Venezuela’s Failed Leadership
If Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro had it to do all over again would they still choose socialism as the path forward? Probably so! Early on Chavez really seemed to embrace Cuban socialism and wanted to model Venezuela in that direction though he made it sound like it was for the common good, but in reality it was all about control. Chavez proposed the concept of a socialist revolution in Venezuela and eventually got his way to turn it into a reality with Maduro following his lead not knowing that one day the whole thing would come crashing down. Reckless entitlement spending, seizure and nationalization of businesses, price controls, continuous harassment/intimidation of the political opposition, and constitutional manipulation are the cornerstones of why Venezuela is on the front lines of a socioeconomic political crisis.
Nicolas Maduro’s reluctance to change course and adopt better policies has ultimately destroyed Venezuela’s middle class and caused the poor to become poorer. For those actions, it’s to no surprise that the streets are full of protesters and Maduro’s regime is in jeopardy of being overthrown. The international community has taken notice of the empty food selves and the death count filling the streets. Instead of coming to the conclusion that Chavez’s policies are not working and step down from power, Maduro has vowed to stand and fight. Chavez’s policies are the reason why Venezuelans have no food, jobs, or freedom. The time for blaming the country’s problems on the opposition or the U.S. is over! Maduro needs to understand that socialism has failed the Venezuelan people and continuing this path will only lead the country into destruction.
Nicolas Maduro has two options here, he can either step down from power and clear the path forward for free and fair presidential elections and let the legislature do their job or risk the possibility of being toppled by the Venezuelan people and brought to justice. If Maduro continues to resist the opposition and the crisis becomes even worse then both the Latin American and international communities could put increased pressure on Maduro to step down. Maduro knows if he does step down there will be consequences for his actions and for that he could continue to fight if he still has military support. If Maduro looses military support a coup could transpire and he would be instantly removed from power.
At this point in the crisis it would be a miracle if Maduro survives any possibility of a peaceful transition because he has not proposed any reforms that would install a sense of security, stability, or freedom back into the country, instead Maduro keeps pushing Venezuela down the failed path of socialism. If Chavez and Maduro’s socialist policies had worked then Venezuela would be a much more prosperous country than the disaster it has become. May the Venezuelan people determine Maduro’s fate and learn their lesson to never elect a leader that promises a socialist revolution because it only leads to dictatorship. As reality sets in to Maduro’s obvious power grab it’s almost certain that another force is also pulling the strings. The Cuban regime have become deeply involved in the Venezuelan revolution first with Chavez and now with Maduro and their role in this uprising is to completely annihilate the political opposition and bring Venezuela into a Cuban style dictatorship where the state has total control over society and all forms if dissent are brutally crushed.
The Cuban people dealt with the same occurrence when Fidel Castro came to power as a resistance broke out against an emerging dictatorship that was quickly laid to rest by the Cuban regime. The Venezuelans protesting in streets need to be aware of what they are up against. The Cuban authorities are vicious in their tactics and if push comes shove they will murder thousands of Venezuelans who get in their way. As the Cubans help Maduro consolidate power, the crisis in Venezuela becomes even more dire as the reality of a successfully planned dictatorship is almost certain. The Venezuelan people only have a couple options left in this situation and that is to hope for some kind of international intervention, to keep fighting for freedom or submit to the state.
As the Venezuelan crisis continues, the United States has imposed harsh international sanctions against the Maduro regime and said that all options are on the table (military action) if dictator Nicolas Maduro continues to push Venezuela into a deeper humanitarian crisis. If the United States really wants to squeeze the Maduro regime into submission without the use of intervention then the U.S. could start with economic measures designed to cripple Venezuela’s monetary structure that include cutting Venezuela off from the credit market and the international banking system, implementing a total oil embargo, freezing all Venezuelan assets inside the U.S., and stopping all remittances from the U.S. to Venezuela. If these measures are carried out strategically then the Maduro regime will have no other option then to succumb to a complete economic fallout that will bring Venezuela to a standstill that Maduro would personally have to answer for.
North Korea Rundown
If China had not been providing aid to North Korea for all these years then the regime would have collapsed a long time age under the weight of its socialist apparatus. The North Korean regime simply does not have the economic stability or social development to be self sufficient from receiving foreign aid. Food would become scarce more than what it already is and public discourse for the regime would hit an all time low escalating extreme civil unrest causing the government to loose control.
Kim Jong-un’s nuclear weapon testing is problematic for the regime on two fronts. First, having nuclear weapons and using them in a threatening manner brings unwanted attention to the regime thus causing a reaction from the international community. Secondly, North Korea makes its appearance on the world stage even more repulsive by worrying more about launching missiles instead of feeding its own citizens. Under Kim Jong-un’s leadership North Korea remains unpredictable and untrustworthy to have nuclear weapon capabilities due to the fact that they intend to use the weapons for intentional purposes rather than meaningful self sufficiency. North Korea has been known to use their nuclear weapon arsenal as a way to showcase their power and strength to other nations as a deterrence even though their launches have so far been unsuccessful. The North Korean regime also uses their nukes in a provocative manner by threatening the international community with nuclear destruction in order to receive something in return usually in the form of foreign aid or to bolster their appearance on the world stage.
Kim Jong-un inherited the worst case scenario as the leader of one of the most repressive countries in the world that’s known for brutalizing its own citizens on a regular basis while operating under the banner of a failed socialist system and having the U.S. government considering the idea of a possible confrontation if North Korea cannot put their nuclear ambitions to rest. Kim Jong-un was brainwashed by his father into believing that the system he inherited and the tactics he uses to maintain his grip on power are justified. Kim Jong-un has no intentions of stopping his nuclear weapons testing or giving the North Korean people their freedom because it would only weaken his power. As the North Korean and U.S. standoff evolves one thing is possible, if Kim Jong-un continues to become more reckless and launches a successful missile at the U.S. or one of its allies then it is almost certain that a confrontation will breakout and the North Korean regime will fall under the weight of picking a confrontation with a much more superior militarized United States.
If the threat is not eminent then the U.S. could possibly use a tactic they used to bring down the Soviet Union. It would consist of setting up a quasi cold war situation with North Korea and have their government compete with the U.S. on defense spending. The U.S. economy would be able to recover as it brings in more revenue through taxes to cover the cost of its defense spending were as the North Korean economy would completely go into default due to the fact that they function on a fixed economy where they have no taxes to levy in order to cover their defense spending which would ultimately leave their economy in free fall. Without any money to spend on resources like food in an already starved nation, Kim Jong-un’s regime would become malnourished to the point of no return added that China is pressured enough to discontinue providing North Korea with aid. The situation will not turn out well for the North Korean regime when its people are left with absolutely zero resources for basic survival at the expense of Kim Jong-un’s government.
The Syrian Civil War
Syria’s civil war is in its tenth year installment and seemingly without any means to an end. The war started out as an Arab Spring uprising against the rule of dictator Bashar al-Assad, but soon became complicated as other groups emerged who sought to forge their own agenda amidst the protests. Iran began propping up the Assad regime by sending in militias to fight the rebels while Russian aided the government with air strikes targeting the civilian opposition. Soon the Free Syrian Army was infiltrated by Islamic militia groups like the Al Nusra Front an Al Qaeda affiliate, Hezbollah, and the emergence of the Islam State (ISIS). The Syrian civil war has reached a point of strategic difficulties and outlandish posturing from the international community as nobody has offered a direct plan to contain the conflict, who to support, or what comes next if Assad is removed from power. These technicalities have left a vacuum of insensible action that has yet to be filled due to the overarching scope and magnitude of the things that could go wrong once involved in the civil war.
Aside from reluctantly crossing red lines when they are drawn per the Obama administration, President Trump at least retaliated by firing forty nine ballistic missiles at a Syrian air force base for Assad’s continued use of chemical weapons on his own people. As the smoke clears a couple things are clear: Bashar al-Assad must go because of his illegitimacy as a reasonable leader and for being instrumental in the genocide of the Syrian people, ISIS must be destroyed in Syria due to the fact that they are a terror organization bent on world destruction. The problem still remains uncertain as to how this is all going to play out and who is going to lead the charge?
The United States along with a coalition of democratic nations intervening in the Syrian conflict would be the most appropriate solution to bring stability back into the region. This system of intervention could work best because it would be comprised of multiple states getting involved instead of one state acting alone, which would allow for different levels and strategies of force from all the actors involved. If no such coalition exists then the U.S. would have to intervene alone because it is the only superpower capable of delivering enough military strength to subdue Assad’s army.
Whether its a coalition of states or the U.S. acting alone to intervene in the Syrian conflict, there should be a complete strategy in play that would require a plan for regime change, air strikes on Syrian military forces, boots on the ground, the confiscation of Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal, supporting Syrian rebels who are of no affiliation to Al Qaeda, Iran, or the Islamic State, establishing a pathway for democratic reforms including free and fair elections, and preventing Islamic fundamentalist’s from coming to power.
Providing boots on the ground would help identify the Islamic militants and the Syrian opposition fighters when deciding who to support and who to target. Conducting air strikes on the Syrian military forces would set up a first strike advantage for the intervening forces which would favor the offence over the defense by devastating Assad’s military capabilities first in order to reduce the threat of their second strike potentials. Confiscating Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal would keep it out to the hands of terrorists so they could not be inclined to use them on civilians, neighboring countries, or U.S. and allied forces.
Moving Syria away from dictatorship and towards democratic reforms is the best way to bring a sense of stability to the country judging from the protests and resistance against Assad’s oppressive rule that democracy is the last alternative the Syrian people have in order to achieve peace. It seems morally tragic that the international community would just idly stand by and watch a brutal dictator like Bashar al-Assad kill thousands and thousands of civilians not only with conventional weapons, but also with chemical weapons as well in order to solidify his rule.
If the international community does not intervene in Syria then their compassion for humanity should be brought into question. What if the roles were reversed and the members of the international community were not free, but instead lived under the deadly assault of a dictator like Assad. Would they not want a superior international superpower to come to their rescue and end the suffering? In reality, ending the Syrian conflict will not be possible without the use of outside intervention. If the international community can find it in itself to organize a coalition that is willing to intervene in nations that carry out horrific atrocities against its civilians then Syria and the rest of the worlds conflicts could soon be over.
In hindsight, the objectives discussed thus far are from a neocon interventionist regime change perspective on how to deal with the events surrounding the Syrian civil war. The theories are emotionally charged objective laden well intended ideas without a clear focus on the aftermath of a possible U.S. intervention or coalition invasion. It is clear that there is not a plan as to who or what will replace Assad if he is toppled in an intervention which opens the doors for a power vacuum to be potentially filled by something far worse than Assad. Any attempt to overthrow the Assad regime through foreign intervention should be met with caution due to the possibility of long term turmoil from the fallout and the process of an unsustainable never ending conflict that has neither winners nor losers for those directly involved.
While these theories about U.S. intervention and international coalitions sound wholehearted and well suited for regime change in Syria, but on a practicable level they are highly unobtainable in delivering the right positive outcomes in order to mold the perfect democratic state from an existing tyranny. Yes, Bashar al-Assad is a horrific dictator who should be brought to justice, but not through U.S. intervention or international coalition invasions. The Syrian civil war has become very complicated with way to many foreign actors operating within in the country trying to prop up the Assad regime or to fill the power vacuum if he were to fall.
If the truth be told, it’s the Syrian people who have the ultimate say on whether or not Assad should go. The Syrian people have to decide if they are tired of living under Assad’s oppressive rule and if so then they must unite together and force Assad out of power. The most the U.S. should do in regards to regime change in Syria is to send a clear message to the Syrian people that the United States stands with them in their quest for freedom from the Assad regime and will only support a Syrian government that upholds human rights and the rule of law.