Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 06, 2018

Trump Offloads Foreign Policy Problems - Lets EU Grow A Spine

The U.S. is more and more isolated in international politics and even Europe is growing some spine and implements an independent foreign policy. U.S. imperialists are miffed but can do little about it. This development may well be part of Trump's plan of "Making America Great Again".

After Trump declared that the U.S. sees Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the UN Security Council as well as the UN General Assembly condemned the move. The U.S. had to veto a UNSC resolution that 14 other members supported.

While the minor protests and riots in Iran are calming down (as predicted here), the U.S. ambassador Haley tried to use them to stage some UNSC verdict against the country. She was rebuffed by several countries including the U.S. allies Sweden and France:

A United Nations Security Council meeting on Friday to discuss recent protests in Iran turned into criticism of the United States for requesting to meet on what some member states said was an internal issue for Tehran.

The EU spoke out against any condemnation of Iran. Russia and China repeated Iran's arguments that such internal issues have no place in the UNSC and that a string of much worse riots and police massacres in the U.S. would be more deserving of such attention:

China and Russia -- which seldom like to discuss political protests at the UN -- led a group of countries that said the demonstrations were a domestic affair that didn’t threaten international security and shouldn’t be taken up. China’s envoy said that if Haley’s logic were to be followed consistently, the Security Council should have held hearings after the 2014 racial protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in 2011.

France spoke for the EU:

“We must be wary of any attempts to exploit this crisis for personal ends, which would have the diametrically opposed outcome to that which is wished,” Ambassador Francois Delattre said.

“However worrying the events of the last few days in Iran may be, they do not constitute per se a threat to international peace and security.”

This was a repeat of the fear that President Macron expressed two days ago and which we quoted here. Even U.S. media are now taking note of it:

“The official line pursued by the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia, who are our allies in many ways, is almost one that would lead us to war,” Macron told reporters, according to Reuters.

It was “a deliberate strategy for some,” he added.

The U.S. attempt to use protests against neoliberal policies of the Rohani government as a step to regime change in Iran has evidently failed.

Trump has threatened to end the nuclear agreement with Iran but his administration is wary of the consequences. The agreement is between a number of countries, not the U.S. and Iran alone, and the UNSC has endorsed it. But Trump also loathes to certify Iran's adherence to the agreement every three month. It keeps the issue boiling and he has no interest in that. The certification is a condition the Republicans in the U.S. Congress had written into law. Trump's solution is not to kill the nuclear agreement but to change the law to relief him of the certification demand:

The Trump administration is working with key lawmakers on a legislative fix that could enable the United States to remain in the Iran nuclear deal, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday.

The changes to the U.S. law codifying America’s participation the 2015 agreement could come as early as next week or shortly thereafter, Tillerson said. President Donald Trump faces a series of deadlines in the coming days about how to proceed with an accord he describes as terrible and too soft on Iran.
...
“The president said he is either going to fix it or cancel it,” Tillerson told the AP as he sat in front of a fireplace in his State Department office suite. “We are in the process of trying to deliver on the promise he made to fix it.”

Trump and Congress have no power to change an international agreement. So what would that "fix" be?

One option lawmakers are discussing with the White House is removing the requirement that Trump certify Iranian compliance. Another possibility is changing the law so certification occurs far less often, officials said.

If this is really all that is needed to get Trump off the anti-Iran train it neatly fits the "isolationist" theory discussed below.

But back to the EU position. Trump has reversed a U.S. opening to Cuba but the EU is not following its move. The EU foreign policy chief is currently on the island and rejecting the U.S. stance:

The European Union wants to be a reliable partner for Cuba in the face of the reversal in U.S.-Cuban relations under President Donald Trump, its foreign policy and security chief said Thursday.

Federica Mogherini said at the end of a two-day visit that the EU is a "predictable and solid" partner that can help Cuba manage a political transition and slow, halting economic opening.
...
"We are consistent and we do not have unpredictability in our policies, or sudden shifts," Mogherini said, in a clear dig at Trump's reversal of some elements of President Barack Obama's opening with Cuba.

After Jerusalem and Iran, Cuba is the third foreign policy issue on which the European Union is setting itself in opposition to the United States. After years of marching in lockstep with U.S. policies the change is a pleasant surprise. Two more issue are likely to follow - Syria and Russia. With the German chancellor Merkel still busy to find a domestic coalition to renew her rule, the French president Macron is taking the lead when he now echos what the Syrian president Assad has been saying for 7 years:

Emmanuel Macron @EmmanuelMacron - 4:54 PM - 5 Jan 2018
Ce n'est ni à Ankara ni à Paris qu'on décidera de l'avenir de la Syrie. Le peuple syrien, y compris ceux qui ont fui le régime, devra lui-même décider de son avenir.
[Machine translated from French]
It is neither Ankara nor in Paris that it will decide the future of the Syria. The Syrian people, including those who have fled the regime, should itself decide its future.

Poland was one of the parties which had strongly pressed for regime change in Ukraine. It got its wish fulfilled but now finds that the new Ukrainian rulers are elevating those fascist groups and people who historically were responsible for massacring ten-thousands of Poles. Oops. The sanctions on Russia over the situation in Ukraine and Crimea have cost Germany huge export opportunities. The combination of both of these factors will likely lead to a change in the EU policy towards Russia. While the U.S. delivers new weapons to the Ukraine I predict that the EU will lower its exposure to the issue. Its sanctions against Russia will be eased or circumvented.

The imperial think-tanks in the U.S. are not happy with an independent EU. Here are voices of Brookings, the premier "centrist" lobby and influence peddlers, and of the Washington Institute, part of the Zionist lobby:

Suzanne Maloney‏ @MaloneySuzanne - 7:24 PM - 4 Jan 2018
Suzanne Maloney Retweeted Michael Singh
This is a huge missed opportunity for Europe, both to use their diplomatic & economic leverage for the long-term good of Iran & to demonstrate the possibility and even utility of making common cause with Washington on Iran
Michael Singh‏ @MichaelSinghDC - 7:14 PM - 4 Jan 2018
Regrettable that preexisting gaps between the US and Europe over Iran seem to be widening due to protests - supporting human rights in Iran should be an area of transatlantic agreement

Brookings on Cuba:

Tom Wright‏ @thomaswright08 - 11:02 PM - 5 Jan 2018
Tom Wright Retweeted EU External Action
A real moral failing here. Okay to engage Cuba but should pressure regime to liberalize. Combined with "both sides-ism" on Iran, it's been a terrible week for European foreign policy.

The Europeans may judge that differently.

Trump made loud noise towards North Korea and even boosted that his dick is bigger than Kim Jong-un's schlong. But when North Korea offered a quiet period for the Winter Olympics in South Korea and renewed talks, Trump agreed with the peace seeking South Korean president Moon and let him take up the offer.

Patrick Armstrong and Andrew Korybko see a method behind these developments. Armstrong: Trump Cuts the Gordian Knot of Foreign Entanglements

Trump has little interest in the obsessions of the neocon and humanitarian intervention crowd.
...
President Trump can avoid new entanglements but he has inherited so many and they are, all of them, growing denser and thicker by the minute. Consider the famous story of the Gordian Knot: rather than trying to untie the fabulously complicated knot, Alexander drew his sword and cut it. How can Trump cut The Gordian Knot of American imperial entanglements?

By getting others to untie it.

Armstrong, a former Canadian defense official and Russia specialist, thinks that Trump is taking his extreme positions only to press others to take over and let Trump and the U.S. leave the issue aside. If the EU takes up the Iran issue or Cuba, if Russia engages in the Middle East "peace process" and if South Korea handles the North Korea problem, Trump will be fine with it. There nothing to win in those issues for his core agenda.

Korybko's piece, Trump: Agent Of Chaos (a.k.a. “The Kraken”), presumes that Trump is deliberately creating chaos to better the U.S. position. There is a high chance that this will not work and the U.S. will have to retreat to its hemisphere. Trump knows this but does not care - he can live with both outcomes but may even prefer the retreat to a more isolationist stand.

I do not believe that Trump is as stupid as his enemies portrait him. Trump simply does not explain what he is doing. He is letting everyone guessing, even his own staff. One has to watch what he does, not what he says.

Trump does not care about many foreign issues where the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations were the first to meddle. In his view the various adventures abroad do not further U.S. core interests. If other countries can be pushed into taking these up, the U.S. can leave the issues aside. His position is the opposite of what the usual Washington grown-ups are used to do. That is why they are fighting him down to tooth and nail.

Will Trump survive long enough to successfully pursue this strategy and to make a lasting difference?

Or is the Armstrong/Korybko theory completely wrong?

 

Posted by b on January 6, 2018 at 13:25 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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Just to put Trump's "offloading foreign policy problems" into focus. Here is a link to a map and article with the 76 countries "benefitting" from US military warfare. The text doesn't mention earlier administrations' part in getting to this point of the "eternal war on terror". Trump has got a lot to offload.
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176369/tomgram:_engelhardt,_seeing_our_wars_for_the_first_time/

Posted by: stonebird | Jan 7 2018 8:46 utc | 101

V.Arnold 99
My thought is that increased oil prices that will kick off US fracking and exploration is detrimental to China who are reliant on imports. If the US could attain self sufficiency, then it would have one up in that regards. ?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 7 2018 8:50 utc | 102

nottheonly1 | Jan 7, 2018 2:47:01 AM | 96

There seems a difference here between US citizens and non US citizens. US domestics is for the US same as same as internal wahabbi stuff is a wahabbi domestic problem. It is the foreign stuff that most non US citizens will judge Trump on.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 7 2018 8:58 utc | 103

Peter AU 1 | Jan 7, 2018 3:50:02 AM | 102
My thought is that increased oil prices that will kick off US fracking and exploration is detrimental to China who are reliant on imports. If the US could attain self sufficiency, then it would have one up in that regards. ?

Your first sentence I do not understand; Russia is China's largest supplier of oil and gas.
China is a net importer of fossile fuels; the U.S. plays a very small role in that.
Yes, self sufficiency would free up U.S. dependency on imports, however; the U.S. is not as concerned about foreign fossile fuels (IMO) as it is about control. Of eveything. Hegemonic control. Its grasp of that is fast slipping away.
The most important thing happening, IMO, is China's BRI (Belt Road Initiative). That has global significance; much to the detriment of the present U.S. position on hegemonic behavior; again, in my opinion. The BRI is huge and the U.S. knows it; running very scared and even in panic mode.
Today's UN security meeting (called by the U.S.) regarding Iran's protest movement, went very badly for Haley and the U.S..

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 7 2018 9:28 utc | 104

This theory about Trump reminds me of the 11 dimensional chess theory about Obama that progressives were touting.

Posted by: paul | Jan 7 2018 9:51 utc | 105

V. Arnold, Oil price is not regional but global. If oil prices go up that applies to Russian oil and oil everywhere.
I also believe China's BRI is the biggest thing happening. I do not see how Trump or the neo-cons can counter it. As in Grieved's post, Trump is a business man. He will win where he can. Although often up and down about Trump, I have always considered him as loyal/patriotic to his country. US first before any including Israel.
As far as BRI, Trump may well be circling the wagons, battening down hatches putting out defenses and so forth ?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 7 2018 9:51 utc | 106

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 7, 2018 3:58:40 AM | 103

If nottheonly1's analysis is true (and the parallels are stark) domestic US stuff will soon become foreign stuff.

Trump increased the budget to the military, right?

Posted by: somebody | Jan 7 2018 10:08 utc | 107

Posted by: paul | Jan 7, 2018 4:51:16 AM | 105

Of course, politicians serve as projection screen.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 7 2018 10:10 utc | 108

Peter AU 1 | Jan 7, 2018 4:51:58 AM | 106
V. Arnold, Oil price is not regional but global. If oil prices go up that applies to Russian oil and oil everywhere.
Ah, yes, true. I now understand your comment, first sentence.
You may well be correct re: Trump circling the wagons. I think it's too late; the hegemon is going down regardless; the choices are; how will that be presented to the world? Reasonably or with threats?
I don't know; I'm also not optimistic...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 7 2018 10:15 utc | 109

somebody | Jan 7, 2018 5:08:19 AM | 107

As I said US domestic vs non US. nottheonly1 mentioned TPP. Trump cut its throat. TPP gave multi-national corporations control over our government and courts. This would have been added to CIA control over our government. The overwhelming majority of large multi-national corporations in the now defunct TPP were US.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 7 2018 10:47 utc | 110

With Britain no longer acting as the U.S. dummy in the E.U., due to Brexit, perhaps Europe can get back to the important business of being Europe.

Posted by: Bryan Hemming | Jan 7 2018 10:47 utc | 111

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 7, 2018 5:47:33 AM | 110

What is Trump doing with the internal justice system just now?

This is the Independent - Donald Trump's attempt to control the US Justice System is alarmingly similar to Hitler's strategy in Nazi Germany

Richard E. Frankel who wrote this is a professor specialised on German history.

TPP now will be agreed minus the US.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 7 2018 11:01 utc | 112

@Rhett | Jan 7, 2018 3:02:57 AM | 98

Your comparisson with Caligula is quite accurate....
Just the following except of the excerpt from Wolff´s book I posted above is demolishing:

"During that first month, Walsh’s disbelief and even fear about what was happening in the White House moved her to think about quitting. Every day after that became a countdown toward the moment she knew she wouldn’t be able to take it anymore. To Walsh, the proud political pro, the chaos, the rivalries, and the president’s own lack of focus were simply incomprehensible. In early March, not long before she left, she confronted Kushner with a simple request. “Just give me the three things the president wants to focus on”, she demanded. “What are the three priorities of this White House?”

It was the most basic question imaginable — one that any qualified presidential candidate would have answered long before he took up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Six weeks into Trump’s presidency, Kushner was wholly without an answer.

“Yes”, he said to Walsh. “We should probably have that conversation.”

But, why do you think that all these outstanding "analysts", including amongst them firm cadidates to the Pulitzer Prize, at every of the suppossed "alt-media", as well as the so "awaken" commenters with unusal capabilities to see and find the truth, show such stubborn inabbility to admit the facts?

I very doubt that it is all for not feeling ashamed by their effort in bringing in this moron in charge, since they continue doing the same thing as if nothing had happened since a year ago, denying the major by saying that "the world is much more secure than a year ago", or bringing in demential theories on governance based on "throwing pizza to the fridge so that testing if it is enough cooked", and considering the collateral damage out of the lack of decence of this "method", as "the foam on the boiling water that cooks the pasta"....which then some others come to find so valid....

I think that for to be able to feel ashamed one has, in the first place, to be able to know what shame is, and, for what I had been able to test since the election campaign many people in the supposed "alt-media" has no idea what that is, nor ever have known....

From my point of view, all these people have been well payed and continue being for supporting The Donald, and I even think that some of the media outlets out there in the net were especifically created for that goal....even years ago.....You only had to observe how they reproduced themselves, like spores, and how from one of them, another was born, and then another, but all as a whole mantained the same "pro-Trump" line, and the same authors and the same commenters post at every of them reinforcing each other and trynig to discourage and tire the "dissident"....

Posted by: elsi | Jan 7 2018 12:49 utc | 113

I feel it may be a way.
a simultaneous recovery in jobs and domestic infrastructure might add up well to the goals...The national oil output is in line with that.
But the stones on the way are pretty big and awesome: the jewish zionist groups, the military security complex, the spying fever and the prevailing DOGMA of maximum globalization.
recalling that a figure recently shown up : 48% of the profits of the biggest 500 came from abroad.

Posted by: augusto | Jan 7 2018 13:04 utc | 114

...the claim that Trump pursues "success" is a bit vacuous, after all, who wants failures.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 6, 2018 10:35:26 AM | 16

Actually, nothing sells weapons and provides postings to enhance careers better than prolonged and repeated failure.

Posted by: William Rood | Jan 7 2018 13:19 utc | 115

Posted by: augusto | Jan 7, 2018 8:04:00 AM | 114

De-Globalizing the US is a fool's errand. The US are the world's strongest economy.

Protectionism is a solution when a country cannot compete internationally. The US are big enough and have enough resources to be able to isolate themselves there is just no reason for it except bad government that is unable to force people to invest into their own country - yes, this is usually done via taxes.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 7 2018 13:24 utc | 116

@james | Jan 6, 2018 9:40:58 PM | 72

I find a contradiction in that you have the "same line of thinking" than Snejfella, Grieved, Korybko and Armstrong and then you found "how ignorant the usa looked at this special UN meeting on Iranian protests".

I mean, since you, as so many here, find The Donald´s precedure so brilliant, how do yo explain his last twitting bellyful on Iranian protests?


On the other hand, to those who are saying/ agreeing on

"Eric Zuesse was here.
Now that's something".
, I would like to know what you mean by that....

For what I have observed, Eric Zuesse is a totally pro-Trump author published simulateneously at Saker´s, The Duran, Russia Insider, and so on...I, in particular,find very nasty that article by him where he was throwing under the bus all those women presumably abused by The Donald....That gave me a measure on his ideology and what he could want promoting....

I think that these old people will make a favour to humanity if they just retire to take care of their grandchildren, in case they have them, and leave a little place for people with less grudges and hatred to important sectors of our society, so that the world could have an opportunity to grow and progress further from their obsolete and obnoxious paradigm.
Of course, this kind of people have seen the heaven open before them with The Donald´s presidency, since by seeing such a gross at the top of power they felt legitimate to vent their deeply fossilized, and till now unpalatable, wishes/manners....

Posted by: elsi | Jan 7 2018 13:31 utc | 117

On why The Donald does not offloads foreign policy problems, but is in them at full steam, trying in vain to swim in the middle of the perfect storm he himself is provoking by his own ineptitude:

Do not look at the finger, look at the sun

Everyone is looking at Iran. Error. It looks good, but diverts attention. Again the usual tell us that you have to look at the finger, when what you have to see is the sun.

Entertaining with Iran we have not seen that the European Central Bank has sold 500 million dollars "to add the Chinese yuan to its foreign reserves". It's a small amount, exactly 1% of the ECB's reserves. But it is the first time it is done and it is a clear recognition of the increasingly important role of the renminbi or yuan at an international level. This does not mean that dying Europe will dislodge the dollar as the main reserve currency in the short term, but that the door has opened and the way has been set for other countries to do the same, with which the diversification of reserves puts another nail in the coffin of Western hegemony, in this case the economic one.

The ECB makes this move just two weeks before China puts into operation the petro-yuan, which will be held on the 18th in Shanghai. China is currently the world's leading importer of oil, so this measure will allow Chinese buyers to set oil prices and pay in local currency.

China has been working on this system, which in the long term will be deadly for the dollar, since 2012 and goes in parallel with the conversion of the yuan into gold in the currency markets of Shanghai and Hong Kong. That is to say, that from January 18, China will totally avoid the US dollar in its oil transactions.

China will have the support of Russia (the main supplier of the Chinese) and of other countries such as Venezuela ... and Iran. This is one of the components to take into account when talking about what happens in this country and why the enthusiasm of the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia with the protests. And I remind you that in December it was announced that next February, Iran will join the Eurasian Economic Union.

In fact, this year 2018 began with a spectacular news: Russia and China announced on day 1 that they had begun to export oil to China through the Siberia-Pacific pipeline. This pipeline only crosses Russian and Chinese lands, so it is not possible to boycott it.

Through it, a total of 220 million barrels of oil per year will reach China, which will be processed in Chinese refineries. This further strengthens Russia's role as the main supplier of oil to China, well ahead of Saudi Arabia and Angola. If the situation was already clear in 2017, now it will be even more so.

In the US, there is already an open talk of "geopolitical recession" because "the world is throbbing with various currents that put the dominated US order at risk," as Trump's new National Security Strategy comes to recognize.

Annex: The previous thing I published on day 4. Today, January 5, I expand it because it is the day that Pakistan has just announced that it replaces the dollar with the yuan in its trade with China. It has just described Trump as a "leader of a declining superpower" after a tweet in which he says that he will substantially reduce the aid he provides to Pakistan for its "support for the Afghan terrorists". Pakistan was good when it supported the Afghans against the Soviets, now it's bad. But that has a cost: the end of the dollar.

Pakistan was delaying the Chinese for the formal launch of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, raised by the Chinese in November last year. Now it has a green light and that translates, in figures, into 50,000 million dollars that will no longer be in dollars but in yuan....

Posted by: elsi | Jan 7 2018 14:07 utc | 118

Check out Jim Stone Freelance latest for a tweet fest attempted explanation of UraniumI deception and trapping by Trump.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 7 2018 14:48 utc | 119

MbS, Saudi Arabia's future leader is on notice. He made many promises to revamp the kingdom heavily damaged image. The USA is watching if he will follow through. Trump gave a poisonous gift to Israel: Jerusalem. Now he wants Israel to request less money from the USA and work toward a peace deal.
No president had used so well that carrot and the stick strategy with Israel. There are high chances that Trump will succeed in bending Israel
Then he could be a genius...
Posted by: v | Jan 6, 2018 5:14:00 PM | 58

I had to laugh at this, and I agree totally with you re: the poison chalice Trump delivered to Isreal here. U.S. Congress already OK'd that move decades ago, yet no US President since had the balls to rubber stamp it. The Don has called everyone's bluff. Despite all the protestations and outrage, Trumps call on Jeruselam was moot, he wasn't acting in anyway contrary to US positions previous...just finally giving a date and time.

Classic Art of The Deal. Give your advesary everything symbolic, extract the maximum in return. He has Isreal bent over both ways here. Trump can just as easily walk the USA away from the region, and no one can say he didn't not placate those who have been suckling heavily on the US teet for generations.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jan 7 2018 15:06 utc | 120

@elsi 118
How did Trump "provoke" the Russia-China pipeline?

Trump has no control over basic changes taking place in the world, changes being instituted by others. Some basic facts:
>The rising China economy overtook the sinking US economy three years ago (IMF). So with its 1.3 billion people, China is moving to making its restrained world economic leadership a reality.
>The US military-industrial-congressional complex continues to divert necessary funds needed domestically, using treaties as a crutch.
>Trump was elected to focus on domestic needs and remove the US from the entangling alliances that President George Washington warned about centuries ago. Most Americans will support that.

Transcript of President George Washington's Farewell Address (1796)
. . .As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it, avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertion in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.

.. .The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government. the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them. . . here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 7 2018 15:46 utc | 121

@117 elsi.. i never said trump was brilliant! and, as i recall i said he opens his mouth and says all sorts of ignorance things too.. i do however think he is in it for himself and is very spontaneous in his behaviour.. this includes not really thinking out the longer term implications of what he says.. the topic of going to the un to discuss the iranian protests was a boneheaded move.. i am not sure who set that up, but it might have been trump who wanted to continue to challenge the agenda of the neo cons who droll over the idea of attacking iran.. that seems possible to me.. i am sorry if i sound contradictory.. it is not my intent and maybe the words interfere.. cheers james

Posted by: james | Jan 7 2018 16:44 utc | 122

113;The zionist liars hate Trump.Woolf.They didn't fool me.They did fool you, at least.

Posted by: dahoit | Jan 7 2018 18:02 utc | 123

somebody 112

From your TPP link.. "About 20 provisions that were once part of the TPP talks have been "suspended," according to a joint statement by the agreement’s member countries."

The US TPP was designed as a weapon to use against China. Although it still has the name TPP, it may now turn out a normal trade agreement.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 7 2018 18:53 utc | 124

124 It started with APEC and China is a member there though not in the TPP initiative..

APEC is also the basis of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and this is backed by China.

Trump is certainly working for China to take over. He has just lost Iran and Pakistan.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 7 2018 19:23 utc | 125

I read some of the original TPP that the Au gov had agreed to and it was very bad news for Australia.
I haven't closely followed the new move for the TPP minus US as yet because it is still being re-written and I haven't run onto leaked/hacked/released sections as yet.
I do feel that it will somehow be connected to, or work with the deal China was putting together to counter the TPP (I forget its name) as China is the biggest trade partner for many of the countries involved.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 7 2018 19:48 utc | 126

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 6, 2018 10:05:36 PM | 76
Hi, I was attempting to broaden the discussion with my views on the interests of France,Israel and SA in the region, I was not attacking you. Peace.

Posted by: frances | Jan 7 2018 20:37 utc | 127

Elaborating further on my previous posts in this thread, I think Trump is like many US business (as well as deep state) leaders today, focused on immediate gratification, incapable of strategic thought because they never imagine themselves in the position of others and can't anticipate any but the most predictable responses. Many are psychopaths, master manipulators incapable of empathy or any identification with the others. They simply do not understand long term consequences, universality or the rule of law.

Trump has become the perfect tool for a foreign policy establishment dominated by neocons and liberal interventionists. He repeatedly said war was OK if "we take their oil," which is what we are trying to do in E. Syria. He repeatedly spoke negatively of Iran and the Iran deal, totally obedient to Israel. He was never as non-interventionist as people wanted to believe he was. His motivations are 1) fear of impeachment or assassination, 2) a desire to MAGA for the .01% and 3) loyalty to his children. These are all strong incentives to let the bipartisan Zionist foreign policy establishment have its way. He doesn't want to be blamed for serious imperial losses, so he put generals in charge. Converts are often the most fanatical adherents to their new religion, and his daughter is a committed Zionist. He might throw Jerrod under the bus, but never Ivanka.

All of this has me pretty well convinced that Trump Administration antics are not the antiestablishmentarian judo of a very stable genius striving to unravel the Gordian Knot, but I could be wrong and I definitely like the results so far.

Posted by: William Rood | Jan 7 2018 20:44 utc | 128

Marta Osman put together an excellent 20-minute video explaining the "protests" in Iran citing Iranian officials and contacts.

As b has said from the start, it began as backlash to President Rhouani's neoliberal economic "austerity" program. Specifically, almost a dozen agencies that provided social services all went "bankrupt" simultaneously.

But the anti-Iranian Republic portion was directed by two centers: one in Afghanistan and one in "Kurdistan" that were staffed by operatives from the US, France, Israel and Saudi Arabia, along with advisors from MEK.

She promises full details and documentary evidence shortly, but her video is well worth a viewing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6C6f04H6b-k&feature=em-uploademail

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 7 2018 22:15 utc | 129

It startles me that there is still so much belief in Trump as some sort of “outsider.” People who otherwise understand that the MSM is a propaganda organ meant to shape our perceptions, and eagerly point out one example after the other of MSM lying to us, still totally believe the entire MSM narrative about Trump.

Trump is our first Reality TV Show Star President. While Saint Ronnie paved the way as a B Movie actor playing the role of Leader Of The Free World (by far his best performance), The Donald is playing the character of every other Reality TV Show Star. And like all other Reality TV Show Stars, he says and does outrageous things, that have his fans cheering and his detractors jeering.

And like every other Reality TV Show, this Reality TV Presidency is completely scripted.

Yet people who otherwise understand that Powers largely unknown to the public actually direct all important events, somehow have convinced themselves that the MSM narrative (which is the Reality TV Show Premise) is what’s really going on.

The Trump Administration is continuing or escalating every important foreign and domestic policy agenda of the NeoCon/NeoLiberal Establishment. If he wasn’t intended to do that, he never would have been inaugerated. If he’d tried to do differently once in Office, he would have had a Dealey Plaza Moment.

Meyssan has written some incredibly insightful analayses, but he’s also been so far off that I can only describe it as deluded. He wrote that Trump was overturning the Federal Reserve by appointing a Lawyer instead of a banker to run it.

Well, Jerome Powell has been a Governor of the Fed since 2012 (who was President then?), and was a Treasury Department official in the George H.W. Bush administration. He IS the Bipartisan SWAMP. Just like everyone else in this Administration, who are all either supra-national banksters or Military/Industrial Complex profiteers and enforcers.

Meyssan has written that Trump has brought NATO to heal by weakening it and redirecting it to the Global War OF Terror. What?

First, Meyssan KNOWS the GWOT is a scam. Why cheer if NATO is getting MORE involved in it?

But none of that is true anyway. Trump has expanded NATO to its greatest troop and equipment strength and funding in history. It recently held its largest ever “Drills” along Russia’s “near abroad.” Meanwhile, NATO is actually LESS involved in the so-called “Global War On Terror.” It is Russia, Iran Iraq and Hezbollah that are winning that war, DESPITE NATO and Trump’s “Coalition” doing everything it can to salvage and rebrand ISIL.

And don’t forget that the Pentagon now admits to having at least a couple thousand regular military “boots on the ground” inside Syria, and have stated they have no intention of them EVER leaving.

And don’t forget that the US finally had to admit that we had used the SDF to evacuate at least 3,500 ISIL fighters with their arms out of Raqqa instead of crushing them (which we’d done at least twice earlier). And now they and other Jihadists and mercenaries are massing and training at a base we set up along the Syria/Jordan border - EXACTLY where the Syrian “revolution” began in March, 2011.

And everyone here knows that.

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 7 2018 22:45 utc | 130

Free ebook courtesy of Wikileaks, Fire and Fury PDF. Just click on the Twitter link within the article.

Posted by: Ian | Jan 7 2018 22:48 utc | 131

@stonebird #101

That's most disturbing. Especially in the light of
perpetual "stop-go" measures to avoid the U.S. regime
from declaring bankruptcy, with all services halted
but the military surveillance expenditures.

@Peter Au #103

Yes, domestic policies are kept under the rag of
foreign policy distractions.
But foreign policy is a boomerang. Initially, it
serves to sell to a population the reasons why
domestic issues need to take a back seat.
Focus is given on far away issues that have been
artificially created in the first place. Symptomatic
is the demand of the Billionaires for the Syrian
government having to pay for the destruction U.S.
regime's terrorists have wrought upon Syria.
Because Assad rejected his own ousting.

Domestic issues are the consequences of the so
called "war on terror", which was never anything
but a 'war of terror'.

7 trillion dollars tax payers money spent from
2015-2017 is the kind of foreign policy that will
destroy the purveyor of that terror.
It remains to be seen, if the people wake up to
this dystopian present, or if they vanish without
much ado.
Thee 'cost of war' graphic linked to by stonebird
#101, shows that it will get much worse before it
could possibly get better. Domestic doom might
cause FP to falter, as it will only come in the
form of military interventions.

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Jan 7 2018 22:53 utc | 132

The TPP included ten other countries. Considering the value of US trade with those countries:
>Three in the top ten: Canada(2) & Mexico(3) (in NAFTA) and Japan(4)
>Four more in the top thirty: Malaysia (18), Singapore(19), Australia(24), and Chile(29)
>Three more minor traders: Peru, New Zealand, Brunei
>China(1) was excluded. Doesn't matter. China has offered multiple regional development programs, ranging from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to the Maritime Silk Road Initiative (MSR) to the related US$1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It has also supported the finalization of negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement, which aims to further integrate the economies of 16 nations along the Asia-Pacific rim. Also China has initiated "Made in China 2025," an initiative to comprehensively upgrade Chinese industry, explained here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 7 2018 22:54 utc | 133

Thanks you paul @105. We’ve all met the new boss, but too many believe he’s different from the old boss. To wit:

“The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that's all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
'Cause the banners, they are flown in the last war”

The same banners carried by the other Party Flavor.

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 8 2018 0:28 utc | 134

somebody, et al

We’ve had a series of Executive Orders starting with Bush II’s 13223 on September 14, 2001 that established a form of Martial Law.

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=61504

Since then, every year, each President has extended it for another year. President Trump extended, and expanded it this year, giving him the authority to recall into service any “retired member of the Regular Army, Regular Navy, Regular Air Force, or RegularMarine Corps.”

https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-executive-order-amending-executive-order-13223/

This is in addition to Trump’s EO on December 21, giving Steven Mnuchin the authority to confiscate any and all private property.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-blocking-property-persons-involved-serious-human-rights-abuse-corruption/

Starting with some posts at 4-Chan, some in the “alt-right” are claiming that the purpose of this power to confiscate private property is Trump’s “4-D Chess Move” to eviscerate the Clinton “Deep State” Globalists.

Considering The Donald’s lifelong association with - and Swamp Filling of his Administration with - the very Wall Street Globalists these apologists claim he is at war with, I see no reason to believe that excuse. I can see it only as yet another step towards fully implementing tyrannical, fascistic control of our once brave experiment in representative democracy.

And not only does this "Imperial Presidency" have the power to surveil, arrest, assassinate and indefinitely detain US Citizens on US territory, but now it can control any trained military personnel who may dissent, and confiscate any dissenter's property to make it essentially impossible to fund a legal defense, while further funding the Empire with our stolen property.

Yet still, some people desperately cling onto the belief that Trump is saving us from tyranny.

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 8 2018 0:37 utc | 135

How nice !
very good

Posted by: اجاره خودرو | Jan 8 2018 21:02 utc | 136

The protests ended, with some generous help from the security apparatus, and in few weeks they will be mentioned only in the most erudite anti-Iran diatribes. Objectively, while there are signs of corruption, economic mismanagement and deficient political freedoms, they do not seem peculiar in a global perspective -- what countries have significantly less corruption, more competent reign in economy and more political freedoms -- quite a few, probably, but a lot of countries operate stably, if not smoothly, while being no better, if not worse in those aspects. Most notably, none of Iran's neighbors can be cited as a convincing paragon for emulation, and one can seriously ponder if USA is such a paragon.

In my opinion, IRI has capacity for adjustment, both in the intellectual capacity of its elite -- which seems OK -- and in terms of resources. In particular, the most acute economic grievances will be addressed. This leads me to several tentative conclusions:

1. the comparison with "electric spring" in Armenia is quite valid. Mix of more numerous "economic" protesters with violent extremist minority was handled in both cases in a similar way, economic issues are "solved" by throwing some money, in Armenian case these were Russian money, in Iran they have their own petro-tumans or petro-yuans, and the ideological minority was handled "decisively" without major lasting difficulty.
2. Question arises why Iranian government failed to pre-empt the economic issues. One reason could be that increased revenue was used (wasted, if you will) to "relieve the consumers" which hit the industries developed to substiture imports. But another reason was that the government used a major part of increased oil revenue to build a financial reserve. One could chide "the regime" for stinginess, but like Russia, Iran is still entangled in severe conflicts with other countries and it must have means to resists, like the financial reserves.
3. Comparison with Turkey to the west, Pakistan to the east and KSA + vassals to the south works in many ways. Those countries have comparable problems, and exhibit quite a bit of stability -- not quiet, univentful stability, but they are surviving. Each of them should reform, but not to avoid collapse, but just to live better.
2.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 9 2018 6:58 utc | 137

It takes more than a few days for policies to take shape and produce results.

Trump is a greedy capitalist whose only real loyalty is to his bank account and perhaps his family. His cabinet is stuffed with military men and Goldman Sachs guys. It's funny (as in pathetic) seeing people talk about 'making America great again' like it is a real policy instead of a marketing slogan for a politician.

Do you really think America or the world is going to be a better place when Trump leaves office? That the world's problems are going to be solved by a reality show host turned right-wing Republican? The biggest force driving the West's imperialism is capital and you all act like it doesn't even exist. Wall Street and the City (of London) have far more power in the world than one guy or spook agencies. Even AIPAC and the zionazis pale in comparison. National governments barely have any power left to effect change in their own countries...its the banksters and corporate CEOs that call the shots.

Did you forget 2008 or something? You folks are pretty useless ya know? Going on like global power is just a game played by a few personalities. Ya keep believing that and prey your hero DJ Trump is gonna save the world and make Murica a normal country instead of a imperoal empire country.Buncha crackheads all y'all

Posted by: Morons RU | Jan 9 2018 16:04 utc | 138

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