Maduro seems to be following his Syrian counterpart’s model, albeit on a much smaller scale. After Assad’s victory, the United States and the rest of the civilized world cannot also allow Maduro to win. Beyond being morally abhorrent, a victory for Maduro, coupled with Assad’s conquest over the same time period, would send a clear message to dictators and rogue regimes around the world: fight with as much brutality as possible and you will get your way, without having to be held accountable; the West will condemn but do nothing more. Such a world would become a playground for anti-American autocrats, and the norms that underpinned the stable world order following World War II would dissolve into nothingness.

Beyond morality, if Maduro survives, Venezuela, located only three hours from Miami by plane, would serve more than ever as a hub for America’s enemies. Look at which dictatorships have backed Maduro: China, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, the Palestinian Authority Russia, Syria, and Turkey. How would a victory for Maduro not be a threat to the United States?