Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 18, 2017

How The Military Defeated Trump's Insurgency

Trump was seen as a presidential candidate who would possibly move towards a less interventionist foreign policy. That hope is gone. The insurgency that brought Trump to the top was defeated by a counter-insurgency campaign waged by the U.S. military. (Historically its first successful one). The military has taken control of the White House process and it is now taking control of its policies.

It is schooling Trump on globalism and its "indispensable" role in it. Trump was insufficiently supportive of their desires and thus had to undergo reeducation:

When briefed on the diplomatic, military and intelligence posts, the new president would often cast doubt on the need for all the resources. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson organized the July 20 session to lay out the case for maintaining far-flung outposts — and to present it, using charts and maps, in a way the businessman-turned-politician would appreciate.

Trump was hauled into a Pentagon basement 'tank' and indoctrinated by the glittering four-star generals he admired since he was a kid:

The session was, in effect, American Power 101 and the student was the man working the levers. It was part of the ongoing education of a president who arrived at the White House with no experience in the military or government and brought with him advisers deeply skeptical of what they labeled the “globalist” worldview. In coordinated efforts and quiet conversations, some of Trump’s aides have worked for months to counter that view, hoping the president can be persuaded to maintain — if not expand — the American footprint and influence abroad.

Trump was sold the establishment policies he originally despised. No alternative view was presented to him.

It is indisputable that the generals are now ruling in Washington DC. They came to power over decades by shaping culture through their sponsorship of Hollywood, by manipulating the media through "embedded" reporting and by forming and maintaining the countries infrastructure through the Army Corps of Engineers. The military, through the NSA as well as through its purchasing power, controls the information flow on the internet. Until recently the military establishment only ruled from behind the scene. The other parts of the power triangle, the corporation executives and the political establishment, were more visible and significant. But during the 2016 election the military bet on Trump and is now, after he unexpectedly won, collecting its price.

Trump's success as the "Not-Hillary" candidate was based on an anti-establishment insurgency. Representatives of that insurgency, Flynn, Bannon and the MAGA voters, drove him through his first months in office. An intense media campaign was launched to counter them and the military took control of the White House. The anti-establishment insurgents were fired. Trump is now reduced to public figure head of a stratocracy - a military junta which nominally follows the rule of law.

Stephen Kinzer describes this as America’s slow-motion military coup:

Ultimate power to shape American foreign and security policy has fallen into the hands of three military men [...]
Being ruled by generals seems preferable to the alternative. It isn’t.
[It] leads toward a distorted set of national priorities, with military “needs” always rated more important than domestic ones. 
It is no great surprise that Trump has been drawn into the foreign policy mainstream; the same happened to President Obama early in his presidency. More ominous is that Trump has turned much of his power over to generals. Worst of all, many Americans find this reassuring. They are so disgusted by the corruption and shortsightedness of our political class that they turn to soldiers as an alternative. It is a dangerous temptation.

The country has fallen to that temptation even on social-economic issues:

In the wake of the deadly racial violence in Charlottesville this month, five of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were hailed as moral authorities for condemning hate in less equivocal terms than the commander in chief did.
On social policy, military leaders have been voices for moderation.

The junta is bigger than its three well known leaders:

Kelly, Mattis and McMaster are not the only military figures serving at high levels in the Trump administration. CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke each served in various branches of the military, and Trump recently tapped former Army general Mark S. Inch to lead the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
the National Security Council [..] counts two other generals on the senior staff.

This is no longer a Coup Waiting to Happen The coup has happened with few noticing it and ever fewer concerned about it. Everything of importance now passes through the Junta's hands:

[Chief of staff John] Kelly initiated a new policymaking process in which just he and one other aide [...] will review all documents that cross the Resolute desk.
The new system [..] is designed to ensure that the president won’t see any external policy documents, internal policy memos, agency reports and even news articles that haven’t been vetted.

To control Trump the junta filters his information input and eliminates any potentially alternative view:

Staff who oppose [policy xyz] no longer have unfettered access to Trump, and nor do allies on the outside [.. .] Kelly now has real control over the most important input: the flow of human and paper advice into the Oval Office. For a man as obsessed about his self image as Trump, a new flow of inputs can make the world of difference.

The Trump insurgency against the establishment was marked by a mostly informal information and decision process. That has been destroyed and replaced:

Worried that Trump would end existing US spending/policies (largely, still geared to cold war priorities), the senior military staff running the Trump administration launched a counter-insurgency against the insurgency.
General Kelly, Trump's Chief of Staff, has put Trump on a establishment-only media diet.
In short, by controlling Trump's information flow with social media/networks, the generals smashed the insurgency's OODA loop (observe, orient, decide, act). Deprived of this connection, Trump is now weathervaning to cater to the needs of the establishment ...

The Junta members dictate their policies to Trump by only proposing to him certain alternatives. The one that is most preferable to them will be presented as the only desirable one. "There are no alternatives," Trump will be told again and again.

Thus we get a continuation of a failed Afghanistan policy and will soon get a militarily aggressive policy towards Iran.

Other countries noticed how the game has changed. The real decisions are made by the generals, Trump is ignored as a mere figurehead:

Asked whether he was predicting war [with North Korea], [former defence minister of Japan, Satoshi] Morimoto said: "I think Washington has not decided ... The final decision-maker is [US Defence Secretary] Mr Mattis ... Not the president."

Climate change, its local catastrophes and the infrastructure problems it creates within the U.S. will further extend the military role in shaping domestic U.S. policy.

Nationalistic indoctrination, already at abnormal heights in the U.S. society, will further increase. Military control will creep into ever extending fields of once staunchly civilian areas of policy. (Witness the increasing militarization of the police.)

It is only way to sustain the empire.

It is doubtful that Trump will be able to resist the policies imposed on him. Any flicker of resistance will be smashed. The outside insurgency which enabled his election is left without a figurehead, It will likely disperse. The system won.

Posted by b on September 18, 2017 at 15:20 UTC | Permalink


Only good news: The mask has been torn off US elections. They simply don't matter. Waste of time and money. US has become Saddam's Iraq, Sisi's Egypt, Mugabe's Zimbabwe etc....expect to see Trump win 90% of vote in 2020....hahaha...

Posted by: Stephen | Sep 18 2017 15:32 utc | 1

Hogwash - The SAA just crossed the Euphrates. If the neocons were really in control, WW3 would start before dawn tomorrow. Otherwise, Assad will get his biggest oil field back from ISIS.

The Russians are hinting that the SDF isn't really fighting ISIS but just pretending to while ISIS soldiers switch uniforms. If that's true, it means the neocons may still be in charge, but what are they going to do about the Syrian Army blocking them now?

Posted by: Hogwash | Sep 18 2017 15:32 utc | 2

Interesting, and certainly a possible explanation of what's going on.

Still, if the military is running the show, why the growth of private mercenary businesses? (A new meaning for "corporate warriors.")

My own feeling, based on nothing except decades of experience working with the military, is that the generals don't mind a few little wars, but they well know the risks of a big one.

For that reason, the military leadership seems to be trying to cool things down -- that the U.S. didn't go to war with Iran, Russia, China or North Korea (yet) may be due to the influence of the top brass.

b: It is doubtful that Trump will be able to resist the policies imposed on him.

hmmm...I'm not sure there's any pressure at all on Trump. Since Kennedy was removed the president has little real power and is mostly to provide the trappings of democracy and keep the proles entertained. Over 100 years ago T. Roosevelt noticed the lack of presidential freedom to act -- the bully pulpit and all that.

Posted by: Ken Nari | Sep 18 2017 15:46 utc | 3

One of the main reasons I was pleased to see Trump get elected was that he wanted to get us out of Syria. Somewhat amazingly I'd say, that has pretty much happened.

Russia, Iran and China have shown themselves to be responsible players and have the strength to back that up.

So, I think in reality the US military will be forced by facts on the ground, as well as a weakening of their propaganda, to go along with Trump's original more accommodating posture.

Posted by: financial matters | Sep 18 2017 15:47 utc | 4

It's probably inevitable that the military would rule in the twilight of US world dominance.

Back in the true USA#1 days it was different. A couple of President Truman quotes: "It's the fellows who go to West Point and are trained to think they're gods in uniform that I plan to take apart". . ."I didn't fire him [General MacArthur] because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that's not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three quarters of them would be in jail."

The main problem with generals is that most (not all) of them got to where they are by sucking up to higher authority, or "go along to get along." Then couple that with all the perks they get including fine housing, enlisted servants and a fat $250K pension for full generals, and they look at themselves in the mirror with all their fancy ribbons and medals and naturally adopt Harry Truman's "gods in uniform" opinion of themselves, forgetting that they have become successful in an isolated military milieu that favors appearance and disregards lack of accomplishment. And the current crop of generals certainly lacks accomplishment.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 18 2017 16:06 utc | 5

"Nationalistic indoctrination, already at abnormal heights in the U.S. society, will further increase."

If that were true, why is the historic American nation being replaced by mystery meats from the global south? The Washington machine certainly produces oodles of propaganda, but it is virulently opposed to ethnocentrism at home and abroad, because that might lead to groups with the solidarity to stand up to a degenerate empire.

The indoctrination taking place here is militaristic globalism. And everyone is invited.

Posted by: Lemur | Sep 18 2017 16:19 utc | 6

b said:"Trump was seen as a presidential candidate who would possibly move towards a less interventionist foreign policy."

Only by those who don't fully understand the TRUE American system, and those who dream of a system that actually provides " truth, liberty and justice for all".

The better liar won the "election".

Posted by: ben | Sep 18 2017 16:27 utc | 7

The swamp (sewer) in Washington getting muddier each day

Posted by: OJS | Sep 18 2017 16:44 utc | 8

P.S...The U$A corporate empire is driven by, and according to, the dictates of the mega-corporate desires. The Generals dance to their tune.

"It's just business" Trump has NEVER intended to be anything but what the elites wanted him to be....A wealthy puppet..

Posted by: ben | Sep 18 2017 16:48 utc | 9

I think the US is weak militarily for two deep and fundamental reasons, both of which have US politicians to blame.

First, the US has not had able generals and admirals since WWII because politicians today[especially since 9/11] cannot take criticism. Therefore men like MacArthur and Kimmel, who would tell them a war can't be won like that or this strategy is a bad idea, no longer get the promotions. Yes-men get promoted over more able men.

Second, this promotion of yes-men allows politicians to take over the planning of a war. Whereas MacArthur would have shut the door on the neo-cons and told them he'll let him know when his plan is ready, today politicians use political strategy to try and defeat the war strategy of an opponent. For example, Rumsfeld should have been told that if he wanted to steal Iraq he'd need half a million men - but the generals tried to do the impossible and steal Iraq with a third that number because more was politically sensitive.

If politicians are going to have a war, leave it to able generals to plan it. Or lose.

Posted by: Michael McNulty | Sep 18 2017 16:49 utc | 10

There's no saving the Unipolar attempt to establish Full Spectrum Dominance--not even nuclear war--and I think the generals and their minders actually know this, although they seem to be keeping up appearances. Escobar's latest from last Friday details why this is so, Even the Brazilian regime change project is becoming a loser as the massive corruption scandal is about to devour the neocon favorite Temer, while Lula is rising like the Phoenix. The latest leak scandal over the meeting between Rohrabacher and Kelly regarding Russiagate and the status of Julian Assange reveals more than the leak itself,

And finally, we have another great op/ed by Finian Cunningham who's on a roll of late at the Outlaw US Empire's expense,

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2017 16:50 utc | 11

Always follow the money. There is only so far a $1 will go. Shrinkflation.
The USD, as reserve currency, allowed the US to fund wars, everyday essentials and live high on the hog at the expense of the rest of the world. This exceptional privilege is coming to an end.

When the US declared war; [excluded Iran from use of SWIFT/ the USD] that was the shot heard far and wide. Putin and Xi noted, we could be next and put in place CHIPS.

Lately, Russia and then China has been threatened with sanctions; latest folly of Mnuchin, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. The petro-Yuan Exchange for gold was announced and less than 005% of Americans realize the impact of bypassing the USD.

USA has met its comeuppance. Russia and China need not fire a shot.
Prosperity of the exceptional ones is an illusion built on hundreds of trillions of debt.

We are kept diverted from de-dollarization by the focus on unschooled Trump. Eight+ months after the selection, it’s "Russiagate" – Putin did it; are angels male or female? What happened?

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 18 2017 16:54 utc | 12

Thus we get a continuation of a failed Afghanistan policy and will soon get a militarily aggressive policy towards Iran.

As a candidate way before any junta was installed, Trump always vowed to rip up the Iran nuclear deal.

Now why on earth would North Korea trust that any nuclear agreement it made with the US would not similarly be ripped up and shredded a couple years down the road?

Posted by: sleepy | Sep 18 2017 17:35 utc | 13

If the handling of "local catastrophes" such as Harvey and Irma are any indication of the power of this junta, then I am not very much worried. The FEMA folks, Red Cross and many others showed their ineffectiveness in spades here in Houston. What's even more revealing is just how quickly they dashed out of here to remain in the news when Irma hit Florida.

I met two ATF guys driving down here after Harvey - and they had no idea why they were coming here. Couldn't articulate a thing to me except to say, repeatedly, "We are ATF and coming to assist." They had ZERO specifics on what they were going to do to help anyone. But they were very much enjoying wearing their ATF t-shirts and sporting their pistols on hip. But it's Texas, and that just made me smile and shake my head. Made me realize that whatever happens here in America, DC and the central government are so incredibly out of touch and living "in the bubble" that they are of very limited use for locals (those outside the East Coast) in any way.

The Feds plan for national, not local catastrophes - and their primary issue is COG, period. They are much more concerned about maintaining government and their own little fiefdoms than in assisting people far away from the DC/NYC corridor.

Further, the math just doesn't work for the junta doing much more than controlling foreign policy (who we next attack) - to try that same thing across America would result in rapid expulsion and failure, as we outnumber them most significantly.

When the pain they cause becomes enough, then things will change. Unfortunately, it seems that change via the national elections has now been abrogated. Something else is likely to ensue, eventually.

Posted by: Oilman2 | Sep 18 2017 17:35 utc | 14

The outside insurgency which enabled his election is left without a figurehead, It will likely disperse. The system won.

The problem here ie that the cost for the system to win keeps rising, and the law of diminishing returns remains valid. So for how long?…… not long.

Posted by: Permafrost | Sep 18 2017 17:36 utc | 15

I just don't understand how people can fall for the line that "nationalism" somehow equates to an undesirable movement akin to the rise of nazism. The media has been blitzing this as of late and rallying cries around the antifa demonstrations have been taking this buzzword and running with it, equating proponents of it to racist KKK members in some silly way or another. Even here, b, you seem to be eating right out of the hands of these pagemasters who dictate what words mean. I'm sorry, but there is a glaring doublestandard when you praise the policy of say Venezuela which "nationalized" their oil industry and condemn all of us Americans who are begging to disassociate from global mechanisms which are crippling fair-spending of tax dollars here in the state. It is fair to assume that military junta historically use the energy of nationalism's lexicon to promote their agenda, but in this case, as you point out, the junta and the status quo of globalism's iron hand seem to fit together nicely. I read that as nationalism never even taking flight here. I get your trepidation with this terminology considering the history of your country, but America IS different and we deserve an attempt to put America first...shocking, I know.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Sep 18 2017 18:34 utc | 16

B fell pray of partisan propaganda, Trump- the coup d'etat enabler DNC MANTRA..

So please inform me when generals were not in executive charge of the US government On behave of oligarchic ruling elite ? Where were thiose civilian rulers during documented 250 conflicts or war US was engaged during 228 years of existence

The first president was a general and since then US generals executed basic US imperial economic model of agression and exploitation, military land grab from Indians and Mexicans to suppression of workers strikes by shelling their families at home in US as well in its conquered colonies in CA and Caribbean we have proof thanks to Gen. Butler.

It iwas a Gen. Eisenhower who warned us the junta refused to disarm after WWII and constitutes coear and present danger to even a facade of republican order.

Anybody who believe that imperial US is run by civilians is SIMPLY gullible since no emporia were ever run by civilians by definition. Roman Empire was run over last 200 year explicitly by generals COMMANDING armies of foreign mercenaries like US today in NATO and ASEAN .

What has changed is that veil of deceit has failed and with Trump those warmongering cockroaches came out of WH woodwork to see a light and tookbopenly control f what they already controlled clandestinely.

Posted by: Kalen | Sep 18 2017 18:49 utc | 17

If you think US is different to nazi it might be worth reading saker's piece on it. If you think US nationalism is any different to Nazi Germany in agression then think again.
The US population, and much of the so called west, is swamped in propaganda while the US attacks country after country.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2017 18:49 utc | 18

@18 Peter

But once again, many here think that Europe is already one big vassal state of the global/US empire. So if anything, we are all already under the jack boot of empire. To dislodge one piece (US), indeed, the central piece, seems to me that the world would be in recovery mode from "the global reich." Please correct if I'm wrong, but your logic does not compute. Furthermoee, I don't think a reeling US economy and population, freshly liberated, is going to be convinced any time soon to wage wars abroad for precious metals and the like. "Helping" the world would probably take a back seat.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Sep 18 2017 19:06 utc | 19

"I didn't fire him [General MacArthur] because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that's not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three quarters of them would be in jail."
Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 18, 2017 12:06:26 PM | 5

And, despite the fact that Trump rubbed shoulders with dozens of these wannabe Generals at Military Academy, and was exposed to the same claptrap, it seems safe to assume that he realised that a Life spent in the US Military would be pointless, unimaginative and frustrating.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 18 2017 19:39 utc | 20

Re. Ben #7:

To be fair he did put an end to Timber Sycamore. The deep state wouldn't have pushed so hard on the Russian angle if there weren't a real upheaval. IMO, it went beyond simply covering for the DNC leaks. The whole establishment dog piled the Russian angle. It was for a time the principal means of disrupting Trump's agenda. I think Trump's token strike on the Syrian airbase is evidence of all of this. It was the absolute minimum he could have done in the face of a tidal wave of internal war pressures. And, they certainly could have gotten away with way more of the "trump is a Nazi angle," but they appear to have stopped after they got Bannon out.

Prescribing Trump, a monster though he is, as being at least the lesser war candidate holds IMO. What his presidency has illuminated above all else is the wild degree to which US is first and foremost of war. It is perhaps the most ubiquitous force that charges the US system.

That all said, we are going to find out real soon what the military is after. The SDF and SAA meeting in Deir Ezor is going to tell us a lot. This is perhaps their last chance at balkanization of Syria. A glimmer of hope still resides however in the supposed Pentagon revolt that took place over Obama's red line in the sand, as reported by Sy Hersh and others. As evil as the US military is, they dont seem to actually want war with Russia, unlike the intelligence complex. I, personally, am still hopeful at least about Syria.

Posted by: WithAllWindsAhead | Sep 18 2017 19:40 utc | 21

thanks b... i tend to agree with your dark view here...

Posted by: james | Sep 18 2017 19:41 utc | 22

Don Bacon says:

It's probably inevitable that the military would rule in the twilight of US world dominance

yeah, absolutely, i mean, it's always been their game anyway...

...and as the coffers wane and the hoi polloi grows fractious, they can ponder the unconquerableness of their adversaries.

Posted by: john | Sep 18 2017 20:12 utc | 23

16 - let Putin explain it to you

The Russian leader expressed confidence that "one of the key components of our self-consciousness, one of the values and ideas is patriotism."

Putin recalled the words of outstanding Soviet Russian scholar Dmitry Likhachev that patriotism drastically differs from nationalism.

"Nationalism is hatred of other peoples, while patriotism is love for your motherland," Putin cited his words.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 18 2017 20:17 utc | 24

add to 24

Or more historical: "Patriotism" was coined in Europe by the French revolution, forming a common state of citizens open to all who can identify with common values and culture. But American Patriots came before that and that is probably where the French got the word.

As a group, Patriots represented a wide array of social, economic and ethnic backgrounds.

"Nationalism" was a 19th century reaction to the export of the French revolution when European kingdoms tried a legitimization of borders based on language and genetics. It was all war from there to the Second World War and Auschwitz.

If you want to sink the US in an internal Civil War try nationalism.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 18 2017 20:38 utc | 25

I think there is some hyperventilating here.

Was Trump 'turned'? Was his administration 'taken over' or was he always a figurehead?

I decided several months ago that it was the latter:

> How Things Work: Betrayal by Faux Populist Leaders

> Taken In: Fake News Distracts Us from Fake Election

During his campaign Trump was vocally pro-military.

PS Hillary has always been pro-military also.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 18 2017 20:42 utc | 26

well, the system cannot "win"... dialectics... every steps it takes to control and secure "things", brings it closer to its end, and this, inevitably. no one wins, ever. no one looses even. the only way to fight and defeat evil is a decisive progress in goodness, to ignore it... the reality on the ground allows us to think that way, to set up concerts in the ruins, for good. thank you russia (as for the us military, they need 5 or 6 years to just cath up with last year's stand... but they still can agitate their little arms, so they do).

Posted by: broders | Sep 18 2017 21:09 utc | 27

Location, location, location
I am in shock and awe of our Pentagon (and CIA)'s ability to market themselves. I am convinced that this is their core area of competency as I read the slick consultant generated talking points on how $600B equals a dilapidated military instead of one that needs a purge. If we really have a readiness problem, heads should roll before they get more money but instead we cry for the incompetents.

The vaunted sea lanes and free trade
I used for fall for this nonsensical argument, that we needed 20 carrier groups to patrol the oceans to ensure free trade. Really? All we need is an international system of Coast Guards augmented by a few missile boats if there are some countries that don't have the budget for a coast guard to prevent piracy. We don't need aircraft carriers for that. Why do we assume that we need 24x7 aircraft coverage in the Pacific, Persian Gulf and Mediterranean? I have a vague memory of the 80's where it was a big deal that we 'sent our fleet' to the Mediterranean for some occasions. It wasn't assumed that we had a task force parked there 100% of the time.

I don't see why we can't get by with 6 or at most 8 carrier groups with the understanding that we would never deploy more than 2 for special occasions so that they can rotate assignments.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Sep 18 2017 21:40 utc | 28

Disappointed in your post, b. Expected better.

“The insurgency that brought Trump to the top was defeated by a counter-insurgency campaign waged by the U.S. military. (Historically its first successful one)”

The USA was on the winning side for the Boxer Rebellion, the 1899-1902 Philippine Insurrection, and a lot of other counter-insurgency operations. Basic military history. Just wanted to mention that to set the correct tone, because your blog post started out factually incorrect and carried on that way until the end.

Basic reasoning test, b:

i) Do you think Trump has been defeated by ‘the US military’, or ii) do you think a small number of senior military men have thwarted Trump? Because the two are very different things.

I would argue that Mattis, McMaster, Kelly, and their line reports don’t represent "the US military", or even its generals per se. They represent themselves as people financially beholden to major investment banks for their retirement funds; people fearful of being blackmailed and destroyed by the NSA and CIA and Mossad; people who rose to senior posts during prior administrations because they were flunkies to the establishment.

Do you think Trump is a weak-minded cretin? Because that’s what your theory requires. That the guy can’t remember his oft-repeated positions and statements after some briefings and a few months. I say that nobody loses their wits that fast, and nobody does a 180 on so many core policies without knowing that they’re doing it.

Trump's wealth (at least in the high hundreds of millions $) and his election victory say he’s no moron. He probably knows what he is doing. He’s either a guy who gave up the struggle after getting the proverbial political hell beaten out of him in the first months of his administration, or he willingly misled his electoral base when campaigning. Perhaps a little of both. He’s known for being a BS merchant. Myself, I think he lied outright to the voters during his run for president. It’s not a wild idea: so did Obama, Bush, and Clinton. Bigly.

Trump made the decisions that we criticse so much. Trump decided to let the Obama holdovers stay in the administration. He decided to hire Goldman Sachs flunkies. He decided to send cruise missiles to strike Shayrat. He decided to approve US assistance to Saudi Arabia in Yemen. H decided to let his zionist son-in-law, who is indebted to George Soros, into the White House. He decided to fire Bannon almost as soon as Bannon came out publicly against war with North Korea. (Possibly a deliberate, desperate attempt at a 'spoiler' tactic on Bannon's part, to prevent conflict.) Trump decided to renege on his promises to the electorate about immigration. He decided to sign an unprecedented, unconstitutional law that bound his hands and imposed sanctions on Russia. He decided to go along with the Russian hacking lie by saying that Russia could, maybe, have hacked the DNC and HRC and whoever else (probably including Disney, the Shriners, and my mother). He decided to employ Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus, Scaramucchi and everyone else. He approved all of those things.

“It is indisputable that the generals are now ruling in Washington DC.“
Yeah, nah. Pretty sure that’s still the Wall St lobby, the Israel lobby, the CFR and the usual mob. Generals are just hired thugs, as Smedley Butler put it. Or as Kissinger put it, the US military is made up of “Military men" who "are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns.”

What you’ve done, b, is to pull together some half-formed thoughts and mashed them all together. It sounds badass as a righteously indignant blog post, and I bet the Huffpost crowd would love it – but it fails as logic.

Posted by: I don't want to think of one | Sep 18 2017 21:41 utc | 29

@25 somebody

Nice play of semantics. But it still sounds like "patriotism" is a nice euphemism for nationalism. Why else would Putin be the scourge of the west? Reminds me too of how Putin played nice all through the Syrian War calling the US their "partner." Another euphemism. Seems like Putin likes to sound like the better man (and he is) but part of his strategy has always been to underplay his hand in the mix.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Sep 18 2017 21:58 utc | 30

@CC #28
re: aircraft carriers
New carriers cost about $12B each, plus the cost of the 5,000 crew-members and aircraft, plus the cost of the accompanying fleet that goes with every carrier. Carriers have been mainly used in the last decade in the Gulf area to launch aircraft to bomb third world countries. Most carriers are in port most of the time because they require a lot of maintenance, which adds a lot more to expense. They are also used to sail near enemy countries, Washington believing that they are useful to scare third world countries into thinking that they may be bombed, which might make some sense except the results are questionable. As you indicate, the main threat to world shipping is piracy for which carrier fleets are useless. The good thing about having a carrier in the Persian Gulf much of the time is that it ensures that Iran would not be attacked; it would be a sitting duck.
The current location of the eleven US carriers is below taken from here. There is a new addition to the fleet, CVN-78 Gerald R. Ford.
1 - Persian Gulf
1 - hurricane duty
1 - off Carolina coast
1- off Japan coast
7 - port

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 18 2017 22:09 utc | 31

There are generals and then there are generals...

Just which ones are taking over? The Neo-con backed guys? The Pro-pentagon guys? The CIA/JSOC guys? The Black Ops Guys? or the Black on Black Ops guys?

The reason I ask is that at one time they were all fighting each other in N.Syria.

It is not especially clear to me (being an outsider to US politics) which of the groups (or combination of groups) seems to have come out on top and have their guys as the gate-keeping, information-vetting guys doing the briefing of Trump. My feel of it is that the pentagon has gained while JSOC, the black ops contractors, and black-on-black ops contractors have lost. The CIA seems to have broken even. Is this a fair read?

If so... I think it is overall a good thing (the beso of an bunch of bad) because the Pentagon have shown themselves to be a lot more sane when it comes to creating conflict zones. They tend to be less covert,a lot more overt and a lot less likely to forment war for the sake of some corporation or political subset of the ruling elite.

thoughts anyone?

Posted by: les7 | Sep 18 2017 22:22 utc | 32

You're wrong. It's obvious who's in charge in Washington currently.
There is no doubt that, politically speaking, the insurgency that brought Trump to the top was defeated by a counter-insurgency campaign waged by the U.S. military. Generals Mattis, McMaster and Kelly are paramount in the new administration. Mattis has been given decision power on war, which Trump had promised to curtail. McMaster, with no diplomatic experience, is national security and Kelly manages Trump's office. The whole administration has taken a new tack with these generals and their military cohorts -- they do no stand alone, they are part of an institution -- managing US foreign policy. Concomitant to this are other factors including the cut in the State Department budget, the appointment of neophyte and hawkish Haley at the UN and Trump's romance with Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 18 2017 22:24 utc | 33

Politics is always complex and messy and no one ever "rules" in the way being assumed. The military have always had a big say - how else did they get such a huge budget for years on end? CIA have always played a big part, likewise FBI, NSA, Wall St., CFR, Fed, IMF and so on. Three, maybe six , Generals now have a bigger influence. Bannon has gone, so less influence for the deplorables. That is only a subtle change in the big scheme of things.

And now we are going to have a military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on 4th of July, (sorry -don't know what you want for links), just like that other fat person with a funny hair-cut, inexperienced, erratic and unpredictable, nuclear-armed and dangerous.

This is the just the death throes of an empire that is meeting the Limits to Growth. Expect MUCH MUCH worse to come. I think it will be SO horrible, many people will take the suicide option.

Posted by: Palloy | Sep 18 2017 22:45 utc | 34

Obviously any 1000 or so word article is going to woefully simplified compared to the decades of historical and political research that will dissect the Trump presidency in the finest detail, I will say that this article has one glaring flaw that significantly lessens its value.

Trump has rolled over for EVERYTHING and EVERYONE in Washington.

There really is nothing special about the military's ease with which they captured and neutered Trump.

I don't think there is a single area of his campaign platform that he has given up on or flip-flopped on. I don't think there is any other president who has been a comparable ACROSS THE BOARD FAILURE like Trump.

No one has ever been surprised that the wacky, inane, or divorced from reality promises presidents made to get themselves elected never were followed through on. But every single president before Trump at the very least had a core set of priorities they immediately set in motion.

The failure of the Trump presidency should for once and for all put to rest the silly and juvinille dream of the lone super man heading off to Washington to FINALLY TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS and show those sleazy career politicians who things are done in the real world.

Trump walked into the White House with absolutely no governing apparatus ready to go on day one like every other presidential candidate has in the past.

Presidential candidates spend decades building up a vast network of people ready to hit the ground running and know how Washington works from the moment the election is over.

One has to wonder if Trump really ever expected to win. Or just has a complete lack of interest in the massive network o loyal and knowledgeable people needed to setup a brand new presidential administration.

And there is no check on how badly the Trump administration can fail. His base appears to be currled up in fetal position on Breitbart collectively chanting 'this is not happening, this is not happening.'

I don't think I've ever felt more joy than seeing that ABSOLUTE FILTH Hillary Clinton get here murderous and vile ass get handed to her by a TV personality.

Never in my dreams did I think Trump wouldn't accomplish ANYTHING.

So Trump fans, keep posting those MEMES and WINNING!

Posted by: Linda O | Sep 18 2017 23:22 utc | 35

b’s analysis rings true. The establishment has reined in Donald Trump. On their return from Florida, it appeared that Melania Trump is well aware of the history of the House of Bourbon. One does not become a Four-star General in the establishment today without an instinctive understanding of the needs of the organ grinder. The end stage of an Empire is everybody for themselves. The open source insurrection is over until it isn’t anymore. Periodic combat takeoffs from Joint Base Andrews are not reassuring. The desire to stay alive is the only brake on the rush to a nuclear war with North Korea or the heating up of the Cold War with Russia.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Sep 18 2017 23:30 utc | 36

Re @29

"What you’ve done, b, is to pull together some half-formed thoughts and mashed them all together. It sounds badass as a righteously indignant blog post, and I bet the Huffpost crowd would love it – but it fails as logic."

I'm always surprised when a commenter, who I don't recall seeing here at MoA ever before, posts mainly just to insult b.

Posted by: spudski | Sep 18 2017 23:39 utc | 37

A great follow-up article to an UNZ article early this year which stated:

During the election campaign the power elite’s military faction under Trump confounded all political pundits by outflanking and decisively defeating the power elite’s political faction. In fact by capturing the Republican nomination and overwhelmingly defeating the Democratic establishment, Trump and the military faction not just shattered the power elites’ political faction, within both the Democratic and Republican parties, but simultaneously ended both the Clinton and Bush dynasties.

During the election campaign the power elite’s corporate faction realised, far too late, that Trump was a direct threat to their power base, and turned the full force of their corporate media against Trump’s military faction, while Trump using social media bypassed and eviscerated the corporate media causing them to lose all remaining credibility.

Posted by: Madmen | Sep 18 2017 23:58 utc | 38

I respectfully disagree with everyone. There is nobody in charge in Washington DC and hasn't been for a long time.

There are psychopathic oligarchs, warlords, fiefdoms and secret cabals milking their power and authority for a variety of self-serving interests with varying degrees of success and failure. The entire government has mutated to an arena where the above powers spar for more control and more money day after day. There is no real oversight. It's too complex and secretive for any one person or group to be 'in charge'.

The announcer is not 'in charge'. He's just the announcer, nothing more. And the little people are just spectators, nothing more.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Sep 19 2017 0:15 utc | 39

@34 Palloy
Couldn't agree more re: Limits to Growth. And no prizes for guessing which major economies have gone about insulating themselves against the pitfalls of cowboy economics... nothing was fixed, repaired, refitted or replaced after 2008...crazy that any chance of sensible, sustainable capitalism in the west might be lost to the cannibals need of rampant consumerism. I'll side with the nations that keep an interest in public banking systems rather than the one's that encourage it citizens ro eat the face off one another.

It's not all dark though, The Tale of The Don is really a romantic one... Of the wild west never ending... Of the railroad tycoons that never really died.

Jackrabbit gets more right with every passing day... there is no such thing as an outsider the moment you win.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Sep 19 2017 0:23 utc | 40

@ 38
Yes, the power elite's military faction.
Not: "I would argue that Mattis, McMaster, Kelly, and their line reports don’t represent "the US military", or even its generals per se. They represent themselves as people financially beholden to major investment banks. . ."

Outsiders don't appreciate the power of the strengthening military-industrial complex that Eisenhower cautioned about in his farewell address.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.

Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 19 2017 0:27 utc | 41

from "The Hill":
Overnight Defense: Senate passes $700B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 19 2017 0:31 utc | 42

A Chinese fire drill best describes what passes for the U.S.'s present level of policy.
Most of the world watches; aghast at the spectacle, while cowering with fear at the hubris...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 19 2017 0:34 utc | 43


But other commenters have also been critical, though less colorful.


Is the possibility of Trump as controlled opposition so far-fetched? Do you think the "power elite's political wing" only runs one candidate? Have you heard of "illusion of choice"? Do you think sheepdog Bernie was a real candidate?

Obama and Trump both gained greater apparent legitimacy by: 1) beating the establishment candidate; and 2) being besieged by bat-shit crazy critics (birthers; anti-Russians & antifa).

As soon as you choose a side, you are trapped. Two sides of the same coin. Minted in hell.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 19 2017 0:38 utc | 44

Jackrabbit | Sep 18, 2017 8:38:28 PM | 44

As soon as you choose a side, you are trapped. Two sides of the same coin. Minted in hell.

Nice, I like it...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 19 2017 1:00 utc | 45


Agreed. I had no problem with the substance, in fact I like the fact that there are diverse opinions here and I learn a lot from the discussions. I just didn't need the gratuitous insults to b given how much effort he puts in here.

Posted by: spudski | Sep 19 2017 1:01 utc | 46

Is the situation as clear cut as "It is indisputable that the generals are ruling in Washington DC“?

For another perspective, not so much geared to current events, Kevin Shipp has recently made public presentations as a 'CIA whistleblower'. He presents the 'shadow government' and 'deep state' as somewhat distinct from each other; describes these two US power networks in some detail. Curiously, the Pentagon, and military directly, did not seem to be a prominent part of Shipp's description of the power conglomeration in the presentations I've seen.

"The top of the shadow government is the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency...."

Shipp describes the CIA as the 'central node' of the shadow government: the CIA effectively controls the other 16 intelligence agencies. The CIA also controls defense and intelligence contractors, can manipulate presidents, make political decisions, start wars, does torture, coups, and false flag attacks

"The deep state is comprised of the military industrial complex, intelligence contractors, defense contractors, MIC lobbyists, Wall St (offshore accounts), Federal Reserve, IMF/World Bank, Treasury, Foreign lobbyists, and Central Banks." Note the emphasis on the money system's involvement.

Shipp describes Congress as controlled by the Military Industrial Complex through the Congressional Armed Services Committee.

Shipp refers to a “secret intelligence industrial complex,” which he called the center of the shadow government and which includes the CIA, NSA, NRO, and NGA.

Shipp has made note of 'the big five' intelligence contractors – Leidos Holdings, CSRA, CACI, SAIC, and Booz Allen Hamilton. Their work is “top secret and unreported.”

One might wonder, rhapsodically, kneeling in prayer, if some of those elements of the military that are dominating the White House and Trump might have a yearning to swing the balance of power away from the totally unconstitutional shadows of shadow govt. infested by intelligence agencies and adjuncts, and back towards some semblance of a constitutional republic, after many decades in the shadow government wilderness.

One might also question what kind of victory it is that "the system won". Is this a decisive victory, a temporary victory, a hollow victory, a pyrrhic one?

The absurdities, weaknesses and pathologies of US culture are not likely to be disappearing anytime soon, except via divine intervention, or nuclear annihilation, or Yellowstone eruption apocalypse. The generals, if they rule, to the extent that they rule, and whether or not they are of the stuff of emperors who marry their horse, will likely make a bigger mess out of the big mess that they are inheriting and may or may not be presiding over.

However, what Trump was driven to power by was more than a political insurgency - a revolt against the system -: He campaigned very hard during the election process, spoke to many enthusiastic audiences, and often did the 'unthinkable', created consternation, acted 'unpresidential', in the face of a US elite culture that relies absolutely for its life and loot on the disengenuous and pretending: His 'terrorism' was in 'acting' like any salt of the earth person by simply stating the needed obvious: Hillary is soooo corrupt; the MSM news is fake news; countries need well controlled borders; we've made a mess out of the Middle East.

Trump came to power via a strong large disparate deplorable cultural insurgency, rooted in 'enough is enough, we've had it with this bs and crap' which may, like the proverbial genie. be hard to put back in the bottle.... What political form it next takes is hard to say, but the winning System is sicker and weaker and more obviously a swamp to many more people than ever.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Sep 19 2017 2:22 utc | 47

We buy a ticket and take a seat.
Obama beat the establishment candidate but they were both locked into the establishment (DNC).
Go back to Carter: People's choice shunned and destroyed by his party.
Non-establishment Trump got sucked in by the MIC, also turned to the other party, let's see.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 19 2017 2:25 utc | 48

PavewayIV @39--

Anarchy or just several well entrenched, powerful, interest groups infighting for additional power? Recall Madison's hypothesis about how competing interests would also be a factor deterring any one group from attaining overwhelming, dictatorial power. The government isn't 100% dysfunctional as legislation still gets enacted, signed into law and enforced. It's just that it appears nobody is at the helm--or directing the helmsman. Nor do I think this is occurring for the first time; it's just that the stakes today are so much higher than during those previous occasions--the last years of Wilson's and Hoover's presidencies most readily come to mind followed by the decade of Reconstruction and the wild whipsawing of the Business Cycle that heavily marked the years prior to the first Roosevelt.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 19 2017 2:39 utc | 49

So many thoughtful and thought provoking posts. Trump was incredibly unprepared for office because he never expected to win. If you watch the video of his acceptance speech starting at the very beginning before he came on stage the song that is playing is"You can't always get what you want." And if you look at his face and the wife, they are both in shock.
I believe he had every intention of keeping his pledges; he enjoys being loved.
The attacks on him began immediately and are running still nonstop tells me he is still viewed as dangerous to the status quo. His big fear must be assassination, who better to protect his back than the Pentagon? As for all the Goldman people, well they own the place anyway and the Pentagon and money go hand in hand.
There has been a long running war between the Pentagon and the CIA who used the State dept as its front office. The purge of the HC team at State, budget reductions, the shuttering of embassies and the installation of a major corporate player to run it says a lot. The order to end CIA involvement in Syria was just frosting on the State cake.
IMO Trump may not be Claudius but he isn't Nero; let's see how many seats change hands in the 2018 elections and if they give him more congressional clout.
Because right now about 90 percent of those in office want his head on a pike, hard to deliver on promises with that level of opposition. He sees himself as a winner, let's give him sufficient time; he could be.

Posted by: frances | Sep 19 2017 2:41 utc | 50


>> If Trump is worth $10 billion (as he claimed during the election), why did he need the Mercers?

>> If Trump was certain that he would win, why wasn't he building his own organization during the campaign? Then he wouldn't have needed to to bring on Mercer's people at the last minute.

> Why was smartypants Mercer initially supporting the unelectable "Lyin' Ted Cruz" (Trump's moniker) (a religious nutcase with a Goldman spouse who was born in Canada*) for President? Especially if Mercer hates establishment politicians (as media stories about him claim)?

* Canadian birth is legally acceptable - but the optics are awful after the questions raised over Obama's birthplace.

Jane Mayer on Robert Mercer & the Dark Money Behind Trump and Bannon

Amy Goodman: This was the time that Manafort was forced out as the campaign manager for Donald Trump. The campaign was in disarray. He was being forced out because of his ties to Ukraine and Russia and the money that was being revealed that he might or might not have taken.

Mayer: Among their beliefs are that—Bob Mercer has spoken to at least three people who I interviewed, about how he is convinced that the Clintons are murderers, literally, have murdered people .... [Mercer is] driven by this just hatred of the Clintons and, coming into 2016, is determined to try to stop Hillary Clinton, and looking for a vehicle who would do that.

Did Trump HAVE to dump Manafort over those bogus allegations? And would a billionaire hedgie really gonna get THAT worked up over the Clintons? Are Goodman and Mayer providing answers or a narrative?

Note: Mercer influence is not secret. See, for example, Politico (11/21/2016): The heiress quietly shaping Trump’s operation.

And if Mercer is acting to restore freedom and reduce government (as the reporting on him claims), why haven't other billionaires joined him in helping Trump? Surely, at least some of them could be convinced to do so. But oh, Mercer is unsociable, and his daughter is a control freak. OK.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

It's a big club - and you ain't in it.

- George Carlin

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 19 2017 2:57 utc | 51

Posted by: ProPeace | Sep 19 2017 3:18 utc | 52

@somebody @Putin - you both confuse nationalism with xenophobia.

Thanks all for good comments, especially those defending Trump.

Posted by: ProPeace | Sep 19 2017 3:29 utc | 53

Interesting 13 page essay on the power structures in Trump's swamp.. err, administration.

Who Rules America?
The Power Elite in the Time of Trump
James Petras

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 19 2017 3:40 utc | 54

frances @50:

... he never expected to win. If you watch the video of his acceptance speech ...
Not sure how reliable this is given that Trump is an actor. Did you believe him when he said he launched a missile attack on Syria because of the "beautiful babies"?

Food for thought: Hillary WANTED Trump to prevail in the primaries. She made it known that she thought he would be easy to beat. Would that explain the massive not-unfavorable media coverage of Trump? (compare to media coverage after his election). Also: Hillary ran the worst presidential campaign ever. Why was her campaign so terrible? She's run before. She had a YUGE amount of $$$. She had the best political minds. Mmmm....

The attacks on him began immediately ... His big fear must be assassination
Obama also had to contend with a hate and crazy opposition. Coincidence or a necessary aspect of the faux populist leader model of government?
I believe he had every intention of keeping his pledges; he enjoys being loved.
Apologists said the same of Obama. KEEP THE FAITH! (another necessary aspect of the faux populist leadership: apologists)
There has been a long running war between the Pentagon and the CIA ...
Who won? Seriously, how would we know? Obama's pick Joe Dunford is still Chairman of JCS. How much anti-CIA do you think are the Generals around Trump? Flynn was. Now he's gone.
The order to end CIA involvement in Syria ...
Nope. Trump only announced that he ending FUNDING of CIA ops. He didn't even say that he ended ALL funding.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 19 2017 3:46 utc | 55

Not sure what to make of this:

US opens 1st permanent military base in Israel as tensions with Iran rise

Posted by: ProPeace | Sep 19 2017 4:25 utc | 56

This is dangerous. Hillary Clinton EXPOSED: Redirected $800K from campaign to ANTIFA

Sorry for posting many links today, but things are getting intense in geopolitics.

Posted by: ProPeace | Sep 19 2017 4:33 utc | 57

If Trump is part of the evil "deep state", then why do they want him dead so much...?

CNN host Anthony Bourdain says he would poison Trump if he had to cook for him

Anthony Bourdain, host of “Parts Unknown” on liberal CNN, said last week that he would poison Donald Trump if the celebrity chef was asked to cater a peace summit between the President and Kim Jong Un.

“Hemlock,” Bourdain simply replied when asked by TMZ what he would serve Trump and the North Korean dictator.

Hemlock is a poisonous plant that has been used as a method of execution. The video was published by TMZ last week, but is just now gaining attention.

When reached by Fox News, Bourdain, apparently joking, said that he meant to say “kale” instead of hemlock.

CNN recently fired Kathy Griffin for posing with a bloody head made to look like Trump. The liberal network also cut ties with “Believer” host Reza Aslan after his anti-Trump rhetoric on Twitter was widely criticized. It’s unclear if Bourdain would suffer any consequences for his rhetoric, but it’s worth noting that “Parts Unknown” is significantly more popular than programs hosted by Griffin and Aslan.

I believe the only humanly response to those ass-holes is boycott. Hit them where it hurts.

Posted by: ProPeace | Sep 19 2017 4:37 utc | 58

America’s Slow-Motion Military Coup
Trump's ability to rely on "his generals" for guidance shouldn't be seen as comforting
by Stephen Kinzer
In a democracy, no one should be comforted to hear that generals have imposed discipline on an elected head of state. That was never supposed to happen in the United States. Now it has. . . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 19 2017 4:39 utc | 59

There is no new US permanent military base in Israel "as tensions with Iran rise." It's propaganda. There will be a US National Guard training presence at an Israeli Air Base, maybe. Incidentally, the lead photo shows a US colonel cutting the phony tape, not a major general.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 19 2017 4:53 utc | 61

OT Yemen
I was wondering why the "intellectuals" in Yemen did not write to the main world newspapers to speak about the plight of their people. I found the answer. In a country where less than 10 percent belong to a literated elite (politicians, professors, lawyers... for doctors and engineers they have to import most of them), they all rely on the state for their jobs. And they did not receive any salary from the state for a year. The "state" is in Aden with the money, and the Houthis or Saleh have no control on any finance apart from their own. So the intellectual "elite" has to keep low-profile.
Any confirmation or supplementary information is welcome.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 19 2017 8:40 utc | 62

@56 and Don Bacon

The so-called 'permanent' American base in the Negev/israel houses the military tech operators of the BAND-X Radar System, their American support staff and US soldiers that guard them all - so it's really more of a radar station than a military base. The radar station is located within the mountainous compound of an israeli military academy, so, again, it's not technically a US military 'base' with it's own land lease and boundaries as such. The Band-X radar station has been there since 2012 and it was installed originally to keep an eye on possible Iranian missiles that may be fired towards the Dimona or Tel Aviv. The israelis have their own radar system called 'Green Pine' on the same mountainous compound, but the Band-X radar is faster on the pick up than Green Pine by a good 6 minutes. The US has just recently allocated several dozen extra soldiers and a substantial amount of dollars (amount yet undisclosed) to continue running the Band-X radar operation. This new funding and boot support tells me that the US does not trust or want the israelis to run the radar station, or to get hold of the information that Band-X is picking up 24/7.

"Permanent"? There's no such thing in life as 'permanent'! But of course the jewish media would spin this into a "permanent military base" as part of their ongoing psy-ops: deceptions targeted at both the Iranians and their own insecure citizenry.

Posted by: Taxi | Sep 19 2017 8:57 utc | 63

Actually it is not just Putin and me. It is history.

What Trump does is dogwhistling - the dogs can hear it other people don't.

This here is Fox News backing Trump.

“I thought the speech was historic yesterday,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told “Fox & Friends,” praising the president for “defending Western civilization by name” against Islamic terrorism and “secular bureaucratic tyranny.”

Said Gingrich: “It’s a remarkably important speech.”

"Defense" is the euphemism for going to war, no? It used to be called "the war on terror" when Bush went into Iraq?

"Make America Great Again" was always about war - economic or military. It never was about people. It never said "Make Life in America Great Again".

Posted by: somebody | Sep 19 2017 8:59 utc | 64

Nobody in the Yemeni War wants to inform Western audiences what is happening there and that includes "the West".

I suggest that it is not just lack óf funds that keeps people's mouth shut but threat of life, too.

For example this twitter guy seems to have been disappeared

Posted by: somebody | Sep 19 2017 10:00 utc | 65

There is also the minor problem that it is near impossible for even very skilled intellectuals to champion any "side" in the Yemeni war.

Analysis from India

For 34 years Saleh ruled over one of the world’s most heavily armed and tribal societies with expertly balanced doses of largesse and force. He battled the Houthis for a decade in office before he befriended them when out of power. Cornered by pro-democracy “Arab Spring” protests, Saleh wore a cryptic smile when signing his resignation in a televised ceremony in 2012. Then as now, few could discern his intentions. But his desire to preserve by any means necessary his influence and that of his family – many of whom occupy top military positions – seems beyond doubt. His influence has outlived that of other Arab leaders left dead or deposed by uprisings and civil wars since 2011.

As the conflict has wrought a humanitarian crisis, weeks of mutual sniping about responsibility for economic woes in northern Yemeni lands that they together rule peaked with a deadly gun battle between Houthi and Saleh supporters last week. Leaders from Saleh’s former ruling party and the Houthis met and pronounced the split healed.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 19 2017 10:11 utc | 66

It's a US Army National Guard operation, weekend warriors on temporary training assignments -- a total propaganda "news story" of a base within a base, first permanent . . . blah blah.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 19 2017 14:23 utc | 67

I cannot wait to read the commentary on Trump's UN speech. "The US is a peaceful nation". Hahahahaha. Net and Yahoo smiles. Beyond sad. World beware what is to come.

Posted by: thecelticwithinme | Sep 19 2017 14:33 utc | 68

from Forbes Magazine, an example of the increasing MIC (Military Industrial Complex) influence on US foreign policy --

President Trump recently signed the first truly bipartisan bill passed by Congress since the 2016 election, the "Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act." The new law imposes sanctions against Iran, Russia and North Korea, providing a powerful tool to enforce embargoes on weapons. . . .Arms embargoes involve many jurisdictions and loopholes in the international system of arms control. President Trump, who has made it a hallmark of his administration to actually listen to some of our brightest[sic] military minds, is showing he is serious about curbing the power of these hostile nations. The White House is now at long last poised to direct the government to go after the private arms dealers and middlemen who play a critical role in enabling rogue states to evade sanctions. . .by James Durso, Managing Director of Corsair LLC, here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 19 2017 14:37 utc | 69

I have no taste, so I religiously read tabloid headlines while standing in line at the supermarket. (Yes, stories too, if the line is slow enough.) Over time, I've noticed the stars splitting two-step. The first step forward is the rag's discovery that a pair of married celebrities is on the verge of divorce. Breathless reports of the internal strife are detailed, one by one. Then the next step is the big article announcing their reconciliation.

Trump is a celebrity and he gets the celebrity treatment. If announcing his big split with the empire gets attention, that's the story. You can always write the story of how he got reconciled.

So, sorry, don't think anyone should ever have taken Trump's talk seriously. He is, was and will always be the biggest liar and crook (yes, much more so than Hilary.) It was always obvious that his campaign was that he was a billionaire winner (aka one of the owners of this country) and with him at the helm, he'd win, win, win. That's not being for peace, it's being for more war.

The only real question is whether the generals are honest enough to admit to themselves they aren't great conquerors, nor is a quasi-religious, quasi-mercenary army capable of self-sacrifice for empire. Or whether they'll BS themselves and Trump into a real disaster. I'm thinking in the end, the latter.

Posted by: steven johnson | Sep 19 2017 14:44 utc | 70

@ #68
"The US is a peaceful nation" . .don't forget "democracy" and "human rights"

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 19 2017 15:26 utc | 71

steven johnson | Sep 19, 2017 10:44:25 AM | 70

Yeah, that's pretty much my thought as well...
In the end, we'll all go together when we go....................

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 19 2017 15:27 utc | 72

>>> I don't want to think of one I'm an American imperialist scumbag | Sep 18, 2017 5:41:53 PM | 29

The USA was on the winning side for the Boxer Rebellion,

The Boxer Rebellion was a grubby colonial war and the Boxers were accepted as a militia by the Chinese Empress.

the 1899-1902 Philippine Insurrection
Nah, the Philipine-American War was also a grubby colonial war during which the Philipine elite turned traitors and sided with the invaders. And did the United States win in the end?

Name the others.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 19 2017 15:41 utc | 73

The trolls are out today.

There are a few rebuttals in the comments.
One, "everything is just crazy there's no coup." There is a tradition of republican presidents leaving government agencies unstaffed to neuter them. The character and flavor of appointees determines some large part of their direction.
Two, "It's the same as it always was." There has never been a cabinet and administration packed with so many generals.

Trump tried to balance his anti war/intervention (popular with voters) with pro soldiers and military as an institution (popular, very good PR) rhetoric. His ideological allies were vilified one by one and then wholesale, and removed. He didn't trust republican establishment figures for obvious reason and was backed into a corner where only the military remained. They saw their opportunity, as defenders of the imperial apparatus and its pointless sprawl, and took it.

Posted by: Pespi | Sep 19 2017 16:23 utc | 74

@74 pepsi... any time there is a thread on the usa / trump - it gets insane around here, lol... things will revert to normal when all the usa freaks take a breath from their americancentric political passions..

Posted by: james | Sep 19 2017 16:58 utc | 75

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 18, 2017 11:46:13 PM | 55
All valid conjectures, thank you.

Posted by: frances | Sep 20 2017 0:04 utc | 76

Great commentary. Here is my 2 cents:

Trump's UN speech is embarrassing to every thinking American...for its delusions and imperialist hubris...but guess what?

It demonstrates American decline and impotency.

1. Venezuela just started selling oil for yuan.
2. Assad's forces have taken most of Syria back.
3. Iran just got billions in credit from China.
4. DPRK fires missiles over Japan twice and no defense shot them down plus hydrogen bomb tests....

A war in Korea will go nuclear very quickly. This would cause untold havoc on financial markets causing trillions in losses and bring on a depression like 1929. The US elite has too much to lose, Trump is bluffing, the US has no good options here.

Posted by: Daniel Bruno | Sep 20 2017 0:54 utc | 77

Voting ?? It's joke !! Results are fixed beforehand !

"It is enough that the people know there was an election.
The people who cast the votes decide nothing.
The people who count the votes decide everything".
Joseph Stalin

Posted by: Mr Reynard | Sep 20 2017 9:02 utc | 78

It did not start with Trump (who is neither „crazy“ nor „unpredictable“ …just ignorant how the power-structure really works…)

„A democracy within a NS-state cannot survive. Truman’s decision to base our security on nuclear weapons created the contradiction of a democracy ruled by the dictates of the Pentagon. A democratic NS-state is a contradiction in terms. To protect the security of that illusory means of security (absolute destructive power) we now needed A RULING ELITE of national security managers WITH AN AUTHORITY ABOVE OUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES.“

So from that point on, OUR MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL MANAGERS MADE THE REAL DECISIONS OF STATE. President Truman simply ratified their decisions and entrenched their power, as he did with the establishment of the CIA, and as his National Security Council did with its endorsement of plausible deniability.

His successor, President Eisenhower, also failed to challenge in his presidency what he warned against at its end, the military-industrial complex.[16] He left the critical task of resisting that anti-democratic power in the hands of the next president, John Kennedy….“

James Douglass, Keynote address COPA conference, Nov. 20, 2009;

He is the author of JFK AND THE UNSPEAKABLE, a „must-read“ book:

„It had become clear to America’s power brokers that the president of their national security state was struggling with his Communist opponent not SO MUCH OVER WHO WOULD WIN the Cold War as on HOW TO END IT.“ (p.175)

„I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, and the kind that enables men and nations to grow, and to hope, and build a better life for their children -- not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women, not merely peace in our time but peace in all time.[…] First examine our attitude towards peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it is unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable, that mankind is doomed, that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. We need not accept that view […] For we are both (US & USSR) devoting massive sums of money to weapons that could be better devoted to combat ignorance, poverty, and disease. We are both caught up in a vicious and dangerous cycle, with suspicion on one side breeding suspicion on the other, and new weapons begetting counter-weapons… And above all, while defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers MUST AVERT THOSE CONFRONTATIONS which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war. To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy -- or of a collective death-wish for the world.“
(excerpt, President J.F. Kennedy speech 10-JUNE 1963)

„It’s the Unspeakable. WHY was he killed? Simple. HE TURNED FROM GLOBAL WAR TO A STRATEGY OF PEACE. That’s the WHY of his assassination. And given the Cold War dogmas of his government, his murder followed as a matter of course. It was a transparent act of state, and has been ever since, and nobody wants to go there, whether it’s Bill Maher or Henry Kissinger or President Barak Obama. Nobody wants to go there…“ (Jim Douglass interview)

„We cannot consider ourselves a free and democratic people until we understand and address the evil nature of the warfare-state power which murdered President John F. Kennedy. Until then we cannot begin the vital work of ridding the world of the terror produced by our mighty war machine that crushes hopes for true substantive democracy here and elsewhere“

„We now understand the deep significance of President Kennedy’s killing. Our cities blight while we build B-2 bombers and an unattainable but military-industrial-profit-generating anti-ballistic missile system. Our poor suffer miserable existences as we continue to fatten the military-industrial complex for protection against imagined or impotent enemies. Our public schools in the urban areas decay while we maintain military bases throughout the globe. We desperately search for terrorists and weak nation states which we can designate as “rogue states” and therefore make them necessary targets for our Pentagon to show off its newest weapons systems.“

(Vincent Salandria, lawyer and author of the book/collection of essays „False Mystery“; he wrote freedom-loving people should be „denouncing both cliques (CIA/Military) as the enemies of humankind“)

CONCLUSION: We have known since the assassination of JFK that „Ending or avoiding wars, seeking peace“ is not tolerated by the NS-state,
whose fascist agents are calling the shots, no matter who sits in the WH, so Trump is no new phenomenon, he is just more ignorant, more vulgar, more narcissistic and much easier to influence than his predecessors … they don’t need to kill him, he is like wax in their hands ...

Posted by: Cassandra | Sep 21 2017 18:24 utc | 79

Non-profit and money losing wars have got to end! North Korea can pay for their sins by turning over mineral deposits, in exchange for redevelopment with beautiful golf courses with award winning views.

Posted by: Nun of That | Sep 27 2017 18:01 utc | 80

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