By: Fernando Méndez
There are few things more disturbing than Trump’s penchant for defending Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator and former KGB agent. Anytime someone mentions the movie The Manchurian Candidate, we start thinking that the plot doesn’t seem so unlikely these days. Having just read the headline about Trump’s discussion regarding the U.S. membership in NATO the whole idea seems closer to reality. Every knowledgeable political commentator, historian, journalist, diplomat, familiar with what is going on in Europe’s preoccupation with the growing threat to democracy coming from Russia and China will immediately understand that a U.S. withdrawal from NATO will play into the hands of Putin who would like nothing better than an easy way to retake the Balkan countries.
Every step this administration has taken has reversed 70 years of efforts to spread democracy and to keep at bay the forces of tyranny that threaten Europe as well as the Middle East. But Trump has sided with Putin, with Mohamed Bin Salman, and with strong men like Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines. He was supposed to sign a pact to get rid of atomic weapons on the Korean Peninsula and met with Kim Jong Un who promised to do just that, but according to credible intelligence has continued to do research and threatens the peace of the region with his atomic weapons. And we understand that he is preoccupied with Europe and the Middle East, and once more the politics of Latin America will be left in the back burner if he ever addresses them at all. But he should not ignore the horrendous government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela where 5000 people a day vote with their feet and leave the country. I has created unprecedented inflation and destroyed one of the riches economies of South America. It has also created human suffering that we have only seen in major conflicts in Europe and the Middle East.
Trump, just by threatening to leave is creating chaos in Europe and a sense of insecurity. They realize now that they cannot count on the U.S. as an ally. And in South America, plane loads of Chinese businessmen arrive in Lima and La Paz ready to do business. American banks have left and the Chinese and Japanese banks have come to the rescue. Very soon the U.S. will have no say in the politics of the continent—that was the dream of “Che” Guevara and Fidel Castro. He should be paying attention to the fact that Putin has stationed two airplanes capable of carrying atomic weapons in Venezuela. We might wake up one day to a situation similar to the Cuban Missile Crisis. But this president who doesn’t read will be caught by surprise because history will repeat itself.