A discussion about USA foreign policy

I wrote this at the pig's blog. I just read it again and decided to cut and paste my comment here, because it summarizes very well how I feel. 

You simplify the problem. I've been researching the Middle East conflicts since I was 14 years old and moved into a Jewish neighborhood in the NY city suburbs. Being agnostic helped me blend in with my new found Jewish friends, and so I spent tons of times listening to different points of view about the Jewish Zionist versus Muslim and Christian Palestinians.
The ability to gain an insight into the points of view of a wide range of Jewish characters and writers (ranging from Meir Kahane to Rebbe Beck) gave me the ability to absorb and screen very diverse points of view.
Unfortunately for the USA population at large, it misreads history, doesn't understand Muslim grievances and social customs, and makes huge blunders most of the time. For example, invading Iraq and putting the Sunni minority under Shiite rule was incredibly dumb. The same applies to encouraging a Syrian rebellion by Sunnis fighting Allawites whose supportive clients were Syrian Christians.
Netanyahu's rather criminal settler policies add fuel to this fire, unfinished business in Afghanistan feed even more conflict and anger. Thus we have to conclude that either the USA gains a sudden dose of wisdom and decouples from Zionist Israeli policies (a feat the USA public isn't about to approve), or it had better face that its policies have caused a huge conflict which it somehow refuses to acknowledge. And this is a conflict it could lose in a few decades if terrorists manage to smuggle nuclear or biological weapons into USA cities. This seems to be a natural asymmetric response in what seems to be turning gradually into a genocidal war.
Being smart AND pragmatic I've come on the side of playing it as safe as possible. USA borders have to be much more secure, a wall, better coast guard,more intelligence and politicians who don't behave as Israeli pawns would definitely help. 

The whole discussion is here 


Comparative analysis of methods to overthrow dictatorsships

History shows that dictatorships can be incredibly long lived (Soviet and Chinese communism, Castro Family in Cuba, Saudi Monarchy, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Teodoro Obiang Nguema in Ecuatorial Guinea, and many others). 

Alejandro Castro, Raul's son, is 
maneuvering to inherit the dictatorship. 

Violent efforts to overthrow dictatorships are seldom successful. Fidel Castro overthrew Batista, the Romanian Caesescus were deposed fairly fast, and the Shah of Iran fell to a very fast rebellion as he sickened with cancer and left the country. But these changes were enabled by weak leadership at the top, and a sympathetic nod from surrounding nations. For example, Fidel Castro enjoyed suble support from the USA government (i know from a first hand account I heard from my uncle, who was flying weapons and ammo to Castro's rebel forces from South Florida to Cuba). 

I can't have a clear conscience if I were to recommend using violent actions to overthrow the Maduro dictatorship. The regime has serious infrastructure weaknesses I know how to attack rather easily, but I'm convinced that would get innocent people killed, lead to much more repression, and possibly trigger a civil war. 

Violence will be counterproductive.

Therefore I'm leaning towards use of strictly peaceful actions, which can include labor strikes and protests in Venezuela, the use of the National Assembly's legislative powers (such as are allowed to exist by Maduro), actions in international forums (these are unlikely to yield much), and denunciations of crimes against humanity by Maduro when he denies humanitarian aid to enter, and implements a program to starve the (majority) opposition population. 

Another front should be opened to boycott and attack foreign corporations which cooperate with the regime, loan money to Maduro, and invest. And these boycotts and actions need to be directed at companies in both Venezuela and Cuba. The Venezuelan population knows they are invaded by Cuban agents, but this isn't publicized by USA and Europe media: 

You seem Raúl Castro is the main actor supporting and guiding Maduro and his henchmen. Therefore, a full scale economic war against the Cuban dictatorship would be useful to undermine his ability or will to support Maduro. The overall effort needs to include American corporations trying to do business in Cuba (cruise lines, airlines, anything oriented at the sexual tourism and prostitution evolving to satisfy American tourists). The Spanish company Melia should be boycotted as a defensive measure. 

The same applies to Maduro regime friendly corporations such as Chevron, Repsol, Schlumberger, Wood Group and hardware suppliers. All of these should be pilloried and condemned. 

I don't think this effort will amount to much if any of these actions are taken alone, but altogether they may convince the chavista elite to dump Maduro this year and do so with Raúl Castro's approval. A tall order which requires much sacrifice, but may be the only way out. To those who advocate violent action at this point I suggest that's probably a dead end. 


Bernie Sanders and the Venezuelan socialist regime

The Venezuelan economic collapse has been caused by multiple factors. The chavista regime took over in 1999 when oil prices were in the low teens, but soon thereafter they climbed above $100 per barrel, and even this year they are averaging about $40 per barrel. 

Therefore, the oil bonanza encouraged Chavez to destroy the country's productive capacity via nationalization, excessive regulation, price controls, and extreme corruption. 

The nationalized properties were wrecked and today they are non productive. Education began to suffer, and the justice system fell apart, leading to a huge crime wave. Government repression has upped its game and since 2014 they have murdered or imprisoned hundreds of opposition leaders and protesters. This in turn has driven a mass exodus of middle class and educated Venezuelans. 

To compound matters the Maduro regime is essentially a puppet of the Castro dictatorship, which had enjoyed a huge windfall taking money from Venezuela. Lucky for Raúl Castro the USA elites have decided to help him survive and are steering business and cash in his direction. Thus Venezuela's misery is in part sustained by a Castro repression machine which is in turn aided by Yankee elites from both sides of the aisle. 

As you can see this is a fairly complex story, it's not useful to simplify and only blame socialism. This tragedy goes much much beyond what one can blame on people like Bernie Sanders. It's a tragedy which causes enormous pain and suffering, and there's a lot of blame to spread around. But, as long as Obama smiles at and cozies up to Raúl Castro, the rise of communist dictatorships in Latin America will continue.