Sputnik discussed the crisis in Venezuela and US actions there with Brett Wilkins, a San Francisco-based author, activist and editor-at-large for US news at Digital Journal. His work focuses on issues of war, peace and human rights.
Sputnik: What is the extent of the actual willingness by the US to resort to military intervention in Venezuela?
Brett Wilkins: It seems like if it's going to happen, it seems more likely than ever. You have Trump who has threatened repeatedly to attack Venezuela, you have an ominous development with the appointment of neoconservatives such as Elliott Abrams and John Bolton to high positions. If you recall Trump, when he was campaigning, he kind of sounded like he might pursue a different foreign policy, one of less intervention, but when you have people like John Bolton and Elliott Abrams — who has a long track record of intervention in the Americas, from the death squad politics of the 1980s, to countering the Bolivarian Revolution at every step — it looks like an intervention could be more likely than ever.
Sputnik: Other than the Trump administration and some of his, of course, closer circle, do you think that he would find wide approval for this kind of action in Congress — especially after the midterms?
Brett Wilkins: Well that's an interesting question, because we do see some of the new Congress people who seem to be staunchly anti-intervention, but sadly, as usual, they seem to be in the minority. Sadly, when situations like this occur, you generally see a bipartisan falling in line behind the president.
Sputnik: Some people are actually saying that Venezuela could turn into another Libya. Do you think that kind of scenario is possible?
Both Libya and Venezuela, until recently Venezuela, but the Bolivarian Revolution reduced extreme poverty, it increased literacy, in Libya the people had the highest standard of living in Africa at the time. Both of these alternatives scare the United States, it's an alternative to the corporate capitalism and imperialism and so they tend to be targeted.
Sputnik: Now local Venezuelan polls, interestingly enough, show that most Venezuelans oppose foreign intervention in their country. Why do you think that would be ignored by the US?
Brett Wilkins: We're talking about a country that supported every single right-wing dictatorship since the end of World War II, that has staged or supported military coups against some democratically elected governments, including Guatemala, Iran, all around the world, and including, let's not forget, in 2002 the Bush administration supported a coup against Hugo Chavez that briefly succeeded for 47 hours; so to ask why the United States government doesn't respect the will of the people, I mean, for all its high-minded talk of democracy, the United States has proven itself inimical to democracy.
Importantly, a nation that was born in revolution has become the world's leading counter-revolutionary state and one, by the way which doesn't even heed to the will of its own people; so how can we expect it to respect what the people of Venezuela want.
Sputnik: Now we've actually seen a lot of interaction between the US and the self-declared interim president of Venezuela. What most people in Venezuela want, according to the polls, is a dialogue between the national government and the opposition; do you think there's any chance that we're going to see that? Obviously, it's a very opportunistic moment for Guaido, do you think there's any chance we're going to see some kind of resolution to this, a diplomatic resolution, either internally or externally, with external support or intervention?
If you recall, back in the winter of 2002, early 2003 before the Iraq invasion, you had a definite sense that the wheels were in motion, also in 1991 during Operation Desert Shield. Even though there was talk of trying to resolve something peacefully, you could see that once the wheels of imperialism are in motion, it's not too late for that, because troops haven't been mobilized despite that "5,000 troops to Columbia" scribbling on John Bolton's notepad, you don't really see that there is an inexorable movement towards war yet.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Brett Wilkins and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.