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Jim and Greg shudder as 3.28 million Americans lost their jobs last week. They also recoil at an alleged plot to bomb a hospital full of COVID-19 patients. But they cheer the U.S. lowering the boom on Venezuelan dictator Nicholas Maduro.
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Thanks for joining the Three Martini Lunch today. Once again, Rob Long of National Review and Ricochet is sitting in for Jim. Today, we celebrate the resignation of socialist Bolivian dictator Evo Morales and notice how very sad the mainstream media and far left politicians are that Morales is no longer in power. They also note the retirement of New York GOP Rep. Peter King, and while they don’t really care if King retires. they see it as further evidence that things look bleak for Republicans in the suburbs in 2020. And they chronicle ABC and CBS acting like the Keystone Cops in apparently firing the wrong person for leaking the Amy Robach rant against ABC for spiking the Jeffrey Epstein story for three years. Rob is also shaking his head at the producer tearfully insisting she would never make public something as compelling as Robach’s comments.
Alexandra DeSanctis of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America grab some popcorn as supporters of Sen. Cory Booker blast the media for giving far more attention to Pete Buttigieg, calling the coverage gap the epitome of privilege. They also slam Code Pink for commandeering the Venezuelan embassy in Washington in solidarity with dictator Nicholas Maduro and but get a kick out of Code Pink howling in protest when the water and power are cut off – some of the very same conditionsMaduro is inflicting on the people of Venezuela. And Alexandra highly enjoys the irony as Alyssa Milano and other modern feminists protest state laws banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected by refusing to have sex so they don’t get pregnant.
The Trump administration badly wants Nicholas Maduro out of power in Venezuela for for Juan Guaido to assume the presidency on an interim basis, but the failure of this week’s effort to turn the military against Maduro demonstrates why this effort will take time – if it happens at all.
On Tuesday, Guaido called for the nation to rise up against Maduro. Standing alongside some troops who switched their loyalty from Maduro, Guaido urged the military in particular to join his effort. Most did not, and Maduro remains in power.
“Obviously Guaido’s Operation Liberty did fizzle. The reality is that he doesn’t have the forces with the guns to go against the like of Maduro, who obviously has a very large army, a very well-armed and obedient armed forces,” said retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis, a frequent writer and commentator on national security affairs.
If the military doesn’t turn on Maduro, Guaido would appear to be in limbo. And Maginnis says the U.S. is unlikely to come to his rescue militarily.
“Our national interests have not been articulated by the president and so I would be hesitant to endorse sending U.S. troops and U.S. forces into that vicinity to do what? Topple a government? Land in Caracas and take down the presidential palace?” asked Maginnis.
Maginnis says our best options remain economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure, but with the likes of China, Russia, Cuba, and Iran all boosting Maduro, he’s not optimistic the misery in Venezuela will end anytime soon.
“Nobody has really articulated (a plan) and until such time as they do, and I know John Bolton is working feverishly with the National Security Council to figure out what they ought to do, I don’t know that we’re going to do much more than talk,” said Maginnis.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Maginnis assess reports that Russia already has nuclear weapons in Venezuela and identify which neighboring countries are more logical choices to intervene militarily in Venezuela.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are exasperated as Democrats and the media breathlessly report that Robert Mueller disagrees with Attorney General Bill Barr’s summary of the report since the very same story confirms that Mueller did not find the summary inaccurate. They’re also disappointed as Juan Guaido’s effort to remove Nicholas Maduro from power in Venezuela appears to be a failure. And they applaud MSNBC for inadvertently explaining the purpose of our second amendment while watching Venezuela’s military crush protesters in the streets.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America pray for the best in Venezuela as opposition leader Juan Guaido urges the military to rise up against the corrupt, socialist Maduro regime. They also roll their eyes as Stacey Abrams still plays the victim card of voter suppression while announcing she will not be running for U.S. Senate in 2020. And they condemn the attempt to cook up a fake sex scandal targeting Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg.
President Trump is applying stiff sanctions against Venezuela and demanding that Nicholas Maduro give up power, but Maduro isn’t leaving and the tough U.S. stance may actually be helping China, Russia, and Iran gain a foothold in the Americas.
The Trump administration wants to see Maduro go in favor of Juan Guaido, but instead of folding under the pressure of U.S.-led diplomacy, Maduro is now cozying up to some of our greatest adversaries.
American Foreign Policy Council Senior Fellow Larry Haas, a former Clinton administration official, says the U.S. demand for Maduro to go is futile and that Trump doesn’t have other leverage – much like President Obama’s demand for Bashar al-Assad to give up power in Syria back in 2013.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Haas explain why he believes the Trump administration is weakening its position on Venezuela through actions taken on other issues. He also explain what policy positions might be more effective and why China, Russia, and Iran are so interested in helping Maduro.
President Trump is very clear about what he thinks should happen in Venezuela, but what is he prepared to do if it doesn’t?
For weeks, Trump has declared Juan Guaido to be the legitimate interim president in Venezuela. But Nicholas Maduro is still in power and now the Russians are sending military personnel to shore up Maduro.
American Foreign Policy Senior Vice President Ilan Berman says Trump has the right policy but that doesn’t mean he will get what he wants.
“I think it’s a good declaratory policy. The problem is just because we say it doesn’t make it so,” said Berman.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Berman address some of the lingering questions in this standoff. Why is Russia butting into the crisis in Venezuela? What are America’s national security interests in all this? And what happens if Russia ignores Trump’s demand to get out?
Rob Long of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud President Trump for telling the Russians to get out of Venezuela but worry about what might happen if they don’t. They also groan as congressional Republicans still don’t have a strategy on health care if Obamacare gets struck down in the courts. And they ask if even politics is becoming a 1990’s rerun after longtime DNC chairman and former Virginia Gov.Terry McAuliffe hints he will run in 2020.