Monday US President Obama officially declared a state of national emergency due to a "threat to the national security of the United States of America" caused by Venezuela. My worse nightmare may be unfolding.
Weird Al Yankovich lampooned Sylvester Stallone, who in his role as Vietnam War avenger John Rambo famously said "I'm your worse nightmare."
It seems ridiculous on the face of it: a third world country 1/10 the size of the United States forcing a declaration of national security emergency by the President of the world's only superpower.
Venezuela has become my heart's second home. My wife is from there and I recently spent three months there living with family and friends.
Venezuela is a beautiful country populated by kind generous spirited folks many of whom I deeply personally care about. I saw how hard life is there (although for most of them it was worse in what some well to do Venezuelans call the good old days.)
For now the Obama declaration is a necessary legal cover for imposing an increasingly severe regimen of economic sanctions and for openly aiding an increasingly desperate opposition that has not been able to win a national election (in an electoral system called one of the best in the world by Jimmy Carter.) This opposition has counted on United States support in its engagement in seditious and violent actions against a government that seemed to think it can appease and come to terms with this opposition and its US backers. People who led the 2002 coup not only were not locked up - some were allowed to run for office and sometimes win, like Leopoldo Lopez and Anthony Ledezma. Apparently the Chavistas thought - or maybe just hoped - that by showing such leniency they'd avoid Sadaam Hussein style global media demonization. Finally it looks as though they've abandoned such illusions.
You see, Venezuelans like the US, wear American logo tee-shirts, watch American TV and bootleg Rambo movies.
It seems though Obama wants to rally Venezuelans against his friends in the hapless opposition. Let me explain. In many ways Venezuela's people are inclined to want friendly relations with the United States. Back in 2007 the late President Hugo Chavez announced that he'd be visiting Iran. An overwhelming majority of Venezuelans polled about this trip opposed it, not welcoming a move that would annoy the United States. It took a United States warning against the visit to totally rally Venezuelans to support it. While Venezuelans like the United States. What they overwhelmingly will reject is United States directives. So, if Obama insists that opposition leaders not stand trial for seditious plotting Venezuelans will insist that the trials proceed.
Where this is all headed is frightening for me to contemplate. I was conscripted into the US Vietnam war army. Americans overwhelmingly backed this war and the transparent lies told to back it until too much money and too many American boys were being wasted with no victory in sight.
Ramsey Clark once visited Sadaam Hussein right after Iraq had overrun Kuwait. No doubt he urged Sadaam to hold firm, and he might have pointed to an anti intervention protest by a couple of hundred New Yorkers as evidence that the great anti war American people would stay the government's hand and block an American attack. Sadaam took heart and of course the rest is sad and bloody history.
For the love of God, dear American people please wake up.