Matthew Continetti, editor in chief of the Washington Free Beacon, said on Tuesday that Russia was the “key player” in the Venezuelan crisis and that it showed no interest in following the 19th-century U.S. doctrine discouraging interference in Western nations’ affairs.
“I think Russia is the key player here,” Continetti on “Special Report.” “If you look at the Russian actions — from military flights to Venezuela, to inserting… these kind of non-uniformed paramilitary officers, to sending formal military advisers and assistance to Maduro,” he said.
His comments came amid an uprising in which Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido and many supporters have pushed to overthrow the disputed president, Nicolas Maduro, whom both Cuba and Russia supported.
“Russia is clearly trying to overthrow the Monroe Doctrine which for centuries has said no outside interference from outside powers in the Western hemisphere,” he said. The doctrine, named for President James Monroe, was issued in 1823.
Earlier on “Special Report,” Bret Baier interviewed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who blamed Russia for Maduro’s decision to stay in the country. “It’s time for Maduro to leave … and rebuild this once great economy,” Pompeo said.
While it’s unclear how the U.S. will proceed, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said it was “absolutely” possible that the U.S. chould exercise a military option in dealing with Maduro.
“If I were Trump, I would let the Russians and the Cubans know this needs to stop. Any harm to… Guaido and any of his leadership, we’d hold them accountable,” Graham said.
National Security Adviser John Bolton similarly told reporters that while the administration sought a “peaceful transfer of power,” all options were on the table for dealing with the Maduro regime.
“It’s important to keep the military option on the table,” Continetti told Baier, “because you have to have some fear instilled in Maduro and his cronies.”
“What worries me,” he added, “they’re fearing Russia more than they’re fearing the United States.”
Trump, on Tuesday, warned Cuba that he would impose a “full and complete” embargo if it continued meddling in Venezuelan affairs.
“Hopefully, all Cuban soldiers will promptly and peacefully return to their island!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, Samuel Moncada, Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations, blasted Trump and defended Maduro as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.
“This media operation for destabilization has relied on the immediate complicity from abroad,” he also said.
Fox News’ Bret Baier contributed to this report.