Spanish – John Bolton has finally left the Trump administration. According to the president’s announcement, this decision was owing to the differences of interests of the government and the veteran neocon. Bolton has extensive experience in foreign policy, but not necessarily a good one. His background is a mixture of being an apologist for warmongering and incisive empiricism, a lethal macrocosm for those who seek to consolidate the administration’s supposedly anti-interventionist stance.
Bolton has been costly for the United States as he was the master of ceremonies of the Iraq war which only worsened the conflict in the Middle East and caused the United States to face ridicule, and the cheerleader of the infamous conflict in Libya that further exacerbated under Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, it cost Bolton his respect, and thousands of soldiers lost their lives. When the tensions between Iran and the United States escalated after the airstrike, the then advisor acted as the devil on the shoulder, who counseled – instead tormented – Trump to counterattack even though the consequences would be much worse than those in Iraq.
On the subject of Venezuela, the Bolton-Abrams duo created a void that caused more harm than good. After five months, “all the cards are on the table” (1) actually meant “all the tweets are on the table.” (2) Bolton was deeply frustrating because of his erratic actions and the unhealthy proximity between Chavismo, and Elliott Abrams and Mauricio Claver-Carone, encouraged by the Venezuelan socialist opposition they vehemently support. It is as if he “forgot” that chess was played with pieces, and not with rodents. Moreover, there is no point in demanding anything from Bolton; he can’ t do much more.
The old page doesn’t tell the whole story, so let’s go into the new chapter. Donald Trump doesn’t need a hawk; he needs a man to help him achieve the balance between the promises of his campaign and the execution of realistic solutions to problems that will not disappear on their own.
In the case of Venezuela (which the Trump administration wants to take care of as soon as possible since it has invested considerable efforts to put an end to the Maduro regime), a clear, aggressive and transcendent policy is necessary. Therefore, as Bolton left, Elliott Abrams and Mauricio Claver-Carone have to go too because they are the nerve that keeps Trump tied to the socialists of the MUD and PSUV -recall the 30th April compromise endorsed by the Council of Foreign Relations.
A restructuring of objectives, goals, their hierarchy, and potential scenarios give clarity to this policy. The Trump Administration has targeted Chavista officials by attacking their bank accounts and businesses. However, what about the financiers hiding in the opposition? What about Raul Gorrin, Victor Vargas, and Gustavo Cisneros for example? What about the rest of the frontmen (there are a lot of them)? What about the cases of corruption also perpetrated in allied countries like Brazil and Colombia? Brazil, in particular, can help the United States to give a critical blow to the bases of the regime: drug trafficking, corruption, money laundering, and terrorism. But rethinking goals and restructuring priorities is vital. If transparent accounts preserve friendships, clear objectives ensure success.
The type of measure depends on the aggressiveness of the policy. We already know that sanctions cannot be the only measure. The United States needs to oppose dialogue and its eventual pact voraciously. We cannot allow the pact because it would entail the institutionalization of actors engaging in drug trafficking and corruption. Latin American countries must seriously consider a military intervention (not necessarily a classic invasion) as the most preventive solution of all. The proposal of the former diplomat Roger Noriega should be taken very seriously.
The ultimate transcendence of politics will require a series of actions without giving peace to the criminal system, including the fifth column that has held the Venezuelan people captive.
The United States must understand that armed power is the only thing that can stop the threats of regional narco-communism, which is rapidly expanding. Sanctions will not make a difference as a unique strategy because the PSUV is already mocking them with help from Turkey, Russia, and Iran, and the socialist MUD itself is also ridiculing sanctions in every international political forum. A pact will only open doors to the criminal universe whose epicenter is Venezuela. The United States will not succeed without concentrating its efforts on vigorous, radical action as the situation demands.
Bolton was Trump’s point of contact with the underworld of the establishment. Today, the president must be very cautious when appointing his new National Security Advisor. Whether it may be Lou Dobbs or Doug Macgregor, applying the same double standards as Bolton did with Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela would be a mistake that would prevent, or make it difficult to resolve conflict in the volatile geopolitical scenario that we face.
This policy for Venezuela can succeed if – and I want to stress – only if we work with different people, not the ones we were previously hopeful about. We can’t work with the MUD in Venezuela. Trump’s government can’t work, under any circumstances, with the same people who want to sabotage his policies – this goes for both Americans and Venezuelans. Beyond John R. Bolton’s antagonistic positions on the America First agenda, part of the reason for his failure was to work with gravely toxic and malicious elements in the case of Venezuela.
It’s time for Trump to work with real allies who genuinely oppose the regime. The president of the United States should work with men, not hawks, not rats.