A new report suggests that United States President Donald Trump had suggested the idea of invading Venezuela. Last August, Trump hinted at the possibility of military operations when he said, “We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary.”
President Trump had been vocal about his disdain over Venezuela and its President, Nicolas Maduro. In fact, it was Venezuela’s inclusion into the United Nations Human Rights Watch (UNHRW) that pushed Trump to pull the United States out of the influential group.
According to reports, Trump discussed the invasion option during a meeting with top officials at the White House. Trump wanted to get opinions and advice on how the United States could remove Nicolas Maduro from office. The U.S. President shared his opinion that Maduro’s administration which had been riddled with corruption was a potential threat to the region.
Administration officials appear to be divided on the matter. Some believe that any potential invasion may isolate Latin American countries that supported sanctions against Maduro.
Officials also aired their concerns that if Trump aggressively pursues the idea of invading Venezuela, it may create confusion and run contrary to his ideology of “Principled Realism”.
Under his ideology of Principled Realism, the United States would not get involved in the domestic affairs of other countries. The role of the United States would be diminished as “Global Police”. Instead, the U.S. would play the role of mediator or negotiator. Requests for military assistance would come at a price.
Venezuela sits on the biggest reserves of oil in the world. Decades of mismanagement and poor governance under Hugo Chavez and Maduro have rendered its oil undervalued.
Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson supposedly tried to dissuade the President but was rebuffed:
“We have many options for Venezuela, this is our neighbour. We’re all over the world and we have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option, if necessary.”
It was revealed that Trump had refused to accept a phone call from Maduro.
Trump allegedly discussed the matter with Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos and then at the UN General Assembly during a private dinner with representatives of the United States’ allies at Latin America.