Matthews Thinks WH Standing Up to Maduro, Leveling Sanctions Is Making Venezuela Worse

On two consecutive editions of Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews offered concerns Tuesday and Wednesday night about the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president and level sanctions against the murderous Nicolas Maduro regime, applying further pressure to the failed socialist utopia.

During Tuesday’s show, Matthews was interviewing Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown (D) when he lashed out at the federal government’s response to Venezuela as cameras caught National Security Adviser John Bolton with a note about “5,000 troops to Colombia.”

 

 

“That language, Senator, all options on the table, is scary. It’s the kind of neocon talk, and it’s been brought into this White House, if not by Trump personally, by this character John Bolton, who does want to invade every country in sight. What do you make of this? What happened to the guy said no more stupid wars,” Matthews screeched.

Not surprisingly, Brown responded that he wants “free and fair elections in Venezuela.” But otherwise, Brown blasted the administration’s behavior as “reckless and irresponsible” and that “you don’t start off by...in any way threatening military action” but instead should “work with your allies, another thing the President rarely does, whether it’s tariffs...or whether it’s working on any kind of international diplomacy.”

Moving to Wednesday, Matthews resurrected that point to liar, Communist voter, and former Obama-era CIA Director John Brennan: “Do you think he might go to war with Venezuela or Iran to get him out of this political problems? Would he wag the dog?”

Matthews was interviewing China-loving New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman after Brennan when Friedman brought up failed states like Venezuela as a geopolitical challenge.

This gave the MSNBC pundit an opening to condemn the Trump administration for trying to, you know, stand up for freedom and the Venezuelans risking their lives against the Maduro regime: “Aren’t we through our sanctions we are pushing now against Venezuela causing more migration, more problems in that country economically?”

Just as Bill Nye did on Tuesday with climate change and illegal immigration, Friedman swatted down Matthews’s non-sense: “Well, a lot — a lot of people already spilled. There’s probably thee million refugees in the states around Venezuela. These are problems from hell. Managing weakness is one of the hardest things in the world.”

Matthews then responded and tried to ramble on, but Friedman wasn’t having it. Here’s part of it (click “expand”):

MATTHEWS: Okay. Wag the dog. Do you see it? Is the coming? I listen — you put together John Bolton, a recognized global hawk, not just Middle East. He is everywhere he wants to fight. He is talking very tough. He apparently scribbled on his notebook the other day, 5,000 troops to Columbia on the border with Venezuela. Are we going to war down there to save Trump’s problems here at home?

FRIEDMAN: I kind of doubt it right now. What I say about Trump, he reminds me a little of Bibbi Netanyahu in this sense. Both tough talkers but actually Bibbi today has tended to be very cautious. I’m not sure Trump who has been trying to get us out of the Middle East is so eager to send troops down to Latin America and I have no idea what he is thinking right now, but one thing I know for sure —

MATTHEWS: What about the chemistry of these two guys?

FRIEDMAN:  — let me just finish — okay, let finish this point. These problems like Venezuela or like Afghanistan or like Syria, one thing we know for sure, they can only be solved by multilateral solutions. You need a lot of allies, a lot of partners to try to go alone into any of these things would truly be a fool’s errand.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on January 29, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
January 29, 2019
7:23 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Despite that, the Trump administration last week officially recognized an opposition figure as the acting president of Venezuela and, yesterday, the President’s national security adviser, John Bolton, startled reporters when he appeared in the White House Briefing Room with a yellow pad that had a scribbled line on it that read “5,000 troops to Colombia.” When asked about the note, the White House told reporters that all options are on the table. That language, Senator, all options on the table, is scary. It’s the kind of neocon talk, and it’s been brought into this White House, if not by Trump personally, by this character John Bolton, who does want to invade every country in sight. What do you make of this?

OHIO DEMOCRATIC SENATOR SHERROD BROWN: Well —

MATTHEWS: What happened to the guy said no more stupid wars?

BROWN: — yeah. I mean, in the clip you — Trump himself used the word reckless and in this behavior in Venezuela is reckless and irresponsible. You don’t — you don’t start off by — by in any way threatening military action. You work with your allies, another thing the president rarely does, whether it’s tariffs, or whether it’s working on — in Iran, or whether it’s working on any kind of international diplomacy. The President rarely works with Canada and the E.U. and our allies around the world and this is a time — we want free and fair elections in Venezuela, of course and we bring our allies into this, not with threats of military action, but with good diplomatic skill and that’s the way to move forward in this. I mean, you look at the President’s views of institutions that we believe in, from NATO to things such as the Paris climate accord — agreement, all of those kinds of things that we should be part, and this President has pushed away, obviously.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on January 30, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
January 30, 2019
7:08 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Do you think he might go to war with Venezuela or Iran to get him out of this political problems? Would he wag the dog?

BRENNAN: I certainly hope not and I’m hoping that the officials in the White House and the Pentagon and the intelligence community will stop him from doing that.

MATTHEWS: Interesting projection.

(....)

7:12 p.m. Eastern

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: And on the other side, you have weakening states. So you know, one of the hardest things to manage actually in geopolitics is weakness. States falling apart and you mean like Venezuela or in Central American states spilling out people and to manage weakness on one side and rising powers on the other takes incredible deftness which I don’t see on this President.

MATTHEWS: Aren’t we through our sanctions we are pushing now against Venezuela causing more migration, more problems in that country economically?

FRIEDMAN: Well, a lot — a lot of people already spilled. There’s probably thee million refugees in the states around Venezuela. These are problems from hell. Managing weakness is one of the hardest things in the world.

MATTHEWS: Okay. Wag the dog. Do you see it? Is the coming? I listen — you put together John Bolton, a recognized global hawk, not just Middle East. He is everywhere he wants to fight. He is talking very tough. He apparently scribbled on his notebook the other day, 5,000 troops to Columbia on the border with Venezuela. Are we going to war down there to save Trump’s problems here at home?

FRIEDMAN: I kind of doubt it right now. What I say about Trump, he reminds me a little of Bibbi Netanyahu in this sense. Both tough talkers but actually Bibbi today has tended to be very cautious. I’m not sure Trump who has been trying to get us out of the Middle East is so eager to send troops down to Latin America and I have no idea what he is thinking right now, but one thing I know for sure —

MATTHEWS: What about the chemistry of these two guys?

FRIEDMAN:  — let me just finish — okay, let finish this point. These problems like Venezuela or like Afghanistan or like Syria, one thing we know for sure, they can only be solved by multilateral solutions. You need a lot of allies, a lot of partners to try to go alone into any of these things would truly be a fool’s errand.

MATTHEWS: Let me tell you something. If John Bolton, his head of national security, and Hillary Clinton, a moderate Democrat as President, I would be worried because Bolton wants to go to war.

FRIEDMAN: Well, you know, he may want to go to war but the American people don’t want to go to war right now. I can tell you that for sure.

MATTHEWS: I agree with that. By the way, I remember a guy saying he was against stupid wars. Remember him? Where is he?

NB Daily Foreign Policy Latin America South America Venezuela Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Hardball Video Chris Matthews Tom Friedman Sherrod Brown Donald Trump Nicolas Maduro
Curtis Houck's picture


Sponsored Links