Many people are coming to quick takes on yesterday’s extraordinary decision by the U.S. government to recognize an unelected opposition leader as interim President of Venezuela based on their view of Maduro and his government. Similar to the emotional responses to those first clips of the Covington students and Nathan Phillips, such superficial opinions feel good and confirm biases, but don’t tell you much about what’s really going on. From my seat, the move by the Trump administration to choose the leader of Venezuela by diktat is just straight up imperial geopolitics. Nothing more, nothing less.
A month ago, I reassessed my geopolitical assumptions in the post, Is U.S. Geopolitical Strategy Experiencing a Monumental Shift? In it, I detailed how U.S. foreign policy seemed to be shifting toward a focus on containing China, which would lead to a far more serious confrontation between the world’s number one and number two economies.
I’ve now seen enough to seriously consider that we may be entering an entirely new geopolitical environment dominated by vastly increased tensions between the U.S. and China. If so, it will likely last a lot longer than you think as leaders in both China in the U.S. will be looking for a scapegoat as their crony, financialized economies struggle under unpayable debt and unimaginable levels of corruption.
— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) January 24, 2019
I’ll get to all that in a bit, but first let’s discuss how this relates to the increased tensions with China. As reported by The Guardian earlier today:
Of course, Russia is also a close ally of Maduro:
Russia’s Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone with Maduro and offered him strong support in a political crisis he said had been “provoked from abroad”, a Kremlin statement said. “Destructive interference from abroad blatantly violates basic norms of international law,” Putin was quoted as saying…
The next question to ask is why does Venezuela matter to Russia, China or anyone else? Well, natural resources of course. Many of you have probably seen it thrown around that Venezuela has the largest proved oil reserves in the world, and this is indeed correct. Much of it is heavy oil, which is far more expensive and labor intensive to extract, but there’s an enormous amount of energy production potential sitting there in Venezuela.
Calixto Ortega, president of Venezuela’s central bank, met with Bank of England officials in December to discuss repatriating the gold but was unable to convince them, according to sources familiar with the situation.