Editorial: President Biden is using Title 42 against Venezuelans. That’s cowardly policymaking.
We’re used to a lot of presidents being weak on national security. Obama couldn’t stop Iran and Syria from acquiring nuclear weapons because he had to negotiate with Congress, and he had to turn over sensitive intelligence documents to a foreign government.
So it was with Obama, but now it’s President Obama who has to put up with the Trump administration’s unilateral sanctions against Venezuela, which is threatening to cut off a key foreign source of oil. It’s a direct threat to American business interests in Caracas. It’s a threat to American foreign policy interests in Venezuela. The sanctions have been condemned by the U.S. State Department and the White House. A U.S. official has labeled them “unprecedented.”
There’s a good chance President Trump will do nothing. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has been trying to convince the Venezuelan government to negotiate from a position of strength. He has been trying to pressure President Maduro into signing a bilateral agreement that would allow the international community some leverage in trying to protect the interests of U.S. businesspeople and people of U.S. military service. There are no guarantees, but we’d like to see the Maduro government do something that will protect Venezuelan businesspeople from being attacked by the Trump administration and some of the Maduro opponents in the U.S.
The problem is that by threatening to cut off a key oil supply, the Venezuelan government is showing itself to be weak. It’s not just that the sanctions are bad policymaking. It’s also bad economics, because by threatening to cut off a key oil supply, Maduro is increasing the price on the world market.
The U.S. is supposed to lead the world, but there is a good chance Venezuela will become the world’s last dictatorship. The Venezuelan government has no reason to be a democracy. It’s not because its leaders are bad. It’s because no one in Venezuela would accept any of the choices that the opposition is offering any time soon.
It’s also because the U.S. government has been unable to stop the regime from using oil revenues to buy weapons from Russia. It has been unable to prevent the state apparatus of the Russian