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The Navy Can't Use an Aircraft Carrier to Strike Venezuela

David Axe

David Axe

Security, Americas

Bad news.

The Navy Can't Use an Aircraft Carrier to Strike Venezuela

At any given time on average, a few thousand U.S. troops and a handful of warships are on deployment in the SOUTHCOM area of operation. U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, by contrast, at any given time oversees scores of warships, hundreds of warplanes and more than 100,000 personnel.

A failed coup attempt targeting Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro on April 30 ended in confusion and failure. Russian and Cuban advisors and a strong core of the Venezuelan military continues to support Maduro amid economic collapse and widespread protests.

(This first appeared several weeks ago.)

U.S. president Donald Trump in 2018 threatened military action against Maduro but didn’t make good on the threat. Washington instead imposed sanctions in order to pressure Maduro to step down.

But at least one lawmaker wants to escalate Washington’s involvement in the Venezuelan tragedy. “Cuba, Russia send troops to prop Maduro up in Venezuela … while we talk/sanction,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, on May 3, 2019 tweeted. “Where is our aircraft carrier?”

It’s true that U.S. Southern Command permanently controls none of the U.S. Navy’s 11 aircraft carrier and few other major forces. But there’s a good reason for that. U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in 1973 backed Chilean general Augusto Pinochet in his military coup against the socialist government of Salvador Allende.

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