Although Trump doesn’t always beat the neoconservatives, he apparently doesn’t buy into their American Empire dream. From Gareth Porter at antiwar.com:
More than any other presidency in modern history, Donald Trump’s has been a veritable sociopolitical wrecking ball, deliberately stoking conflict by playing to xenophobic and racist currents in American society and debasing its political discourse. That fact has been widely discussed. But Trump’s attacks on the system of the global U.S. military presence and commitments have gotten far less notice.
He has complained bitterly, both in public and in private meetings with aides, about the suite of permanent wars that the Pentagon has been fighting for many years across the Greater Middle East and Africa, as well as about deployments and commitments to South Korea and NATO. This has resulted in an unprecedented struggle between a sitting president and the national security state over a global US military empire that has been sacrosanct in American politics since early in the Cold War.
And now Bob Woodward’s “Fear: Trump in the White House” has provided dramatic new details about that struggle.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Government, Imperialism, Intelligence, Military, Politics
Tagged James Mattis, John Bolton, Neocons, President Trump, Rex Tillerson
Washington has never wanted peace in Syria, which is now within reach, it has wanted regime. So the US will stay in Syria, and remain a huge obstacle to peace. From Darius Shahtahmasebi at theantimedia.org:
After over a year of flip-flopping and reversing its position on Syria and its president, Bashar al-Assad, the U.S has finally admitted the real reason its military continues to violate Syria’s sovereignty. From the Washington Post:
“After months of incoherence, the Trump administration has taken a step toward a clear policy on Syria and its civil war. In a speech last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson bluntly recognized a truth that both President Trump and President Barack Obama attempted to dodge: that ‘it is crucial to our national defense to maintain a military and diplomatic presence in Syria, to help bring an end to that conflict, and assist the Syrian people . . . to achieve a new political future.’ To do that, the United States will continue to deploy several thousand personnel in the country and help allied Syrian forces maintain control over enclaves in the southwest, near Israel and Jordan, and the northeast, on the border with Iraq and Turkey.” [emphasis added]
The great lie told by the Washington Post editorial board, however, is its attempt to paint Washington’s regime change operation in Syria as crucial to America’s national defense and a “truth that both President Trump and President Barack Obama attempted to dodge.” In doing so, the Post is suggesting that regime change in Syria is the only realistic path for the U.S. to pursue, even when it has become increasingly clear that the longer the U.S. prolongs the war in Syria, the greater the suffering of ordinary Syrians will be.
Considering that the U.S. military’s recent strategy in Syria allegedly involves a 30,000-strong Kurdish and Arab border force that in less than a week prompted a Turkish invasion, it should be clear that the U.S. has no intention of putting Syria on the long-awaited road to peace.
To continue reading: The US Finally Told the Truth About Its Military Objective in Syria
Washington has tried for decades to depose first Bashar al-Assad’s father and then Bashar al-Assad. From Philip Giraldi at ronpaulinstitute.org:
The Donald Trump administration is planning to install a 30,000 strong armed “security force” in northern Syria along the borders with Turkey and Iraq. This presumably will tie together and support the remaining rag-tags of allegedly pro-democracy rebels and will fit in with existing and proposed US bases. The maneuver is part of a broader plan to restructure Syria to suit the usual crop of neocon geniuses in Washington that have slithered their way back into the White House and National Security Council, to include renewed demands that the country’s President Bashar al-Assad “must go,” reiterated by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last Wednesday. He said “But let us be clear: The United States will maintain a military presence in Syria, focused on ensuring ISIS cannot re-emerge.” Tillerson also claimed that remaining in Syria would prevent Iran from “reinforcing” its position inside Syria and would enable the eventual ouster of al-Assad, but he has also denied that Washington was creating a border force at all, yet another indication of the dysfunction in the White House.
A plan pulled together in Washington by people who should know better but seemingly don’t is hardly a blueprint for success, particularly as there is no path to anything approximating “victory” and no exit strategy. The Syrians have not been asked if they approve of an arrangement that will be put in place in their sovereign territory and the Turks have already bombed targets and sent troops and allied militias into the Afrin region, also a US supported Kurdish enclave on the border. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has indicated clearly that Ankara will disrupt any US devised border arrangement. From the Turkish point of view the border security force, which reportedly will largely consist of Kurdish militiamen, will inevitably work in cooperation with the Kurdish terrorist group PKK which is active on the Turkish side of the border, in seeking to create an autonomous Kurdish state, which Turkey reasonably enough regards as an existential threat.
To continue reading: Why Does Washington Hate Bashar al-Assad?
Rex Tillerson quickly reversed a more conciliatory course and fell back to the neoconservative, war-mongering line against North Korea. From Antonius Aquinas at theburningplatform.com:
After nearly a year of gaffes, provocations, threats, bombings, destabilizing arms deals, and, most recently, the disastrous decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the sanest member of the Trump Administration, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, appeared to have begun a new and promising diplomatic direction in relations with tiny, beleaguered North Korea.
In a surprising statement given to a Washington think tank on December 12, Secretary Tillerson said:
We are ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk. We are ready to have the first meeting without preconditions. Let’s just meet. We can talk about the weather if you want. We can talk about whether its going to be a square table or a round table if that’s what you’re excited about. And then we can begin to lay out a road map.*
He perceptively added that it was “unrealistic” for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.
Tillerson’s reasonable approach, however, did not sit very well with either his boss or the blood thirsty war hawks within the Administration who now have enough ammunition to force his removal, probably after the first of the year. One of Trump’s top aides reportedly said Tillerson “hasn’t learned his lesson.”**
A couple of days later, and probably after a tongue lashing by the Chief Executive, Tillerson had taken back his earlier statement and was once again pushing the hardcore, neocon line declaring: “North Korea must earn its way back to the table. The pressure campaign must and will continue until denuclearization is achieved.”***
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is overturning some apple carts at Foggy Bottom. From sundance at theconservativetreehouse.com:
Walking in a Winner Wonderland. Oh yeah, the New York Times writes about the bloated bureaucracy and career diplomats being removed from the U.S. State Department as if it’s a bad thing. The condescending DC elites cannot fathom why they are unable to stop Secretary of State Rex Tillerson from cutting the rust out of the enterprise and streamlining the mission.
No-one, repeat NO-ONE, could have pulled off what T-Rex is accomplishing except T-Rex himself; with the full support of President Trump, of course. The former leader of the worlds largest private business, Exxon-Mobil, is now systematically bringing efficiency and effectiveness to the worlds largest public institution, the State Dept.
One fundamental question: “what is your specific and quantifiable value to the core DoS mission; and how do we measure your effectiveness therein”? The lack of reasonable answers within the bureaucratic ranks is leading to massive downsizing.
Making America Great Again means Making Interventionism Irrelevant Again – The New York Times outlines why the diplomatic retention of irrelevant snobbery is vital to those within the State Department’s cocktail circuit influence network. At the rate Tillerson is going he might even eliminate the entire staff for the Assistant Cultural Ambassador to the U.N. Center for Biodiversity and Southern Hemispheric Aquatic Species Rights. That’s the threshold where things are really going to get ugly:
New York Times […] For those who have not been dismissed, retirement has become a preferred alternative when, like Mr. Miller, they find no demand for their expertise. A retirement class that concludes this month has 26 senior employees, including two acting assistant secretaries in their early 50s who would normally wait years before leaving.
The number of those with the department’s top two ranks of career ambassador and career minister — equivalent to four- and three-star generals — will have been cut in half by Dec. 1, from 39 to 19. And of the 431 minister-counselors, who have two-star-equivalent ranks, 369 remain and another 14 have indicated that they will leave soon — an 18 percent drop — according to an accounting provided by the American Foreign Service Association.
The political appointees who normally join the department after a change in administration have not made up for those departures. So far, just 10 of the top 44 political positions in the department have been filled, and for most of the vacancies, Mr. Tillerson has not nominated anyone.
To continue reading: The Taming of The Shrewd – Change Agent Rex Tillerson Takes Rusted State Dept. Down To Frame – “Career Diplomats” Apoplectic…
Unfortunately, President Trump is cozying up to people who never met a war they didn’t like. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:
There are a variety of reasons Trump supporters voted the way they did in November, but one clear message many found attractive was the idea his administration would be driven by an “America First” doctrine. America first meant a lot of things to a lot of different people, running the gamut from economic populism and immigration, to an avoidance of barbaric and costly overseas wars. The economic populism part was the biggest ruse from day one, a betrayal which (as we had seen under Obama) became undeniable as soon as he started appointing lifelong swamp-dwelling billionaires and Goldman Sachs partners to run his administration. Irrespective of who you elect, Wall Street runs the empire, as Trump proved once again.
The coming massive pivot when it comes to destructive wars abroad will take a little longer, but the writing’s been on the wall for months. I’ve published several posts on the topic, with the most popular one titled, Prepare for Impact – This is the Beginning of the End for U.S. Empire. Here’s an excerpt:
This is not the sort of thing you see in a confident, brave, and civilized nation, it’s the sort of stuff you’d expect to see toward the end. It’s the stuff of craven war-mongers, of dishonest cowards, of a totally deranged and very dangerous media. The signs are everywhere; imperial decline is set to accelerate rapidly in the coming years…
Expect more of all the above as the U.S. empire enters its most devastating phase of collapse. Think about what it might mean for you and your family and prepare accordingly.
When I compare who Trump currently has advising him and who he’s getting closer to, the future looks increasingly ominous. This is especially true when it comes to the Iran nuclear deal. Irrespective of what you think of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis, these two look like a couple of the most sane humans on earth compared to some of the others Trump’s cozying up to. I alluded to this earlier today on Twitter.
To continue reading: Empire Destroying Wars Are Coming to America Under Trump – Part 1
Playing the persuasion game with North Korea is one of the more difficult tasks Trump has set for himself. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
In two welcome signs of de-escalation after yesterday’s sudden spike in bellicose rhetoric, moments ago North Korea released a Canadian man from prison on humanitarian grounds, the Korean Central News Agency reported on Wednesday. He was serving a life sentence in the country for anti-state activities. As CGTN adds, Rim Hyon Su, also known as Rev. Lim Hyeon-soo was sentenced to life in prison with hard labor in December 2015.
The release was expected following yesterday’s news that Canadian special envoy, Daniel Jean, national security advisor to the prime minister of Canada, and his party had arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday.
As the WSJ adds
, and as we said yesterday, the release of Rev. Lim Hyeon-soo could also lower tensions between North Korea and the Western world. However, hours before Lim was released, North Korea and Donald Trump exchanged heated public threats, which unleashed a “risk off” shockwave around the globe.
Lim’s Toronto-area church has said he visited the North more than 100 times since 1997 and helped set up an orphanage and nursing home. Last year, Lim told CNN he spent eight hours a day digging holes at a labor camp where he had not seen any other prisoners. Lim, 62, was arrested by North Korea in 2015 and given a lifetime sentence of hard labor in December that year for conducting “hostile deeds” against the state. Lim’s detention of more than two years surpassed that of Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary whose imprisonment in North Korea was the longest known for a U.S. citizen. Mr. Bae was released in late 2014, roughly two years after his detention.