President Donald Trump should act on Venezuela's dictatorship as Ronald Reagan did on Grenada's in 1983, former CIA Director James Woolsey tells Newsmax TV.
Woolsey, appearing Friday on "Newsmax Now," told host John Bachman that diplomacy should be tried first, of course, but that disputed president Nicolas Maduro or the reported 15,000 Cuban troops reported to be inside the country are likely to leave.
The presence of Cuban troops, Woolsey noted, is a clear violation of the charter of the Organization of American States.
"I think we're not going to resolve the situation in Venezuela without getting rid of the Cuban occupiers, which is the backbone of Maduro and the totalitarian powers-that-be there," he said.
"I would start by being friendly, by suggesting that the Cubans might want to leave, by suggesting that Maduro stand down and let the real president take over," Woolsey said. "And then if they don't do that — and they almost certainly will not — I don't see a real alternative to using force in Venezuela, and I think the target is not the Venezuelan armed forces. They will swing with whoever is in control."
If the United States is not willing to do in Venezuela what it did in Grenada the result will be a strategic Russian military base flying bombers out of Venezuela into Latin America as well as other "dominating steps," Woolsey warned.
"The Cubans and the Russians are in bed together on this, and diplomacy is not going to work," he said. "They want to dominate part of the Western Hemisphere, and this is their step in that direction."
The Trump administration has steadfastly maintained it has no plans for a military attack, though it has thrown its wholehearted supported behind opposition leader and self-proclaimed President Juan Guaido. But Woolsey said he sees no other solution than that taken by Reagan in when the military was sent into Grenada to overthrow the Marxist regime that had taken control.
"Ronald Reagan was briefed with a force structure that could go into Grenada, and he said, 'OK, double the number of helicopters,'" Woolsey said. "And the staff all said, 'But, Mr. President, we've done this very detailed analysis, and our algorithms all say this is right.' And he said, 'I don't care. If Jimmy Carter had doubled the number of helicopters [in the failed effort to rescue the American hostages in Iran] he'd be sitting here today. Double the number of helicopters.' That's the spirit we need in the White House for this."
Woolsey also talked about threat from North Korea, which he said is not so much from an actual nuclear weapon striking the United States as from an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack in space that would cripple the country by shutting down the electrical grid.
"They are perfectly capable of doing that now — not necessarily through shooting a missle at the United States and hitting the target with a nuclear weapon, but by putting a basic nuclear device inside a satellite … and when it passes over the center part of the United States detonating it," he said.
"The electric grid goes, it's not just the lights: it's food, it's water, it's your calculations on how much money you have because that's ones and zeros in a computer somewhere. And if all the ones and zeros go away, what do you own? Communications — all gone," Woolsey warned.
It won't just be warm beer and no lights, he noted. The military opearated off the civilian electric grid, so the military wouldn't be able to function either.
Woolsey has some optimism Trump can deal with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, however.
"Best case scenario is his negotiating skills pay off and he sells Kim Jong Un on a slow stand down, though it would still be a nuclear power for a long time," he said. "But if they begin to move into a posture of being a decent state, or at least even a halfway decent state instead of the totalitarian horror they are now he would have accomplished something rather major. And he's a skillful negotiator; he might pull something off."
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