Increasing tensions; strong, forceful declarations; major economic interests on the line. If we weren’t actually in 2019, it would seem as if the clock had turned back 60 years, with the Kremlin adopting an obstructionist strategy regarding the United States over its most important international policies – often achieving excellent results.
On one side, the United States; on the other, Russia, with China in the background. More than any others, these are the countries sticking their necks out over Venezuela, especially after the attempted coup on April 30, staged by self-proclaimed president, Juan Guaidó, and which, for the moment, has come to nothing. If it weren’t for the fact that it’s 2019, it would seem as if the clock had turned back 60 years, to the time of the Cold War — increasing tensions, strong, forceful declarations, and major economic interests at play. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has accused the United States, in particular Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, of having launched an “information war” of fake news.
It would appear not to be actually true that Russia convinced Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro not to escape the country and take refuge in Cuba, due to the potential risk of an army-led uprising. Yet, this is something taken as fact both by Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, though without providing any proof. And even if they both, along with Donald Trump himself, affirm that “all options are on the table” — therefore, even that of military intervention — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s warning to Washington was loud and clear: “… the continuation of aggressive steps is fraught with the most serious consequences.” Lavrov spoke about the “incompatible positions” between the two countries.
While not closing the door to dialogue, he has threatened to build a bloc of countries, bringing together all those against the “aggressive” approach of the U.S., and has even asked for support from the United Nations, “in defense of the fundamental norms and principles of international law as defined in the United Nations Charter.”
Meanwhile at the White House, according to those in the know, there is a growing feeling of frustration and uncertainty. This is because, after what appeared to be the people’s decisive push against the regime, Maduro remains in his post and still has control over most of the armed forces. In sum, Washington was somewhat deluded thinking that the curtain was about to come down and Guaidó’s call for mutiny would quickly bring the regime to an end. Instead, that didn’t happen and Maduro, in a show of defiance, appeared on TV, on all networks, heading up a group of soldiers at the Fuerte Tiuna military base within the capital, refuting Guaidó and demonstrating that the army was on his side. This also instilled the doubt that perhaps the intelligence held by American spies regarding Maduro’s capabilities and that of the opposition was inadequate. It was thus that the interpretation of what was happening during the final hours in the Venezuelan capital was not entirely correct, where first it was reported that a coup was underway, then a revolt, and finally, a large popular protest.
Even if there is no longer a battle to stem the spread of communism, the U.S. has found itself increasingly stymied in recent years by its eternal nemesis, Russia, over its most critical foreign affairs policies, even in the heart of the United Nations’ American headquarters. Just think about Syria, where the Kremlin’s intervention clearly impeded Bashar Assad’s fall, as well as Russia’s support for Iran (with which, alongside Turkey, Russia has collaborated over Syria for the past two years) against the tightening of sanctions.
Outside of Syria and Venezuela, the U.S. also fears its influence being undermined in Europe in favor of China and Russia, after a decade of disengagement in central Western Europe. It is an opportune void that its two rivals could aggressively exploit, against which the U.S. is now trying to regain ground. This is to the extent that even the directors of the FBI and CIA have repeatedly confirmed that the greatest threat to the U.S. is not Iran, as Trump and Pompeo insist, but China and Russia, which have never been so determined, since the end of the Cold War, in their desire to assert their technological and military supremacy.