"No, no. I am against it," Towell, a Foreign Service veteran with postings over three decades in Europe and South America and now president of the Foreign Policy Group, said. "No we don’t have to do this. The Cold War is over."
Last week, the United States recognized National Assembly Speaker Juan Guiado as interim president of Venezuela and then froze $7 billion in Venezuelan assets held in US financial institutions.
However, Towell advised against trying to blatantly topple the government of a sovereign state the way US presidents did a century ago and many times since.
"We don’t have to do what Teddy Roosevelt would have done hundred years ago — send the Marines there. All of us don’t do [have to do it]. We have militaries… but we don’t like to do that that because we are peaceful," he said.
"I don’t think it will happen. I don’t think people on either side [want a military confrontation] and it’s not just two sides," he said.
The United States had too many experiences of plunging into the internal affairs of other nations and then discovering it had massively miscalculated what the national responses of the population would be, Towell recalled.
"You’ve seen that over time the United States has inserted itself in other countries, sovereign countries… You don’t mess around with everything and insert yourself in everybody’s sovereign country except when it is clearly a situation that’s against strong US principles of democracy and freedom, and Venezuela has gotten that way now," Towell said.
"The White House has enough problems, doesn’t it? So let them worry about their problems here in Washington and here in the United States of America," he said.
On Tuesday, Guaido said he would appoint diplomatic representatives in a number of countries, including the United States, Canada, Argentina, Colombia and the Lima Group.
The UK, Germany, France and Spain declared on Saturday their intention to recognize Juan Guaido as the country's interim president if Caracas does not announce snap presidential election within eight days.
In turn, Russia, Cuba, China, Turkey and Iran have given Maduro's government full support. Maduro himself called Venezuela "the victim of a US conspiracy", referring to US Vice President Mike Pence promising Guaidó "full American support" the day before he declared himself Venezuela's new leader. Maduro has also stressed that Venezuela has held recent legitimate elections and urged the European countries to withdraw their demand.