Will There Be a Kennedy-Khrushchev Moment Over Venezuela?

A few hours ago, we learned from Secretary Mike Pompeo that Russia stopped Nicolas Maduro from fleeing to Cuba even though his plane was ready to take off.

This can only mean one thing:  Putin is willing to go very far to maintain a presence in Venezuela, and Maduro is only his instrument toward that end.

The question is how far the U.S. is willing to tolerate Russia’s defiant and provocative support for the Maduro regime, and possibly an increased military footprint in Venezuela comparable to what we saw in Cuba in 1962.

I sincerely hope Kennedy-Khrushchev moment never comes, but if it does, President Trump, like Kennedy in 1962, needs to act decisively against the Russian threat.

Russia has raised the stakes in Venezuela by openly defying the U.S. with actions that may bring about a confrontation between Trump and Putin just as dangerous and momentous as the Kennedy-Khrushchev clash during the Cuban missile crisis.

In my opinion, for our president to blink and not come to the aid of Guaido and the democracy movement in Venezuela will be a disaster not only for Venezuela but for the U.S. as well.

From Crimea to Syria, and now Venezuela, Putin has been acting as someone determined to revive the glory days of the old Soviet empire, and he appears willing to risk a confrontation with the U.S. to achieve his goal.

Not to stop the Russian bear now before his presence in Venezuela and the region metastasizes into a cancerous mix of leftist socialism and anti-American populism will have grave consequences for our nation.  Failure to act in Venezuela will only embolden Putin to make even far greater inroads into the region.

Security forces confront anti-government protesters during clashes in the surroundings of La Carlota military base in Caracas during the commemoration of May Day on May 1, 2019.

Nicolas Maduro is a stooge, but a stooge that serves Russia’s geopolitical ambition. Vladimir Rouvinski, a Russia analyst at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute, is quoted as saying that, “[Putin] needed Latin America to show that Russia is a global player, that it has a global reach, and that it’s back in Latin America.”

For the record, that was the same reason why Khrushchev was willing to risk nuclear war with the U.S. in 1962.  This is the real reason why the Russian presence in Venezuela matters so much to Putin.  His promise in 2000 to reconstitute the Russian empire can only be fulfilled by rebuilding and maintaining a presence in the Western hemisphere at all costs.

READ: Freedom for Venezuela NOW!

Are we today where Kennedy and Khrushchev were in 1962? Not quite, at least not yet.  There are no nuclear missiles in Venezuela as far as we know.  But it will all depend on how far Putin is willing to go to support Maduro.

The stakes in Venezuela are getting higher by the day now.  The question this president will have to ask himself is, can I afford to be the one to stand down and let Putin act with impunity in our own backyard. The announced blockade on Cuba may be followed by an even greater blockade on Venezuela.

But this is how the 1962 crisis got started, with the eventual ultimatum by Kennedy to Russia to remove its tactical nuclear missiles from Cuba, or there will be hell to pay.

There are no nuclear missiles in Venezuela, but I believe that Putin will not be reluctant to place them there if he perceives weakness and unwillingness to stop him on the part of the president.

I sincerely hope Kennedy-Khrushchev moment never comes, but if it does, President Trump, like Kennedy in 1962, needs to act decisively against the Russian threat.

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