A Coup For Wall Street: Why We’ll Probably Invade Venezuela

Written by Jason Simpkins
Posted January 31, 2019

On Sunday, National Security Adviser John Bolton made clear that the Trump administration is prepared to take military action should Venezuela’s embattled president, Nicolás Maduro, cross a proverbial red line.

“Any violence and intimidation against U.S. diplomatic personnel, Venezuela’s democratic leader, Juan Guaidó, or the National Assembly itself would represent a grave assault on the rule of law and will be met with a significant response,” Bolton said.

The very next day, Bolton stood before the press and announced a fresh round of sanctions on Venezuela, effectively repossessing the country’s U.S. assets and awarding them to Maduro’s opposition, Juan Guaidó.

“Look, the president has made it very clear on this matter that all options are on the table,” he said.

But that’s not all.

When Bolton went to leave, he accidentally exposed his notepad, revealing two key points.

The first said, “Afghanistan → welcome the talks.” And the second said, “5,000 troops to Colombia.”

Bolton Columbia Note

Naturally, this has increased speculation that the United States will use military force to topple the Maduro regime.

And while that’s not a given, it’s something I think is increasingly likely — not just because the situation is spiraling out of control, but because there are spoils to be had.

What kind of spoils?

Well, Bolton spelled it out recently in an interview with Fox Business when he said the following:

“We’re in conversation with major American companies now that are either in Venezuela, or in the case of Citgo, here the United States. I think we’re trying to get to the same end result here... It’ll make a big difference to the United States economically, if we can have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela. It’d be good for the people of Venezuela it’d be good for the people of the United States.”

In one sense, this was surprising.

A Western, free-market, democratic nation — especially one as wealthy and influential as the United States — doesn’t typically threaten to topple a foreign regime and take its oil.

Of course, that’s not to say we haven’t done it…

I think we can all freely admit, at this point, that that’s exactly what we did in Iraq.

And incidentally, John Bolton, serving as the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security in the Bush administration, was one of the biggest proponents of the Iraq invasion.

He was among those who insisted the Iraqis would greet American troops as liberators, and colleagues accused him of manipulating intelligence to make a case for war.

Thanks in large part to his efforts, the United States toppled the oil-rich, anti-American Hussein regime, gaining access to its oil assets.

There is no question that Bolton succeeded in that capacity.

For the first time in 30 years, Western oil companies are exploring for and producing oil in Iraq.

That includes ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, and Shell, as well as American oil services companies like Halliburton, the Texas-based firm Dick Cheney ran before becoming vice president.

"Of course it's about oil,” Gen. John Abizaid, former head of U.S. Central Command and Military Operations in Iraq, said in 2007. “We can't really deny that."

But here’s the thing: If you ask President Trump, we didn’t do a good enough job.

Or as he put it in this 2013 tweet:

Trump Iraq Oil Tweet

Indeed, while U.S. oil companies made out with a share of Iraq’s spoils, they didn’t get everything. They’ve had to share the bounty with competitors from Europe, China, and Russia.

In Trump’s perspective, America as a country should have taken everything — seizing not only service and production contracts, but the actual physical oil itself.

Remember the old expression, ‘To the victor belong the spoils,” Trump said in 2016. “Remember I always used to say ‘keep the oil.’ I wasn’t a fan of Iraq. I didn’t want to go into Iraq. But I will tell you, when we were in we got out wrong. And I always said in addition to that, ‘Keep the oil’.”

Well, now here’s where I point out that Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world.

Global Oil Reserves

Furthermore, that oil is of a unique quality that’s very well suited to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast. That type of crude is difficult to find right now, mostly because of declining oil production in Mexico. But Venezuela has it in spades.

So while it’s somewhat surprising to hear Bolton explicitly use Venezuela’s oil as an incentive for U.S. intervention, I can’t say it’s a shock.

Especially, when the United States has a history of toppling antagonistic regimes in South America and invading countries with vast oil reserves.

And on top of that, we have a president who has repeatedly called for the U.S. to seize Iraq’s oil as recompense for its military expenditures.

Given all that, I think it’s fair to anticipate U.S. military intervention in Venezuela.

Of course, that’s not to say it’s a given. Maduro has been effectively backed into a corner. His regime could collapse on its own. But if it endures, and the military stands fast by his side, then it’s really only a matter of time before we go in guns blazing.

And if that’s the case, you can expect defense contractors (and probably oil companies) to see some sizable gains.

In fact, I launched my stock advisory, The Wealth Warrior, for situations just like this.

I focus exclusively on defense stocks and security companies that benefit from global instability.

You can find out more about that, and my latest report, right here.

Fight on,

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Jason Simpkins

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Jason Simpkins is Assistant Managing Editor of the Outsider Club and Investment Director of The Wealth Warrior, a financial advisory focused on security companies and defense contractors. For more on Jason, check out his editor's page. 

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