Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 29, 2018

To Win The 2020 Race Trump Will Need To Fire More Of His Staff

We pointed out that overruling his advisors by ending the U.S. war on Syria was a decision that will define Trump's presidency:

This was the first time Trump took a decisive stand against the borg, the permanent neoconservative and interventionist establishment in his administration, the military and congress, that usually dictates U.S. foreign policy.

It was this decision, and that he stuck to it, which finally made him presidential.

Three analysts explain why Trump will need to go further down that road by finding people who diligently implement his foreign policy instead of undermining it.

Gareth Porter describes how the U.S. military under Secretary of Defense Mattis implemented its own policy, one far from President Trump's wishes. It delayed his policy of withdrawal from Syria again and again. Trump finally broke the scheme:

Mattis and Dunford were consciously exploiting Trump’s defensiveness about a timeline to press ahead with their own strategy unless and until Trump publicly called them on it. That is what finally happened some weeks after Trump’s six month deadline had passed. The claim by Trump advisors that they were taken by surprise was indeed disingenuous. What happened last week was that Trump followed up on the clear policy he had laid down in April.

The former Indian Ambassador Bhadrakumar also calls Mattis resignation a defining moment in U.S. foreign policy. He points out that the resistance of the borg against the elected president's policy is in defiance of the will of the people:

The really stunning part is that the bulk of America’s political class, think tanks and the media have rallied to support Mattis in an astounding display of defiance and spite toward their elected president. Suffice to say, there has been an insurrection against Trump’s foreign policy agenda and Mattis was a key figure in that enterprise. Quintessentially, the established American political system – what Trump calls the “Swamp” – refuses to make way for the elected president, his mandate from the people for his political platform notwithstanding. Isn’t it a sham that the US claims to have a government “of the people, by the people, for the people”?

The majority of the people indeed agree with Trump's policy:

Fifty-two percent of respondents said they back the moves in Syria and Afghanistan, which came as a surprise to the president’s own national security advisers when it was announced last week. By contrast, 48 percent said they oppose the troop withdrawals and reductions, the poll found.

Now, that the decision is made, even Obama's Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who personally instigated the insurgency against the Syrian government, comes out in favor of the Trump ordered retreat:

Many observers have asserted that the withdrawal gives victory in Syria to Russia, Iran and the Syrian government. That’s absurd. Bashar al-Assad’s regime already controls about two-thirds of Syria, including all of the major cities. The portion of Syria that U.S. forces control alongside their Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) allies is mostly either desert or drought-prone plains. The oil fields there produce high-sulfur, low-value crude, and production has long been diminishing. Oil revenue made up only about 5 percent of Syrian gross domestic product before the 2011 uprising, according to the International Monetary Fund. In sum, holding northeastern Syria would not have enabled Washington to leverage any important concessions from Damascus, Tehran or Moscow.

In a clear rejection of John Bolton's and Mattis' overt manipulation of Trump's policies, Ford urges Trump to bring the people under him in line with his own ideas:

[T]he president needs to consider how his own foreign policy team got so far out ahead of him on Syria. He needs a National Security Council staff that can more clearly relay his cautions and concerns about U.S. foreign policy to the people in charge of executing it. That staff needs to make clear to officials in the departments that, while he hears various departments’ views, those departments must act on his guidance. Ensuring implementation is the NSC’s job. The president would benefit politically and, more importantly, U.S. national security would benefit from a more effective foreign policy team.

Porter makes a similar point:

The Syria withdrawal affair is a dramatic illustration of the fundamental quandary of the Trump presidency in regard to ending the state of permanent war that previous administrations created. Although a solid majority of Americans want to rein in U.S. military deployments in the Middle East and Africa, Trump’s national security team is committed to doing the opposite.
Trump is now well aware that it is virtually impossible to carry out the foreign policy that he wants without advisors who are committed to the same objective. That means that he must find people who have remained outside the system during the permanent war years while being highly critical of its whole ideology and culture. If he can fill key positions with truly dissident figures, the last two years of this term in office could decisively clip the wings of the bureaucrats and generals who have created the permanent war state we find ourselves in today.

Bhadrakumar sees a continuous struggle ahead, but believes that Trump knows of the importance to assert his policy:

[Mattis'] exit is not going to be the end of the vicious struggle going on in American politics. The good part is that Trump seems to understand that it will be a downhill slope ahead of him unless he took a last-ditch stance and dug in now to assert his constitutional prerogative as the president to push his foreign policy agenda. The point is, that agenda also happens to be linked to Trump’s campaign platform for the 2020 election.

To win in the 2020 elections Trump needs to show that he fulfilled the promises he made during the 2016 campaign. Draining the swamp and ending U.S. military involvement throughout the world were two of his major points. Both have a large constituency. Finally finding people who support these policies, instead of undermining them, would definitely increase his chance to win the next election.

Who will he choose?

Posted by b on December 29, 2018 at 18:59 UTC | Permalink

next page »

The U S must accept and deal with a new Eurasian world . Trump's actions are fall back to new lines of defence and recalibration of policy and strength . Common sense ? I think so !

Posted by: ashley albanese | Dec 29 2018 19:13 utc | 1

US military budget is foreign policy. NATO expansion is foreign policy. Trade war is foreign policy. One claimed tactical withdrawal is not making peace. Trump is an aggressive militarist who is largely frustrated by generals telling him they can't win the kinds of battles he wants to fight. Trying to claim Trump as an anti-imperialist is attempted fraud.

Also, Wall Street, regressive taxation, unregulated monopoly in IP, privatization of infrastructure, cutting social services are making the swamp. Politicians getting elected is not the swamp. Pretending the opposite is also attempted fraud.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Dec 29 2018 19:14 utc | 2

Let's not forget that Trump put Mattis, Pompeo, Bolton, Nikki Haley, Haspel (Brennan's gal), etc. in place.

Let's stop pretending that Trump is the "isolationist" peace maker that the controlled media say he is. Supposed Deep State 'pressure' is just an excuse for Trump to do what he is told while pretending to fight for the people.

We saw the same kind of excuses made for Obama, the previous faux populist stooge.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 29 2018 19:32 utc | 3

TL;DR (yet), but the changed opinion of Robert Ford seems a) very remarkable b) something that Trump could use to offset him against Obama c) something that could encourage Trump into taking more such 'decisive' action.

Posted by: bjd | Dec 29 2018 19:51 utc | 4

Trump's surprise policy change came days before the Israeli Christmas attack whose objective may have been to trick Syrian forces to shoot down a passenger plane in much the same way that a Russian military plane IL-20 was downed weeks before.

The rushed nature of the policy change suggests Israeli - US coordination.

And Mattis' resignation burnished Trump's 'peace maker' credentials. There appears to be NO PLAN to give Eastern Syria back to Syria, making Mattis' resignation into little more than a PR stunt.

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The media's attack on Trump's "isolationist" peace-making is deliberately misleading. Trump's militarism is clear:

- There is no peace with North Korea;

- US continues to support KSA/UAE war in Yemen;
In fact, Mattis was a proponent of ending US involvement in Yemen - now that he's gone, it seems like empty rhetoric

- Trump has made no progress toward peace with Russia;

- Trump has back-tracked on his reason for leaving Syria as well as the time table for the withdrawal (which was reported at first as immediate, then "30 days" then "60-90" days and is not simply described as being "very deliberate, very orderly");

- Trump is militarizing space.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 29 2018 19:59 utc | 5

"Who will he choose?"

I hope he will choose VIPS!

American foreign policy needs Sanity.

Posted by: Trond | Dec 29 2018 20:01 utc | 6

Here is a look at unique research that shows us why Americans voted for Donald Trump in 2016:

Despite the appearance of economic health and full employment, tens of millions of Americans feel threatened by the social changes that continue to build in the United States.

Posted by: Sally Snyder | Dec 29 2018 20:18 utc | 7

At this stage it is roughly equal odds between Trump's (a. Re-election or (b. Indictment.

My money is on (c. None of the above

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 29 2018 20:28 utc | 8

President Trump said he has no plans to withdraw American forces from Iraq. and that presence in the country would enable the United States to reenter Syria if need be. . .here

A White House spokesman said Friday that President Trump has not yet ordered the Pentagon to pull troops out of Afghanistan, contradicting reports last week that the president has called for the withdrawal of 7,000 troops. . .here

President Trump is demanding that South Korea increase their funding for American troops deployed on the peninsula, according to The Wall Street Journal. . .here

Regarding the next military budget: Visiting US troops at the Al Asad air base on Dec. 26, the president gave the latest vague update. “I mean, I want to see costs come down, too. But not when it comes to our military. You have to have the finest equipment anywhere in the world, and you have that — $716 billion. And this year, again, we’re going to be — don’t tell anybody because nobody else knows — even a little bit higher.” . . .here
NOTE: No military threat exists against the U.S.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 29 2018 20:31 utc | 9

@ donkeytale #8

My money is on (c. None of the above

That's about where I am. IMO the only reason Trump is in the White House is because he ran against Hillary Clinton. Unless the Democrats nominate one of their total losers, the man doesn't have a ghost of a chance of getting reelected. Again an opinion, but Trump's true base is somewhere in the 20-25% range. The withdrawals in the Mideast are great, but they're an extremely small part of everything that's going on. Given any kind of reasonable alternative, the rest would vote for somebody else.

My concern is that the Democrats will - if they decide Trump can be managed to their satisfaction - arrange matters to retain him. One other possibility is for them to put Pence into the top position, then run some sleezeball like Biden against him to virtually guarantee Pence's re-election.

Yes, I'm mighty cnyical these days.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Dec 29 2018 20:56 utc | 10

I remember the last 2 times that Trump "talked" about disengaging in Syria. I remember when Ariel Sharon made the illegal settlers leave Gaza. This made possible the Israeli bombings and war against Gaza. I will believe the US troops leaving Syria in a good natured way after it happens. I don't believe Trump is anything more than a distraction. The disgruntled white worker class voters who voted for him are being discouraged just as progressive Democratic voters were with "Hope and Change". The US political system is broken at the national level. Israel doesn't have quite enough power to make the US go to war with Iran. It came very close with George W. The Israeli invasion of Lebanon 2006 failed. The 2011 plan to take out Syria failed. If the US leaves Afghanistan then the war with Iran won't happen. One might have thought Obama got us out Iraq but seemingly just enabled the rise of ISIS. Somehow we are still there. The only success in the Middle East is turning Libya into rubble.
On the other hand, the South American branch of the Empire has been succeeding. It did fail in regime change in Nicaragua. But Macri in Argentina does what the Empire desires like giving the vulture capital funds the money for failed bonds. What appears to be an American mole has the Presidency in Ecuador. There are now US bases in Columbia. It has joined NATO. There is a very right wing (almost a military coup after the political coup)in Brazil which borders Venezuela. I imagine it would be glad to help in taking out Maduro. In Venezuela is an out of power oligarchy salivating at the thought of the US taking out Maduro. Just waiting to return the oil reserves of Venezuela to US oil corporations control for a share of the spoils. A conventional invasion of Venezuela would initially be a slam dunk. Logistics are no problem like the Ukraine. No care as whether Europe would approve. Trump knows the timing has to be better than H W Bush's 1st Gulf War - it was over too soon to ensure his re-election.

Posted by: gepay | Dec 29 2018 20:58 utc | 11

"Trump's surprise policy change came days before the Israeli Christmas attack whose objective may have been to trick Syrian forces to shoot down a passenger plane in much the same way that a Russian military plane IL-20 was downed weeks before.
The rushed nature of the policy change suggests Israeli - US coordination."
Posted by Jackrabbit @5

This is how you interpret it - without citing any direct evidence of coordination. That is very MSM of you.

Without direct evidence, it can be more probably asserted that Trump's announcement - which undermines everything we think we knw about Israel's desires - created enough panic in the Israeli defence establishment to prompt another rash attack on Syria in the hope that the s-300 system would be activated and the resulting carnage would prompt a reversal.

It is far too early to draw definitive conclusions about this withdrawal announcement, although Manjib going to Syria so quickly suggests it is happening and will continue. If Trump is playing a double game we will know eventually. But this could be, as several analysts have suggested, the start of Trump's all-or-nothing pushback against his "team" of betrayers and manipulators.

Posted by: Activist Potato | Dec 29 2018 21:31 utc | 12

Trump is fulfilling pledges to wind down in Syria and Afghanistan, but it is wishful thinking to see him as fundamentally opposed to the Borg and the Permanent War. Trump's other actions render the focus on these two zones absurd. He increased the military budget by over ten percent, prepared the ground for war with Iran (by appointing Bolton and quitting the nuclear deal), defended Saudi aggression at every turn, and escalated tensions in the Israeli/Palestine theatre. Oh and let's not forget the militarisation of space that he has promised.

Posted by: Sigil | Dec 29 2018 21:45 utc | 13

"Who will he choose?"
Rand Paul?
Such is the nature of US politics that he is going to have to find someone who can 'take care of himself'.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 29 2018 21:52 utc | 14

Trump just told 5000 troops in 2 bases at the iraq side of the Syria/Iraq border they may be used to intervene in Syria. I am sure covert special op forces are part of the plan. The announced drawdown in Afghanistan is less than his surge last year. There will still be more troops there than when he took office.

Despite the supposed disengagement I have not heard him mention any defense budget cuts

People fail to understand the goal of these wars today. Its not winning so much as creating chaos among the local populations over long periods, something that does not need thousands of US troops on the ground, it can be done with mercenaries, covert operations, allies troops and air support and arm sales. This reduces population, prevents economic growth and reduces living standards and hence resource consumption, and in the end creates a population so war weary they will accept the worst form of a US controlled totalitarian government in exchange for peace, and the Empires corporations get most of the contracts to rebuild with IMF loans

Show me a CEO who blames the advisers he hired for a companies poor performance and I will show you a soon to be unemployed CEO.

Posted by: Pft | Dec 29 2018 21:56 utc | 15

The new Trump appointee can only be someone gaining approval of the swamp, borge whatever. There is no way around that.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 29 2018 22:05 utc | 16

President Trump is favoring the Army in his staffing plans, and the only purpose of a standing half-million strong US Army is foreign wars. The US does not need an army for national defense. Canada and Mexico are quite benign.
Trump's pick for Joint Chiefs chairman is the current Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley. He has announced this choice despite (1) the current chairman (Dunford) isn't due to leave until October and (2) it's not Army's turn -- Army's Dempsey preceded Dunford, leaving office only three years ago. (There are four services.).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 29 2018 22:06 utc | 17

What you say is very true. And ominous. You might have added Guyana into the mix of possible and willing bases against Venezuela.
On the other hand, while the fascist reaction has its basis in nothing more substantial than political confusion, social democratic timidity and the overwhelming weight of American influence, financial and military if not intellectual, all of these US friendly regimes are doomed to fail.
Macri has already achieved astronomical levels of unpopularity. None of the rest of the Yankees' friends and Wall Street's puppets has anything to offer a long suffering (tough and hard bitten) people but death squads and poverty. Bolsonaro might create clients among those ready to burn down the Amazon rain forests for pastures and soy beans but there isn't much to offer the poor- its been open season for the cops for so long that it will be hard to tell the difference when Bolsonaro 'lets them loose.'
The reality in Latin America is, and has been since 1520, that the government sells out the people to foreigners, eagerly abetted by compradors of the likes of Bolsonaro and Macri. Venezuela is a much bigger threat to Colombia and Brazil, if it exports its egalitarianism and adds (pre 21st Century) socialism to the mix, than either can be in the long term to it.
South America is the original venue for Whack a Mole: jail Lula and a thousand Lulas are thrown up. This is the Continent where the 1% relies largely on foreigners or wannabe foreigners to maintain its power, and where the gap between rich and poor is deeper and wider than anywhere else

Posted by: bevin | Dec 29 2018 22:11 utc | 18

"Draining the swamp and ending U.S. military involvement throughout the world were two of his major points."

And Trump will do little of either.

He's not going to remove US forces from Africa. He's pushing war, or preparations for, in the Pacific.

And far more importantly, domestically, he's made the swamp worse, with his gifts to the rich. Just look at his cabinet, specifically Treasury and Commerce.

Fundamentally, the US economy is still horrid for most workers. There never was a "recovery" after the crash of 2008.

Now, should the Democrats nominate the likes of Harris or Booker in 2020 that will drive voters to Trump in 2020. So will continuing to pretend Russia had anything to do with Hillary's loss to Trump in 2016.

Posted by: Jay | Dec 29 2018 22:19 utc | 19

Activist Potato @12:

... without citing any direct evidence of coordination.

Israel and USA goals in Syria and ME region are very much aligned. There is plenty of evidence of coordination between the two in many areas but "direct evidence" of coordination wrt operations is often difficult (for obvious reasons) - especially ff ops.

Manjib going to Syria so quickly ...

I'm not sure that we know what is happening in Manjib yet. It seems USA promised it to Turkey but Erdogan was warned off. Now US-Turkey-SAA-YPG are all in the area.

If Trump is playing a double game we will know eventually.
Trump's history with Syria is fraught. He has attacked Syria based on false flags; occupied it's territory for no good reason; and threatened to attack Syria if SAA tried to reclaim Idlib.

Trump has already walked back his reason to leave Syria, saying that ISIS could still be a threat that requires US intervention, and he has refrained from any set time table (the withdrawal was to be "immediate", then "within 30 days", then "60-90 days", and now it is just a "very deliberate, very orderly" withdrawal).

A number of Trump's other campaign promises have not been kept: Mexico is NOT paying for the wall; Obamacare was not repealed ("on day one"), the swamp is not being drained, Hillary is not being prosecuted, etc.

Trump is NOT the peaceful isolationist that the media claims him to be (see NK, Yemen, Ukraine). The militarism of his choices for top staff is very clear.

See Don Bacon @9 for more.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 29 2018 22:30 utc | 20

The other vassal states of Israel, UK and France plus Israel itself will continue fighting and fomenting. Trump has just excused USA from their evil doings. But Trump is not any less a vassal operative for Israel, its just the IDF have to carry this burden fully funded by the USA.

Sure there will be some fiddling around the edges between Syrian government and SDF/YPG but I actually don't expect much change for Syria.

In the USA however Trump will have to focus total attention to the orchestrated mutiny being escalated against him since day one. Breaking the demoncratz can mainly be achieved by prosecuting Debbie wassername and the Awan family spy ring Plus commencing a series of manouvers against the Clintons. There is much more grist with the Awans than Clinton Co., as the Awans entrapped so many demoncratz congress persons in the web. Just who did they and the Pakistani ISS sell the intelligence to I wonder?

Time will tell.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 29 2018 22:39 utc | 21

Assuming Trump really has a multipolarity accepting, fallback plan, then it is bad news for Latin America -- specially Cuba and Venezuela.

Assuming the deep state is willing to go "until the end" with its unipolar doctrine (and everything suggests this is the case, and it has the full support of the American burgeoisie), then either Trump is serious or he's not (I think he's not, because he is a believer of the "Clash of Civilizations" doctrine, i.e. he's anti-China). If he's not, then this is just a temporary distraction, custom-made to win 2020. If he is, then there's a real possibility he's going be impeached or even assassinated.

The USA has the cultural tradition to reward its POTUSs with a second terms (i.e. to reelect them). A POTUS not to winning his reelection only happens when 1) he's very, very unpopular, 2) a huge geopolitical shift has happened, or 3) a combination of both. It is considered shameful and a stain in a POTUS curriculum vitae (cursus honorum) not to win his reelection and that's why this is considered a very harsh punishment by the people of the USA -- second only to the impeachment/renouncement.

Posted by: vk | Dec 29 2018 22:41 utc | 22

b writes: even Obama's Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who personally instigated the insurgency against the Syrian government, comes out in favor of the Trump ordered retreat.

Robert Ford has always been a fairly sensible man. What he did as Ambassador to Syria was to carry out Obama's foreign policy. That was his job, otherwise he would have had to resign. We know he did not go that far. But since he retired he has expressed doubts about the wisdom of the policies he carried out at that time.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 29 2018 22:44 utc | 23

A lot of people talk in this forum like they know things they just can’t know. I understand speculation but people talk like they not only know the individuals or parties in play but their motivations. The more confident a person is about their version of reality the less stock you should put in it as it reflects a deep lack of self-awareness.

If Trump gets positive reinforcement for these moves he may repeat them but stating he will or won’t with any authority is idiotic.

Posted by: Ken | Dec 29 2018 22:50 utc | 24

ToivoS 23
A few years back I could still find news interviews of Ford at the time he was in Syria and several months after. Ford at the time very much believed in what he was doing. He was not simply carrying out orders.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 29 2018 22:57 utc | 25

A few observations inspired by b's interesting post:

Trump in 2016 was a rookie politician and a rookie president. His presidency begged a number of questions, some of which I've mentioned previously at MofA.

One was whether Trump's 70 year brain would be able to accommodate and adjust to a very large new-information flow. Another was what quality of entourage and advisers would he choose?

Another question I had was whether his previously voiced astute-sounding concerns in various controversial directions were genuine, and strongly held. So, for example, he had many years previously voiced concern over the extreme danger inherent in nuclear weapons; he had shown skepticism over aspects of the 'official story' of the 9/11 2001 false flag; he had wondered about a vaccine connection to the autism scourge; he had disagreed strongly with recent US Middle East policy; he has voiced serious concern about the global plague of human, especially child, trafficking. In short, he seemed capable of going 'out of bounds' of conventional 'knowledge' and dogma.

For long, much US foreign policy has been driven and explained by an amalgam of falsehood and censorship and ignorance. And one of the curious characteristics is that this amalgam, intended to manipulate the public, ends up it would seem deceiving the deceivers too, many in high places. So even if someone had intended to give Trump good and honest advise on foreign policy, how likely was it?

And furthermore, Trump was facing a Congress in which the great majority of elected members had a dubious stature and competence, including having sworn allegiance to Israel, which at best can be described as a divided and dubious loyalty, and which in practice creates political 'schizophrenia'.

He also has assumed the presidency within an American cultural context which Paul Craig Roberts has in effect described as having an endemic institutional corruption problem. The challenges facing any American president, even if they were to be genuinely committed to real reform, can hardly be exaggerated.

In this regard, it is notable that despite the unprecedented unremitting hostility against Trump in MSM and much alt media and institutionally, his base of support has held up very well and even in some respects grown. Incidentally, James McCanney has researched voting fraud in the 2016 presidential election and has concluded that Hillary's vote support included around 17 million fraudulent votes. This statistical analysis jives quite well with the vast number of visible signs during the election across the US supporting Trump, in contrast to the paucity of Clinton signs; also the very large preponderance of counties supporting Trump vs Clinton.

So the story that the 2016 vote was split slightly in favor of Clinton may well be yet another piece of fake news.

Thierry Meyssan has cautioned us to pay more attention to what actually happens, and less to the words, re Trump.

Trump's selection of Patrick Shanahan as Mattis's replacement is also noteworthy: Shanahan has two advanced degrees from MIT, is a renowned aircraft mechanical engineer, and seems to have earned a Mr. fixit reputation. Very interesting person actually. And bonus, does not appear to be a war monger.

Notice that MIT also featured John G. Trump, Donald's uncle, who appears to have been the central figure in the perusal of renowned genius Nicola Tesla's papers etc., after Tesla's death.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Dec 29 2018 23:00 utc | 26

"I'm not sure that we know what is happening in Manjib yet. It seems USA promised it to Turkey but Erdogan was warned off. Now US-Turkey-SAA-YPG are all in the area."
Posted by Jackrabbit @20

Yes, it is not clear. Initial reports had it going to SAA but now it appears (according to Ziad at SyrPers and more mainstream sources) that the SAA and the Turkish-backed militias are maneuvering around it while the Kurds decide how/what to do. It looks like the resolution is still up in the air. (BTW, for the record I know it is Manbij, not "Manjib" - I had a dyslexic moment there).

I would say that goes to my other point about letting the situation play out longer before drawing conclusions. Although we all tend to want to confirm our biases through these various and incomplete breaking news reports, it is important to hold back final judgement and not get trapped in our own narratives.

I can see a multitude of interpretations - all plausible - based on what has been reported.

I hope Trump is serious about withdrawing even if he is doing so with a hidden agenda. The presence of flag-waving American troops is a potential flashpoint for spreading the conflict and if they are gone that is one less headache to worry about.

Let him think he is leaving Syria to Turkey. I am not worried in the least about Turkey being able to follow through on any of its posturing if Syria resists an attempt at Turkish occupation. I expect Erdogan to be brought down from the inside if he even attempts it.

Posted by: Activist Potato | Dec 29 2018 23:16 utc | 27

Robert Snef:

"James McCanney has researched voting fraud in the 2016 presidential election and has concluded that Hillary's vote support included around 17 million fraudulent votes."

No evidence supports this claim. Hillary Clinton won the legally meaningless popular vote, and lost the Electoral College.

"also the very large preponderance of counties supporting Trump vs Clinton."

US counties don't all have the same number of people. Nor of course do counties assign Electoral College votes. By way of example New York County NY has vastly more people (and therefore voters) than Washington County NY.

In point of fact, if you'd been paying attention, you'd know that exit polling has Hillary winning the Electoral College in Nov 2016, specifically Michigan and Florida. Right, exit polling has Hillary losing the 2016 nomination too. I more than suspect the exit polls in both cases are correct. But that's evidence of vote count hacking or non-counting, not evidence of the the kind of fraud you imply won Hillary the popular vote.

"So, for example, he had many years previously voiced concern over the extreme danger inherent in nuclear weapons; he had shown skepticism over aspects of the 'official story' of the 9/11 2001 false flag; "

Trump is not a 911 questioner, he has told lies about celebrations in the streets [of Jersey City] when the planes hit the towers.

"Notice that MIT also featured John G. Trump, Donald's uncle, who appears to have been the central figure in the perusal of renowned genius Nicola Tesla's papers etc., after Tesla's death."

Who saw what of Tesla's papers, and where they [all] went, is a mystery to this day.

Posted by: Jay | Dec 30 2018 0:02 utc | 28

Some thoughts
Re status of the Kurds
From what I have read both Turkish and Kurds reps have flown to and met with negotiators in Russia. My understanding is that Turkey will not enter Syria and Russia is presenting the Kurds with a last best offer.
re Trump promises
He made promises, he needs to show his followers he kept those promises or did his damnedness to do so. So my guess is yes, troops will be out of Syria, reduced in Afghanistan, maybe reduced in Iraq probably at Iraq's request from what I am reading.
re his choice of advisors
They have been a motley crew for sure but I wonder if they were put in place to buy him time to assess the nightmare that is DC rather than a real indication of his own views.
re South America
I think he sees a multipolar world as inevitable and his offers of aid to Latin America, his apparently quite good working relationship with Mexico point to a trade relationship rather than a military one. Here's hoping.
re US policy
He wants trade; specifically manufacturing to return to the US, he has made some inroads with redoing NAFTA, avoiding the Paris Accords,tax incentives. His recent banking setup releasing smaller banks from the onerous reporting requirements of the TBTF investment banks was smart as it will allow the small banks to cater to Main Street. He still needs to throttle GM for their plant closings, I think he will. Given the forces aligned against him he is holding his own which to me is remarkable.
re Hillary votes
I saw the startlingly low attendance at her rallies, there is NO WAY she beat Trump legitimately on votes, no way at all. I do think they thought until mid to late in the campaign that they could beat Trump given their ability to steal votes. They do however really think they can steal it back, scary, scary people.

Posted by: frances | Dec 30 2018 0:38 utc | 29

Last thoughts
re Israel
I think Trump knows Bibi won't win the upcoming election and so won't bother to consult him on anything, including his withdrawal from Syria. So the attack on Syria was a reaction to, not a plan with.
re Russia
Trump still wants a relationship for the US with Russia as a way to blunt China's influence and possibly to play trade head games with the EU. If he wins a second term I think Putin will be inclined to work with him.

Posted by: frances | Dec 30 2018 0:43 utc | 30

@ Peter AU 1 | Dec 29, 2018 5:57:35 PM | 25
Ford at the time very much believed in what he was doing. He was not simply carrying out orders.
Those two are not mutually exclusive. In working for the government especially, carrying out orders becomes what one believes in. Realization might come later.
(Been there, done that.)

Smedley Butler: "War Is A Racket : I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 30 2018 0:45 utc | 31

oops, in comment 29: should read "damnedest":
re Trump promises
He made promises, he needs to show his followers he kept those promises or did his damnedness to do so

Posted by: frances | Dec 30 2018 0:47 utc | 32

Posted by: Jay | Dec 29, 2018 7:02:59 PM | 28

Here's a link to McCanney's paper:

re Trump and 9/11: Here's a link to interview with Trump right after the false flag.

Here's a direct quote from Trump from the video: "the windows [of the WTC] were quite narrow, and in between was this heavy steel, and I said how could a plane, even a plane, even a 767 or 747 or whatever it might have been, how could it possibly go through the steel,

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Dec 30 2018 0:49 utc | 33

Jay 28 "Trump is not a 911 questioner"

Trump on who is responsible for 9 11. Trump - "Iraq was not responsible for 9 11. You may find its the Saudi's.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 30 2018 0:50 utc | 34

Didn't mean to post 33 before finishing the quote "...I happen to think they had not only a plane but they had bombs that exploded almost simultaneously...."

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Dec 30 2018 0:52 utc | 35

re Trump on 9/11
Trump is a master of the construction trades, of course he knows 9/11 was a fraud.
The question is what will he do about it, right now my guess is nothing but if he gets a second term I believe heads will roll. Here's hoping:)

Posted by: frances | Dec 30 2018 0:53 utc | 36

I continue to believe Trump will not last until the 2020 election but that is separate from who he has in various cabinet and support positions in the past and future as b projects

Trump is a method actor put in a leverage position by the folks that own global private finance and everything else. They need to leverage the remnants of empire into an extension on the life of private finance before the Great Debt Resolution is staged.

Given how China/Russia are evolving they needed a "strong actor" in that position. He gets to play the Tough Good Cop against the rabid Bad Cop Swamp.

To be continued.....

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 30 2018 0:56 utc | 37

From Wikipedia re John G Trump: "In 1943, as the technical aide in Division 14 of the NDRC, Trump reviewed and analyzed the papers of Nikola Tesla when the inventor died in a New York City hotel. The research was completed on behalf of the Alien property Custodian office in Washington DC. From February 1944 to the end of the war in Europe".

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Dec 30 2018 0:57 utc | 38

Trump - "We should have taken the oil"

Trump's two positions on the US invasion of the US invasion of Iraq are not incompatible. Simply attacking and occupying Iraq at great cost with without the US taking full physical ownership of Iraq's oil fields, is in Trump's opinion the mistake.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 30 2018 0:58 utc | 39

Robert Snefjella:

You have to explain why the "paper" valid.

There's no evidence to support it remains my point.

The Trump quotation on the WTC towers' Windows has nothing do with those who question the fable of 911. Unless you mean to imply that D. J. Trump is in a very small minority of those who question the official story who don't believe that any jet plane hit the World Trade Towers.

Posted by: Jay | Dec 30 2018 1:01 utc | 40

frances 36 "Trump is a master of the construction trades"
Trump is a business man in the realestate buying developing and selling business, not an engineer.
He is a hirer of the construction trades.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 30 2018 1:06 utc | 41

Peter AU 1:

None one (except uninformed wackos) claimed, or claims, Iraq organized the Sept 2001 attacks.

Posted by: Jay | Dec 30 2018 1:06 utc | 42

reply to
Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Dec 29, 2018 7:49:37 PM | 33 |
Thank you, that is an outstanding paper, well worth the read.

Posted by: frances | Dec 30 2018 1:12 utc | 43

@ Jay #28

No evidence supports this claim. Hillary Clinton won the legally meaningless popular vote, and lost the Electoral College.

There is plenty of evidence available, but nobody is going to give it a close look. That's because everybody was cheating. The Republicans were into voter suppression throughout the entire nation. Most of the people they kept from the polling places were Democrats.

On the other hand, California was a place where the Democrats cheated in a big way. Allowing illegals to get driver's licenses is one thing, but automatically registering everybody with a valid license is quite another. Hillary's "popular vote" edge in 2016 can be attributed entirely to California. We can only speculate about the numbers of people the Republicans prevented from voting at all.

California Law Will Automatically Register Drivers to Vote

California has taken yet another step in the cheating. A recent law has made "ballot harvesting" legal. This is an open invitation to steal, and it seems the California Democrats have taken full advantage of the new law to gain a "supermajority" in both levels of the legislature.

Finally, news stories I read say California is planning to "big foot" the primaries leading up to the 2020 election. This could lead us to have a choice between Trump and/or Pence and somebody as bad as Hillary. Or even worse than Hillary.

All this fraud needs to stop. Gerrymandering needs to be ended. Voting ought to be done with pencils and paper, the ballots both guarded and counted by humans. All of this would mean the super-rich would lose their Election Leverage, and these reforms just aren't a bit likely.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Dec 30 2018 1:17 utc | 44

Jay, my dear fellow, I offered McCanney as an example of a serious attempt to analyze the validity of the voting in 2016. Take up the battle with him if you find that his methods are flawed. Notice that your own statement "No evidence supports this claim" is an absolute, implying godlike knowledge on your part, which if true, is quite extraordinary. A more circumspect way of putting it would be something along the lines of 'as far as I know there is no evidence in support of McCanney's conclusions'. Which opens the door for you to explore....

And re Trump and the video above, at the risk of taking on the role of mentor to you, instead of shooting off your reaction so quickly at risk to yourself, try attending to the video and then fire off a thoughtful missive.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Dec 30 2018 1:20 utc | 45

Robert Snefjella:

I have now read the "paper" you linked, and apparently you didn't understand the NY County versus Washington County NY point.

Also no, there was nothing like a real recount of Wisconsin or Michigan, there was a partial meaningless "machine" recount.

Regards the Trump quotation about bombs, that's sort of like those who question the official WTC destruction claims, but what Trump is doing is really saying "it doesn't make sense"; there was a lot of that about where the towers went on mainstream TV in the days following.

No, there's no evidence bombs turned the towers to dust.

Regards the uncle Trump-Tesla Wikipedia link, that's an unsupported claim, and if you bother to read what I wrote, you didn't, I said what happened to all Tesla's papers is a mystery to this day, not that it is impossible for uncle Trump to have read some part of Tesla's papers in 1943.

Posted by: Jay | Dec 30 2018 1:22 utc | 46

The hardest issue Trump will have in finding those "dissidents" he'll need to carry his Foreign Policy ideal is his Domestic policy--aside from his MAGA ideal. IMO, by election day 2020, no more Outlaw US Empire troops in any number will remain in Iraq, Afghanistan or South Korea, and a large drawdown will occur in Japan, including the ending of the Okinawa occupation. Why? It's very simple as I've written many times--the only way to finance an attempt at MAGA is to end the Overseas Empire and associated wars--the CIA must be defeated and brought to heel. IMO, the best way to do that is to NOT herald such a policy, but to implement it in a manner only Trump can accomplish, as he just displayed by his visit to Iraq--his lack of proper decorum intensely fired up Iraq's leading politicos, who were already motivated but are now very gung-ho to once and for all oust all occupying troops. Both North and South Korea are working very hard and rapidly toward economic unification. Afghanistan's political solution's already launched.

It's fair to say that many MoA barflies hate Trump with an unbridled passion, but such hate often blinds. I loathe many of Trump's aspects, but I certainly hate Obama, Clinton and their crew much more--I would have them drawn and quartered, decapitated and their heads put on pikes for their crimes and displayed on The Mall in DC; Bush and his crew too. Most would agree that the Duopoly in reality has little standing with the populous and are essentially politically and morally dead--long past their sell date and in dire need of replacement. Trump's insurgency is finally at long last overturning that rotten applecart. Of course, time will be the final arbitrator.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 30 2018 1:29 utc | 47

Robert Snefjella 33 "even a 767 or 747 or whatever it might have been, how could it possibly go through the steel,"

Answer - In exactly the same way copper and lead, both very maluable metals go through steel. velocity x mass equals energy. The more velocity, or the more mass, the more energy it imparts.

Cutting steel with high velocity water

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 30 2018 1:34 utc | 48

Robert Snefjella:

McCanney's guesses and wishes aren't anything more than his guesses and wishes.

He doesn't even know that DHS doesn't directly control States' vote counting in the USA.

Sorry, I'm well aware of what those who question the official conspiracy regards 911 claim, and if Trump (DJ) were amongst them I'd have read of this in 2002.

"Afghanistan's political solution's already launched."

That's a stretch, unless you mean "the Taliban is back in charge like in 2001".

"by election day 2020, no more Outlaw US Empire troops in any number will remain in Iraq, Afghanistan or South Korea, and a large drawdown will occur in Japan, including the ending of the Okinawa."

It is very unlikely that Trump will with draw any troops from Okinawa or South Korea.

Whether I detest Trump or Hillary Clinton more for electing Trump is immaterial to the fact that Hillary won the legally meaningless popular vote--well a plurality of.

And Obama won both the popular vote and the Electoral College twice.

Posted by: Jay | Dec 30 2018 1:40 utc | 49

Robert Snefjella:

You have presented no evidence of cheating by California voters, either in the general election of 2016 or in 2020.

It is best that undocumented drivers get real driving licenses (and many states made it easy until 15 years ago) for basic liability insurance reasons.

There are basically no recorded instances of in person voter fraud over the last 50+ years in the USA.

I see you're still refusing to deal with the exit polls that give the Electoral College win to Hillary in 2016.

If you're not a big Trump fan, why then go out of your way to defend him with lies, lies that he himself tells? Why not just make your approval of his order (not yet carried out) to pull US troops from Syria?

Posted by: Jay | Dec 30 2018 1:46 utc | 50

@47 karlof1

Thank you for that fine piece of writing. It is the fairest assessment of the phenom of DJT that I have yet read and you touch upon many things that are in the minds of many who visit here, I imagine.

I would add one thing to your prognosticating re: FP: that Yemen is probably next on the pullback. With house Dems coming in, they will be beating the Anti-War drums over Yemen, amazingly enough (it seems their only silver lining as of late), and DJT will capitalize on this with his agreement with them which will unite the anti-war vote across the aisle.

Will those "insufferables" (our "deplorable" term for those suffering w/ TDS), manage a nod of approval then, or will they keep telling us that we can't believe our eyes?

Indeed, they want us to believe that by pulling out of Syria that the US is positioning itself in a better position to strike Syria while inside Iraq?

I'm absolutely positively sure that the Iraqis WILL allow this and NOT throw the belligerents out. Absolutely!

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 30 2018 1:51 utc | 51

Is it hope that makes people think that Trump has done the right thing and has finally woke up and has a plan? I "hope" that is true. From Trumps actions so far, as President, he is, as I have thought from the beginning, all over the place. One day seeming to do something right, next day something that is the complete opposite of the principal he expressed the day before.

Posted by: therevolutionwas | Dec 30 2018 1:53 utc | 52

2020 will be another Rothschild-Soros face off, fake wrestling or not I cant say

Trump is backed by the Rothschilds who favor better relations with Russia and China. Soros is rabidly anti Russia and is backing the Dems and so called Deep State forces

I see Trump eliminated sanctions against Derispaka who is also backed by the Rothschilds. Didn’t get much play even in the anti Trump press which is suggestive.

For those unaware of Trumps history in 1987 he bought a casino partly owned by Rockefeller, Rothschild and Lansky. When he got in financial trouble His Commerce Secretary -Ross , who worked for the Rothschilds , bailed him out allowing him to keep 50% equity and keep running it. It was during this period Trump first went to Russia and began talking about running for President. Obviously he was being groomed. After further bankruptcies Trumps Empire was rebuilt from money laundered from FSU, along with loans from foreign banks like Deutsche bank. Rothschilds presumably had a hand there.

Ross incidentally has significant investments in China and Russia that he transferred to family members. Bit of a conflict of interest in trade negotiations, but then Trump has them himself. Trump may replace him for that reason.

Soros is being blamed for the Panama Papers which exposed Putins allies, Xi’s close relatives, and the Rothschilds tax haven accounts which has escalated the infighting now that David Rockefeller has passed. How much is real and who may be pulling their strings in the shadows, we cant know.

This all has a 1930’s feel to it, a prelude to an engineered conflict. The global elites like to fund and manipulate both sides.

Posted by: Pft | Dec 30 2018 1:56 utc | 53

re: Trump - "We should have taken the oil"
George Bush thought of that, a month after the invasion/occupation.
Executive Order 13303 of May 22, 2003

I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, find that the threat of attachment or other judicial process against the Development Fund for Iraq, Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products, and interests therein, and proceeds, obligations, or any financial instruments of any nature whatsoever arising from or related to the sale or marketing thereof, and interests therein, obstructs the orderly reconstruction of Iraq, the restoration and maintenance of peace and security in the country, and the development of political, administrative, and economic institutions in Iraq. This situation constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat. . .here

Chimp dealt with the threat! (that someone else would get the oil)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 30 2018 2:06 utc | 54

@53 pft

At least your theory states that Clinton and Trump were indeed adversarial as opposed to the one peddled that Clinton was in on Trump's election and that we should just go off ourselves for lack of light amidst the impenetrable darkness.

Man, the Ruskies did really win a nailbiter then! Who would have thunk that some early version PowerPoint presentations and some Presidential coaching would have made all the difference 30 years later.


Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 30 2018 2:13 utc | 55

karlof1 NemesisCalling

The huge positive here is Trump's resistance to the entrenched US foreign policy crowd, the borg as Pat Lang calls them. With the continued us occupation and build up in Syria I had thought Trump had capitulated. It makes it more likely that what Trump has stated in the past is both during the election campaign are what he believes - on the positive side, US tropp withdrawals from some places, on the down side, his beliefs and intentions towards Israel, Iran and middle east oil. If the Chapter on his business philosophy in his first book 'Art of the Deal' still stands, there are some positives here to re Iran Israel and oil. Off memory it was along the lines of 'go for everything, have a bottom limit on what is acceptable, and have an exit path if the deal falls through completely. If he still lives by this then it is less likely he will be fanatical about Iran Israel and controlling oil.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 30 2018 2:14 utc | 56

thanks b....i don't know who trump is going to choose, but why did he choose bolton, pompeo and etc??

@11 gepay... thanks for that sobering overview... it is indeed the situation.. we'll see how trump navigates this going forward.

@24 ken... i agree..

@25 peter au.. thanks for correcting toivo on that... seeing what b shared ford saying here, made me think he was suggesting he could be considered for a gig with trump.. that is how i read his bullshit...the guy was 24/7 bullshit on the syrian war.. the only reason i could see him saying what he did was as a sales pitch to trump..

@47 karlof1.. i had to look up MAGA to see what the abbreviation means! "Make America Great Again" ... i don't know that i agree with you on moa having a slant against trump.. i can't say that i do.. i am taking all of what trump says and does here with a grain of salt though, as i think like others, including jackrabbit, that it is too soon to tell... lets see how the next year unfolds and whether he sticks to his election promises.. this was a long time coming, and it remains to be seen whether it holds.. in other words - i feel i am basically neutral on trump... i realize he is an embarrassment to the usa for a number of reasons, but i get a kick out of him myself... and, whatever the msm is saying, i tend to value that less then most anything.. i don't watch tv and get my news via the net... just as well as i get to choose..

@53 pft... interesting thoughts.. i thought the panama papers were a cia offering... soros gets too much credit for a lot of things..

latest info on manbij

“Until now there have been no practical steps made by the Americans to withdraw from northern Syria, it is just a decision,” he said.

“The Americans have not even received advice as to how they should withdraw and from where,” Mahmoud added.

Posted by: james | Dec 30 2018 2:19 utc | 57

Jay @49--

You need to get up to speed and follow the Moscow talks that include Taliban and Afghan gov't reps, along with all other regional players.

NemesisCalling @51--

Thanks for your reply! The only person knowing Trump's mind is Trump, much like JFK as his attitude changed after October 1962. As with Trump now, there were indicators then, but only the man himself knew what he knew and how he'd proceed. One thing's certain: Trump wants to win very badly as he hates losing more than anything. Big changes must begin with small steps, and small steps will soon mark a path. IMO, the path can already be discerned.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 30 2018 2:30 utc | 58

@ Jay | Dec 29, 2018 8:40:00 PM | 49
I mostly agree.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 30 2018 2:41 utc | 59

@ james
Trumps orders as CIC will go down the chain of command which is through Votel. Votel, and I would guess other down the chain of command would be what Lang calls the borg. I am sure they will find many 'unforseen' problems that will delay their departure.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 30 2018 2:46 utc | 60

@ Robert Snefjella

Thanks for your contributions to this thread and to previous threads. Sorry your signal walked into so much noise.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 30 2018 2:49 utc | 61

@ 60 peter au.. yes, so it remains to be seen how all this unfolds moving forward... i just read pats latest.. i don't understand what he thinks the borg is.. he says that they want to honour international borders.. what kind of a joke is that?
" The devotion and reverence of the US Borg for the supposed sanctity of international borders and the existence of what is conceived by the Borg to be to an international order in which those borders cannot ever be changed has proven to be much stronger than any other factors including the lure of concessionary contracts in oil and gas from new Kurdish states." that is bullshit as i understand it.. they were hoping to give kurds eastern syria, just like they hoped barzani would be able to maintain irbil as some kurd state..

i don't doubt there are folks in power running at cross purposes to trump - pls borg... however, i don't see how pl thinks the borg is interested in honouring international borders.. since when has the usa ever concerned itself with that?

@ 61 grieved... thanks for saying that.. ditto..

Posted by: james | Dec 30 2018 2:55 utc | 62

james 62

Yes, I read that also. He comes up with strange stuff at times. He is consistent and concise on his definition of the borg. It is the entrenched bureaucrats who ensure US foreign policy does not change, no matter who is elected.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 30 2018 3:06 utc | 63

A nice comment b. (BTW a happy and prosperous New Year to you and your blog )
However I do not share your optimism. The resignation of Mattis does nor prove much and while we wait for the Evil Empire to withdraw we contemplate 2 years of Orange Mans precidency.
Yes I come to the same conclusion, more of the same ol' song.
(What is a Borg, BTW)
The Evil Empire chooses to withdraw from Syria (to Iraq) what a great and momentous decision, they are withdrawing some 300 miles into another country they have conquered. 300 miles is nothing, the need to get of the continent.
It is all a schauenspiel, a comedy (tragedy) act intended on on the 2020 elections. Forgotten is the assault on Obamacare and the massive Tax reductions previously made into law. American voters are notoriously stupid.
What we will see in 2019 is a continuation of old and used Evil Empires policies, continuing dirty wars , more dead people and more misery and injustice, while the MIC and 0,1 % gets even more rich.
These people think that tomorrow never arrives. Tomorrow does arrive however, and we the poor mostly just count our dead, the rich just party on as there is no tomorrow.
But there is a breaking point and we are closing fast, France's civil unrest proves it, curious to see how that works out, probably to nothing as the Galic have no steel in them. Pity.
But the breaking point is coming, albeit slowly in in the more well off countries of the EU, you might even see it in commentaries on social media.

To all barflies a Happy and Safe New Year.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Dec 30 2018 4:24 utc | 64

Thank you b. Northeastern Syria is the breadbasket of Syria. Most of the countries wheat is grown there. Further west along the border with Turkey dairy production is important. The dams on the Euphartes provide electricity and water for agriculture. These three factors are important to Syria's future. The oil in Syria may be minor economic factor, but it was providing ISIS, the Kurds and Turkey with plenty of cash for their nefarious schemes. Syria's future energy needs are more likely to be met with natural gas, especially the gas fields discovered in the Mediterranean. The oil in occupied Golan Heights is a much more important prize, a prize that will only be realised when the occupation ends. It is hard to find investors willing to put up billions of $$ when it could all go up in smoke.

Posted by: Tom | Dec 30 2018 4:32 utc | 65

Re reference to JFK at karlof1 | Dec 29, 2018 9:30:07 PM | 58

Any political leader gaining office for the first time is handicapped by inexperience. JFK was a rookie encircled by many enemies and few friends, and he was duly publicly executed, and some of his intentions were stillborn, or reversed. But before the murder/coup JFK had ended the United States' atmospheric nuclear testing and he had along with Khrushchev and much good luck avoided nuclear war from the Cuban situation. JFK also rhetorically at least indicated that the US empire project was not to his liking; he endorsed broadly beneficent international development, not a new or old colonialism.

JFK basically had close to three years. One aspect of the JFK presidency was that there was a sustained increased general economic benefit for both US workers and business during and for a few years after his presidency.

JFK learned on the job, and I can't recall whether his opinion that a strong activist president was needed in the United States was reached before or during his presidency. But one parallel with the Trump situation is that both in their individual ways seem to have elements of the requisite character to try to make bold attempts to re-form important aspects of their dauntingly dysfunctional societal circumstance; and in doing so threaten established power.

Recall that when Trump announced that the annual military exercises with S Korea in proximity to N Korea would be discontinued, he explained the change as a way of reducing expenses, but also, that the exercise was "provocative". And for the simple use of that accurate forthright word he was attacked from many conventional quarters. This is the ridiculous constrained path and dangerous tight rope that any even mildly reformist US president must walk.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Dec 30 2018 4:40 utc | 66

Newsflash: frances and karlof1 have odeed on the Trumpjuice.

It's true what they say: people hear what the wanna hear and see what they wanna see. That's why Trump is successful with your kind of receptive audience, and that's why he was Chosen by Zionist billionaires/oligarchs Adelson, Blavatnik, Icahn, Vekselberg, Abramovich, Mercer, and so on. The better to deceive, and you're making it easy. Just so we ALL know who Trump's woking for...and come back down to earth.

Trump is already in campaign mode and because he can't win with his base alone, and needs to dupe the anti-war crowd
he's using the slight of hand con: pretending to give on de-escalation with the right hand, while the left hand behind his back is taking it all back, and giving nothing with fingers crossed.

Some wise people here already listed everything he's done and not done that prove he's with the hawks. i.e. returning the favor with Zionist billionares, but you continue to see what you wanna see and not what Trump's actually doing, and keep pushing his smoke-and-mirrors gig.

Hey frances, hate to break da latest news, but despite corruption charges, Netanyahoo's still winning in the most recent polls. So it looks like Trump might still be in contact with that loser.

Imagine that, Trump replaced Tillerson with a hawk like Pompeo, he hired the Neocon icon Bolton for NSA, he's beefing up Defense and still your lying eyes deceive you. No one twisted his arm to do this! Draining the swamp... my sass. He's feeding at the trough with the Presidential seal of approval! He's milking the Presidency for Trump International! The swamp is where he bathes every day, need I say more?

The proposed pull-out is a con like everything else he's about.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 30 2018 5:56 utc | 67

Stop saying Trump is an isolationist.
He is a committed NON INTERVENTIONIST.
He will bomb you from a million miles away and LEAVE.
That is how he will fight wars or whatever.
NATO ain't going anywhere, but Trump won't use it. EVER.
I like Trump cuz he's shaking shit up.
That's fine with me.
I wish there would be a bomb with all the EU, Washington people inside the same building.
What a wonderful day that would be.
Then we could start over.
But yes, please fire people Trump. FIRE FIRE FIRE get rid of the bloody lot of them.

Posted by: Fernando Martinez | Dec 30 2018 6:26 utc | 68

Circe @67--


Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 30 2018 6:39 utc | 69

so when the fat fuck replaces his soldiers with mercenaries that then counts as 'pulling out' or is that just a different form of grabbing them by the pussy?

Cause as of now, no soldiers is leaving, no plan is made how they will leave, and considering that the fat fuck literally does what Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbough argue for are you that sure that the fat fuck will do what he already forgotten he said?

Posted by: Sabine | Dec 30 2018 6:58 utc | 70
"Sources told Turkey's state Anadolu news agency that the 4,306-square-foot warehouse on the border with Iraq was vacated on Friday."
"The 50 US troops based around the warehouse had been relocated to Iraq, the publication added, in line with US President Donald Trump’s promise last week to pull all personnel from Syria."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 30 2018 7:25 utc | 71

Who will he choose?
Posted by b on December 29, 2018 at 01:59 PM

Only Trump knows.
He's a gifted talent spotter so I won't be surprised if he picks some sane people. But if he doesn't it'll be because he wants the neocons to finish shooting themselves in the foot, publicly. Then again, Bolton is still around so maybe Trump is satisfied that Bolton has more foot-shooting potential than a gaggle of them. Bolton gives the impression of having a short fuse so Trump has probably figured out how to provoke a Bolton meltdown.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 30 2018 7:28 utc | 72

Let's suppose I were an Israeli and Trump has done all kinds of goodie stuff to make Israel great again like tearing up the JCPOA, imposing sanctions to cripple Iran, hiring scaremonger Bolton to bark and gnash his fangs at Iran and hiring Pompeo to lead a psy-ops propaganda parade to instigate another fake revolution in Iran, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel from the Office of the President, ordering the closure of the Palestinian Mission Office in Washington, cutting off U.S. aid to the Palestinians and aid for Palestinian refugees in camps through UNWRA to strong arm Palestinians into accepting the swindle of the Century authored by Chabad rep in the White House, Kushner, (phew! That's a lot of shet for two years.), so if I were an Israeli, I'd be here pretending to be anyone but my Hebrew/Moldovian self, using a Mexican or a Russian moniker, tooting Trump's horn all the way from settler central hq, arguing what a truthful guy Trump is, that he hates the establishment he hired, that he's cleaning up the swamp, when he brought Goldman Sachs Mnuchin and a boatload of swamp critters with him.

Trump is making his billionaire friends richer and more powerful, he's making Israel great again, and he's enforcing their agenda, their loony Zionist agenda.

If I were an Israeli, I too would put chocolate on all Trump's shet, call it a sundae and have fools lap it up. Aye! There's a sucker born every day and Trump and his Zionist com Padres celebrate that fact.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 30 2018 8:23 utc | 73

The two crucial criteria for firing are those with (1) dual citizenship and (2) neoconservative ideologues/messenger boys. If Trump does that he will have drained the swamp almost completely. 2020 will be his.

Posted by: Hem Lock | Dec 30 2018 9:10 utc | 74

I think as the author says, Syria is no longer really worth the effort. However, the notion that the deep state will allow Trump to abandon the war project is quite fanciful. I saw a documentary recently about the construction of ever bigger aircraft carriers of a 1000,000 tons plus and they are building 10 of them. This doesn't sound like a peace project to me! The MIC and the deep state have allowed Trump a little bit "play time" in so far as he appears to be the president. Trump is not a president, he is a figure head and should he ever actually try to be president he will go the way of Kennedy.

Posted by: john wilson | Dec 30 2018 11:00 utc | 75

Oh my!

Zionist Bolsonaro

How did Brazil elect a stooge for the AZ Empire? Trumpmania is spreading. Heaven help us!

Posted by: Circe | Dec 30 2018 11:11 utc | 76

Don't know what happened to my link. Doesn't matter, Here's another:

Netanyahoo Bolsonaro

Posted by: Circe | Dec 30 2018 11:22 utc | 77

Polls taken in the US are more a measure of how badly misinformed the American public are rather than how they feel about various issues.The
Most Americans detest war. They have to be lied or frightened into supporting it.
They deeply resent their tax dollars being squandered on what amounts to crimes against humanity, from which they receive no benefit.
52 % is the number of Americans who no longer believe the lie that the US is fighting terrorism in the Middle East. Who have noticed that international terrorism has increased and is spreading rather than decreasing, the longer the US stays in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. Considering the sad state of American media, 52% is an amazing result.
Trump is a lightening rod for many Americans who are angered by decades of government that ignores both their needs and their contribution to the health of the nation. Add to that the hatchet job the pro CLinton Democrat press has done on Trump (even school children claim to 'hate' him), a fair number of Americans would disapprove of Trumps actions even if they know it s the right thing to do.

Posted by: CD Waller | Dec 30 2018 11:58 utc | 78

Perhaps I had a bad night of sleep, but …

Wat will bring 2019?

Impeachment of Donald Trump or an Arab Peace Deal between Israel and Palestine. Is Trump frustrated by Israel’s intransigence to move closer to negotiations for a solution. Trump has brought Israel many gifts fit for a King. However Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman have gotten nowhere with Netanyahu. By the Syrian pull-back is this Trump’s warning shot to Israel: you can do it alone! Trump has made many promises to the wealthy Gulf entities and its religious leadership. Arabs and Israel got Trump where he is today. His friend Vladimir Putin holds all the cards in the Levant together with Turkey and Iran.

Posted by: Oui | Dec 30 2018 12:51 utc | 79

Famous words by Ukrainian-born Access Investment owner Sir Leonard (Len) Blavatnik: “I am not an oligarch”.

Posted by: Oui | Dec 30 2018 12:52 utc | 80

I guess everyone here sees a different ramp to be drained. Trump is the swamp as well as all his ilk. He has quite frankly created an abysmal swamp all around him. His best people come and go like lemmings off a cliff. To think he has any cohesive understanding of anything let alone foreign affairs is a pipe dream of this site. Blind faith in a proven liar of enormous proportions is a fools game. This pig of a man will crash and burn and when we look back you will find no one will claim they voted for him.

Posted by: rattlemullet | Dec 30 2018 13:15 utc | 81

should US troops actually pull out of Syria 'twould be a good thing, obviously. but as i've said before, anything Trump gets right will be for all the wrong Finian Cunningham eloquently elaborates.

Who will he choose

some specter of Jimmy Hoffa.

Posted by: john | Dec 30 2018 13:22 utc | 82

>To Win The 2020 Race Trump Will Need To Fire More Of His Staff

To have a great presidency, he would need to hire.

>U.S. military under Secretary of Defense Mattis implemented its own policy

Mattis probably saved the day from a much worse US strike in Syria, with unpredictable consequences. But he also was in charge when another strike killed some 200/300 Russian contractors, despite those not using encrypted communications (and so who they are should have been known).

Posted by: Don Karlos | Dec 30 2018 13:30 utc | 83

The important thing about Trump is that his is the third presidential term in a row that got voted in on the issue of change. There really isn't too much difference between Obama's "Yes, we can" and Trump's "Drain the swamp"; both implied a promise of significant (almost revolutionary) change. The next presidential term will also be won by the candidate promising "change". At some point change will have to be delivered or there is going to be significant discontent.

To be re-elected Trump will have to pour money into the pocket of the average American or deliver change (or, at least, the convincing appearance of change). Or he has to face a real establishment candidate, like Biden or Clinton; but this would very much look like an election fixed for Trump.

Despite the criticism levelled at Trump, it shouldn't be forgotten that if he makes it to 2020 without declaring any new war it would make him one of the most peaceful US Presidents, bizarre as that may seem.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 30 2018 13:39 utc | 84

Zachary Smith | Dec 29, 2018 8:17:07 PM | 44

Wrong! Most of the people denied the franchise were Black, Latino and the poor and done to support Republican candidates. See Greg Palast's investigations into the disenfranchisement through setups like Crosscheck.

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 30 2018 13:45 utc | 85

Z smith @ 10

Yes, lightening seldom strikes twice in the same place. In the polarised US the 2020 election will come down to which way a very states vote. In 2016 Trump surprisingly won PA, MI and WI because Hillary was too inept a candidate to have any connection with the Obama voters who reliably carried those states for many years.

Obama saved GM against massive GOP howling and eventually little to no cost to taxpayers. This wasn't enough to insulate the hapless Hillary.

However, now GM is laying off workers and moving more production outside the US. Trump promised the workers of the Midwest not only would these types of shifts not happen on his watch but he would bring back more and better manufacturing jobs to the blighted white working classes in these states.

He has failed, of course, these were empty, undeliverable promises made by a two bit con man who was lucky enough to inherit $435 million dollars (tax free!) from his daddy.

Doubt very much Trump will carry WI, MI or PA in 2020. At this point I'm not sure he will be running at all...except from justice.

His prior business deals wrought from 4 bankruptcies are almost surely subject to indictment...once he leaves office. This is the real Russian collusion story and it took place years before the 2016 election.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 30 2018 14:39 utc | 86

ADKC | Dec 30, 2018 8:39:42 AM | 84

"There really isn't too much difference between Obama's "Yes, we can" and Trump's "Drain the swamp"; both implied a promise of significant (almost revolutionary) change."

Trump's 'drain the swamp' was a far more pointed hostility to the PTB and far more revolutionary in implications than 'hope and change'. Trump combined the rhetoric of contempt for the establishment - swamp creatures empowered by fake news - with explicit repeated messages on behalf of American nationalism and more generally the primacy of sovereign nation states, and in opposition to 'globalism', the attempt to set up a supranational authoritarian global control system.

Trump supporters, both fervent and mild, have not failed to notice that the political establishment and its adjuncts have done just about everything in their power - outside of a successful assassination - to oppose, hinder, demonize, mock, etc Trump, so it could be that many of his supporters will conclude that given the forces arrayed against Trump - for example a daily many months long full frontal MSM ritual diet of the 'Russia is Trump's puppet master' nothing burger - anything that will be achieved by 2020 will be well nigh a miracle and commendable.

The extreme hostility on record by high level FBI and CIA, an a conniving DOJ, against Trump in combination with MSM and much alt media constant hostility, and the political establishment's hostility, is without precedent for a US president.

We even encounter many signs of Trump hostility derangement syndrome on M of A. For many fervently hostile folk, if Trump makes a good move, it is purely accidental, or a conniving feint.

I perhaps should point out, for those of a simple either/or mentality, that I consider Trump to be very far from providing adequate leadership pertaining to the dire circumstances that the US and indeed the rest of humanity are facing. The transition to behavior and techniques and technology and philosophy that provides a sensible peaceful human presence in sustainable harmony with the biosphere is an imperative: which to some extent means retreating: my old sheep wool sweater, knitted by my mom 50 years ago and still all in one piece and warming me, is an age old profound technology, in harmony with the planet; that profitable acrylic sweater is damnable before and after its role as clothing.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Dec 30 2018 15:28 utc | 87

I still believe the only differences between Trump and the foreign policy establishment are over where to direct the tip of the spear, with Trump being mainly for preparing economically and militarily to attack China (suicidal as that may be). I have to feel that b is hopelessly enamored of Trump’s supposed desire to pull back the empire militarily for good. How does this jibe with the largest military appropriations bill ever, overwhelmingly voted for by Congress (Repubs and Dem’s), at Trump’s behest shortly after his inauguration? “Imperialism means war” as a famous Russian said about a hundred years ago.

I also believe that b overestimates the current political power of most US Americans’ genuine desire for peace. Yes, we desire peace. But the issue of war and peace has yet to be actually debated in an election taking place here since 1968 when LBJ defused it by not running, or really 1952 when Ike promised to “... go to Korea.” Oh, wait! I almost forgot to mention how Obama lied about getting out of Iraq while claiming Afghanistan was the war we “should be fighting!” So this highly manipulated debate, to the extent it even exists, is wholly the responsibility and conscious creation of the US ruling class, its two major parties, its highly managed media and its now more and more abysmal system of public education. That we still desire peace in this context is wholly remarkable and, at least potentially, actually great! But, in my opinion, it’s just another point Trump uses to spread confusion out of clever opportunism in the context of serious disruption of the economic and social well being of a lot of people. That combined with Electoral College manipulation and voter suppression by opportunist Repubs and capitulationism of the Dems are mainly what got Trump elected, got the military budget and the big tax cut for the rich passed, etc.

Much as I admire a lot of b’s analysis, I do think he has trouble getting past a blind spot for Trump, possibly based on the orange one’s oft-stated desire to “get along” with Russia. For Trump, “peace” has to be just another one of those “best words” he has available to tweet.

Posted by: Lonl | Dec 30 2018 15:42 utc | 88

Finian Cunningham has an interesting view on Trump's lightning visit to Iraq. He calls it part of a rebalancing that Trump felt compelled to take, during what Cunningham calls a "fleeting period of danger" to his tenure. At first glance the headline seems a little sensationalist, but the article is pretty solid:

Trump Ran Scared to Iraq, to Avert Coup Against Him

Trump’s rushed visit to Iraq seems to have been made in an urgent attempt to let the Pentagon and the military-intelligence establishment know that he is not “going soft” on pursuing America’s self-ordained right to wage wars anywhere it wants for the cause of US capitalism.

In the immediate confusion over Trump’s announcement on December 19 of a troop drawdown in Syria and Afghanistan – and the media deification of “Mad Dog” Mattis – a dangerous period fleetingly opened up for his presidency.

Running scared, Trump dashed to Iraq to let the generals know that this president is still a reliable tool for American imperialism.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 30 2018 16:17 utc | 89

It just occurred to me that George Orwell in his essay "Good Bad Books" has perhaps provided some illumination for the mystery of Trump's appeal to tens of millions of 'deplorables', and deepened the mystery of what Trump's actual impact will be...

The gist of Orwell's essay is that some literature that induces intellectual disdain may very well be far more popular and have far more staying power than 'good literature' written by 'highly intelligent' authors. I noticed as a contractor going into hundreds of Canadian homes over the years that book shelves were far more likely to contain romance novels - not a Nobel prize for literature among them - than 'high brow' stuff.

But which 'genre', the 'excellent literature' vs the 'deplorable writing' has more actual influence on the human condition? My guess would be that the light stuff punches way above its literary weight.

Trump is a political-rhetoric innovator, a prolific fount of utterances of very variable quality, on many manner of things. Something for everyone, plenty to admire and disdain and puzzle over.

But what will it all amount to? The actual meaning and influence of Trump will be quite different than, and more mysterious than, the actual language and behavior of Trump. Notice the yellow vests confronting a media outlet in France with the fake news accusation. That too is in Trump's wake.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Dec 30 2018 16:19 utc | 90

The swamp in the US will not be cleaned out before the Establishment is wiped out. Preferably hanged. And the country is ruled by a foreign entity, say the Swiss. But more probably the Chinese.
Chinese should be compulsory curriculum in grade schools in the failed state of the US.
Later on the US can become a world national park, with real savages running wild and Wild West cities with real bullets!!
Just like Forum Romanum in the good ol' days! But brought to all 8 billion in technicolor, Dolby Pro in widescreen, by your local broadcaster. (Excluding the Beep which only and exclusively brings "Ragnarok in Londonium" featuring stabbings and mass rape.)
Südrundfunk meanwhile brings you "The best of Hitler" in 10 episodes, with live reenactment of Treblinka (The ran out of j--- so the used African migrants instead.
Not to be outdone, RT has got its own show too "Dear Yagoda" to celebrate the KGB.
Ohh And Chinese TV will bring " Highlights of the Cultural Revolution"
I will just stick to a Series about the Vikings, probably overrated too, I mean the rape pillage and murder we did do pales to everyone else. We were amateurs!!
Happy New year everyone, I am anticipating it and armed myself with half a truckload of Scotch and just warming up!!

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Dec 30 2018 16:19 utc | 91

One possible reason that so many people & pundits routinely misread Trump was summed up nicely in an interview with the author of a 2018 book called Political Tribes, by Amy Chua. Her thesis is that AmeriKKKa is dominated by tribes, the members of which hotly deny that they are tribal. She thinks Trump, who is hard to pigeonhole, is an outsider and a keen observer of the tribal phenomenon. She thinks he's a master manipulator and the tool he uses is his knowledge of tribalism. She makes a fairly compelling case that tribes waste a lot of time and energy on differentiating themselves from 'different' tribes, even though the differences can be minuscule, based on misperceptions, or irrelevant to practical considerations.

According to her, Trump's tribe is the Deplorables. They don't care that he's a billionaire because he eats McDonald's, speaks their language and says things they want to hear a politician say.
If you interpret between the lines she's saying that if AmeriKKKa was Democratic AND Civilised, there shouldn't and wouldn't be enough Deplorables with genuine grievances to get ANY candidate elected.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 30 2018 16:55 utc | 92

reply to: Peter 41
""frances 36 "Trump is a master of the construction trades""
"Trump is a business man in the realestate buying developing and selling business, not an engineer.
He is a hirer of the construction trades."

Respectfully, I am "a hirer of the construction trades", having renovated five homes.
Trump is a Master, he doesn't just hire people, he manages people and to do so successfully you need to know what they know, you don't physically do it, but you do know it.

Posted by: frances | Dec 30 2018 17:00 utc | 93

@88 Lonl

I am nitpicking here, but do you count not providing driver's licenses to illegals and non-automatic voter registration proof of voter suppression?

"It's your goddamn right to vote!...for democrats."

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 30 2018 17:14 utc | 94

Peter AU 1 @ 48

If I remember my high school physics correctly, mass times velocity equals momentum, not energy; 1/2 times mass times squared velocity (1/2 mv**2) equals kinetic energy.

Posted by: spudski | Dec 30 2018 17:16 utc | 95


Good Point. Developers do tend to learn a great deal about construction methods, costs and materials, and their knowledge increases with each project. It appears that Trump was heavily involved in such business over a period of many years.

If he were an ignorant, incurious buffoon (like Dubya Bush, perhaps), he may have lived more like a playboy, spending his money on hookers and blow. Why work at anything? No need. Plenty of money.

But it seems Trump is like a lot of greedy millionaire business types. There is never enough money for them. They keep on working at what they do.

I wonder if he is still snorting adderall. Seems his brain is a bit fried.

Posted by: fast freddy | Dec 30 2018 17:23 utc | 96

Trump is a property developer and will have a rough idea of what is feasible and a rough knowledge of construction trades. It the the engineer he hires that decides on what is feasible and what is not as that is his her area of expertise.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 30 2018 17:28 utc | 97

reply to Circe @67--
Circe, I appreciate and respect your passion but how you managed day to day with the level of vitriol you bear for Trump is a medical marvel.
Despite your belief in American voter's stupidity they if faced with a Biden will put Trump back in in a heartbeat.
And why you believe he is just this venal guy out for a buck is beyond me, he HAS a buck, he wants glory, accolades, parades in his name and he will be happy to remake the US if that is what it takes to get them.
Time will tell if karlof1 and I have been duped or not:)

Posted by: frances | Dec 30 2018 17:51 utc | 98

Lonl | Dec 30, 2018 10:42:13 AM | 88:

[b has] ... a blind spot for Trump, possibly based on the orange one’s oft-stated desire to “get along” with Russia.
Yes. Shared by many. It's classic psyop hopium. Any progress, no matter how minor or transitory, is played up because it engenders a feeling of wish fulfillment that reinforces the mythology of the populist hero. It is just a matter of contextualizing the establishment/Deep State Agenda.

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I attribute the faux populist leadership model (employed as: Obama psyop; Trump psyop) to the Clintons. No evidence, just a hunch.

Although it could've developed independently, as it's leadership model that best fits with our Inverted Totalitarian form of government, I think the Clinton's midwifed it.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 30 2018 17:56 utc | 99

reply to:Posted by: Circe | Dec 30, 2018 3:23:47 AM | 73
I reply to you with a great deal of trepidation but here goes.
Can you entertain the possibility that the reason for what he has done for Israel and to Palestine is because he wants to settle the long term problem. Hear me out.
If you want to get two parties to agree you need to set them up for a negotiation. I believe he wants a one state solution and is laying the groundwork to get it.
Not this year, but if he gets a second term, then yes he will push for it. Again time will tell.

Posted by: frances | Dec 30 2018 17:59 utc | 100

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