While the world is fixated on the war in Ukraine, the United States is taking provocative military actions against Venezuela and China.
The US and Colombia held military exercises with a nuclear submarine in the Caribbean Sea, near Venezuela, just one day after Washington sent a warship through the Taiwan Strait.
Both Venezuela and China saw the US military moves as clear threats, condemning the actions as provocative.
On February 27 and 28, the US Navy held anti-submarine warfare exercises with the Colombian Navy.
Colombia’s Ministry of Defense boasted that this was the first time they had done a military exercise with a nuclear submarine, the USS Minnesota.
Por primera vez fue utilizado un submarino nuclear en un ejercicio de interoperabilidad entre Colombia y EE.UU. El submarino USS Minnesota 🇺🇸 y el ARC ‘Pijao’ 🇨🇴 pusieron a prueba sus capacidades, ratificando la cooperación y confianza entre ambos países. @ArmadaColombia @USNavy pic.twitter.com/WcGkBsVlvL
— Mindefensa (@mindefensa) February 28, 2022
US Southern Command (Southcom) shared photos of the exercises on its official Instagram account.
The Colombian Defense Ministry emphasized that the exercise highlighted the “interoperability between Colombia and the US.”
The private intelligence firm Stratfor, which is popularly known as the “shadow CIA,” noted that the US military exercises with Colombia were “within [the] scope of NATO.”
Although the US-led military alliance is called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the South American nation is decidedly not in the North Atlantic region, Colombia is a special “partner” of NATO.
It is NATO’s first and only “partner” in Latin America.
Washington and Bogotá claimed the exercises were aimed at fighting drug trafficking, but in reality Colombia’s government is deeply linked to drug cartels, organized crime, and violent paramilitary groups.
Colombia’s former president Álvaro Uribe, the most powerful politician in the country and a top ally of Washington, works closely with drug cartels and death squads. And Colombia’s current, far-right president, Iván Duque, only came to power because Uribe ordered an infamous drug dealer, Ñeñe Hernández, to buy votes for him.
The Colombian Navy said it felt “proud” to collaborate with the US military and deepen their integration.
🚢 La @ArmadaColombia se siente orgullosa de hacer parte de la operación “Contralmirante José David Espitia Jiménez” en aguas del Caribe, para el progreso de la educación marítima, siendo participe de la protección y el desarrollo de los intereses nacionales. 🇺🇸🇨🇴 pic.twitter.com/nBHTPJFGYL
— Armada de Colombia (@ArmadaColombia) February 28, 2022
For its part, Venezuela recognized the US-Colombian military exercises near its borders with a nuclear submarine as a blatant threat.
Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino tweeted, “Why is there such imperialist flashiness? Is this a copy of NATO expansion in the Mediterranean of the Americas?”
“You don’t battle drug trafficking, the war in Arauca [in Colombia], systematic murders and terrorist groups with nuclear submarines,” he wrote. “I categorically reject this.”
¿Para qué tanta ostentación imperialista?¿Es una réplica de la expansión Otanista en el Mediterráneo de América? El narcotráfico, la guerra en Arauca, los asesinatos sistemáticos y los grupos terroristas no se combaten con submarinos nucleares. Lo rechazo de manera categórica. pic.twitter.com/aDeLONv5AO
— Vladimir Padrino L. (@vladimirpadrino) February 28, 2022
US sends warship through Taiwan Strait
Just one day before these US-Colombian naval exercises started, Washington threatened China by sending a large warship through the Taiwan Strait.
On February 26, the US Navy’s guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson sailed through the narrow strait.
— U.S. Naval Institute (@NavalInstitute) February 28, 2022
China condemned the exercise as “provocative.”
“It is hypocritical and futile for the US to conduct this provocative action in an attempt to bolster the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces,” the Chinese military said.
Beijing’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, then added, “If the US wants to embolden the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces in this way, then we have this to say to the US: such move will only accelerate the demise of the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces.”
“The US will also pay a heavy price for its adventurist act,” he continued. “If the US tries to intimidate and pressure China in this way, then we have this stern warning: the so-called military deterrence will be reduced to scrap iron when facing the steely great wall of the 1.4 billion Chinese people.”
Comment on the US guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson's recently sail through the Taiwan Strait and all the hype. pic.twitter.com/j5RXw7Vw28
— XIE Yongjun 解勇军 (@XIEYongjun_CHN) March 1, 2022