Reviving the Monroe Doctrine

When I was growing up, any 12-year-old could accurately describe the Monroe Doctrine. I don’t suppose that is true anymore. Instead, we have John Kerry–in my estimation, one of the least capable men ever to engage in American public life–assuring us that “the era of the Monroe Doctrine is over.”

Russia took advantage of that assurance to send around 100 “specialists” to aid Venezuela’s bankrupt socialist regime. The Trump administration is not amused.

The White House on Friday warned Russia and other countries backing President Nicolas Maduro against sending troops and military equipment to Venezuela, saying the United States would view such actions as a “direct threat” to the region’s security.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been given a list of options to respond to Russia’s growing presence in Venezuela in support of Maduro, including new sanctions, said Elliott Abrams, the U.S. special representative for Venezuela.

“We have options and it would be a mistake for the Russians to think they have a free hand here. They don’t,” Abrams told reporters at the State Department.

Elliott Abrams has a long track record as a hero of democracy. Mike Pompeo is rapidly developing one.

U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this week said “Russia has to get out” of Venezuela and said “all options” were open to force Russia to do so after two Russian air force planes carrying nearly 100 military personnel landed outside Caracas.

Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton issued a second warning on Friday in a strongly worded formal statement.

“We strongly caution actors external to the Western Hemisphere against deploying military assets to Venezuela, or elsewhere in the Hemisphere, with the intent of establishing or expanding military operations,” Bolton said.

Most Americans probably don’t realize that this has been going on for a while. Cuba was, of course, the epicenter of foreign influence in the Americas, kept afloat for decades by the USSR. But more recently, Russia, China and Iran have all sought to take advantage of the anti-American, socialist Maduro regime to establish a strategic foothold in the Americas.

Historically, American foreign policy would have responded aggressively to such infringements pursuant to the Monroe Doctrine. But the Obama administration supinely accepted–and perhaps welcomed–the infiltration of forces hostile to the United States. Once again, the Trump administration is standing up for America by resisting hostile powers, just miles from our shores.

The Russian “specialists” apparently are trying to help Maduro’s armed forces repair surface-to-air missiles that have been disrupted or damaged by electricity outages. There is a certain irony there. Venezuelans are starving, millions have fled the country, and electricity has become a scarce commodity. The least significant aspect of this breakdown of Venezuelan society is that it has rendered the military’s ground-to-air missiles inoperable. When the end comes for Nicolas Maduro, it won’t be from the air. It will be on the ground, as Venezuelans finally rise up in anger to cast off the leftist yoke.

Given the insanity of the Democrats’ attacks on President Trump, I probably should mention that this is one more instance where he has stood up against Vladimir Putin’s regime, contrary to the practice of Barack (“After my election, I have more flexibility [to give away the store on missile defense].” “I will tell Vladimir.”) Obama.