Hands Off Venezuela

The Weekly Standard recently had and editorial and support piece by Barton Swaim on getting Maduro and his cronies out of Venezuela.  We don’t think such an aggressive stance is warranted.  The support piece quotes the editorial:

The reality is that the Chavistas must be deprived of their oil. Otherwise Maduro stays, and Venezuela’s nightmare continues. If the Trump administration wants to rid the Americas of their most odious regime, it will have to embargo Venezuelan oil. Announce the decision six months in advance: Maduro and his cronies step down peacefully or the U.S. deprives them of their only real source of money. In the meantime, strengthen the opposition with clandestine funding and overt encouragement.

Barton goes on to suggest that an alternative is to have a Venezuela airlift like the one in Berlin.  Except it wouldn’t be anything like it.  The most important difference would be that the allies controlled West Berlin according to treaty.  Then Barton goes on to conclude:

It [the airlift] might be a wild idea. Perhaps the saner move would be the more immediately consequential one of embargoing the country’s oil. But either is better than watching another generation of Venezuelans starve.

There are two problems with US intervention leading to regime change in Venezuela:  First, the set of variables are large and the possibility of disastrous outcomes is too large.  The Knowledge Problem will make us ineffective.

The results would not be limited to Venezuela.  US actions in Central and South America reverberates through all of Latin America.  As NRODT tells us, Argentina has made remarkable progress in the last few years.  Still, including the Caribbean, according  Heritage, it is home to six of the 23 repressed economies in the world.  Why do we take aggressive steps to fix the other five?

The empathy of Barton and the others at the Weekly Standard speaks well for them.  Unfortunately, it is not something that we can fix.  To create a working economy the Venezuelans (Zimbabwean etc.) need to fix it for themselves.  We hope that they renounce socialism immediately but it is up to them.

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