Come on, man. We’ve got enough to deal with when it comes to Rocket Man. Do we really need another despotic maniac talking about this every day?

I suppose somebody had to be friends with Kim Jong-un and it might as well be another tyrant. Venezuelan “President” Nicolas Maduro has informed his nation that the military must prepare for war with the United States. (As if we don’t have enough on our plates without needing to bomb this cretin.) He delivered this diatribe at a military base in what was clearly a carefully staged media blitz to draw attention away from his own abuses of his people and the deplorable conditions afflicting the citizens of Venezuela. (Newsweek)

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro called on his nation’s military leaders Tuesday to prepare for war against the U.S. days after the Trump administration banned Venezuelan officials from entering the nation.

“We have been shamelessly threatened by the most criminal empire that ever existed and we have the obligation to prepare ourselves to guarantee peace,” said Maduro, who wore a green uniform and a military hat as he spoke with his army top brass during a military exercise involving tanks and missiles. “We need to have rifles, missiles and well-oiled tanks at the ready….to defend every inch of the territory if needs be,” he added.

The Trump administration has taken a hard stance against Maduro’s regime by banning money lending to Venezuela’s government or its state oil company PDVSA, and passing sanctions against Maduro and his top officials.

If this were just Maduro giving another one of his “glory to the revolution” stem-winders that would be one thing. But in what was obviously not a coincidence, there were Russian jets flying over the base as he spoke, taking part in planned military exercises. That’s more of a problem for the west in the long run.

We’ve already discussed the fact that Maduro has China on his side for the most part. They want access to Venezuela’s oil and other natural resources and they really don’t have any ideological problems with a tyrant dismantling all semblances of democracy in the nation and oppressing his own people. (Go figure, right?) But now he’s got the Russians in his corner as well. Putin has come out in recent days and opposed what they refer to as “unilateral sanctions” against the country. Russia’s Foreign Ministry released a statement saying, “We will carefully analyze the implications of the sanctions imposed by the United States, and their possible effect on the interests of Russia and Russian businesses. We can already say that they will not affect our willingness to expand and strengthen cooperation with the friendly nation of Venezuela and its people.”

Of course, the friendly nation of Venezuela isn’t particularly friendly to anyone else at the moment, or it its own people. But much like the Chinese, Russia has business interests there in addition to not minding another socialist / communist counterweight to western democracy in this hemisphere. Any sanctions we impose on Venezuela at this point are going to be severely muted in effect if they have dual lifelines coming in from Beijing and Moscow.

Sadly, the U.S. has a few too many balls in the air right now to dive into this debacle. The idea that we’re preparing to invade Caracas is, of course, absurd hyperbole, but it looks like Nicolas Maduro has some new, powerful friends to help spread his message. Whatever hope remained for the citizens of Venezuela to have a free, prosperous future with democratic representation is quickly fading.