Sanctioning a sitting president or vice president is almost unheard of by the United States. Even when it looks beyond obvious that Vladimir Putin had a hand in Trump’s election victory, there were no sanctions against him personally.
Now, the Trump administration has decided to issue fresh sanctions against Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami, claiming that he is deeply involved in ferrying narcotics into the United States.
Very little proof was offered when the White House made the announcement earlier today. Most of it is supposedly related to an “ongoing investigation”.
What is certain though is that no sitting president or vice president has been subjected to accusations as harsh as these since Manuel Noriega in the late 80s. Those sanctions ended up leading to a full scale invasion of Panama and the deaths of several U.S. service members.
This time, the stakes are much higher, since Venezuela produces about 2.3 million barrels of oil per day and is a member of the influential OPEC cabal. An invasion of Venezuela would make the invasion of Panama look like a walk in the park. Not only would global oil prices surge upward, but Venezuela has a functioning military and hundreds of thousands of square miles for a deposed leader to hide. It could quickly become another Iraq war, which has cost American taxpayers at least $1 trillion, and counting.
Donald Trump may very well have lost touch with reality with these new sanctions. His complete disregard for international relations is quickly becoming apparent and the consequences may be dire.