I answered another question on Quora.
QUESTION: Should the US invade Venezuela? (https://www.quora.com/Should-the-United-States-intervene-in-Venezuela)
VINCE: Do you mean should they intervene like the US did in Libya and leave a vacuum for terrorists to plunge the country into chaos? Or like they did in Afghanistan and leave a gaping unhealed wound for over a generation with no hope of the war ever ending? Or like they did in Panama, leaving 4000 dead Panamanians lying dead on the streets? Or like they did in Ukraine, completely wrecking the economy?
If the US intervenes in Panama, remember that this would be a Trump intervention. So you need to ask yourself: what is Trump’s ultimate aim for the US economy?
Answer: Trump is absolutely bound and determined to make the US the no. one exporter of hydrocarbons and he will stop at nothing short of fair and honest competition to make this happen. His new tax law of 2017 has already blessed US oil companies with welfare in the form of negative taxes. This was a desperate move in response to the fact that fracking companies weren’t making money.
The idea of fracking (hydraulic fracturing of rock to squeeze the last few drops of oil or puffs of gas out of a depleted deposit) looked good on paper but the process can’t compete economically with extraction of oil or gas from fresh non-depleted deposits – the kind they have in Russia – firstly because the process itself is costly and secondly in large part because fracked wells deplete quickly requiring constant re-drilling (details here: https://www.desmogblog.com/2018/05/04/wall-street-shale-oil-fracking-revolution-losing-billions-continental-resources). But instead of admitting that (which would have cost the GOP votes in November), he decided to have the US Taxpayer bail out the irresponsible, incompetent oil and gas CEOs who invested in the hair-brained scheme without conducting a thorough cost analysis. The US was back to Bush and the banker bailouts. So how does Trump deal with the competition in the hydrocarbons business? Well, to give you an idea of his approach, recall that he tried to slap sanctions on Europe for buying Russian natural gas. His idea was to ban the sale of cheap Russian gas and sell extravagantly expensive US LNG to Europe, on the pretext that Russia was supposedly an enemy. The only catch was that the Europeans aren’t brain dead yet. They know that Russia is not their enemy and that LNG is super expensive, unable to compete with pipeline-delivered gas that requires no cyber processing, loading onto expensive specially designed sea-going vessels and unloading at similarly expensive specially designed terminals in the receiving country. Like all normal people, they knew they couldn’t afford this. Only US oil execs and White House residents are ignorant of this basic fact. This heavy handed business dealing was clearly an attempt at unfair competition made in the USA, and the Europeans put up such a fuss that Trump’s sneaky plan fell through. But now he is so furious at Russia for competing with Great-Again USA that he and the legislators are preparing devastating sanctions aimed at completely ruining Russia. Further, given the failure to implement the sanctions, the administration’s interior secretary Ryan Zinke threatened to use the US Navy to blockade Russia’s trade routes, eliminating the un-American scheme of international free trade in a way almost certain to start a war with both Russia and China.
Need I remind the reader that the sanctions against Iran (scheduled to go into effect in November) under the transparent pretext that that country is developing missiles for self-defence (only America has a right to defend itself) are another way of eliminating major competition in the gas and oil business (and also of keeping Saudi and Tel Aviv happy).
Now, remember that China takes the opposite approach to economics. They believe that if you lift people out of poverty you wind up with a richer client who can buy more of your exports. This is based on the ancient Confucian concept of common sense. So they want to do in Venezuela what they are doing in Zambia, ie, improving the infrastructure through targeted investments (details here: http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/news--analysis/china-really-can-save-venezuela-if-the-us-allows-it ) and getting their investment back once the client country is back on its feet again. Xi Jinping proposed in his last meeting with Maduro a few weeks ago to invest in oil refining infrastructure in Venezuela.
Now, after what the Great-Again Nation tried to do to Russia and its European clients — for daring to compete with the US — ask yourself: will the US, after invading Venezuela, really help the country improve its oil-based economy and compete with the US at time when the US wants desperately to be the biggest oil exporter in the world? Or will they do what they always do and destroy as much infrastructure and kill as many Venezuelans as they can so that the country never gets back on its feet again? (Reminder: Here is how they “helped” Iraq: http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/international-relations/where-is-the-marshall-plan-for-iraq)
No, the US should not invade Venezuela. But it should by all means find a way to compete internationally without bullying its prospective clients, based on the ancient Confucian notion of common sense.