Part 1 – In Your Face
In mid-November, the South American nation of Guyana appealed for help to both the United Nations and the International Court of Justice, which just handed down a sternly worded finding on 12/1/2023 on the matter. Guyana, which shares its western border with Venezuela, became justifiably alarmed after Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro’s government scheduled a public referendum for December 3, 2023, “asking” the Venezuelan people if they would be okay with annexing the Essequibo region from Guyana – which comprises some two-thirds of Guyana.
So – what’s going on, and why should you care? In reverse order, the reasons you need to care about this are simple.
First, unlike the current wars in Ukraine and Israel, this is on the proverbial doorstep of the United States. Second, is that seemingly tired old problem: oil. Third, the very fact that this has even come up, is yet one more pointed demonstration of the abject and total failures of both the Biden administration, and the neo-con RINO’s desperately clinging to power inside the GOP, best described by GOP candidate Vivek Ramaswamy as “Dick Cheney in three inch heels”.
Venezuela and Guyana form part of the northern coast of South America. Any war in South America is of preeminent importance to the United States, because of the potential to spill onto the United States’ doorstep, in addition to all the other problems spilling over a border that the Biden administration apparently believes not to exist. A Venezuelan attempt to “flex” for imperialist territorial expansion would – and threatens to do so – lead to a much wider war, as Brazil’s territorial integrity is also threatened by Maduro’s actions.
The question is, why? The answer is simple: oil.
Venezuela has been tied into the global petroleum extraction network since the early 1900’s; indeed, the country was the world’s third largest producer of crude oil in 1940, and was the tenth largest producer in 2008. However, beginning in the mid-1970’s, a series of terrible decisions by successive governments nationalized the country’s oil industries. This resulted in the companies whose plants were confiscated politely refusing to continue to perform maintenance and upkeep on the systems…that should not have come as a surprise to anyone, but apparently did. And, as the oil infrastructure fell apart, Venezuela was unable to attract another other foreign companies to invest in their national oil fields, which – again – should have surprised no one.
As a result, the spiraling failures of Maduro’s increasingly socialism-driven economy and government has created a growing and increasingly desperate need to revive the country’s only remaining viable export industry, in his case, by bringing in Iranian technicians to try and get the nation’s oil industry back on its feet…If that sounds like a disturbing idea – Iranians flooding into a country within easy striking distance of the United States – that’s because it is.
So, how does this relate to Guyana?
In 2008, as Venezuela doubled down on excluding foreign companies from its oil industry, ExxonMobil (one of the companies forced out by Venezuela) began exploring the offshore region of Guyana, on the hunch that since the two countries were physical neighbors, there should have been a high likelihood that Guyana should possess exploitable reserves…and, in 2015, Esso (a subsidiary of ExxonMobil) hit paydirt, discovering the first of several rich offshore oil fields off Guyana’s Caribbean coastline. After a series of negotiations, on 19 September of 2023, Guyana authorized several oil companies – including ExxonMobil – to begin drilling in their offshore fields.
An increasingly desperate Maduro, seeing the continuing disaster of his party’s long-discredited Socialist policies, chose this moment to revive an old territorial dispute that Venezuela had chosen not to pursue, which laid a Venezuelan claim to some two-thirds of Guyanese territory…that part, or course, that contains most of the new oil fields.
For those readers of “a certain age”, if this sounds a little like 1981-1982 in the South Atlantic, you are not alone. Forty-odd years ago, another South American dictator sniffed rumors of oil in an area his country had long-claimed, and – with tensions mounting at home over disastrous economic policies and midnight death squads everywhere – Argentinean junta leader General Leopoldo Galtieri decided that the United Kingdom would not fight over the Falkland Islands, if not too much blood was spilled invading them. Turns out, he was very wrong.
Maduro’s “popular” referendum is a clear attempt to justify an invasion, one that is sickeningly lopsided, as the Guyanese military is barely 3% the size of Venezuela’s armed Forces…the ringer being, of course, being Brazil, whose armed forces outmatch Venezuela’s by at least double, if not triple…The possible consequences of a desperate Socialist country sparking a regional war that could disrupt not just oil production but commercial shipping in the Caribbean, in general, are something every American needs to be worried about.
But then, there is the last question: Why does Maduro think that he can get away with Saddam Hussein-levels of bad decisions? In a word – Joe Biden and the Democrat-Neo-Con alliance, which desires a weak United States, one that they think that they can rally to their side like FDR did in 1941.
That they cannot do so, because of the actions they have taken in public – not even bothering to hide it – have so soured their potential recruiting bases, that they cannot meet their manpower needs without reviving the Draft…which even their supporters in the deluded Left are stating a flat, hard-no to.
If this sounds pessimistic – it is. Expect shortages, if Maduro thinks his calculus is correct…which it might be, unlike Saddam’s.
Part 2 – Saying the Quiet Part Out Loud
But, on the other side of the world, another “Rumble in the Jungle” is brewing: Myanmar/Burma’s ruling military clique, the so-called “Tatmadaw”, is collapsing. In this, the only real question is if the radical Socialist junta will go down like the collapse of the Somoza regime of Nicaragua in 1979, and the following multi-sided civil war (encouraged, being fair to history, by the United States) or if it will go the way of Yugoslavia – violent and bloody, but mercifully short, in comparison.
Beginning in late October of 2023, a coalition of formerly rival ethnic/tribal groups in Myanmar united in a virtually unheard of alliance, to launch a massive, coordinated offensive across the country, swiftly overrunning several regime military bases along the Myanmar/Communist China border, and forcing the surrender of several military units in their entirety. This is causing a collapse in morale, both among troops and in their families, who are now being forced to pull security for their deployed husband’s military bases. In fact, the junta has begun mobilizing civil servants and local police as second-line military forces, to try and stem the tsunami of military defeat.
Obviously, the Freedomist has been remarking on this situation for some time, mostly in the context of the 3-D printing revolution. The facts are that the world was content – again – to allow a brutal, dictatorial regime to make a mockery of civilized society, because the profit margin is so high.
For Communist China, however, Myanmar is far from a laughing matter. The ruling junta, the “Tatmadaw”, is a vital component in the CCP’s “Belt & Road Initiative”, and if their allies in the junta go the way of Somoza or Yugoslavia, their entire plan is in jeopardy. What Communist China chooses to do about this is anyone’s guess.
Part 3 – Where Do We Go From Here?
Functionally, the moves by Maduro’s Venezuela are far more important to the United States in the immediate short-term. The hopeful collapse of the Myanmar regime, while definitely of regional importance in the Indian Ocean region, is mostly of academic interest for the US. While that may sound harsh and uncaring, it is not. It is simply the recognition of global realities.
The United States – for good or ill – is committed to the support of both Israel and Ukraine. And, as it and its European allies have discovered, neo-con fever dreams mixed with deranged, far-Left utopian word-salad does not equate to valid battle calculus, even in the short term.
The world is racing towards a cliff, and the leaders of the nations most capable of preventing that from happening are too concerned with pet delusions to even start getting a handle on the problem.
2024 is looking pretty grim, at present.
You should take action to protect yourselves, and those you are responsible for, now.
Washington and London certainly aren’t.