In his speech to the graduating class of West Point, Vice President Mike Pence hinted at the possibility of U.S. military intervention in Venezuela. As part of his commencement address, Pence declared that the world is a “dangerous place,” and that the new soldiers should expect to see combat. “Some of you will join the fight against radical Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq,” the vice-president said, referring to the United States’ efforts to eradicate groups such as ISIS, the Taliban, and Al-Qaeda. A vaguer and more worrying part of the vice president’s speech was when he told the graduates that “Some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere.”

The part of this hemisphere that Pence was most likely referring to is Venezuela, which has been engulfed in a national crisis since January when the head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, declared himself acting president. Guaidó accused the sitting president, Nicolás Maduro, of manipulating the elections in order to win illegitimately. Citing articles 233 and 333 of the Venezuelan Constitution, which state that the head of the National Assembly should assume the presidency in such a case, Guaidó announced that he was the legitimate president, with all the powers of the executive. This action split the country in two, inciting an often violent conflict between Maduro, who is supported by such Cold War allies as Russia and China, and Guaidó, who has the support of most of the international world, including the United States.


While the current administration has publicly refrained from mentioning a possible military intervention in Venezuela, Pence’s comments indicate that it is not unlikely that the U.S. will attempt to unseat Maduro by force. Donald Trump‘s government has become increasingly militaristic with the inclusion of hawks such as John Bolton into the president’s decision-making circle. As tensions escalate between the United States and North Korea, China, Russia and Venezuela, it seems that Pence was correct when he said that it’s a dangerous world out there.

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