Friday, August 11, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He put a U.S. military attack on Venezuela on the table, in what appears to have been an improvisation.

Speaking from his luxury golf resort in New Jersey today, Trump remarked that Venezuelans "are suffering and they are dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary." He was unable or unwilling to be any more specific. The sudden interest in Venezuela came days after similarly improvised threats about North Korea, which Trump's handlers later attributed to a "bellicose mood" that had come over him.

The situation in Venezuela has indeed been chaotic, with a collapsed economy fueling deadly conflict between the now-dictatorial government of Nicolas Maduro and a substantial resistance movement. One way that Maduro has shored up support has been to paint his regime as the best defense against supposed attacks by the United States. Until today, however, no one outside of Maduro regime propaganda seriously believed the United States would take unilateral military action.

The Pentagon was, as is frequently the case with Trump, the last to know of its commander-in-chief's plans and referred further inquiry to the White House, saying that it had received no orders on the subject.

Why is this a problem?

  • Presidents who threaten military invasions on a whim make the United States weaker.
  • It's bad if a president does exactly what a dictator's anti-American propaganda said he'd do.
  • The military should generally be informed about military matters.