9 September 2018   Leave a comment

The New York Times reported on Saturday that US officials met with members of the Venezuelan military and the the discussion was about a possible military coup against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.  According to New York Magazine:

“After overcoming skepticism that the Venezuelans were setting them up, the American officials agreed to send a diplomat to meet with the plotters several times in strict “listening mode” between fall 2017 and early 2018. But according to that official, the Venezuelans did not have a real, concrete plan to take down Maduro; instead, they mostly sought advice from the Americans on how to go about it.”

It is indeed fortunate that the US did not act upon the plan, there is probably no way any US support for a coup against Maduro could have served US interests.  It is extraordinary that the Trump Administration even tolerated several meetings on such a ridiculous proposition.  There is no question that Venezuela is ripe for a change of government and, unfortunately, military coups are not highly unusual in Latin America (though they have become much less frequent than in the past).  But any hint of US involvement in a change of government would immediately spark anti-US sentiments.

 

We do not yet have election results from Sweden, but exit polls suggests that the right-wing Sweden Democrats are polling quite strongly in the national election. The polls suggest that the Sweden Democrats might receive 20 percent of the vote which would give them a very strong voice in the government.  Such a result would also be higher than their counterpart in Germany, the Alternative for Germany.  The right-wing, populist movements in Europe continue to gain strength.  The sentiment continues to be a repudiation of the traditional parties and typical politics, more than an embrace of a right-wing ideology.  The Guardian has a revealing quotation from a Swedish voter:

“‘I want to stir up the stew,’ said Fredrik Sigleifs, 23, casting his ballot for the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats in the town art gallery in Sjöbo, just over 30 miles (50km) west of the southern city of Malmö, in a constituency where the populist party won 30% of the vote in the 2014 elections. ‘It’s been the same shit now for as long as you can think.’”

It remains a question whether the left-wing can articulate a similar anti-establishment sentiment.

 

In a sign of the increased tension between the US and Russia in Syria, the US has conducted live-fire aerial exercises in a remote base in Syria.  The US has also sent an additional 100 marines to the military base in Tanf, Syria.  Tanf is an important border crossing, but is far from the expected battle in Idlib.  It is hard to figure out what this posturing is all about.  Russia warned the US last Thursday that it is preparing to attack in the area of Tanf.  In addition, Russia has conducted large military exercises in the eastern Mediterranean.  I wish I could properly interpret these moves, but it seems dangerous given the current atmosphere in Syria.

Posted September 9, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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