The week in foreign policy: Rubio warns Venezuela about 'consequences'

Image: A wounded protester shows his back as riot police clash with opposit
A protester shows his wounded back as riot police clash with opposition demonstrators in Caracas, Venezuela, on Wednesday. Copyright ederico Parra
By Rick Bosh with NBC News World News
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Insight on the chaos in Venezuela, a "last chance" for diplomacy with Kim Jong Un, and a bipartisan show of support for allies overseas.


Each week Andrea Mitchell sits down with top U.S. lawmakers and foreign policy experts to bring viewers insight on critical global developments and in-depth analysis on what's going on behind the scenes. Here are some highlights.


Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio reinforced the Trump administration's support for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó on Thursday while sending a clear message to socialist leader Nicolás Maduro's regime.

Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans filled the streets of Caracas on Wednesday, calling for Maduro's removal weeks after an inauguration leaders in the U.S. and several other countries are calling illegitimate.

Rubio, a member of the Senate subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, told the show that "if any harm should come to these diplomats from the United States I want everybody to know the consequences I believe from this administration, that they'll impose, will be swift and they'll decisive."

He added: "I know this for a certainty."


The lines of communication between Trump and Kim Jong Un remained open this week, highlighted by another exchange of letters. The president expressed optimism for "another good meeting" Thursday in a tweet, one week after an Oval Office meeting with North Korean negotiator Kim Yong Chol.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to participants of the World Economic Forum in Davos via a video link, telling attendees that negotiations with North Korea are ongoing ahead of the Trump administration's proposed February meeting.

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Nuclear weapons policy expert and Ploughshares CEO Joe Cirincione joined Andrea to highlight the stakes involved in a potential second summit, saying "it may be our last chance."

"President Moon [Jae-in] of South Korea has been working with Kim of North Korea to work out a step," said Cirincione, "a major step that would be taken, an agreement for North Korea to dismantle a particular site if not declare all of them in exchange for some sanctions relief and a big gift, a declaration for the end of the Korean War."


The U.S. House of Representatives made a powerful bipartisan show of support to allies overseas this week with a vote of 357-22 to prohibit the use of federal funds to withdraw the United States from NATO.

Andrea spoke with the bill's sponsor, California Rep. Jimmy Panetta, about the next steps in Congress.

Panetta called on the Senate to take up their version of the bill so both chambers can combine the legislation and send it to Trump's desk.

"It's going to be put in front of the president", said Panetta, "and then hopefully the president, as he said the other day that we're 100 percent with NATO. If so sign my bill."

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