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There is something unsettling about how President Trump has surrounded himself with generals. From his defense secretary to his national security advisor to his White House chief of staff, Trump looks to senior military officers to fill key positions that have been customarily filled by civilians. He’s surrounded by generals and threatens war at the drop of a hat.

President Trump began last week by threatening “fire and fury” on North Korea. He continued through the week claiming, falsely, that Iran is violating the terms of the nuclear deal. He finally ended the week by threatening a US military attack on Venezuela.

He told reporters on Friday that, “We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary. …We have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering, and they are dying.”

Venezuela’s defense minister called Trump’s threat “an act of craziness.”

Even more worrisome, when Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro tried to call President Trump for clarification he was refused. The White House stated that discussions with the Venezuelan president could only take place once democracy was restored in the country. Does that mean President Trump is moving toward declaring Maduro no longer the legitimate president of Venezuela? Is Trump taking a page from Obama’s failed regime change policy for Syria and declaring that “Maduro must go”?

The current unrest in Venezuela is related to the economic shortcomings of that country’s centrally-planned economy. The 20th century has shown us very clearly that state control over an economy leads to mismanagement, mal-investment, massive shortages, and finally economic collapse. That is why those of us who advocate free market economics constantly warn that US government intervention in our own economy is leading us toward a similar financial crisis.

But there is another factor in the unrest in Venezuela. For many years the United States government, through the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy, and US government funded NGOs, have been trying to overthrow the Venezuelan government. They almost succeeded in 2002, when then-president Hugo Chavez was briefly driven from office. Washington has spent millions trying to manipulate Venezuela’s elections and overturn the results. US policy is to create unrest and then use that unrest as a pretext for US intervention.

Military officers play an important role in defending the United States. Their job is to fight and win wars. But the White House is becoming the war house and the president seems to see war as a first solution rather than a last resort. His threats of military action against a Venezuela that neither threatens nor could threaten the United States suggests a shocking lack of judgment.

Congress should take President Trump’s threats seriously. In the 1980s, when President Reagan was determined to overthrow the Nicaraguan government using a proxy army, Congress passed a series of amendments, named after their author, Rep. Edward Boland (D-MA), to prohibit the president from using funds it appropriated to do so. Congress should make it clear in a similar manner that absent a Venezuelan attack on the United States, President Trump would be committing a serious crime in ignoring the Constitution were he to follow through with his threats. Maybe they should call it the “We’re Not The World’s Policeman” act.

(Republished from The Ron Paul Institute by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. Attack Venezuela? Why not? We can’t leave any corner of the world untouched. As for the generals, we were so busy watching the coup by the media that we missed the coup by the generals … well played, sirs.

    Bombing yet another country reminded me of an old Monty Python sketch, but now that I see Mr. Neutron’s hair, I can see the uncanny resemblance … could it be that the Pythons aptly predicted Trump more than forty years ago ?

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  2. But there is another factor in the unrest in Venezuela. For many years the United States government, through the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy, and US government funded NGOs, have been trying to overthrow the Venezuelan government.

    Thank you Dr. Paul. When it comes to Venezuela I read over and over in the com boxes that “Socialism doesn’t work” as if that’s all there is to it. Nothing works if Imperial Washington doesn’t want it to work. The Anglo/Zio Empire is in steep decline. When it collapses will I be allowed to say Capitalism doesn’t work? I didn’t think so.

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  3. Right, Mr. Paul.

    Let Venezuelans learn their own lessons.

    That way, they can’t blame the US for their problems.

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  4. MEexpert says:

    But there is another factor in the unrest in Venezuela. For many years the United States government, through the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy, and US government funded NGOs, have been trying to overthrow the Venezuelan government.

    Venezuela is not the only country in South America we have tried this approach. In the last few years, we have already succeeded in changing the regimes in Brazil and Argentina.

    In the 1980s, when President Reagan was determined to overthrow the Nicaraguan government using a proxy army, Congress passed a series of amendments, named after their author, Rep. Edward Boland (D-MA), to prohibit the president from using funds it appropriated to do so.

    The difference is that in 1980 we still had two parties. Democrats, back then, were anti-war party. Now, thanks to our neocons and Israeli-firsters, we only have a WAR party. Members include both Democrats and Republicans. Any such legislation will not be forthcoming soon.

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  5. Max Payne says:

    There will never be a war. Trump has failed to entertain me with Iran, North Korea and he’ll fail to entertain me with Venezuela. When did the US elect a wimp to the White House? Jeez… I never thought I’d see myself saying “I miss George W Bush”.

    If the US is going to ruin the world the least it can do is entertain me while it does it.

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  6. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Why can’t Trump be serious? Bombing around is a reliable way of pushing poll numbers up. America loves it. So does Britain. And France. And anyone else with bombs to spare.

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  7. KenH says:

    I’m also a little worried that Trump is filling positions in his administration with Generals when they’re intended to be filled by civilians and historically have been.

    I think if anyone working for Trump is in fear of being fired they should just add the title of General before their name and Trump will back off. Trump seems extremely smitten by military officers, especially generals.

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  8. “The 20th century has shown us very clearly that state control over an economy leads to mismanagement, mal-investment, massive shortages, and finally economic collapse.”

    Dumb statement, as if these countries exist outside the malign, corrupting influence of capitalism.

    Perhaps if the US had not interfered in every country on the planet, socialism might have succeeded. Cuba has one of the best health systems in the world and it’s free. Even DRNK has higher literacy than USA.

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    Cuba does not have a good health system. People believe it is because they take the government's statistics at face value, which is stupid when you're dealing with a communist government. Those statistics about their low infant mortality are fake, for instance, since they don't register infants in the system until they're several months old, so none of the infants that die soon after birth get included.

    The US does interfere in many malign ways, but that doesn't explain all the failures of socialism. Socialism doesn't work because the government can't perform economic calculations. The socialist economist Oskar Lange admitted this much already in the 1930s. His idea was to use the economic theory of laissez-faire capitalists like Mises to guide central planners in setting correct prices. The problem is that this is impossible, since consumer preferences constantly change and all prices ultimately are imputed from those preferences.

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  9. jtgw says:
    @anonymoose
    "The 20th century has shown us very clearly that state control over an economy leads to mismanagement, mal-investment, massive shortages, and finally economic collapse."

    Dumb statement, as if these countries exist outside the malign, corrupting influence of capitalism.

    Perhaps if the US had not interfered in every country on the planet, socialism might have succeeded. Cuba has one of the best health systems in the world and it's free. Even DRNK has higher literacy than USA.

    Cuba does not have a good health system. People believe it is because they take the government’s statistics at face value, which is stupid when you’re dealing with a communist government. Those statistics about their low infant mortality are fake, for instance, since they don’t register infants in the system until they’re several months old, so none of the infants that die soon after birth get included.

    The US does interfere in many malign ways, but that doesn’t explain all the failures of socialism. Socialism doesn’t work because the government can’t perform economic calculations. The socialist economist Oskar Lange admitted this much already in the 1930s. His idea was to use the economic theory of laissez-faire capitalists like Mises to guide central planners in setting correct prices. The problem is that this is impossible, since consumer preferences constantly change and all prices ultimately are imputed from those preferences.

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