So, what happened in Venezuela?
Trump was all ready to go in and smack around Nicolas Maduro, you see. A nationwide blackout caused by "sabotage" at the country's largest hydroelectric dam was the perfect cover to sneak in and pull a Noriega Special, bag Maduro, and triumphantly install Juan Guaido as President. But something funny happened on the way to Caracas.
Vladimir Putin showed up. Suddenly Russia was willing to do what the US wasn't able to (or was too slow to pull off.) They dropped in a hundred or so special operator types as "mechanics" and "trainers" to repair Maduro's Russian SAM defenses, damaged by the blackout, as well as to train Maduro's forces on using and maintaining Russian helicopters. The one person who actually could have stopped the US from invading Venezuela made his move.
Now Mike Pence is left holding the bag to try to clean this up on Wednesday, while both China and Russia are laughing all the way to Venezuela's massive oil reserve bank.
Pence’s address will shine a global spotlight on the issue, but action by the Security Council is unlikely. The United States and Russia both failed in rival bids to get the body to adopt resolutions on Venezuela in February.
The United Nations estimates about a quarter of Venezuelans are in need of humanitarian assistance, according to an internal U.N. report seen by Reuters last week, that paints a dire picture of millions of people lacking food and basic services.
Maduro has said there is no crisis and blames U.S. sanctions for the country’s economic problems. In February Venezuelan government troops blocked U.S.-backed aid convoys entering from Colombia and Brazil. Maduro has accepted aid from ally Russia.
Moscow has also provided military assistance to Maduro’s government.
The White House warned Moscow and other countries backing Maduro against sending troops and military equipment, saying the United States would view such actions as a “direct threat” to the region’s security.
Russia has dismissed U.S. criticism of its military cooperation with Caracas, saying it is not interfering in the Latin American country’s internal affairs and poses no threat to regional stability.
Guaido invoked the Venezuelan constitution to assume an interim presidency in January, arguing that Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate.
What's Trump going to do, exactly? At this point Trump has trashed NATO so hard that they're not going to lift a finger to help the US in Caracas. No, Putin is holding all the cards here, and all of them have Donald Trump's big dumb orange face on them.
No, I was dead wrong about Trump and John Bolton invading Venezuela. I freely admit that. That ship has sailed.
But brother, the reality is going to be much worse.