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Venezuela: a new U.S.–Russia battleground

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on October 4, 2017.
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro at the Kremlin on October 4, 2017. Photo: Yuri Kadobnov/AFP via Getty Images

The Kremlin, buoyed by its success in helping the Assad regime stave off collapse, is trying to pull off a similar trick in a troubled part of America’s backyard: Venezuela. The Trump White House is having none of it, but a new stage is being set for U.S.–Russia confrontation.

The big picture: Putin is less interested in President Nicolás Maduro and his regime than in using him as a thorn in Washington’s side. Venezuela’s crisis provides Putin with a like-minded collaborator eager to denounce the U.S.