When President Donald Trump threatened the Maduro regime in Venezuela with unspecified Military Intervention, eyebrows raised across official Washington and in the media. With a crisis about to boil over into war in Korea, could the United States afford to pick a fight in South America, even against a country whose government is locked in pitched street battles with its people? It turns out that Trump has every reason to worry about the beleaguered Latin American country becoming a strategic headache for the United States. Also, methods exist for applying military pressure that does not involve landing the United States Marines.

Vladimir Putin is making his move

Because Venezuela is in the end stage of socialism, that being economic collapse. Nicolas Maduro is desperate to raise enough cash and credit to keep his regime above water, at least for a few more months. He has turned to selling off the one asset that Venezuela has left, according to Hot Air, that being its Oil Reserves. And Maduro has found an eager buyer in the form of Russia’s biggest state owned oil company, Roseft.

To be sure, Venezuela’s oil reserves are not worth all that much now, the price of fossil fuels being what they are. However, Vladimir Putin can profit by keeping those reserves on the ground which might jack up the worldwide market price of oil, benefiting Russia.

If and when oil enjoys a price hike, Putin can turn on the spigot.

Of course, the takeover of the Venezuelan oil industry is just the beginning. One should not be too surprised if Russia and Venezuela conclude some kind of military alliance, with a naval and air base for Putin’s military that could directly threaten the United States.

In that context, no wonder Trump has started to issue threats.

What military option?

Very likely an invasion of Venezuela by American armed forces is not in the cards. However, the United States can work with South American allies, say Columbia and Brazil, to bring military pressure to bear. The CIA can contact Venezuelan dissident groups, some of whom are arming themselves, and friendly military commanders who might be persuaded to take down Maduro and restore democracy.

Besides the geopolitical aspect of the country’s sliding either into anarchy or a Cuban-style dictatorship, the humanitarian dimension of the crisis cannot be discounted. The Venezuelan people are dying from lack of food, medicine, and other essential goods. Maduro seems to be clueless on how to change that situation. His only solution appears to be to keep shooting and locking up people until things get better. The problem is, they will not get better so long as Maduro is in charge.