Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Our Childlike, Emotional Leaders: The Latest Episode

Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, posted a thread on Twitter yesterday in which he blasted Donald Trump for botching the coup in Venezuela.  That's right: he doesn't object to the coup itself, or to interfering in the elections of other countries, he's just pissed that Trump failed to bring it off.  He doesn't seem to recognize the Venezuelan opposition's failure in the job; like them, he presumably thought the US would do the heavy lifting and hand the country over to them.  It's a remarkably petulant performance, and would be amusing if real people's lives weren't at stake.

Aside from calling coup frontman Juan Guaidó "charismatic," and thereby continuing the tradition of American male elites going all moist over brown-skinned strongmen, Murphy made an interesting admission:
Then, it got real embarrassing. In April 2019, we tried to organize a kind of coup, but it became a debacle. Everyone who told us they’d rally to Guaido got cold feet and the plan failed publicly and spectacularly, making America look foolish and weak.
It's remarkable because respectable US media have been working hard to deny that there was, or had been a coup against Maduro -- as they also have about the later coup in Bolivia.  Mainstream US coverage of Venezuela has been dishonest and anti-democratic for years, so this is no surprise.

I'd like to know who Murphy had in mind as the "we" who "tried to organize a kind of coup."  Bipartisan support for a coup in Venezuela is not exactly a surprise.  Most senior Congressional Democrats were onboard for removing Maduro with Guaidó while distancing themselves from overt military action, and even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hesitated to speak out against American interference with other countries' politics.  By making a big deal of their opposition to an invasion, they could distract from their acceptance of the US' right to control other countries in other ways.  But Murphy has let the cat out of the bag: whoever "we" were, he's one of them.

Murphy tries to put all the blame on Trump, but some of it has to fall on "we," including him.  And he's no angel: he's been agitating for the overthrow of the Bolivarian government for some time, as in this January 2019 op-ed for the Washington Post, co-authored with the former Obama flunky Ben Rhodes.

It's no surprise that there was a lot of pushback to Murphy's thread.  Notable to me were the number of people who believed that if Biden is elected, everything will be okay.  In some cases they made it clear that they wanted to overthrow Maduro and were just angry that Trump had failed to do it because of Putin.  (Murphy also blamed Putin for Trump's failure to bring off the coup, though it's more likely, given Trump's notoriously evanescent attention span, that when Maduro didn't fall right away, he just lost interest in the game.)  Some were sure that Biden would be better in some undefined way, but this isn't likely: Biden also wants Maduro removed by any means feasible.  He has differences with Trump on Venezuela, but they're minor and technical.  A Biden administration will continue the strangulation of Venezuela; it's what Barack would wantCorporate media also have faith.

The corporate media covered the hearings Murphy referred to in this thread, but not his talk about his "kind of coup."  I suppose it's not news.