Written by Anthony Constantini
What’s happening: Venezuelans approved a government-backed referendum to absorb an oil-rich region of neighboring Guyana, a military ally of the U.S., which Venezuela has long claimed as its own territory.
Why it matters: That Venezuela even considers invading a U.S. ally shows how weak America’s influence around the world is becoming. The norm against wars for land — long upheld by America — is rapidly disintegrating.
Falling dominoes: Other nations around the world are considering or initiating conquests for land.
- Central Asia: This year, Azerbaijan completed its conquest of the enclave of Ngorno-Karabakh and expelled the ethnic Armenian population.
- Africa: Ethiopia’s Prime Minister recently said access to the Red Sea was critical for his landlocked country and that Ethiopia would use force to obtain it.
- Eastern Europe: Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 was strongly opposed at first, but much of the West appears to be moving on. It seems likely the war will end with Russia gaining territory and weakening what is left of America’s world order.
What’s next: Brazilian intelligence claims that Venezuela is planning an imminent invasion. Although the U.S. has announced air exercises in Guyana, President Joe Biden’s potential response is hampered by his recent removal of sanctions on Venezuela in exchange for help with stopping illegal migration to the U.S.