Commentary: ‘All options’ has little meaning

On Feb. 3, President Donald Trump again said that U.S. military intervention was a possibility if worse came to worse in Venezuela.

“All options are on the table,” he swaggered the week before.

It has become a signature American threat — all options — born of the 1990 Gulf War against Saddam, one that suggests invasion and full scale conventional war and even nuclear weapons.

As far as war cries go, though, “all options” has little real meaning. Far from affirming the president’s bluster, the Pentagon is, in fact, in possession of no formal campaigns specific to Venezuela, this according to multiple current and senior military officers who are or have been involved in contingency planning. Nuclear weapons are certainly preposterous, they say, but there are also no actual plans, preparations, or, indeed, the inclination for any kind of conventional invasion.

And there is a dirty secret with regard to Venezuela — one that is the case with almost every contingency the Pentagon ponders ― and that is that none of what is actually being bandied about originates in the Trump White House. Most of what does exist was not even formulated under Obama, Bush or Clinton. All of it follows a standard Pentagon playbook and fill-in-the-boxes checklist that should be both comforting for those who think “Trump” commands anything, and sobering for those who think the Pentagon is an amazing acrobat. ..Read More..

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