United States President Donald Trump is desperate for a win on the global stage. So far, by all measures, he is a big loser. His chaotic foreign policy, his administration’s lack of any semblance of a geopolitical strategy, has so far been anything but coherent. If we can be so generous as to ascribe a foreign policy framework or an executable strategy to his administration’s conduct of foreign affairs then there would at least be some standard by which the first two years of his administration could be evaluated.
As I have written before, the seemingly powerlessness which characterizes governments in the Western Hemisphere provide an ideal space for Trump to use threats and bluster to realize a geopolitical victory. Venezuela is his first big opportunity. As many governments fall in line for regime change in Venezuela, albeit for different reasons, Trump is on a threshold of the victory he desperately craves. But, what will it look like, and what more will it take before there is regime change and return to stability in Venezuela?
The future of Venezuela is uncertain. The effect of regime change and the path pursued by the Trump administration and the U.S.-led like-minded countries in the region will have lasting effects on the region. Worst yet, should regime change in Venezuela become a precedent for the hemisphere in the 21stCentury.
Success for the Trump administration in removing Nicolás Maduro from power will be claimed by the president as a major victory. Regime change in Venezuela could be the change he seeks to switch conversation from the many examples of his geopolitical failures on the global stage.
Trump’s campaign boast that he knew how to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria turned out to be nothing but. He benefited from the coalition partnerships established by President Barack Obama to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria, including the arming and training of the Kurdish forces to recapture ISIS controlled territory. He claimed victory and announced pullout of U.S. forces from Syria leaving thousands of armed ISIS terrorist fighters to reconstitute and continue their fight against the West. The future dangerous threat from ISIS has been confirmed by the US intelligence community. In the same vein the Trump administration by ignoring al-Qaida’s threat has given space to that terrorist group to rebuild and strengthen, in particular through its affiliates, and again pose a significant threat to the U.S. Homeland, allies, and interests abroad.