By Zhao Zhenyu
Recently, the United States has continuously increased its pressure on Venezuela. On August 19, Navy Admiral Craig Faller, Commander of the US Southern Command, said that the US Navy is ready to take "all necessary actions" in Venezuela. Earlier, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to impose a comprehensive economic blockade on Venezuela, freezing all assets of the Venezuelan government in the United States, and prohibiting US citizens from trading with the Venezuelan government.
In response, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro gave a speech, stating that Venezuela has decided to fight US sanctions to the end. Venezuelan Ambassador Samuel Moncada Acosta, Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations, held a press conference during which he accused the United States of “deliberately sabotaging” Venezuela’s domestic political dialogue with the intention to create war in Venezuela.
The US has stood toe to toe with Venezuela. Their fierce confrontation has escalated the conflicts between the two sides, increasing the military risks once again. The US is undoubtedly “shooting itself in the foot” by intensifying the contradiction between the two countries..
On the one hand, it will constrain US’ global strategic power projection.
A safe and stable America is necessary for the hegemony-seeking US to achieve its dominance of the world. As early as 1890, the US has led the establishment of the Organization of American States (OAS). In 1947, the member states of the organization signed the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, which clearly stated that any armed attack on any contracting state is regarded as going against the whole American states, and member states are obliged to exercise its self-defense right to fight alone or as a whole. The establishment of the OAS relieved the US of its worries, and made it capable of concentrating on outlining the Eurasia. However, the provocation of US-Venezuela conflicts by the US government has immediately affected the careful design of the previous US administrations. In April this year, Venezuela announced its withdrawal from the OAS. This means that the backyard is in trouble, and the American states are divided. As a result, the US has no choice but to send more troops to the Americas in the future and the US military deployment in Eurasia will inevitably weaken.
On the other hand, Russia took the opportunity to develop the "battlefield behind enemy lines" and fight against the US.
Venezuela is located in the north of South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea in the north and facing the US across the sea. It is an important maritime neighbor of the US. Following the escalation of the US-Venezuela conflicts, Russia took the opportunity to increase its military deployment in Venezuela. According to foreign media reports, in March this year, General Tonkoshkurov, Director of the Mobilization Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, together with 99 officers and soldiers, entered Venezuela carrying 35 tons of equipment to support the Maduro government. More importantly, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia is to deploy strategic missiles in Venezuela. Russia only needs to deploy ballistic missiles with a firing range of more than 1,000 kilometers in Venezuela, with the US territory covered. This is equivalent to inserting a "dagger" into the US backyard, diverting the focus of the US-Russian strategic games from Russia and its surroundings to the US periphery.
All in all, the US is currently stuck in a dilemma—economic and diplomatic sanctions alone will not be helpful for the opposition to reverse its negative situation, while military actions may evoke more military intervention from Russia, or even repeat its mistakes in Iraq and Syria by falling into new wars. The quagmire will in turn bring major strategic risks to its national interest. The decision-making dilemma in the US has increased the uncertainty of the situation in Venezuela, and it is still necessary to pay continuous attention to where Venezuela will go in the future.