Imperial overreach was on full display this week as the US government demanded that a pair of US citizens — former Special Forces soldiers leading a 60-man invasion of Venezuela with the goal of fomenting a coup and/or capturing or killing that country’s elected president — be released from arrest and returned to the US.
Bad enough that the US almost certainly knew in advance about this invasion which involved multiple simultaneous border crossings and beach landings by mercenary forces, many of them reportedly sketchy former Venezuelan soldiers involved in the drug trade, who were on a payroll as soldiers-for-hire. But how about the gall to also claim that when the effort fails, the intended victim of the coup, Venezuela, has no legitimate right to punish the perpetrators, but must release them to their home country, the US — a country that has for years been trying to oust Venezuela’s elected government?
This story, to the extent that it gets any play here, is being presented in much of the US media as all about the safety of those two US mercenaries, although AP reporter Joshua Goodman has written an excellent investigative report suggesting that the coup attempt was a really half-assed operation doomed to failure from the start by hubris and incompetence on the part of its planners.
But let’s just for a moment turn the situation around: Imagine if you will how the US government would react, and how the American public would respond, if a group of heavily armed mercenaries funded by some foreign power — say Venezuela for the sake of argument — were caught trying to invade US shores to foment a coup and perhaps capture or kill the US president?
I’m certain that there would be immediate calls from Congress for an attack on the home country of those mercenaries — likely the launching of a bunch of Tomahawk missiles and a few airstrikes on military bases, etc. There would be demonstrations in the streets by Americans clamoring for more serious consequences.
Imagine now if the government of the country of origin of those who had plotted against the US were to further suggest it would use “every tool available” to “try to get the captured mercenaries” back safely to their home country’s “soil” — a statement that carries a not-so-subtle threat of military or terrorist action. The US would likely declare all-out war at that point!
This imagined scenario is, however, precisely what US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has done, threatening publicly to use “every tool available” to get the two American mercenaries back from Venezuela, the current bete noire of America’s bi-partisan foreign policy establishment […]