”A few months ago, I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that’s true, but the facts of the evidence tell me it is not.” — President Ronald Reagan, March 4th, 1987.
War is in the air. It’s 2002 all over again, and a Republican administration is publicly advocating for conflict with an oil-rich country while the mainstream press uncritically parrots their saber rattling rhetoric. The United States of America has called for regime change in Venezuela, and Republicans in Congress are foaming at the mouth to remove Nicolas Maduro, as demonstrated by Marco Rubio’s obscene tweet comparing the unpopular Venezuelan President* Nicolas Maduro to Muammar Qadaffi’s last moments before he was sodomized to death.
*Maduro was last elected in an election that international observers said was a sham
Sadly, major media are not the only ones uncritically accepting the Trump Administration's line that they are only sending “humanitarian” aid. Most Democrats are as well, as demonstrated by Bernie and Hillary being in lockstep on the need for “aid.” It's depressing as hell to see a bunch of otherwise intelligent individuals succumb to the D.C. blob's groupthink the moment the word “humanitarian” is uttered. Luckily, a Democrat finally spoke up through the madness and offered some clarity informed by a basic knowledge of U.S. history in Central and South America.
So how would a scheme like what Senator Murphy warned of take place? The simplest example we can use is one from the guy appointed to oversee this mission—Elliott Abrams—last seen being forced by Ilhan Omar to address his war crimes that were alluded to in Reagan’s statement at the top of this column.
For a quick refresher on the major, major presidential scandal known as Iran-Contra, here’s the first paragraph of this Los Angeles Times article from May 19, 1987:
Oliver L. North and other Reagan Administration aides deliberately used a 1986 program of “humanitarian aid” for Nicaraguan rebels to help support the secret effort to deliver military aid to the contras, U.S. officials said Monday.
One of those “other Reagan Administration aides” was Elliott Abrams—Trump’s envoy to Venezuela overseeing the current round “humanitarian aid”—who defended his role in Nicaragua by saying that the operation was “strictly by the book.” (Abrams was threatened with multiple felony counts, then cooperated with prosecutors and was charged with two misdemeanor counts of withholding information from Congress.)
The way the “humanitarian” Trojan horse worked in Nicaragua was simple:
Actual humanitarian aid was needed, so it was sent, and allowed into the country by the ruling regime the U.S. was trying to overthrow.
2. Weapons and supplies were also sent in along with the actual humanitarian aid.
3. Aid went to those who needed it, while weapons went to the U.S.-backed opposition force helping to create conditions that required more aid.
4. Just as long as planes filled with weapons don’t get shot down (want to guess how Reagan got caught?), you can funnel weapons and supplies nonstop to opposition armies to do your dirty work, since the inclusion of weapons perpetuates the need for aid. This is justified by saying that once the “bad” regime murdering everyone leaves and the “good” regime murdering everyone takes power, the need for aid will wane. History proves this to be far more theory than fact.
It’s a constant cycle by design.
Nicolas Maduro is wildly unpopular, and he has led Venezuela to a legitimate crisis where humanitarian aid is desperately needed in a country short on food. However, just 35% of Venezuelans want foreign help in removing their illegitimate leader. Given that starvation and subjugation are the realities of life under Maduro, the fact that most don’t want our help ousting him should be instructive as to how our “help” is viewed in a region where history is overflowing with U.S.-fueled massacres.
The concept of a Trojan horse is the literal equivalent to the U.S. threat here, as Maduro accepting U.S. “humanitarian” aid almost surely means allowing cargo planes filled with weapons to go to his opposition, at least if history is any indication (for what it’s worth, Maduro’s authorities said they intercepted U.S. weapons shipments). Given that the United Nations and countless other international aid organizations are not signing on to our “humanitarian” efforts, this is not a theory without merit. The only people in the world who seemingly believe the Trump Administration’s line that “this time it’s different” are the Republican Party, U.S. major media and most Democrats in Congress—proving that war is the only true bipartisan consensus D.C. has left.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.