Part of the President’s fiery speech before the United Nations yesterday featured a very blunt assessment of the deplorable conditions in Venezuela in particular and a blanket condemnation of socialism in general. While calling for a restoration of democracy there (or at least as close as they came to any sort of actual democracy in the modern era), Trump also indicated that we may have to take further “action” to assist the beleaguered citizens of that nation. What the “action” in question might be wasn’t specified, but he got his point across.

There are a couple of problems with such a plan however and they largely concern China and, to a lesser extent, Russia. Most of the world is willing to have our backs if we need to take on North Korea, be it with sanctions or even military action in the event of a first strike by Kim. But there is no such unanimity of support on the subject of Nicolas Maduro and his subjugation of the Venezuelan people. China was quick out of the gate after Trump’s speech, indicating that they have no real problem with the way the dictator is running that country and would not be behind any efforts to bring him to heel. (Reuters)

China believes that the Venezuelan government and people can resolve their problems within a legal framework and maintain national stability, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Venezuelan counterpart at the United Nations…

China, a good friend of Venezuela‘s, has brushed off widespread condemnation from the United States, Europe and others about the situation in the country.

Wang told Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza on Tuesday on the sidelines of a U.N. meeting that the two countries have an all-round strategic partnership, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday.

China’s policy towards Venezuela will not change,” the report cited Wang as saying.

China has multiple reasons not to support any aggressive sanctions or other economic measures against Venezuela. For one thing, they import more than six billion dollars worth of oil from them annually and get very favorable rates because of their large investments there and the leverage that provides. Venezuela is also sitting on a host of other natural resources (including gold, by the way) which are available for export and China is quite happy to keep those opportunities close at hand while ignoring any inconvenient stories about protesters being gunned down in the streets.

That brings us to the second part of the equation. Think of what Nicolas Maduro is being accused of right now. Dismantling democratic institutions, isolating his people from international media outlets, massive suppression of civil rights, the imprisonment of political dissidents… any of this sounding familiar? That’s pretty much a picture perfect description of China. Despite their attempts at modernization in their major cities and an increased taste for western luxuries, underneath it all the Chinese government still rules its people with an iron fist, generally without bothering with a velvet glove. Why would they want to sign on to any condemnation of Maduro for behaving exactly like them?

The sanctions that we have against North Korea are barely having any impact as it is and that’s with the support of most of the planet. Yes, China cheats a bit on those with textile imports and such, but for the most part they’ve been on board. Venezuela can expect to have both China and Russia ignoring any international efforts at strong sanctions and those lifelines will likely keep them afloat while drawing them closer into the arms of the major world powers who are not exactly friends of the United States.