At The American Conservative, Cato Institute senior fellow Doug Bandow explains how the crisis in Venezuela could be an opportunity for peace with Russia. Bandow explains America’s history of peace with Russia, and smartly suggests that President Trump “challenge his critics to explain what they expect to achieve from the confrontation with Moscow that they desire.” He writes (abridged):
For a moment, at least, the latest crisis is in Latin America, not the Middle East. The Trump administration is hoping to overthrow the disastrous Maduro government, which is busily destroying Venezuela. Although the issue would appear to be of little concern to Russia, its government is actively opposing U.S. efforts.
Washington should insist that Moscow stay out—remember the long-ago Monroe Doctrine? But how could anyone, and especially Russian President Vladimir Putin, take such a claim seriously? America incessantly meddles along Russia’s border, up to which it wants to expand NATO, just a couple hundred miles from the Russian capital. Washington’s intentions don’t matter; it’s effectively invited Moscow to return the favor. Thus, is Russian involvement also growing in Cuba, another revolutionary failure.
U.S. policy towards Russia has become a hopeless muddle. Historically, America and Russia were friends. Unlike other leading European countries, it did not lean toward the Confederacy during the Civil War. In what should be a lesson for today, Washington similarly stayed out of European battles with Russia, including the Crimean War and later struggles in the Balkans that ultimately triggered World War I.
The president has long said he wants a different relationship with Russia. To do that, he needs to initiate a serious and wide-ranging negotiation with Putin. Trump’s objectives should be open, and the talks should be transparent. And he should challenge his critics to explain what they expect to achieve from the confrontation with Moscow that they desire.
Right now, the situation seems both dangerous and hopeless—rather like that between the U.S. and North Korea a year ago. But the president found his way out of that crisis. He needs to do the same with Russia.
Read more here.