Venezuela’s Demise Is A Geopolitical Litmus Test For The U.S.

Monday, August 7, 2017
By Paul Martin

by Grgeory Copley via,
Aug 7, 2017

Is Venezuela’s 2017 transformation symptomatic of the growing global polarization? And does it show how the collapse of globalism is resulting in the re-emergence of a range of governmental forms which no longer even need to acknowledge “Western-style” democracy?

Are we seeing the revival of a bloc of pre-Westphalian nation-states with major power support?

That is, societies which are not based on the balanced, nation-state concept which evolved from the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Westphalian-style states have come to mean nation-states which married entire societies and leaderships to their geography and were imbued with legitimacy because of the relationships — tacit, historical, or electoral — between the societies and their governance. In shorthand terms: Westphalianism implies sovereignty underpinned by legitimacy. The term “pre-Westphalian”, used here for the first time, implies a form of despotism (control of a population without its consent); a lack of the rule of laws agreed by the society, and therefore a lack of structure (and therefore sovereignty) as recognized by its own population.

Some trends are emerging which show how different the 21st Century global strategic architecture will be from the 20th. The present Venezuelan Government has abandoned even a pretense of adherence to what the West calls democracy. For some states, a return to autocracy is seen as the only avenue to escape total loss of power by governing élites, even though history has demonstrated how fragile and vulnerable such power structures can quickly become.

Venezuelan Pres. Nicolás Maduro’s stage-managed July 30, 2017, “election” of a new National Constituent Assembly may have set the paradigm for how governments in the emerging post-democratic world can sustain nation-states which owe nothing to the global order. It is not a new model, and it may not endure. But it is a model which has some chance of survival (with little economic success) in a world in which major powers find it inconvenient or difficult to intervene against such states. Or if there are no pressures to overturn major power disinterest.

In this instance, the declining power of Venezuela’s petroleum exports not only damage the internal economy (given that 95 percent of the nation’s foreign exchange is earned from oil), it limits Venezuela’s importance as either partner or target for foreign powers.

The Venezuelan election swept away any pretense that Mr. Maduro’s Government would now be recognized internationally on any other grounds than the fact that it physically controlled the territory of the Venezuelan State.

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