Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Dutch Rescue?

A combination of socialism, autocracy, and stupidity completely nullified the massive oil wealth of Venezuela and has brought Venezuela to the brink of collapse. Maduro has little time left if he wishes to embark of a short and glorious war against an easy and distant target if he hopes to distract his people and rally them around the flag to his benefit.

It is hard to over-state how bad it is getting in Venezuela:

President Nicolas Maduro survives by the graces of military support, Cuban advisers, a shrinking base of socialists and communist diehards in the Chavismo movement, help from criminal organizations, a base of voters dependent on food from the state, and external support from China and Russia. The regime is active in suppressing dissent, using institutions that have been coerced and, when necessary, willing to use lethal force as exemplified by the January killing of the charismatic rebel leader, Oscar Perez, a former police officer and movie actor. Last year more than one hundred people were killed in popular opposition to the regime. Maduro is also helped by an opposition that has been unable to unify on a lasting basis.

A classic move to distract people is a short and glorious foreign war. Ideally against an enemy too weak, irresolute, and distant to really fight back.

I think that Maduro might think that the Netherlands which owns several nearby but poorly defended islands hits all his requirements.

But Maduro is running out of time. You can't rally people around the flag once the people hang your corpse feet first from a lamp post.

The Dutch are certainly far. And they have few military assets. But they have good quality forces--especially compared to what the Venezuelans have now--and I wouldn't count out their ability to mount an offensive to retake their islands if somebody can help with the logistics of an expedition.

Say, the Netherlands is a NATO member, now that you ask. The NATO Response Force might even get a chance to show what it can do out-of-area. Heck, the EU might step up to compete with NATO as a source of collective defense.

If Maduro wants to take this route, he has little time left to make it.

UPDATE: Time is almost out if Maduro's base of support is driven to looting just to eat:

Sporadic looting, food riots and protests driven by the hungry poor have surged in Venezuela, a country that’s no stranger to unrest. But the uprisings playing out recently have a different face than the mostly middle-class protesters who took to the streets for months last year in political demonstrations trying to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro has run out of other people's money--which is always the key to funding socialist delusions.

Could Maduro think that rather than rallying hungry people around him that he could hold Dutch islands and their people hostage until food is sent to Venezuela?