U.S. Sen. Doug Jones has a re-election bid coming up next year in Alabama, and unless he has the good fortune of facing an accused child molester again, all signs point to him being a dead man walking. Which means, apparently, that it’s the perfect time to start repeating Donald Trump’s lines on Venezuela.
Appearing on CNN’s Situation Room on Tuesday night after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed, without evidence, that Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro was convinced by the Russian government not to flee the country amid the ongoing attempted coup against him, Jones had some harsh words for both Maduro and the Russians.
“Everyone has to be concerned about what Russia is doing, interfering with our elections, interfering with everything we’re doing,” Jones said. “Maduro needs to leave, and Russia needs to get out and leave—leave our part of the world alone, and let them deal with it.”
There are multiple ways to read this. The least nefarious and therefore dumbest way is that Jones thinks that because the United States is geographically closer to Venezuela than Russia is, it’s “our part of the world.” Which, my man, is not how nation-states work. Also, it’s not even all that accurate. We’re not even on the same continent. You ever try to drive from Birmingham to Caracas? That’s right Doug, you can’t:
A flight from Miami, at the southern tip of the continental U.S., would still take four-plus hours.
The other way to read this comment is that Russia should “stay out” of the U.S.’s sphere of influence, which is an even more fucked-up way to view the situation in Venezuela. The United States, along with the Lima Group of countries in North, Central, and South America, has already intervened in the situation by recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the legitimate leader of Venezuela earlier this year, although the breadth of Guaidó’s political support within his own country has repeatedly proved to be questionable at best.
Not all of Jones’ fellow Democrats are on board with regime change. Last night, Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted that American intervention “will only destabilize the region more and cause even more suffering”:
Listen to your colleague, Doug.