11 Aug 17. Trump will not rule out military option in Venezuela. Donald Trump turned his rhetorical fire toward Venezuela on Friday, warning that the US would not rule out a military intervention to try and resolve Latin America’s most difficult political crisis.
The move added to the growing international pressure on the government of President Nicolás Maduro after a questionable July 30 election that led to the installation of a new constituent assembly to replace the opposition-dominated and democratically elected national legislature.
The oil-rich country draws much of its international revenues from petroleum exports to the US and speculation has been growing that Washington may move beyond its use of sanctions targeted at Mr Maduro and the country’s political elite and impose a ban on Venezuelan oil.
But Mr Trump skipped that option altogether on Friday when he was asked by reporters what response he was considering to the crisis in Venezuela, saying that the US was examining a “possible military option”.
“We have many options for Venezuela. And by the way I’m not going to rule out a military option,” he said, standing outside his New Jersey golf club with Rex Tillerson, his secretary of state, and Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, flanking him, alongside Lt Gen HR McMaster, his national security adviser.
“This is our neighbour. You know we are all over the world, and we have troops all over the world in places that are very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and they are dying,” he said. “A military option is certainly something that we could pursue.”
In a statement issued later the White House said that Mr Maduro had requested a call with Mr Trump and indicated the US president had turned down the request.
“The United States stands with the people of Venezuela in the face of their continued oppression by the Maduro regime. President Trump will gladly speak with the leader of Venezuela as soon as democracy is restored in that country,” the White House said.
Venezuela’s neighbours have been growing increasingly concerned about the worsening crisis there. A group of 12 countries from across the Americas including Canada but not the US earlier this week refused to recognise Mr Maduro’s new constituent assembly after a meeting in Lima, Peru.
Members of the Mercosur trade bloc, which is now in the midst of trying to finalise a trade agreement with the EU, have also suspended Venezuela’s membership because of the crisis.
The US absence from a meeting in Lima this week was seen as a sign that Washington planned to take a back seat to Venezuela’s Latin American neighbours in responding to the new deep.
So far those efforts have focused on applying economic pressure.
But Mr Trump’s intervention on Friday raised new question about both US involvement and where the solution might lie.
Any US military intervention in Venezuela could risk provoking a regional conflict with Maduro drawing support from sympathetic countries such as Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador and Nicaragua.
It would also revive memories of past US interventions in the region that for years fuelled civil wars in countries such as Nicaragua. US forces have in recent years assisted the drug war in Colombia. But there has not been a major US military intervention in the region since US forces invaded Panama in December 1989 to oust military leader Manuel Noriega.
11 Aug 17. Mattis: Impact of Industry Innovation Will Continue to Grow at DoD. The impact of innovation from high-tech companies will continue to grow at the Defense Department, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said yesterday during a briefing at DoD’s first innovation outpost in California’s Silicon Valley.
At the Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental, or DIUx, where he stopped during a two-day trip to Washington state and California, the secretary said that living in Silicon Valley for three years after his active-duty service in th