The Associated Press reports that Donald Trump pressed his national security and military people about the possibility of invading Venezuela last year. Though he didn’t end up ordering it, obviously, he pushed back hard when Mattis and McMaster told him it was a terrible idea.
As a meeting last August in the Oval Office to discuss sanctions on Venezuela was concluding, President Donald Trump turned to his top aides and asked an unsettling question: With a fast unraveling Venezuela threatening regional security, why can’t the U.S. just simply invade the troubled country?
The suggestion stunned those present at the meeting, including U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, both of whom have since left the administration…
In an exchange that lasted around five minutes, McMaster and others took turns explaining to Trump how military action could backfire and risk losing hard-won support among Latin American governments to punish President Nicolas Maduro for taking Venezuela down the path of dictatorship, according to the official…
But Trump pushed back. Although he gave no indication he was about to order up military plans, he pointed to what he considered past cases of successful gunboat diplomacy in the region, according to the official, like the invasions of Panama and Grenada in the 1980s.The idea, despite his aides’ best attempts to shoot it down, would nonetheless persist in the president’s head.
The next day, Aug. 11, Trump alarmed friends and foes alike with talk of a “military option” to remove Maduro from power. The public remarks were initially dismissed in U.S. policy circles as the sort of martial bluster people have come to expect from the reality TV star turned commander in chief.
This is another reason why having Trump in office is so terrifying. He is not a thoughtful person, not in the slightest, and he is driven almost exclusively by his emotions and his personality. He trust his “gut” over knowledge and reason and is prone to going off on emotional benders when he feels slighted. That’s the last kind of person you want in charge of the world’s most powerful military. And to make matters worse, the cautious and very thoughtful McMaster, who knows the horrors of war and sees war as a last resort because of that, has been replaced by John Bolton, who doesn’t know anything about war other than that it’s better than Viagra for him.
Venezuela poses no threat whatsoever to the United States. They’ve done nothing hostile toward us at all. Taking military action against them would be both unjust and unjustified, not to mention a waste of both money and human lives. Trump cares not for such details. He has the kind of ego and thin skin that he might order an invasion just to show those who tell him he shouldn’t that he’s in charge. That’s just who he is. And why he’s so dangerous.