Here’s the reality: Even though Trump wants Venezuelan regime change and his subordinates keep pushing for “all options,” the president is keenly aware that U.S. military intervention is not a credible option. It’s not even a good bluff. Even if greater control over Venezuelan oil and American regional hegemony is a likely outcome of regime change in Caracas, it is nearly impossible for Trump to commit U.S. troops to making that happen.
This is Trump’s conundrum.
POTUS is unlikely to send troops for two reasons: First, he is stuck with the “Trump Doctrine” that recognizes the sanctity of sovereignty. According to this policy, what happens domestically in any nation is that country’s business. He has articulated this at every turn, defended it in multiple settings and circumstances, and has paid the political price for enshrining its primacy in cases ranging from the Jamal Khashoggi killing to Kim Jong Un’s unchallengeable leadership and unrequited love. The Trump Doctrine justifies both Russian President Vladimir Putin’s and China’s President Xi Jinping’s weak-sauce electoral legitimacy.
Second, Trump wants to end foreign entanglements and not start new “stupid” military conflicts. He clearly articulated this during the campaign and in office.