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

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Well, if the EU actually does grow a spine; that will speak reams for the EU, and the beginning of the end for the US hegemon; which is actually already in progress...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 6 2018 14:04 utc | 1

ignorant does not mean dumb, and he is bold, but i'll be surprised if he is allowed to get away with it.

Posted by: bolasete | Jan 6 2018 14:07 utc | 2

bolasete | Jan 6, 2018 9:07:46 AM | 2
ignorant does not mean dumb, and he is bold...

True; but it does mean uninformed; a dangerous mindset in the present reality.
Bold is a disaster; if done in ignorance...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 6 2018 14:16 utc | 3

The idea makes sense, I think. If you wanted a more ton Paul like foreign policy, openly advocating it in the US will get you nowhere. Trump's roundabout way of getting there coukd very well accomplish much of that. Weather that's Trump's intention or not is much less important.

Working in Trump's favor is the fact that the US can't do what it was doing 10 to 20 years ago. It is weaker, other countries are stronger. The policy direction that Trump might wish to follow in secret, is in fact where momentum will take us anyway. The only question is how fast and how many people die while the US foreign policy establishment resists the inevitable.

Posted by: lysander | Jan 6 2018 14:26 utc | 4

there are more complexities at home and abroad than 100 persons could master. being a policy wonk is not an asset for a leader. wasting trillions on wars is not putting usa first. cfr, jinsa, aipac etc don't give a crap about america; they care only about their insatiable lust for power and wealth.

Posted by: bolasete | Jan 6 2018 14:30 utc | 5

I have followed you for years, and you still amaze me with your research and conclusions about current geopolitics. My personal opinion (personal since I'm far from being a professional analyst) jibes with yours - Trump is not stupid and is an excellent poker player. I think he'll make it to 2020.

Posted by: LongShot | Jan 6 2018 14:41 utc | 6

This article cements the position of "b" as the best writer anywhere on geostrategic matters in real time -- as an authentic and profound journalist, rather than as a historian. If we lived in an honest world, then his articles would be published and republished everywhere (appropriately copy-edited, since he leaves lots of those types of errors in his texts), and he'd be receiving all kinds of journalism awards; but, it's not, at all.

Posted by: Eric Zuesse | Jan 6 2018 14:54 utc | 7

Newsweek Nazi Hypocrisy Exposed: Juxtaposed Articles Highlight Nazi Glorification and Obfuscation Conducted by ‘News’ Propaganda Outlet

Posted by: Liam | Jan 6 2018 14:56 utc | 8

LongShot | Jan 6, 2018 9:41:20 AM | 6

Interesting speculative article at Zero Hedge about Trump's "Cutting the Gordian Knot" approach to foreign policy. Worth a look. Let someone else who knows how not to screw up this column's margins take a shot at posting a link.

Posted by: zakukommander | Jan 6 2018 14:57 utc | 9

Inverting Reality: Photos of Anti-Government 'Protests' in Iran (Used By Western Media) Turn Out To Be Images from "Pro-Government Marches"

Western Media Ignores Story of Massive Pro-Government Rallies Held in Iran

Posted by: Liam | Jan 6 2018 14:58 utc | 10


here ya go

Posted by: john | Jan 6 2018 15:03 utc | 11

Welcome back to your old theory B. Frankly, I do not believe Tronald is stupid or mentally more unstable than his predecessors, but to imply he is pursuing a well-conceived plan is not really convincing either. I think the truth lies in the middle and his is a occasionalist approach. Contents are not important to him, what really matters is success. Absence of success kills the man, so he will do everything needed to avoid this situation regardless the costs, even for his family but sure the world.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jan 6 2018 15:15 utc | 12

"While the U.S. delivers new weapons to the Ukraine"

The US has just acknowledged what it has been doing for years. For example, it has been supplying sniper weapons since 2014.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jan 6 2018 15:18 utc | 13

from the White House --

America First Foreign Policy
The Trump Administration is committed to a foreign policy focused on American interests and American national security.
Peace through strength will be at the center of that foreign policy. This principle will make possible a stable, more peaceful world with less conflict and more common ground.
Defeating ISIS and other radical Islamic terror groups will be our highest priority. To defeat and destroy these groups, we will pursue aggressive joint and coalition military operations when necessary. In addition, the Trump Administration will work with international partners to cut off funding for terrorist groups, to expand intelligence sharing, and to engage in cyberwarfare to disrupt and disable propaganda and recruiting. . .here">here

Thierry Meyssan at Voltairenet referenced the change in the US National Security Strategy

Donald Trump’s National Security Strategy
by Thierry Meyssan
Breaking with the habits of his predecessors, Donald Trump’s National Security Strategy abandons the management of world affairs and lays out the path to the economic and social recovery of the United States. This project, which is perfectly coherent, represents a brutal change that his cabinet will now have to impose on the whole of his administration.. .The role of the White House, its diplomacy and its armed forces is no longer to rule the world, but to protect « the interests of the people of the United States »... .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 6 2018 15:29 utc | 14

first link here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 6 2018 15:32 utc | 15

I think the truth lies in the middle and his is a occasionalist approach.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jan 6, 2018 10:15:08 AM | 12

Aside from grammar, this is a strange sentence. Additionally, the claim that Trump pursues "success" is a bit vacuous, after all, who wants failures. As realities abroad cannot be altered at will, the art of collecting successes is to declare them often, and in Trumpian case, loudly. One indisputable success is tight control over snack budget of US mission to UN:

The Independent: On Wednesday, the US Mission to the United Nations held a cocktail reception for the nine countries that voted against the resolution in the General Assembly, which, aside from Israel, were Guatemala, Honduras, Togo, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru and Palau.

In a video message played at the reception, Trump thanked the attendees for “standing with the United States.”

He said the vote would “go down as a very important date,” and their support was “noted and greatly appreciated.”

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 6 2018 15:35 utc | 16

The exchange of New Year's messages between the leaders of North and South Korea has to be another major example of US allies beginning to exert some sovereign control over their own affairs. Also Reuters reported yesterday that North Korea agreed on Friday to hold official talks with South Korea next week, the first in more than two years, hours after Washington and Seoul delayed a military exercise.

I think it safe to infer that Chinese and Russian diplomacy played an important role here. For China and Russia agreeing to more sanctions against the North was their way to encourage Kim Un to work directly with Moon towards diffusing tensions. (China, of course, immediately violated those sanctions indicating they didn't want to hurt the north too much). So far we can only guess at what is going on behind the scenes based on these very visible acts. Even Trump in his inimitable way said the Korea's should go ahead and talk signaling the US is willing to stand aside. I wonder if the US was aware of the significance of their agreeing to delay those military exercises with the South? If so it might even mean that the US military is cooperating with this little rapproachement between Moon and Kim.

Posted by: Toivos | Jan 6 2018 15:45 utc | 17

@16 One hopes those were healthy snacks. There is something of an obesity epidemic in certain Pacific islands.

Posted by: dh | Jan 6 2018 16:01 utc | 18

@Toivos 17
Yes, the north-south Korea talks are good, BUT they(reportedly) will only talk about attendance at the upcoming Olympics.
Actually Moon has little freedom to act on important matters as ROK is an occupied total US puppet state. The large ROK military, much more capable that DPRK's, is commanded by the US, a unique situation in the world.
The US can be depended upon to restrain President Moon. I imagine it's the main topic in Washington's cables to the US embassy in Seoul currently, 'allow Moon do this but no more.'
(Let's hope I'm wrong.)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 6 2018 16:25 utc | 19

there are more complexities at home and abroad than 100 persons could master. being a policy wonk is not an asset for a leader. wasting trillions on wars is not putting usa first. cfr, jinsa, aipac etc don't give a crap about america; they care only about their insatiable lust for power and wealth.

Posted by: bolasete | Jan 6, 2018 9:30:51 AM | 5

...bares repeating.

Posted by: John | Jan 6 2018 16:58 utc | 20

This here is the link to the full speech.

.. we must as a nation be more unpredictable. We are totally predictable. We tell everything. We’re sending troops. We tell them. We’re sending something else. We have a news conference. We have to be unpredictable. And we have to be unpredictable starting now.

Sure, it is a strategy.

Of course, taking a Jekyll and Hyde approach to negotiations might create its own problems. What if your unpredictability led your counterpart to think that you’re emotionally unstable, if not crazy? Is this a real risk? Or, less dramatically, what if your fluctuations make the other negotiators not take the process seriously because they don’t think that you do?

Trump thinks he is "making deals". It could work with the US being the only power. But if you have a choice of business partners and one is unpredictable and the others are reliable it is clear what most people would choose.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 6 2018 17:00 utc | 21

john | Jan 6, 2018 10:03:59 AM | 11


Posted by: zakukommander | Jan 6 2018 17:02 utc | 22

"The US can be depended upon to restrain President Moon. I imagine it's the main topic in Washington's cables to the US embassy in Seoul currently, 'allow Moon do this but no more.'
(Let's hope I'm wrong."
Moon is wriggling, Don. The more he wriggles the more room he creates for the future.
I hope I'm right.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 6 2018 17:04 utc | 23

>>>> V. Arnold | Jan 6, 2018 9:04:57 AM | 1

I'd date the end of the beginning to 2001/9/11 and the beginning of the end to 2003/3/20 - so not much middle. Then the Iraqis demonstrated yet again that the Americans really don't understand war, just how to do battles.

As for Trump, I strongly doubt he's an isolationist but sees little advantage for the United States in all the wars he has inherited from the last regime in Washington so his policy is one of dis-entanglement rather than isolationism. After all the United States should be able to do power projection better than every other country on the planet.

Invasion of Libya - Libya was no threat whatsover to the United States and Qaddafhi wanted trade with the US, kept the jihadists down and was doing his best to prevent migration out of Africa by enabling its economic development.

It's the same with Syria and Yemen, neither were a threat to the United States, and the same is true of Iran.

The emergency meeting of the UNSC on Iran was more an exercise in testing whether the European states could stand on their own two feet rather than a serious attempt to interfere in Iran except I doubt Nikki Haley knew that. The Europeans honoured their obligations to the United States by allowing the meeting to happen against Russian opposition and that was it.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 6 2018 17:05 utc | 24

It's about time!

Posted by: Fidelios Automata | Jan 6 2018 17:19 utc | 25

>>>> Don Bacon | Jan 6, 2018 11:25:29 AM | 19

There are a number of parts of the Washington bureaucracy that would have influenced negotiations between North and South Korea in the past, the State Department and the Pentagon are the major ones. Tillerson has been weakening the State Department for the best part of a year and the Pentagon has been bought off with positions of power in the White House and un-requested budget increases. I suspect the State Department will be quietly ignored and the Pentagon will do what it's told. Whether the South Korean army will interfere will probably be up to what the Pentagon decides, those discussions will progress on to other topic than the Winter Olympics but given the distrust between North and South, the outcome won't involve imminent re-unification so while some trust building activities will happen soon, others such as integrating the northern and southern militaries will seem distant so no threat to either. I doubt this will be anything like German re-unification.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 6 2018 17:20 utc | 26

Ghordian Knot rather than the Korybko?
I think Trump has realised that the US has got itself into an untenable position. Not only in foreign policy but all of it. US included.

As in any circular problem - start anywhere to break self-reinforcing trends.

Start with the EU and NATO, which is now on the borders with Russia - What now, campsites around Moscow as in the old days?. Can the US afford it's own military adventures (NATO included) and an ever increasing Pentagon, CIA special ops etc. financial burden. Much of which is un- or under-reported. (it was estimated at over a trillion at least five years ago when all factors were included).

Outright military efforts such as Afghanistan,or Iraq came under another budget, seperate from the Pentagon. Add to the mix.
Sanctions; Mostly hit "allies", and also have deleterious effect on US corporate wishes. Add to Mix
Infrastructure potential costs. Which are supposed to be a disaster. Add to mix.
Outright debt and payment structure (20 trillion and counting). Add to mix
Pension and other liabilities such as medicare etc. Add to mix.
OK, I could probably continue for a while but I think you may get the idea.
What does Trump want with another war?

Where does the problem lie? Surely it is in Washington/vested interests/military expenses and Israel demands for more problems in it's own quest for power.
So Trump cannot simply say "do this or that", partially because of the political infighting in Washington (Clinton and Russiagate), and expect the swamp to do it.

The way could lie in cutting through individual demands and demanders - to get people thinking of their own part in the situation. Without having to compensate all the other demands individually.

One answer given to me a long time ago by a mechanic (constructer of drag racers and their engines) is "what is the best way to break a spring? - ans: Screw it up tighter until it breaks". Which is what Trump seems to be doing.

Posted by: stonebird | Jan 6 2018 17:28 utc | 27

add to 21

This is the predictable result of unpredicatability now - people think Trump is unstable.

Scott Adams in damage control is funny.

Bonus information: Facts aren't important for decisions.

John Helmer's take of Putin meeting Trump in Hamburg.

Angela Merkel's bewildered look after talking to Trump

Posted by: somebody | Jan 6 2018 17:32 utc | 28

By including Iran, your piece adds to Armstrong and Korybko theories which I think are correct. Trump has deliberately amplified all that is wrong with how the US acts in the world rather than directly fighting it.
My one worry is Iran, with Trump appointing a team of Iran haters, and the US pivot onto Iran in Syria.
If the Agent of Chaos/Kraken theory is correct, then Iran may well be his masterpiece, the coup de gras for neo-con foreign policy.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 6 2018 18:02 utc | 29

thanks b. i like your commentary.. i hope europe stops being a poodle to the usa.. i wish the same for canada, australia and etc. too.

trump is bright, but he's self absorbed and appears only interested in bettering his own position..i am not sure that will benefit the usa.. however, i don't see him following some master plan, as opposed to randomly shotting and seeing what he hits..your right.. he doesn't communicate his approach and leaves everyone guessing.. that is okay with me. meanwhile internal usa politics - the mueller investigation and etc - work to keep him off balance.. there are a lot of players with vested interests in the usa, and making war is one of the big agendas the past 60 odd years that many will be working to maintain..

personally i would like to see trump make it thru his 4 year term.. however, i'm not sure he will.. the usa and world dynamics have become a lot more unstable, thanks in part to his winning the usa presidency.. russia and china will have to continue to step up to the plate to help stabilize an increasingly unstable world and super power as i see it..

a bigger problem internally for the usa is just how messed up their 2 party system is at this point.. and, none of the players seem to want to change anything - it is more of the same - blame the others for the problems that face the usa - or start another war somewhere faraway.. in many ways i have found trump to be a breathe of fresh air.. yes - he's like a bull in a china shop, but he's spontaneous, generally always off script and just doesn't act like a politician.. all of that i like and find refreshing about him.. the part of his self serving focus on making money, without much ethics or refinement to it - i think this is how many people view capitalism and the west at this point in time... not much substance to it, other then an obsession with money.. if the financial system comes unhinged, we're all in for a rough ride ahead... and that is also what it looks like to me.. increasing instability coming from a few different angles, which usually suggests war as i see it too..

Posted by: james | Jan 6 2018 18:36 utc | 30

For Thierry Meyssan to state Trump "abandons the management of world affairs and lays out the path to the economic and social recovery of the United States," is entirely misguided. His foreign policy stance is whatever his generals want it to be. Witness the continuation of drone assassinations, the occupation of NE Syria and Afghanistan, provision of weapons to Ukraine, etc.

His economic and social recovery strategy is to enrich the already wealthy and completely trash social and environmental programs by putting the enemies of such things in charge (DeVos, Zinke, Pruitt, Mnuchin, Ross, et al.).

Trump will go down as the absolute worst President in post-WWII history. And that is saying a lot considering he has Reagan, Clinton, the Bushs and Obama as competition for the title.

Trump is about one thing - Trump.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jan 6 2018 18:52 utc | 31

Speaking of Trump's way of diplomacy;Cutting the aid with Pakistan and Palastine should make them more willing to deny US sway?All it does make the leadership do our bidding?

Posted by: dahoit | Jan 6 2018 19:00 utc | 32

Trump is not Machiavelli- Trump is an idiot and his attempts to pursue the same bro con policies are failing because he is Trump and hated across Europe

Obama was nice and smooth and endless wars even in Ukraine could be sold to the EU puppets - Trump does not have the same ability

Trying to ascribe to trump high level political skills is just desperate

Remember the Europeans did not go along with Bush completely !! Why was that ?
The Germans and French opposed Iraq and Georgia joining NATO - yet under obama we got Ukraine disaster ?

Posted by: James lake | Jan 6 2018 19:10 utc | 33

I meant to write - Neo con policies - above @33

Posted by: James lake | Jan 6 2018 19:12 utc | 34

We are part of five eyes james. Not sure about Canada, but Australia has always been a colony, first British and post WWII, a US colony.
I run onto this little piece yesterday... america/9303104
"The fact that Australia has a physical diplomatic presence in Iran is important for citizen diplomacy but also for vital and constructive intelligence gathering efforts.

The United States Government, despite its current posturing, respects Australia's assets in this regard.

A remarkable sign of America's interest in Australian diplomatic presence in countries it views as hostile was the revelation earlier this year that the CIA had requested Canberra to host a North Korean Embassy and to open its own mission in Pyongyang in 2014."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 6 2018 19:23 utc | 35

Problem with the Meyssan/Korbyko argument, for me, is it entirely ignores Trump's personality in pursuing these noble ends to deconstruct and extract the US from the neocon playbook. They suggest Trump is a rational, reasonable, thinking entity, his behavior nothing but a wily mask. Today Trump claims he is a "genius" for what he has done. This sort of personality in a leadership position obviously creates fractious relations everywhere, as has happened throughout his time in office. He bewilders people. Trust is an issue. What IS his "agenda"? All this is at the crossroads of whether people support him or not. I think there needs to be more argument to support that his agenda is not essentially rooted in glorification of Trump, more on him as just pretending to be an embarrassing blowhard. Did he even read the statement Meyssan attributes to him? I'm not convinced, and though he may be "smart" even a smart person can be "a fucking moron" (Tillerson) in his behavior.

Posted by: Sid2 | Jan 6 2018 19:25 utc | 36

I found this interesting statement in Meyssan’s analysis of Trump’s National Security Statement (Dec 26):

"Finally, concerning the resilience of the United States, he validates the programme of « Continuity of Government », although it was the direct beneficiary of the coup d’Etat of 9/11."

Does this suggest Trump too sees 9/11 as "coup d'Etat"?

Posted by: Sid2 | Jan 6 2018 19:31 utc | 37

Interesting notion that Trump could just be 'playing dumb', so as to relieve the Empire of forever being the front man against perceived antagonists of the west. This would be the kind interpretation of the 'idiot' by a sympathetic apologist.

The rational takeaway of what this 'idiot' has done in a year is that HE INDEED IS AN IDIOT! Isn't it characteristic of nursery brats to instinctively brag of bigger dick than thou as Trump listens to the Fat Boy keenly and couldn't resist an immediate retort? Where is the subtlety and finesse he has shown to suspect he is perhaps a deep and cool operator? On Iran, Palestine, and Syria, all that he has done is to profess his loyalty to his Zionist masters but coming up short, because the Empire ain't got it no more. Oh poor running dog!

After the approximate 360 days in office, all I can conclude is that he is as pitiful as his three predecessors.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Jan 6 2018 19:33 utc | 38

Trump is a Hegemonist.
His personal skillset is grounded in transactional techniques where he uses advantage or gains advantage.
Outcome for Trump is what he calls "Winning" or "Victory".

Having a deep need to create jobs and keep the positive signs of growth in the economy, he knew and went for in his first at-bat for expanding the MIC manufacturing with increased Defense Spending. All his NATO moves were to increase purchases of US weapons by the vassals.

His policy has not changed vis a vis Assad, Syria (to be divided), Ukraine, South Asia (more troops, more war in Afghanistan and Pakistan), de-stabilization of Venezuela and Cuba, confrontation to come in the Arctic, South China Sea, East China Sea, Indian Ocean (using the new form alliance QUAD). There will be war all over Africa, ignited by AFRICOM in NA, sub-Sahara, the Horn. Central Asia will be "flashed" with terror attacks.

He is and always will be a Hegemonist. He will do it his way, his style. He doesn't need Think Tanks, White Papers, NSC briefs or CIA lies. He is a natural Exceptionalist.

Why would he limit his advantage? The US Empire is still in charge. Multi-Polarity is very fragile.
China is timid to use military outside its borders. Russia is capable of doing only limited actions in a few regions. BRICS is fractured by corruption in several nations and India under Modi is going to the Hegemon in the QUAD.

Every advantage still remains with the Hegemon. Sanctions done by the Treasury really hurt. They don't need UNSC backing. The SWIFT system is still totally dominant. Every nation on earth that has sovereign funds, currency and gold sends it to the US for "safe keeping". Russia and China still underwrite US liquidity needs with debt holdings that are massive weapons pointed back at them.

Trump understands advantage. Everyone is playing his game.

Yes, judge his actions not his words. But his words are icons for his self-directives. He is disciplined and knows how to use power.

The Hegemon is going to raise hell for China and Russia this year. Trump approves it all.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jan 6 2018 19:42 utc | 39

Trump is smarter than he appears. He doesn’t pretend to be smart and just stupidly tells ppl “I’m a genius!” (gotta laugh ;) .. ) His enemies diss his style - unreflective, abrasive, boorish, self-agrandizing, mad tweeter, as they don’t want to address his policies / promises / stances.

He was elected on an isolationist, nationalist ticket. In fine, to usher the US into a multi-polar world in which the US lower/middle workers could recuperate decent pay, status.

Trump has withdrawn from -- besides Paris Agreement, climate, not joining TTP, and scotching funding to pro-abortion orgs abroad -- :

Unesco. (> 2018.) For anti-isr. bias but US plans to remain as a non-member observer state. Unesco was the first (? iirc) UN-agency to admit Palestine as a full member.

UN agreement to establish international rights for migrants (The New York declaration.) - as incompatible with ‘sovereign’ control.

Plus: "The United States has withdrawn as an implementing country from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international effort to fight corruption in managing revenues from oil, gas and mineral extraction."

— on the AID rubric - latest is Pakistan (see other posters.)

All this is rather minor stuff, compared to campaign proposals, plans, promises to withdraw from Somalia, Afgh, Syria, Lybia, Iraq, winding down overseas bases, where no headway has been made at all, FAIL all the way.

The pre-election promise to repeal the ‘Iran nuclear deal’ is thus an area of yet more minor quarrels which will no doubt be fixed with some kind of compromise (see b.) One can have pos. or neg. opinions about the JCPOA, but an isolationist would always reject it, for many reasons.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 6 2018 19:42 utc | 40

@35 peter .. canucks are a part of it too.. "Five Eyes. The "Five Eyes", often abbreviated as "FVEY", refer to an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. These countries are bound by the multilateral UKUSA Agreement, a treaty for joint cooperation in signals intelligence."

something wrong with meyssan for me.. i can't put my finger on it, and although i like some of the things he says, it is incomplete and missing in other respects..

as for trump liking to 'make like he is dumb'.. i think there is some truth to that, in spite of the fact he is completely self centered and smart.. i really think the usa is getting the leader they deserve as they have been unwilling to get beyond the 2 party system that has become a huge liability for the usa at present.. both parties have been bought out by special interest groups, even beyond the energy, financial and military complex.. the usa needs a complete breakdown and rebuild.. trump is helping to accelerate the need for it too!

trump is a fire type.. i think he has leadership abilities, but it is a bit too self centered to be able to make them of benefit for everyone.. he drives conservative and traditional types batty.. i like that about him.. however, i think he is doing a great job of driving the usa into a ditch and for that - i am all for it.. the usa needs to get on another track then the one it has been on for too long..

Posted by: james | Jan 6 2018 19:58 utc | 41

Consider the alternative in which Hillary Clinton had become President and her government's choice of ambassador to the UN had actually urged that a no-fly zone be declared over Iran in the wake of recent demonstrations there - would the EU have grown a spine then and opposed the Clinton government?

The fact is that EU leaders, like Washington generally, are not comfortable dealing with an outsider like Donald Trump and would have preferred Hillary Clinton as President. They would have considered her a known quantity - but they would have been in for just as much a shock at her neocon outlook as they currently are with Trump in general.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 6 2018 20:01 utc | 42

Posted by: Jen | Jan 6, 2018 3:01:26 PM | 42
Yes, I agree, considering domestic politics, and support, it is much easier for EU leaders to resent fallowing obeying Trump then that of Clintons. Which is good brake for both EU, and the world.

Posted by: kooshy | Jan 6 2018 20:30 utc | 43

@james, I was thinking more of the aussie politician colonist mindset when saying I was unsure about Canada.
I have been up and down a lot on Trump, but after reading the Armstrong and Korybko pieces the other day, I am again on the optimistic side. The other thing I have been thinking about since reading those pieces is Pat Lang's insistence that Trump spends a lot of time watching news on TV.
If Armstrong/Korybko/Pat Lang are correct then Trump may have had his basic strategy planned before inauguration and the only intelligence/information he needs now for each step is the public/international reaction to the last step.

Whatever the answer is, it is going to be interesting watching it played out. We are in a time of major change. Hopefully, that does not include major war.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 6 2018 20:37 utc | 44

@ 7 Eric Zuesse

Absolutely agree. I think currently b. and Andre Vltchek are the people with the most vision around. Pepe Escobar has maybe got too close to China and lost his bite. Saker was excellent on Ukraine and comes out with good stuff but has a very, very large ego. Almost as big as his head! What is remarkable about b. is that he is so humble and that is why, apart from everything else, we love him so.

Posted by: Lochearn | Jan 6 2018 20:42 utc | 45

Here is DJT on the ‘Iran nuclear deal.. a disaster’ on MSNBC, 5 mins. 2015.

Worth a listen. Trump in all his confused impulses before the election. Historical note, heh.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 6 2018 20:44 utc | 46

re GhostShip 24
"Invasion of Libya - Libya was no threat whatsover to the United States and Qaddafhi wanted trade with the US, kept the jihadists down and was doing his best to prevent migration out of Africa by enabling its economic development.It's the same with Syria and Yemen, neither were a threat to the United States, and the same is true of Iran."
Nope, Libya was a major threat to the US and especially to France. Qaddafi was bringing Africa out of poverty with his no interest loans, his plan for a Pan Africa gold currency which would have freed the former French controlled African countries from their servitude/slavery to the French banking system. As for Syria, they were a threat to Israel's control of the captured Golan Heights and to the ME royals as they represented a secular alternative their rule. And we all know how Israel feels about Iran:)

Posted by: frances | Jan 6 2018 20:49 utc | 47

As it did under Dubya and Obomber, the DOD continues to shovel out over a billion dollars per day to the MIC on contracts for bombs, weapons development, deployment systems, military base improvements, software, hardware, aircraft, increases for cost overruns, increased awards for existing contracts.

Big players turn up at the trough daily such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, and so on.

What a forking scam.

And they're coming after our public schools, social security and medicare because there's not enough money.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jan 6 2018 20:50 utc | 48

@james: no not leader US deserves, the leader fostered upon us

@jen: maybe you have it backwards. USA has moved past EU. In the immortal words of Victoria Nuland: “Fuck the EU!”

@others: IMO Trump is a reaction to the lost war in Syria. If the Assad must go! Coalition has won, Hillary would be President. ‘America First’ means throwing off the shackles of the (failed) progressive pretense so as to RE-establish US primacy. Re-establishing that primacy has more in common with dog training than diplomacy. The rest of the world doesn’t have to agree with USA, they just have to suffer the consequences of their mis-behavior.

Thus MY answer to b’s question is Armstrong/Korybko is mostly wrong because they are speculating based on incomplete information. It will take time for the US strategy to fully unfold.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 6 2018 20:51 utc | 49

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 6, 2018 1:02:02 PM | 29

IMO, driven from what I gather in Iranian media, I don’t believe Iran is worried at all about US or her regional allies attack on Iran. In general, it seems to me, Iran not much longer is even very worried about US and ally’s regional polices as well. That is due to US and allies’ loss, in every regional theater they created ever since 911, specially Syria and Lebanon. Iran’ biggest worry in her region is not US, and Israel but rather a genuine street level war between Sunni (and not Saudi brand of Sunnis) and Shia since Shia are the minority. Fortunately, US and allies failed in their effort to bring about a real genuine street level non-takfirist religion wide war between Sunni and Shia streets. Much of that thankfully was by insight of the Shia leadership of Najaf and Qom cleverly preventing their followers taking revenge of kind. And IMO, ever since unsuccessful American cope in Turkey (by far the most important Sunni country) there is no possibility of igniting a comprehensive Sunni unity against the Shia.

IMO, no one will dare to invade Iran, and bombing Iran by US or her allied monarchies, will bring about a calculated retaliation that will weaken and destabilizes US’ regional allies, including Israel. At the end IMO, US has no choice but to accept the facts on the ground, her ME hegemony was weaken and lost ever since the Iranian revolution.

Posted by: kooshy | Jan 6 2018 21:03 utc | 50

@21 his "strategy" of unpredictability

@36 This sort of personality in a leadership position obviously creates fractious relations everywhere,

As I have said before, Trump is instinctively brilliant at using asymmetrical tactics in achieving his goals. His is what I have labelled asymmetrical leadership

Such a position is dangerous when you become a Hegemon (@39 right on!). It also assumes a large and rather static object - with rigid rules - to play against, as was the case in his business empire building. Politics is not business and world politics is changing rapidly as new rules emerge almost daily.

When fighting a guerilla-style conflict, any advantage gained is counted as "success" regardless of the cost. We see this daily. Trump is an asymmetrical leader and he uses this strategy almost exclusively.

Posted by: les7 | Jan 6 2018 21:04 utc | 51

Jackrabbit | Jan 6, 2018 3:51:11 PM | 49

At times (like now) I go with the optimists and at others I think the naysayers like yourself are probably right.
Unless you are a fly on the wall, only hind sight will give us complete information. Armstrong/Korybko - speculating on incomplete information would also apply to your speculation?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 6 2018 21:07 utc | 52

Does this suggest Trump too sees 9/11 as "coup d'Etat"? Posted by: Sid2 | Jan 6, 2018 2:31:07 PM | 37
I am sure he does. He is and was a major player in the NY building trade; he most certainly knows what happened. As for the who and why, again he is not a fool.
So realizing who and what control the US govt he would be risking his life if he didn't let the military take the reins. They are the only ones that can keep him and his family alive during and after this adventure. At the same time, the military only want money, they don't want war, look to the CIA for that.
The military's reluctance for war allows Trump to go against prior American policies to over time realize his America First plan. But keep in mind his America may not be yours. He will support his peers before he does anything for the rank and file.
But he wants a second term so he will deliver whatever he feels will get him reelected.

Posted by: frances | Jan 6 2018 21:10 utc | 53

Althought the two comments of Noirette and Red Ryder (39 and 49 respectively), paint Trump as a isolationist/hegemonist there is always the question of "who pays".

Another side theory; Does debt matter? The answer is no, as long as the interest is zero or negative. The US stock market is booming, all the corporations and military are getting the goodies they want. Fine. Hegemon or isolationist things are going smoothly. What happens when there is interest. All the debts of the major countries in the world become unsustainable. All Corporate debt has to be refinanced and speculators have to cover their bets.
So we will get zimbabwean inflation so that debts can be paid off by financial majors. People only get "Weimar" style debt where barrow loads of cash are needed to buy the "croissants" in the morning. Only "title" is worth having - which will allow certain small groups to be the owners of just about everything. ie. The collateral holders of re-hypothecation daisy chains will find masses of people claiming it as theirs (ie mortgages).

Why bring this up on a thread about the Trumps policy and the EU?
OK. China and Russia are both "hedging" their debts with gold. Russia is more advanced along this line than China, who is also trying to curb it's own industrialists exuberance at the same time. The EU seems to have just started to figure out that their own massive debts (personal, national and corporate) could explode in their faces.
Has Trump also decided also to reduce the outflow (Noirettes post) and isolate the US from a generalised collapse? (including UN and other institutions)

At the moment the (private) central Banks have most of the worlds valuable assets on their books (they have "title"). It is possible that the US and the UK financial centres would be used as bases for forced takeovers of other nations industries and assets. In which case Trump would simply not care about "the world" if he asssumes that the US/Israel will end up owning everything.

Are we now going to see a "walk-back" from extreme foreign policies by all the other major powers? This could explain the reason why some of the stranger bits of "collusion" between Rus. US and China, could be to stop the "less than .01%" from bringing down the system?

Posted by: stonebird | Jan 6 2018 21:23 utc | 54

Jackrabbit @ 49: Your comment actually supports what I said @ 42, there's no contradiction. If Clinton had become President, the US would still be pursuing regime change across the Middle East - just more aggressively - and the EU would be floundering in its wake.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 6 2018 21:24 utc | 55

Praiseworthy and timely efforts ( taking into account the fresh releases on books this Christmas ) to whitewash the Donald, quite understandable, since, after all, some of you contributed by all your means to put him where he is.

But, when one reads this excerpt from Michale Wolff's book, one has only to conclude that this is probably the pure truth, a piece of authentic journalism for the sake of informing the public about what is happening in the USA, and that the chaos, improvisation, continuous backstabbing, and the impossibility to satisfy and manage a lazy, paid of himself, spoiled adolescent, more concerned about his image before the media, marchers and socialites than of the destiny of the nation in whose helm has been placed, is more than probably the daily bread in the White House.

That some of you try still to make sense of the reigning chaos in such a way, speaks volumes of Trumpism´s desperation before the disaster that is coming and that you all helped to make.
Bannon, as good opportunist and good pursuer of the sun that heats more, has just started to leave the boat....Tit for tat....

Donald Trump Didn’t Want to Be President

Posted by: elsi | Jan 6 2018 21:46 utc | 56

@44 peter.. i don't think canucks view their country as a colony.. obviously we can't do anything without being connected to the usa in some significant way given the proximity and surrounded-ness we have with the usa - media, physical border, american corporations and etc... and yet, i think canada as i think of it would like to have some space and sense of independence.. we had much more of it under the first trudeau then we do with trudeau number 2.. i would like it to be different, but this goes into the next thing i am going to say..

@49 jackrabbit quote "@james: no not leader US deserves, the leader fostered upon us." well, that is true too and a leader fostered upon the world for that matter.. at what point does the usa stop playing this exceptional role on the planet? it certainly won't come about in the present 2 party system they have going.. i am not singling you out either, so sorry if it sounds like i am annoyed at the state of affairs at present.. the way i see it, we are all into this together for better or worse.. at present this corporate ruled agenda is fucking it for everyone on the planet, even if it is the people in the usa who seem to make or not make the decisions we are subject to.. thanks for your comments!

Posted by: james | Jan 6 2018 22:07 utc | 57

Trump is only interested in money not in regime change or humanitarian issues. He pampers the rich countries that buy american, yet he does not give them any guaranty of his eternal friendship. He always want to make then feel that they need to work and buy to deserve America's protection. Therefore with Saudi Arabia and Israel he plays yoyo.
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 22:14 utc | 58

@Peter AU 1: our speculations are different I think. Armstrong/Korybko’s POV seems to me to be an attempt to explain recent “failures” at the expense of the bigger picture.

@Jen: I guess I was more focused on where you said ”EU leaders . . . Are not comfortable dealing with an outsider . . .” It’s apparent that from USA perspective EU is the outsider.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 6 2018 22:20 utc | 59

Trumps a puppet as has been every President since Nixon. The real power and decisions are made in the shadows. You just have to look at the continuity in US policy regardless of who is in office. The flavor and color may differ, but its still soda pop/ice cream/etc

Posted by: Pft | Jan 6 2018 22:53 utc | 60

@james: I know. You’ve written about the failures of US democracy before. It’s all-too-easy to use language that portrays the US President and US actions as being approved by US people.

The failure of US political system IS a fault of US people, however, IMO decisions related to international relations are taken with the least regard for US public opinion because US leaders think they can finesse whatever action they want to take. FP is a play thing of the elites in a country where few can point to Kazakstan on a world map.

For our so-called leaders, the Iraq debacle was not a lesson but an obstacle to overcome. For Obama that meant reliance on covert ops. For Trump, it means re-building patriotism (made possible because of the time that has passed since the Iraq War).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 6 2018 22:56 utc | 61

Posted by: les7 | Jan 6, 2018 4:04:45 PM | 51

That nails is. Trump is a kind of Hezbollah at the top of the United States :-)).

It is an absurd behaviour if you are the guy ruling a shrinking empire and not the guy fighting it.

When you look at the war of words (and rockets) between Trump and North Korea you realize North Korea is better at it. "Dotard" sized Trump up.

He has been very consistent throughout his life - Link from 1988 - there is no chance he did not run to win. He had been talking about it throughout his life.

There is already - in 1988 - this idea that the US are robbed by their empire. He is like a stuck clock.

Trump did run (not to win) in 2000 by the way.

Critics questioned the seriousness of Trump's campaign and speculated that it was a tactic to strengthen his brand and sell books. Trump defended his candidacy as a serious endeavor and proclaimed that he had a chance to win the election. Though he never expanded the campaign beyond the exploratory phase, Trump made numerous media appearances as a candidate, traveled to campaign events in Florida, California, and Minnesota, and qualified for two presidential primaries. Veteran campaign strategist and longtime Trump aide Roger Stone was hired as director of the exploratory committee.

So to measure his success by his own standard - are the US now getting a fair deal from the world? I did not notice anybody paying - except Saudi and Qatar. If Israelis are stuck with the tab for Palestinians Israel would have to pay, too. I doubt this will happen.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 6 2018 23:14 utc | 62

Trump was a businessman, not a politician; gained the Presidency against the wishes of much of the establishment, including his own party. Immediately upon gaining office, an unprecedented media and establishment effort depicted him in extremely negative terms. One might compile a large random list of pejorative, unflattering descriptive words and phrases, and achieve a good part of the anti-Trump list: Much hostile creativity included considerable number of public musings about killing him, impeaching him, having him removed from office for mental defects, and so on.

So Trump began office as a political novice with no media or political honeymoon and many weaknesses, but with a solid tens of millions strong common person support.

Woven into the proceedings, much unremarked by mass media, but a nebulous sword of Damocles for the deeply corrupt American elite, there an extremely disturbing tenor to some of Trump's remarks and behaviour. “Draining the swamp' seemed a threat broadly pointed. This serious elite anxiety was, we are told, given voice to by Mrs. H. Clinton when she warned that if Trump gets in 'we'll hang', which incidentally from memory is reminiscent of a vintage statement from daddy Bush, which went along the lines of 'if the people knew what we were doing we would be strung up on lampposts' sort of thing.

The attempt to discredit Trump or perhaps facilitate impeachment, then moved to trying to pin some kind of Russian/Putin spin on the Trump phenomenon. This has given rise to the Mueller investigation which seems destined ironically to more and more implicate some ofTrump's political and media opponents in all manner of malevolence and deceit.

Whatever Trump's actual intentions, his successful stated political program was nationalistic, using words like sovereignty and America first, stressing the importance of borders, good jobs, rebuilding tottering inner cities, etc. And rhetorically at least, he in effect (off the cuff 'our foreign policy has made a mess of things' ) and sometimes explicitly, rejected the America empire project.

But even assuming that his campaign rhetoric had some sincerity to it, who was he to turn to among the establishment or mass media for strong support? And there was the matter of a deeply embedded bureaucracy that had habits and perks and attitudes of its own, largely supportive of and benefiting from the empire project, and often at odds with 'Trumpism'.

And there was the little matter of the JFK coup, for which the Secret Service - the 'protector' of the president - among other agencies was implicated. So not surprisingly Trump the unpredictable turned to some private protection and the military for some greater measure of safety from the vipers in the Swamp.

Interestingly, an Oct. 2017 poll found that the common soldier sees Trump more favourably than officers, with nearly half of the grunts and only a third of the officers giving the thumbs up. Which given the unprecedented effort to early discredit a president is actually a pretty good number to build on.

As to whether or to what extent Trump will succeed, or make a mass of things, or succumb to brain-numbing running out of steam old age with aspartame, is anybody's guess. In any case, he will twitter like nobody's business. What Trump represents is also, whatever his faults and merits, a victory for the unrehearsed, the spontaneous, good bad or indifferent off the cuff, over the rehearsed, the staged, mere political theater. When Trump succumbs to reading his message, part of him dies.

This advent of spontaneity is a big problem for political actors performing in the political theater trained in the pre Trump era. Their feigned sincerity, their magnificent capacity for bs, for staying on message, did not include an acquired taste for mischievous repartee, since the universe of lies for its existence requires some considerable consistency. Putin, capable of spontaneity in a much more coherent and informed way, provides an elegant political companion of sorts to Trump's ditsy style. If we could just hitch these horses together when planetary push comes to shove.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 7 2018 0:55 utc | 63

@v #58 keep in mind what happened in Palestine just a few years ago, the enormity of the Israeli response to a few stones tossed at them to think this grand gesture from the neophyte Trump would be that persuasive. Here again seems to me is glorification of Trump . . . well good luck with that.

Posted by: Sid2 | Jan 7 2018 1:03 utc | 64

@51 and 55 interesting comments, thank you.

Posted by: Sid2 | Jan 7 2018 1:11 utc | 65

I meant Frances at 53, not 55--sorry.

Posted by: Sid2 | Jan 7 2018 1:21 utc | 66

Or is the Armstrong/Korybko theory completely wrong?

This theory -- that Trump is a genious who's using reverse psychology to bring world peace and prosperity -- is simply absurd, complete madness. No wonder it was the fruit of a Canadian mind: for Canada, it's simply inconceivable that the USA can do some harm/can fail. No wonder: Canada's survival depends on that axiom.

Analysing the reaction of the parts of interest in the USA (deep state, MSM, liberals, republicans, corporations etc.) and its allies, the conclusion is rather simple: he's a weak President. Liberals et caterva are not mad at him because he's doing neoliberal policies (they would happily swallow the tax reform if it was Obama of Hillary who did it), but because he's eroding America's soft power, i.e. ruining America's image abroad.

Trump is a 75-year old billionaire. Of course that, in doubt, short-term peace is the preferable scenario. But that doesn't matter, as b's hypothesis of a military junta (Kelly, Mattis and McMaster) de facto governing the USA is probably true.

The USA retreated in Syria because it lost. The EU retreated in Iran because it can't take it anymore. The United States is not omnipotent, its resources are limited, its supremacy not a God-given right. Sometimes, it's that simple.

Posted by: VK | Jan 7 2018 1:25 utc | 67

@67 and sometimes it's not that simple, because Trump is born in June 1946: is thus 71; there is no such entity, or part thereof, that can be located as "a Canadian mind"; it is a common and longstanding view among Canadians that the US is capable of much harm and much incompetence.

Also, it is rather unclear in calling Trump a "weak president" whether you are referring to the man, or to his current position vis a vis countervailing political power and influence in the States, or whether you are making a prediction about the failure of his intentions. Note that Trump has functioned in the face of unprecedented political and media hostility.

Note that he has, against the establishment, withdrawn from Paris climate agreement, and from the TPP, and pissed off much of the planet's population by endorsing Jeruselum as capital of Israel, and actually has, in the face of unprecedented hostility, done many other things. For example, a commission on child trafficking has been set up, and there appear to be a very large increase in arrests of pedo-predators over the last year. Another example is implementation of red tape reduction, going forwards. Whether a person thinks these are good innovations or not, is not the point.

And the US has not retreated from Syria. And so on....

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 7 2018 2:06 utc | 68

@Robert Snefjella 63
Good stuff

What Trump represents is also, whatever his faults and merits, a victory for the unrehearsed, the spontaneous, good bad or indifferent off the cuff, over the rehearsed, the staged, mere political theater. When Trump succumbs to reading his message, part of him dies.

This advent of spontaneity is a big problem for political actors performing in the political theater trained in the pre Trump era. Their feigned sincerity, their magnificent capacity for bs, for staying on message, did not include an acquired taste for mischievous repartee, since the universe of lies for its existence requires some considerable consistency. Putin, capable of spontaneity in a much more coherent and informed way, provides an elegant political companion of sorts to Trump's ditsy style. If we could just hitch these horses together when planetary push comes to shove.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 7 2018 2:20 utc | 69

FULL. UN Security Council emergency meeting on Iran. Jan 5, 2018.

China: 1:05:40

Merely says UNSC is not appropriate venue and Iranian protests/riots do not constitute a threat to international security, but are an 'internal matter'

Russia: 1:09:43

Harsher in its criticisms of the US: "US is abusing platform of UNSC"..."We should thank Washington for this because its to a large extent thanks to the dynamic of its words of encouragement and messages to the Iranian people that we witnessed a consolidation of the Iranian society and they were united by anti American feelings. The feeling is that there is some sort of inexplicable allergy to this country [by US] and that clouds of thinking about events in this country leads to wishful thinking")

Iran 1:21:14

Posted by: ninel | Jan 7 2018 2:20 utc | 70

I forgot to mention that the Iranian ambassador to the UN (Gholamali Khoshroo) began by acknowledging the existence of "protests [rather than riots] in Iran by some of our citizens for legitimate grievances, some exacerbated by none other than US itself.."

Posted by: ninel | Jan 7 2018 2:24 utc | 71

@ 61 jackrabbit.. i could say the same about canada where all sorts of stupid stuff gets rubber stamped that doesn't align with canadians view on it.. in fact the whole time of stephen harper and a good chunk of trudeau jr is an example of our leaders not representing the collective wisdom.. so, if it looks like i am singling out the people of the usa, it is not accurate.. i want to see some change in a better direction.. it seems like it is out of ordinary peoples hands even with this idea of democracy expressed every 4 years at a voting station..

@63 / 68 robert snefjella.. thanks for articulating all that.. it's in line with my thinking..

@70 ninel.. i liked how ignorant the usa looked at this special un meeting on iranian protests.. the russians articulated my own viewpoint on this and i am glad they said what they did.. how about those riots in ferguson? no one was making some special un meeting for that.. haley continues to being the focal point for the stupidity coming from the usa at present..

Posted by: james | Jan 7 2018 2:40 utc | 72

I think Armstrong and Korybko and b are all correct.

Trump is behaving like a US businessman. Most such business people of his financial scale would consider the office of US President as being lower than their own. I doubt if Trump feels elevated by the Presidency, or in any way higher than his former position. He's just being himself, acting as CEO of this new enterprise he's gotten involved with.

Trump channels the "American genius", as it was once known. He is intensely pragmatic. Everything he does flows out of his expectation to see what works and what doesn't. He's throwing a lot of pasta against the fridge to see what's cooked and what isn't. Words, morals, concepts, agreements, relationships, and even trust itself are simply the foam on the boiling water that cooks the pasta.

He is also suffused with the contemporary US culture, so to some extent he understands what we here see as truth, and to some extent he takes as truth what we here see as propaganda lies. But it's not his purpose to sort those things out, and when we see gains from his actions it doesn't mean he saw the truth we saw. It happens that we see more gains than losses, but it doesn't follow that he understands this.

The world is much safer, I perceive, in this past year of Trump's watch. The fact is that everywhere the US walks away, the multi-polar world handles things just fine, thank you. And Trump is walking away, as Armstrong illustrates particularly well. I like Armstrong's test - we should check in one year from now and see if the US is less engaged. If so, that's the proof of the theory.


I caution against trying to see multiple layers to Trump. There's only one layer. It's just incredibly hard to believe, so it takes us a long time to accept. It's like trying to make out a wavering light in the distance and gradually coming to realize it's actually an express train bearing down on you. It begs the question: when did the train ever lie about what it was?

Trump is the rattlesnake saying, "don't step on me." Trump is exactly what he said he was, following exactly the agenda he said he would. He doesn't care about anything outside of his view of things, and his view of things is essentially US Tycoon. The people who voted for him know this, and understand what it means.

We are still parsing this extremely large fact.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 7 2018 2:41 utc | 73

Ghost Ship | Jan 6, 2018 12:05:15 PM | 24
Invasion of Libya - Libya was no threat whatsover to the United States and Qaddafhi wanted trade with the US, kept the jihadists down and was doing his best to prevent migration out of Africa by enabling its economic development.

Perception counts; and the U.S. perceived Qaddafhi as a threat to the petro-dollar. As you may recall, Qaddafhi wanted to create a gold backed currency with which to buy and sell goods as well as oil. Saddam tried the same thing and was promptly killed.
Your time lines echo mine for the most part. November 22, 1963 surely has a place as well.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 7 2018 2:53 utc | 74

Some people think Ghaddafi was a victim of Girlpower. Not me of course. I wouldn't dare suggest it...

Posted by: dh | Jan 7 2018 3:05 utc | 75

>>>> Posted by: frances | Jan 6, 2018 3:49:58 PM | 47

Nope, Libya was a major threat to the US and especially to France.

Did I mention France? No, I fucking didn't. I agree that Qaddafi was a threat to some French national interests and Sarkozy's personal interests but he was no threat to the United States. What was Qaddafi going to do? Sail his twenty battle carrier groups along with his invasion fleet of hundreds of LST across the Atlantic?

As for Syria, they were a threat to Israel's control of the captured Golan Heights.....

Did I mention Israel? NO.I.DID.NOT. because contrary to popular belief, Israel is not the United States. Until Syria can establish air superiority over the Golan Heights, they won't stand a chance of threatening Israel's control of them and the probability of Syria doing so will be close to zero for at least the next twenty years, so Syria is not really a threat to Israel and certainly not to the United States.

Obama and Clinton's claims that Libya and Syria were a threat to the United States were complete and utter bullshit.

BTW, you are aware that Assad was also no threat to the ME royals because like all Arab politicians he had been bought by the Saudis, and even now he's no threat the ME royals because he's hardly in a position to invade any of them

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 7 2018 3:05 utc | 76

For a while now, some Trump fans have been alleging that he’s been deliberately destroying US hegemony. I’ve been very skeptical of that view. There’s little in his background that attests to even his business acumen, let alone foreign policy or strategic skills. It’s been said that if he had simply invested his inheritance in SPDR ETFs, he’d be richer than he is today. Still, b's post today gives credence to the view that he’s either trying to cut the Gordian Knot of US foreign entanglements or simply doesn’t care.

Perhaps I was wrong, and what Trump tweeted today, “I’m a very stable genius,” is correct. Is Trump deliberately encouraging the Empire’s excesses expecting its momentum to destroy it? Has Donald been taking judo lessons from Vovo? I don’t think so, but I could be wrong and I certainly welcome the results.

Posted by: William Rood | Jan 7 2018 3:18 utc | 77

this is slightly OT, but an excellent article and very relevant to so many of the topics we discuss.. i encourage everyone to read it.. PLA Strategist: The U.S. Uses Its Dollar to Dominate the World

Posted by: james | Jan 7 2018 3:19 utc | 78

Eric Zuesse was here.

Now that's something.

What I see is the U.S.A. is losing its mojo.

This is obviously very dangerous.

I guess Donald Trump is the most qualified to master this awful ceremony. (Strange as it may seem.)

Posted by: blues | Jan 7 2018 3:21 utc | 79

@dh 75
re: Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power.
The women in favor of destroying Libya also included Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, a hotbed of neoliberalism.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 7 2018 3:24 utc | 80

Re: Posted by: lysander | Jan 6, 2018 9:26:02 AM | 4

Yes, momentum may be key. See my post 77. It may be what he was trying to do with health insurance as well. There was a time Trump said he was for single payer. So let the extremists take the system down? If pushed to the limit, it could result in the destruction of the entire neo-liberal edifice. But Trump won't be around to construct the new system. Even if he is, others will get the credit. Historians will label him as one of the worst Presidents ever. Is he OK with that?

Posted by: William Rood | Jan 7 2018 3:28 utc | 81

Funny how every time they murder a president an even more monsterous president follows.

Even though the one they murdered killed millions. Nice how they do that.

Posted by: blues | Jan 7 2018 3:31 utc | 82

Trying to project any kind of political acumen into DT, is like giving the rooster credit for the sun coming up. He's nothing more than a ventriloquist's dummy being used as a distraction, as the elites rape and pillage the working classes for the benefit of a group of malignant and greedy billionaires, whose collective wet dreams entail rolling back Roosevelt's " new deal", for the onset of a new "gilded age".

"business uber alles", screw the workers.

Posted by: ben | Jan 7 2018 3:40 utc | 83

P.S--Aided and abetted by every modern day President we've had. $ talks..

Posted by: ben | Jan 7 2018 3:44 utc | 84

"as the elites rape and pillage the working classes for the benefit of a group of malignant and greedy billionaires"

Hey, that's just a basic job description.

Posted by: blues | Jan 7 2018 3:44 utc | 85

@James 78
re: threats to the dollar
Pakistan central bank allows Chinese yuan for bilateral trade

Pakistan’s central bank has allowed the Chinese yuan to be used for bilateral trade and investment activities, ensuring that imports, exports and financing transactions can be denominated in the Chinese currency. In a statement late Tuesday, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) stated that the Chinese yuan was an approved foreign currency for denominating foreign currency transactions in Pakistan, reports Xinhua news agency.

“SBP has already put in place the required regulatory framework which facilitates use of yuan in trade and investment transactions,” the statement said. In terms of regulations in Pakistan, the yuan is at par with other international currencies such as US dollar, euro and the Japanese yen. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 7 2018 3:47 utc | 86

@86 don bacon.. yes - and that is why (as a businessman) trump was pissed at pakistan..

Posted by: james | Jan 7 2018 4:11 utc | 87

Thanks again for the posting b and the comments are all educational.

I do resonate more with comments that refer to the monetary core of our problems.

I see Trump as an Apprentice "Tycoon" (as earlier named). His job is to throw America and Americans under the bus while still keeping private finance viable world wide.....kinda like the City of London and the UK.

I see him doing a good job from this perspective. He is forcing global economic collapse so what we have for global finance tools (private) mostly now, still has a presence in the "new order" US Reserve Currency status. The global plutocrats don't care what happens to the US as long as they get to continue to control all or major chunks of the global financial system and the government puppets.

It won't be a soft landing for the 99%, however it works out.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 7 2018 4:50 utc | 88

When fighting a guerilla-style conflict, any advantage gained is counted as "success" regardless of the cost. We see this daily. Trump is an asymmetrical leader and he uses this strategy almost exclusively.
Posted by: les7 | Jan 6, 2018 4:04:45 PM | 51

Bingo! Nailed it!
He's way too unpredictable for The Swamp. No wonder they hate him. He proved, during the election campaign, that he can hijack ANY narrative. All in all it's a pretty unequal contest. The Swamp is a 1-trick pony and Trump is a 1001-trick pony.

The fact that The Swamp's fuckwits, liars and arseholes are reduced to calling Trump an idiot is a bitterly ironic indicator of just how clueless and out of their depth they're feeling...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 7 2018 4:53 utc | 89

I think the tax plan shows that Trump really is incompetent. It is possible that the tax plan is a devious attempt to blow up the Republican party, but the damage to the economy seems a steep price. For this reason I am skeptical of the "offload" theory.

Posted by: Edward | Jan 7 2018 4:57 utc | 90

@17 "(China, of course, immediately violated those sanctions indicating they didn't want to hurt the north too much)."

Actually, the violation in question was of UN Security Resolution 2375, adopted 11 September 2017, specifically the resolution's paragraph 11, barring ship-to-ship transfers of any sort with North Korea.

"11. Decides that all Member States shall prohibit their nationals, persons subject to their jurisdiction, entities incorporated in their territory or subject to their jurisdiction, and vessels flying their flag, from facilitating or engaging in ship-to- ship transfers to or from DPRK-flagged vessels of any goods or items that are being supplied, sold, or transferred to or from the DPRK;"

Some casual accounts such as Trump's "caught-red-handed" tweet could well leave a reader thinking that the violation consisted in supplying oil to North Korea per se, or that the violation was of the resolution just passed, when in reality both the relevant earlier resolution and the more recent Resolution 2397, adopted 22 December 2017 (the latter's specific terms on oil supply to the DPRK applying from 1 January 2018), do permit limited supply of both crude oil and refined petroleum products to DPRK. The earlier resolution required member states to cap crude oil supplies to DPRK at then-current levels, not explicitly specified, whereas the later resolution gave an explicit cap of 4 million barrels per 12 month period (thought to be the same level China has supplied North Korea in recent years). In addition, the earlier resolution authorized supply of up to 500,000 barrels of refined petroleum products between 1 October and 31 December, 2017 and 2,000,000 barrels annually from 1 January. The newer resolution reduced the latter figure to 500,000 barrels annually from 1 January.

A final point is that it is not clear whether the sanctions violations were officially sanctioned by Beijing.

Regarding China's position of not wanting "to hurt the north too much," Alexander Mercouris provides detail on this point here: The article also reproduces the newer resolution.

Posted by: Norumbega | Jan 7 2018 5:02 utc | 91

blues | Jan 6, 2018 10:21:28 PM | 79

Eric Zuesse was here.
Now that's something.

Indeed it is; I read everything of his that I come across.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 7 2018 6:07 utc | 92

The Swamp's fatal flaw has always been that it lurks in the shadows and is "unofficial". That worked OK for them when they could nominate political candidates whom they already owned - including Presidential candidates. But now that there's a President whom they don't own, their policy of operating from the sidelines has backfired. And it has backfired because their candidate, HRC, ran a pathetically lazy and incompetent campaign whilst Trump was running an energetic, flexible, and highly focused campaign.

An essential component of the Swamp's behind-the-scenes Power Pantomime was Respect For The President - which was fine and dandy when they owned the President, but Armageddon-ish now that they don't...
According to a 2010 doco called Inside Job broadcast by Oz's Channel 9 in the wee small hours of Jan 7, 2018, the Sub-Prime Scam was more than a decade in the making. The precondition for the plot to succeed required INSANELY ILLOGICAL levels of FINANCIAL DEREGULATION, PLUS support and endorsement from high-ranking, non-banking, US Officials. NONE (not one) of the perps and vassals mentioned above has been brought to justice. In fact most, if not all of them, still occupy positions of power, influence and wealth.

The doco doesn't say so, but the obvious insinuation is that the hi-ranking perps and vassals responsible for the collusion which made the Sub-Prime Scam possible are at the core of The Swamp.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 7 2018 6:36 utc | 93

RE Ryder 39
The pattern of Chinese history has been to let a thousand parties contend for power - the mandate of heaven - in a time of struggle , disorder and change . China looked towards the U S for this world leadership since 1979 . Since the resource wars of the 1990's her own 'neocon' brigade have been disillusioned with the U S model. Such a large 'ship' as China is hard to turn but once she is set on course it can be quite inexorable History shows through Korea , Vietnam and beyond she has the resources to surmount what at first seem insurmountable obstacles . The US do not approach her with the necessary care and respect .

Posted by: ashley albanese | Jan 7 2018 6:42 utc | 94

Would appreciate your thoughts on this line of of thinking.
The hegemon as we know it began with the US need to secure strategic oil supplies post WWII. This moved on to ensuring the Saudi's sold oil only in US dollars. Control of oil has been a major part of the post WWII era.
Now many countries have large known oil reserves. Russia produces as much or more than KSA.
US from what I read lately is now the third largest. If oil prices increase sufficiently, US could well produce as much oil as it consumes. Trump recently opened up most of the US continental shelf for exploration and drilling.

The thing that hits me here is Trump is big on US oil, and oil in the middle east kicked off the hedgemon.

Iran. Iran is Trump's big play. He has appointed a team of Iran haters. Is this to take down Iran for Israel?. Or to pull US out of the middle east quagmire?

If oil prices go up, US will quickly become self sufficient in oil. The Saudi's and middle east oil will no longer be strategically required. Trump can then disentangle the US from the Middle east, and the Saudi's who, pre-election, Trump thought were responsible for 9/11.

Tossing around a lot of thoughts at the moment, but if Trump is not about to try taking down Iran for Israel, then using it to make US self sufficient in oil and kicking the Saudi's under the bus seems the next most likely scenario.

Good post @73. Every solid analysis of Trump that does not pass him off as a fool, I am interested in reading. Opens new lines of thought.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 7 2018 7:35 utc | 95

I am still struggling to make anything of DT.
One thing though is for sure. He is responsible
for the hike in real estate values without
corresponding equity. An artificial increase in
real estate values that has ruined the lives of
thousands of Hawai'ians and subjected them to
foreclosure and subsequent homelessness. Hawai'i
is the state with the highest homelessness in the
union now.

That was enough for me to develop a deep sitting
antipathy for this person. Too many of my friends
and extended family lost everything in the battle
for their homes.

While everybody was unsure what would happen, I
told my friends that they are looking at their
next president. I was ridiculed for that.

It was clear to me, that the American people had
no whatsoever say in his becoming the new head
honcho. It was all but concluded before any results
would make that apparent. DT was installed as was
GWB. BO gave the people the impression that it was
their vote that made him president.

The controversy over DT persists for that reason
alone. With the electorate manipulated as it was,
no clear decision was made. It remained within the
margin of 49.5 versus 50.5. A result that had been
in the tradition of an allegedly split society.

While I consider myself apolitical, I am able to
see the paintings on the wall. I was born in the
country that managed to turn into a Fascist
dictatorship with the widely known consequences.

From 2000 on, I was alarmed by the shift in the
political landscape. 2001 was the signal I had
feared to witness. To this day I am appalled
that it was so easy to pull a coup d'etat off
in plain sight.

Since then the steady descent into an inhumane
society that serves only a few heads while the
masses are sliding into ever more deteriorating
living conditions.

This was all to reminiscent of what had
happened in Germany. The Americans were
now the frog in the water set to boil.
Like the Germans, they were unable to
accept the unacceptable, the impossible.
Denial is a powerful emotion. It shields
the mind from rationality and common sense.

When I finally found this website, it made me
very uneasy. For one, it describes what I had
already understood to be unfolding. Buy then,
it takes it to a level that is very disturbing.
It adds to the already dire status quo by pointing
to precise parallels with Germany from 1939-1945.
And then some.

When DT appeared on the stage, the ultimate
corporate takeover was finalized. No TPP was
necessary. The corporate powers had taken over
the U.S. government. Instead of favorable government
rules, they had become the government.
This is the link to the website that
provides a provocative picture of the
transformation into the unholy fusion
of corporatism with dictatorial powers.

While the content might be disturbing, it
receives an unlikely backup through the works
of Seymour Melman, whose 100th birthday was
recently commemorated by John Rynn on Counter
(Apologies for the link - if I format it, I lose
the entire comment)

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Jan 7 2018 7:47 utc | 96

'Auto-correct' has managed to mess up a few sentences. My apologies for that.

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Jan 7 2018 7:52 utc | 97

@56 Elsi -- You are correct, both about Trump being exactly what he appears to be, an ignorant buffoon, and the fact that his apologists cannot accept the truth of what he really is without feeling ashamed that they deluded themselves with false hopes and vanities. Trump has no ideology except his own personal enrichment, and even his loyalties to his Zionist backers are purely financial and not from any belief system. Trump's greatest gift to mankind is that he is utterly incompetent, and so the Zionists and Neocons he serves are getting a raw deal. Trump will indeed destroy the American Empire, but not out of any strategy beyond offering a generous helping of daily buffoonery. I'll take that outcome, but to remake this modern-day Caligula into Marcus Aurelius is truly laughable.

Posted by: Rhett | Jan 7 2018 8:02 utc | 98

Peter AU 1 | Jan 7, 2018 2:35:12 AM | 95

My 2 cents worth; the U.S. cannot withdraw from the ME/Asia because Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria are key to China's BRI project.
If China's BRI happens, the U.S. is cut out of the prime trading routes across Eurasia; the largest, richest, most populated landmass on the planet.
Russia's northern sea route cuts 50% off the time it takes for getting goods to Europe via the southern maritime routes.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 7 2018 8:12 utc | 99

It's too early to pass judgement on Trump. The reaction from the establishment, it's media lapdogs and over 9000 sealed indictments, is what gives me pause. IMO, he's playing a game of appeasement, hoping for an opportunity that he can take advantage of. He may be crass, his choice for cabinet is much to be desired, but he does have objectives. We all will see if he succeeds or not.

Posted by: Ian | Jan 7 2018 8:43 utc | 100

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