In Venezuela, America Is Losing the Global Shadow War

The ongoing American effort to destabilize the vile Maduro regime in Venezuela appeared to be a gallant attempt by Washington to hone its own shadow warfare capabilities. If that’s the case, then, the United States needs to go back to the drawing board because our rivals are better at this kind of warfare than we are. Should this situation persist, then, you can expect America’s rivals in Moscow and Beijing (and elsewhere) to continue challenging American power… and to keep achieving their objectives while America fails to accomplish its own goals. Over time, this will lead to a victory for autocracy in the ongoing competition between the world’s autocracies and democracies.

Advertisements

Be Careful: Hurting Iran Might Help Russia

The key here is for President Trump to strike a strategic balance in the Middle East: the United States cannot ignore Iran’s threat to the region. Balancing with regional powers, like Israel and Saudi Arabia, against Iran in order to contain its threat is good. But, unilaterally (and unexpectedly) slapping all oil sanctions back on Iran in a push for greater levels of hostility, as the White House did recently, creates uncertainty and instability in world energy markets. The more instability that the United States creates in the world energy market through its aggressive actions against Iran, the more likely it is that Russia will benefit.

The Kurd In the Punch Bowl

“I have firm faith that the Kurds will one day get their independence. The day for that is not now. The best solution for the benighted Kurds would be to hunker down in their enclaves and lie in wait until their host nations – particularly those in Syria, Iran, and Turkey – become weak and unable to prevent the call for Kurdish independence. President Trump has made the right decision to acquiesce to the brutal autocrats in Turkey on the matter of the Kurds, if only because the United States needs autocratic Turkey to balance against Russia, China, and Iran more than it needs the Kurds at present.”

America Should Not Directly Intervene in Venezuela

“The essential element in this scenario would be American leadership as opposed to direct American military intervention. While this method may take longer and, therefore, prolong human suffering in Venezuela, this is the only viable option. After all, freedom isn’t free, and the United States has had ample evidence over the last several decades that it cannot fight for other peoples’ independence.”

Netanyahu’s Missed Opportunity

“Turkey’s arrival on-scene will likely cause tensions between themselves, Iran, and Russia to escalate, meaning that Russia will be unable to consolidate its newfound position in the region on its own. Russia will need Israel. Therefore, when the opportunity next arises — and this will likely be the last chance before the shooting starts in the region — for Israel to act as the broker between the United States and Russia, it shouldn’t shirk from this strategic opportunity.”

The Multipolar World: Partnering with Russia to Stop Iran

“While it might harm Washington’s ego to treat Moscow as an equal partner in world affairs, the only way to mollify the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program – without a major war against Iran (and absent another silver bullet to use on Iran, like the Stuxnet cyber-attack) – is to grant Russia the respect Putin believes he and his country deserve. Thanks to the restrictive sanctions regime that President Trump has imposed on Russia, the United States has leverage. By dangling the prospect of a grand bargain between Moscow and Washington over key disagreements, the United States would likely be able to get Russia to work with it on ending the threat posed by Iran.”

Israel and the Sunni Arab States Cannot Resist Iran Alone

“Time is not on Trump’s side. Unfortunately, neither Israel nor the Sunni Arab states appear capable of hanging on for too long without international support.”

Pesky Russian Agent Threatens Russia With Nukes

“The long-running narrative of “collusion” between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russian intelligence peddled by hack journalists and entitled former U.S. “intelligence” officials has been dealt another significant blow. Never mind the fact that absolutely no evidence linking Trump to a Russian influence operation in 2016 has been uncovered (despite nearly two years of an out-of-control special counsel investigation), President Trump last week withdrew America’s participation in the Reagan-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia.”

Turkey Benefits from the Khashoggi Disappearance

“Western media outlets must be suspicious of any information coming from Turkey about the Khashoggi disappearance. After all, Turkey (as well as Russia, Iran, and China) benefits from the sustained media campaign against Saudi Arabia (since it disconnects Riyadh from Washington). It also weakens the United States in the region.”

Losing Latin America

“Washington cannot abandon Latin America.  After all, the problems that afflict Latin America will inevitably ripple upward to the United States, causing grave political and economic dislocations.  They already are.  Imagine what happens if the United States retreats completely from the region and cedes its influence to rivals like China, Russia, and Iran – or Cuba, for that matter.”