Vladimir Putin is exactly the person that you would expect to find manipulating a situation like this. This is right up his alley. Putin is backing Nicholas Maduro, who is considered to be a strongman, staying in power in Venezuela due to the result a fraudulent election. The situation got incredibly tense when Juan Guaido, President of the National Assembly, declared himself acting president, saying that last year’s re-election of Nicholas Maduro was illegitimate, largely due to the fact that in 2017 Maduro created a second legislature, filled with his own loyalists, which was subsequently condemned as fraudulent. Understandably, major world powers were drawn into the controversy, with the U.S. backing Guaido and Russia and China backing Maduro. John Bolton, Mike Pompeo and others said that Maduro’s days were numbered, in no uncertain terms. That was official U.S. foreign policy on the subject — until Donald Trump phoned up Vladimir Putin on Friday. Take a look at this time line.
Wednesday John Bolton said, and this is quoting from the Washington Post, “that if the Russians continue to ignore U.S. warnings about malign influence in Venezuela, they ‘will do so at their own cost.'” That same day, Mike Pompeo was on the line with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who he’s scheduled to meet with in Finland in a few days, and he said,
Russia had told Maduro not to step down and accept an offer of passage to Venezuelan ally Cuba.
“It’s the case that Maduro may rule for a little while longer, but he’s not going to govern,” Pompeo told Fox News on Thursday. “Structurally, there’s no way he stays in power. It’s time for him to leave, and we need the Cubans and the Russians to follow him out the door.”
This seems pretty plain. That was on Thursday. Now, on Friday, Donald Trump telephones Vladimir Putin and the two of them have a nice chit chat for one and a half hours. It was not a Skype call, but be that as it may, Trump reported Putin smiling when they spoke of the Mueller investigation. Mike Pence hears Jesus and Trump sees visions of Putin, it all fits.
“We discussed it. He actually sort of smiled when he said something to the effect that it started off as a mountain and it ended up being a mouse,” Trump said. “But he knew that, because he knew there was no collusion whatsoever.”
The Post reports that Putin had stated last month that the Mueller investigation made a “mountain out of a molehill,” but even this hoary old cliche is apparently beyond Trump’s level of sophistication. It only bears mentioning here because, besides showing once again what a moron Trump is, it establishes that what Putin says and what Trump hears are two very, very different things.
Another thing Trump heard Putin say during their phone call, is that “He is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela, other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela.” This is in direct contradiction to what Mike Pompeo says, which is, again quoting the Post, “that Russia propped up embattled Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro and blocked what might have been a peaceful transfer of power to the U.S.-backed opposition.”
That takes us up to Saturday, where Maduro went on television, in the presence of 5,000 troops and instructed them “to be ready to defend the homeland with weapons in your hands if one day the US empire dares to touch this territory, this sacred earth.”
The United States has refused to take the threat of military action off the table in its push to oust Maduro — although so far has so far limited its campaign to ramping up sanctions.
Guaido’s cause gained renewed support Saturday however from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who issued a video address to the Venezuelan people, telling them: “The time for transition is now.”
“You can hold your institutions, your military and their leaders to the highest standards and demand a return to democracy,” Pompeo said in the message. “The United States stands firmly with you in your quest.”
This episode is a replay of what Trump did in Helsinki, when all the U.S. intelligence agencies were in agreement Russia had interfered in the U.S. election, but Trump took Putin’s word over theirs that nothing had happened. Now Trump is openly contradicting his own secretary of state and other advisers, and claiming that Putin has no interest in Venezuela. Since Russia has substantial investments in Venezuela and since election interference in foreign elections is his forte, and dictators his kith and kin, the suggestion is ludicrous — and no one besides Trump would ever make it.
Friday’s telephone chat with the Kremlin does not bode well for foreign affairs in Venezuela. And don’t forget that North Korea is working to develop its military. In recent weeks, spy satellites picked up activity which could only be nuclear proliferation, or other missile work. And by the by, Kim Jong-Un “demanded that Mike Pompeo be removed from nuclear negotiations,” purportedly because Pompeo misrepresented comments Kim made last week.
Kim and Putin must be having the time of their lives. They both have Trump deluded into thinking that he is in control, and they’re all pals, going forward arm in arm into a brighter future. Trump’s tweets say it all. Politico:
“Anything in this very interesting world is possible, but I believe that Kim Jong Un fully realizes the great economic potential of North Korea, & will do nothing to interfere or end it,” the president wrote hours after the rogue state fired several unidentified short-range projectiles from its eastern coast into the sea. “He also knows that I am with him & does not want to break his promise to me. Deal will happen!”
“Very good call yesterday with President Putin of Russia,” Trump tweeted Saturday, one of some 19 tweets or retweets posted by the president before 11 a.m. “Tremendous potential for a good/great relationship with Russia, despite what you read and see in the Fake News Media. Look how they have misled you on ‘Russia Collusion.’ The World can be a better and safer place. Nice!”
Kim Jong-Un was in Vladivostok for a summit with Putin recently and the two of them must have been laughing their asses off. The only one in the world who thinks that Putin isn’t undermining American foreign policy in Venezuela, or that Kim Jong-Un isn’t increasing his nuclear stockpile, is Donald Trump.