In an interview with Fox News broadcast Thursday, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham urged President Trump to invade Venezuela, ThinkProgress reports.
Graham argued that the United States should use its military forces to intervene in the Latin American country in order to “put points on the board,” and scare countries such as Iran and North Korea.
“It’s a time of testing,” the senator said, adding that Trump should “put military force on the table.” Graham suggested that Trump take inspiration from Ronald Reagan — who invaded Grenada in 1983 — and minimize Cuban influence in Venezuela.
“Fix Venezuela and everybody else will know you are serious,” Graham told Fox News.
“We need points on the board. Start with your own backyard,” he suggested, describing Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro as a “thug,” and arguing that Trump should set an ultimatum of sorts, and tell Cubans to leave Venezuela “in a week.”
As ThinkProgress notes, this is not the first time for Graham, who is known for being a foreign policy hawk, to call for a military invasion of Venezuela. Furthermore, President Trump has cited Graham as someone he seeks foreign policy advice from, which perhaps gives the senator’s statements even more weight.
Newsweek also reported that Graham has previously pushed for a Grenada-inspired invasion of Venezuela. The comparison does not hold water, however, at least according to former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank O. Mora.
Pointing out that Venezuela is twice the size of Iraq, and militarily strong, Mora argued that “even if a military intervention began well, U.S. forces would likely find themselves bogged down in the messy work of keeping the peace and rebuilding institutions for years to come.”
Lindsey Graham said Friday that he hoped the U.S. would invade Venezuela, just like it did Grenada in 1983 https://t.co/ocy8OkIsmo
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) June 14, 2019
The push for escalations comes as no surprise given that the Trump administration is openly backing self-proclaimed opposition leader Juan Guaido. Guaido has failed to carry out the coup he had promised, seemingly prompting the Trump administration to turn to Iran.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appear to be the two main driving forces behind the Trump administration’s increasingly hawkish posture.
According to media reports, some D.C. insiders and Trump backers have expressed concerns about the escalations, pointing out that Trump had campaigned as a non-interventionist, which means that a part of his base could abandon him if he decides to go forward with a military intervention.
Japanese oil tanker’s owner: Pentagon has it wrong on what happened during attack in Gulf https://t.co/4pbmP4XGJU
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) June 14, 2019
Tensions with Iran have been escalating as well. Earlier this week, the U.S. government alleged that Iranian forces had attacked a tanker in the Gulf of Oman. As The Washington Post reported, the owner of the ship contradicted the allegations.