Washington has given no thought to unilateral interference for America’s reputation, international law, US criticisms of Russian and Chinese aggression, and fomenting civil war in Venezuela. One alternative is that Maduro accepts amnesty from Guaidó and leaves the country, or agrees to hold new elections under international supervision. The Venezuelan military would be relieved.
Alternative 2 is the UN’s 2005 Responsibility to Protect Resolution, requiring Security Council approval, applies to states in which people are under threat and their government is unable to provide for its citizens (like large-scale crimes against humanity). R2P could protect Venezuelans from the outrages of their failing state, though a Russian or Chinese veto makes that unlikely. If Maduro insists on staying on, the UN—not the US alone—could either attempt to broker a deal between him and Guaidó.