who defended him in the face of gross attacks on their character and their livelihoods are now willing to justify anything he does to justify themselves.
Even when that nagging voice is telling them this is wrong. This is not a spontaneous uprising. It is a manufactured situation brought on by economic and social warfare and paid for with our tax dollars.
It is beyond sad that today we are seeing the same people now supporting the same war-mongering neoconservatives they voted against in the form of Hillary Clinton.
Steve Bannon was right. The Trump revolution died when he capitulated on sending troops to Afghanistan. He didn’t have the strength to stand up to them then and he’s now their biggest used-empire salesman.
A job for which he is uniquely suited.
Tom Luongo is an independent political and economic analyst based in North Florida, USA
First published by SCF
The 21st Century