One thing alone could save the Nicolas Maduro regime in Venezuela. That is western intervention. Nothing unites a country like a sovereign enemy on its borders. Venezuelans may hate their president, Nicolas Maduro, but they also hate the US. China may be exasperated, but it is Maduro’s ally, and would have to help him if the US attacked. So the US, and everyone else, should leave Venezuela alone.
There are two problems with Jenkins’ argument. First, it represents the columnist’s bias of ideology over basic analysis. Whether or not it is in the interests of the U.S. to intervene in Venezuela is one thing.
But the U.S. military’s ability to drive Maduro from power cannot credibly be doubted. The mismatch of military power between the U.S. and Venezuela is simply too great. Jenkins’ argument that U.S. intervention is the one thing that would save Maduro is exactly wrong.
It is the one thing that would guarantee his defeat. (Nor are Venezuelans nearly so anti-American as he imagines — even before the current situation emerged, 47 percent of Venezuelans viewed the United States favorably — and a quick removal of Maduro would likely send that number higher, not lower).
Second, Jenkins embraces a misguided understanding of Chinese strategy and capability. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s strategic objective is the reshaping of international order away from the U.S.-guaranteed system of free trade and democratic rule of law. Xi wants to replace that system with a Beijing-led feudal hegemony. That’s why China is so focused on appropriating U.S. intellectual property.
Yes, China retains a strong relationship with Maduro and other despots. But Xi is not an idiot. While his military power is improving, he knows China cannot contest America in its own backyard. Xi Jinping also knows that a military showdown with the U.S. over Venezuela would bury his other economic interests with the United States.