Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 08, 2019

Turkey Rejects New U.S. Syria Plan - Humiliates John Bolton

On Sunday National Security Advisor John Bolton tried to set conditions for a U.S. retreat from Syria:

Bolton, on a trip to Israel and Turkey, said he would stress in talks with Turkish officials, including President Tayyip Erdogan, that Kurdish forces must be protected.
Asked whether a U.S. withdrawal would not take place in Syria until Turkey guaranteed the Kurdish fighters would be safe, Bolton said: “Basically, that’s right.”
"We don’t think the Turks ought to undertake military action that’s not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States at a minimum,” Bolton said, “so they don’t endanger our troops, but also so that they meet the president’s requirement that the Syrian opposition forces that have fought with us are not endangered.”

Turkey was not amused. The YPG Kurds, which the U.S. uses in Syria as cannon fodder to fight the Islamic State, are the same organization as the PKK which acts as a terrorist group in Turkey. Turkey can not allow that group to exist on its border as an organized military force.

When Bolton landed in Turkey today he received a very cold welcome. The planned meeting with the Turkish President Erdogan did not take place. The meeting John Bolton, Joint Chief of Staff Joe Dunford and Syria envoy James Jeffrey held with the Turkish National Security Advisor Ibrahim Kalin was downgraded and took less than two hours. A planned joint press conference was canceled.

The U.S. delegation did not look happy, or even united, when it left the presidential compound in Ankara.

via Vivian Salaman - bigger

Shortly after Bolton's meeting Erdogan held a speech to his parliament group. It was a slap in Bolton's face. Via Raqip Solyu:

Erdogan says he cannot accept or swallow the messages given by US National Security Advisor Bolton in Israel.

Erdoğan, “YPG/PKK are terrorists. Some say ‘don’t touch them because they are Kurds’. This is unacceptable. Everyone can be a terrorist. They could be Turkmans. Their ethnicity doesn’t matter. Bolton made a big mistake by his statements”

Erdogan on the Syria policy chaos in Washington: "As it happened in the past, despite our clear agreement with Trump on US withdrawal from Syria, different voices started to come out from different levels of the American administration."

Erdogan says Turkey continues to rely on Trump’s view on Syria and his decisiveness on the pullout. "We, largely, completed our military preparations against ISIS in accordance with our agreement with Trump"

"Saying that Turkey targets Syrian Kurds, which is a lie itself, is the lowest, most dishonorable, ugliest, most banal slander ever" Erdogan added.

Erdogan's communication director gave the last kick:

Fahrettin Altun @fahrettinaltun - 14:17 utc - 8 Jan 2019
U.S. National Security Adviser @AmbJohnBolton held talks with his Turkish counterpart @ikalin1 at the Presidential Complex in Ankara today.

I hope that he got a taste of the world famous Turkish hospitality during his visit.

An editorial in the Erdogan aligned Daily Sabah called Bolton's ideas a soft coup against Trump.

And with that, Bolton was humiliated and the issue of the U.S. retreat from Syria kicked back to Trump.

We have seen a similar scheme in U.S. negotiations with North Korea. Trump made a four step deal with Kim Jong Un. Then the borg in form of Secretary of State Pompeo tried to change the deal, and demanded that North Korea fulfills step four before the U.S. will take step one, two and three. When he then flew to North Korea he was ignored by Kim Jong Un and only met with lower level staff. It required Trump's intervention to keep the talks alive.

Erdogan likewise had a deal with Trump about the U.S. retreat from Syria. Bolton tried to change the deal, to add conditions and to prolong the timeline. When he arrived in Ankara he was not only ignored by Erdogan, but scolded. It will require Trumps intervention to bring the issue back onto its tracks.

If Trump does not move, Erdogan is likely to seek a military escalation. His army will probably fire artillery on this or that Kurdish position near the Turkish border. It may even invade a few towns. Not necessarily to hold them, but to increase the pressure on the U.S. occupation force.

Turkey originally planned to first take Manbij on the western side of the Euphrates. But Manbij is blocked by Syrian troops, now reinforced by Russian military police patrols. Erdogan will not dare to attack them.

Erdogan wants the U.S. to leave Syria and to take with it the arms it handed to the YPG to fight ISIS. He wants the Syrian government to retake northeast Syria and to bring the Kurds under control. That would eliminate the danger to Turkey.

Since Trump announced that U.S. troops would soon leave Syria the fight against the remaining ISIS forces near the Iraqi border increased in pace. ISIS' territorial hold is now down to two or three villages. Sunday night it used another spat of bad weather due to which the U.S. air force could not provide air support to the Kurdish led proxy force that fights ISIS. An ISIS counter attack ensued and killed some 25 of the U.S. supported forces. This was likely the last significant battle for ISIS. The Islamic State is down to a few hundred fighters who have no way to escape. They will be bombed to smithereens.

In Idleb governorate al-Qaeda aka Hayat Tahrir al Sham continues to consolidate its hold. It issued several ultimatums to Ahrar al-Sham and other 'moderate rebel' groups that still hold parts of the area. When it is finished with the elimination of its competition it will likely shell Aleppo city and attack the Syrian government lines. That will restart the war over Idleb.


The last time the Syrian government planned to cleanse Idleb of the Jihadis, the U.S. intervened and threatened to attack the Syrian army. Russia forged the Astana agreement under which Turkey agreed to eliminate HTS. It failed to fulfill its promise. The Syrian army is thus free to solve the problem.

But what will the White House do? Will Bolton (should he still be NSA by then) press for defending al-Qaeda? Will Trump agree to that?

Posted by b on January 8, 2019 at 16:47 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Once again it raises the question - who is in charge of the White House? Our Great Leader turns out to be a spineless, confused, coward.

Posted by: mike k | Jan 8 2019 16:59 utc | 1

Bolton had dinner with Trump on his return, but only one scoop of ice cream.

Posted by: Fec | Jan 8 2019 17:07 utc | 2

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer...

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 8 2019 17:10 utc | 3

Rand Paul will publish a scathing indictment of Bolton and the neocons... when he stops laughing.

Posted by: Fec | Jan 8 2019 17:13 utc | 4

Erdo wanted to turn Bolton into sandwiches, but he'd handcuffed himself to a general.

Posted by: Fec | Jan 8 2019 17:19 utc | 5

In the distance I hear the sound of keyboard artists hammering out the latest ingenious explanation of how this all proves that Erdogan and the neo-cons (secretly allied)are about to betray the Russians and invade Syria in order to fulfill Israeli objectives.
Such theories should distract nobody from the importance of this confirmation that the US is going to withdraw its penny packets of vulnerable troops. And that the UK and France will be following suit too. And the Iraqi parliament is not going to offer them more comfortable billets in Iraq either.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 8 2019 17:26 utc | 6

Posted by: mike k | Jan 8, 2019 11:59:10 AM | 1

Our Great Leader turns out to be a spineless, confused, coward.

Nah, he's a fucking genius grifter playing Bolton and the other neo-cons like no-one else could. And also shitting on the Democrats by conning them into aligning themselves closely with the neo-con scum. I'm still expecting Trump to be a full two-term president with better foreign-policy chops than any of his predecessors since FDR.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 8 2019 17:27 utc | 7

The Turk vs Syrian army would be interesting.

Posted by: Don Task | Jan 8 2019 17:29 utc | 8

"On Friday, a State Department official said “(w)e have no timeline for our military forces to withdraw from” the country. Delay may turn out to be not at all.

On Sunday, a senior Iraqi parliamentarian said

“(t)he Americans have built a military base in Erbil (in) the Iraqi Kurdistan region to use…against Iraq’s neighboring countries, in particular Iran and Syria.”

Iraqi media said the Pentagon has 14 military bases in the country – along with a reported 18 in Syria. The US is highly unlikely to abandon them, especially ones considered most strategically important.

An earlier report indicated the Pentagon intends establishing a permanent base along the Iraqi border with Syria. Turkey reportedly established one or more military bases in northwestern Aleppo.

On Saturday, a senior Trump regime official said US forces may remain indefinitely at the (illegally established) al-Tanf base in southeastern Syria near the Iraqi and Jordanian borders..."

Posted by: ninel | Jan 8 2019 17:31 utc | 9

It's so damn obvious! You either do it the US way or not at all, or, we'll blow you to pieces!

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 8 2019 17:33 utc | 10

From Larchmonter445 at The Saker:

Point One:  Turkey’s proxies are crap on the ground. FSA has crumbled and virtually gone from the battlefield. National Front for Liberation (NFL) and Syrian National Army (SNA), and the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement are all useless.

Combined with the weakness of Turkey’s military and weak Air Force, Turkey is done in Syria...

Point Two: US coalition is crap from the air. 129 airstrikes, 71 ISIS killed. If the Russians flew 129 sorties there would be 400-500 dead ISIS. Clearly, the US is tactically weak from the air. Or, they are flying phony strikes, not really intending to decimate the headchoppers on the ground...

Syria War 2.0 is under way...

The lesson to be studied is Vietnam. 1968, Tet Offensive. The American People and the MSM turned against the war. It lasted until 1975...

Israel wants the war. CENTCOM wants the war. Neocons want the war. Turkey wants the war. Qatar wants the war. the Muslim Brotherhood wants the war. NATO wants the war. EU leadership wants the war. UK wants the war. France wants the war.

Posted by: Fec | Jan 8 2019 17:39 utc | 11

Sooo satisfying to read about that asswipe Bolton getting the smackdown he so thoroughly deserves from Erdogan and the Turkish government. Bolton seems so stupid and clueless, i.e. to arrogantly fly to Turkey and start telling them what they can or cannot do to the YPG. Egads what an ass clown.

Posted by: Deschutes | Jan 8 2019 17:45 utc | 12

thanks for the overview b! it would seem that erdogan and russia are aligning very well at this point in time.. the usa and it's poodles have been sidelined... bolton looks like a fool, but he is good friends with netanyahu and that is all that matters to him probably... i am sure the usa is going to cook up something, as they have been the prime driver for getting rid of assad and supporting as they say - the syrian opposition...

Posted by: james | Jan 8 2019 17:47 utc | 13

I haven't seen such a satisfying image in quite a while...Bolt-On, DunFor, and Stuttering Jeffries! Priceless.

@ninel 9: I fear the Iraqis will have something else to say about this...

"On Saturday, a senior Trump regime official said US forces may remain indefinitely at the (illegally established) al-Tanf base in southeastern Syria near the Iraqi and Jordanian borders..."

Posted by: kgw | Jan 8 2019 17:49 utc | 14

Very significant progress report, b. It's beaut that Trump's dealings with some major world leaders appear to have earnt the respect of other leaders. It's also 'interesting' that Erdogan decided that if he's not talking to Trump then he's not talking to the USG. This will become the New Normal, imo.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 8 2019 17:56 utc | 15

reply to:
"... not talking to Trump then he's not talking to the USG. This will become the New Normal, imo.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 8, 2019 12:56:18 PM | 13
I agree, that seems to be the mindset of the new Mexican govt as well. I wonder if Putin may have whispered in Edogran's ear in support of this approach?

Posted by: frances | Jan 8 2019 17:59 utc | 16

"Turkey[...] Humiliates John Bolton"

Is it even possible to humiliate a sociopath with zero morals?

Posted by: Dick Lenning | Jan 8 2019 18:08 utc | 17

It's amusing that Trump gave the "Israeli's" AND the Neocons enough rope to hang themselves and they could hardly wait to shove their heads in the noose and jump...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 8 2019 18:11 utc | 18

Interesting article on Russia and Iran’s reaction to Trump’s announced troop withdrawal from Syria.

The gist of the article, long but well worth a read, is that the troop withdrawal itself, even if it does go through, is overhyped and that American policy regarding Syria and the region remains essentially unchanged.

It gets into much more detail but here is an excerpt:

Yet, when geopolitics and regional security are considered, many Iranian and Russian officials are skeptical about the withdrawal and do not see it as a significant shift in Washington's Syria strategy. This probably explains why Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani have refrained from commenting on the plan so far. The chief of staff for the armed forces of the Islamic Republic, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, argues that given the massive US presence in the region, the Syria pullout is no policy reversal. In Russia also, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has cast doubt on the implementation of President Donald Trump's order.

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 8 2019 18:12 utc | 19

Every king has a jester. In Trump's case, he has three: Pompeo, Bolton and Haley.

Posted by: Fec | Jan 8 2019 18:14 utc | 20

I told youse that going to Israel first was a mistake; putting on those goggles and "rubbing their thighs" over a 3D look at the new temple and a souvenir kippah got them.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Jan 8 2019 18:26 utc | 21

Am always amazed to see how tiny Bolton is compared to then other adults. If he don't have a mustache, he could pass for an early adolescent. Unfortunately for us, his behavior like his stature, is that of a troubled teen.
A draft dodger (National Guard) during Viet Nam who blames peace activists for the US's inability to prevail, he has dedicated his life to preventing peace from ever breaking out again.
I don't understand why Trump, given his platform of military disengagement, nominated him or tolerates his flagrant usurpation of power.

Posted by: CD Waller | Jan 8 2019 18:29 utc | 22

@6 bevin

All very nice but what about the rickety bridge behind this fantasy?


He [Erdogan] wants the Syrian government to retake northeast Syria and to bring the Kurds under control. That would eliminate the danger to Turkey.

Gee, I sure would like to see a link to a quote where Erdo specifically says that! There's a difference between being sure of what Erdo wants and quoting him on it.

I'm not buying your interpretation of what Trump wants from NK and I'm not buying that Trump wanted to withdraw and leave everything up to Erdo, Putin and Assad. It just doesn't fly.

Trump ALWAYS wants too much. Look at what he's doing with China, look at how he's grinding in his heels on the Shutdown, even after losing the House, he wants what he wants and he'll lie and cheat to get it. Do you also buy that thousands of terrorists are coming in through the southern U.S. border? I Don't think so!

All this vacillating, posturing and kabuki theater by Trump means one thing: he was never serious about the pull-out in Syria or Iraq, he is and always will be in the Zionist camp, his goal is to contain Iran not only with the sanctions, but in and through Syria and he's not going to give an inch on the Zionist agenda to contain Syria's defense systems, and use Israel to attack Iran's positions repeatedly, and satisfy the Saudis as well in their Syria aspirations. He will make the ground fertile for Israel and GCC continued interventionist operations. So ask yourself how he plans to accomplish that without any U.S. support? Putin has already proven he's limited in his response to Israeli military intrusion. Some form of control will be sought by whatever means necessary even false flag.

Again, Trump never gives in, he didn't give in to Zionist/Neocon pressure because he was always on board, otherwise, he wouldn't have given an inch even to them. It's not in his nature! So, this is an evolving ruse that Trump has been in on from the start. ...Next phase of the campaign in Syria will take shape with or without Erdo on board.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 8 2019 18:30 utc | 23


That is easy, Netanyahu.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Jan 8 2019 18:36 utc | 24

To set conditions to Turkey, and from Israel on top of that, was not a very wise strategy to say the least.

Posted by: Jean | Jan 8 2019 18:38 utc | 25

Just a thought about Idlib at the end of b's article; Al-Nusra was/is supported and armed by Israel and Al-Quaeda by Saudi Arabia if my memory serves me. The quantity of arms dumps found near Daa'raa and the Golan (both US and Israeli arms) are massive. Presumably they are stll being supplied by the same people as before. So I would expect "Al Quaeda" to advance towards SAA lines around Idlib province fairly soon.- as b says. This could be the "next" phase Trump referred to.

Israel, for it's part will continue to find ways to attack Syria (Gov.). One way they have already used is to "hide" behind US planes, flying a supply route from Jordan and then turning left at Tanf. (Used to attack "Iranians" near Palmyra, really SAA). same idea as later used in the downing of the Russian jet, plus the probably aim of their "Christmas" attack. This is possibly one more reason why the US will want to keep Al-Tanf. Particularly as there was the idea floated that they will continue to keep air-control over east Syria. Air attacks on Deir Ezzor could be then be repeated.

Although the "Kurds" are mentioned as the forces in SE Syria, there are a number of ex-ISIS and other turncoats that joined the SDF in the south, who are generally not mentioned. Some maps published on Twitter etc. only show the Rojava area as Kurdish and the Southern part of the east Euphrates either as "empty" or ISIS held. ie Most of the frontier with Iraq. The Kurds did not have the men available to hold this territory neither did they have the motive.
So the area that the Kurds want, and that the Turks don't want them to have is the northern part of the east Euphrates area. What of the other bit? Held by re-turncoat ISIS/SDF members as the basis for a new terrorist homeland? I don't know, but the "oversight" seems to be deliberate.

Posted by: stonebird | Jan 8 2019 18:44 utc | 26

I still maintain that the US&Co. are in the best position in 30 years!

Posted by: Chevrus | Jan 8 2019 19:08 utc | 27

b: We have seen a similar scheme in U.S. negotiations with North Korea... It required Trump's intervention to keep the talks alive.

But Trump's "intervention" hasn't accomplish anything.

Just as USA hand-wringing hasn't stopped them from supporting the Saudi and UAE genocide in Yemen.

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

Remind me again why Trump announced the "immediate" troop "pull out". Oh yeah 'cause he wanted to fulfill his election promises. 22 months before the next election. I remember the dreamers jumping for glee and telling us that the 2020 Presidential election had begun.

So Trump had 22 months to pull out the troops in an "very orderly, very deliberate" way, but he chose to antagonize and disrespect Mattis instead. Oh, and then look foolish as he walked it back.

OR, maybe, PERHAPS, it could consider the possibility that Trump's announcement was simply positioning himself before the Israeli Christmas attack?!?!?! It's kinda an important issue because if a ff was intended, it's likely that there will be other attempts to get it right.

No agreement with the Turks means that USA has to stay to protect the Kurds.

It's not Bolton that looks foolish. It's his boss: for hiring him, and for backing away from the troop withdrawal.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 8 2019 19:15 utc | 28

@ 26

Not sure Trump had much choice. Adelson and the Mercers wanted Bolton and the Koch Bros. wanted Pompeo.

Posted by: Fec | Jan 8 2019 19:22 utc | 29

I think they (US/Turkey) will manage this, after all, this is the turks that have tried to cancel russian s400 deal with Russia just to get a better deal by the US. Just wait and see.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 8 2019 19:28 utc | 30

stonebird @24--

HTS, al-Nursa, al-Ciada, are all one and the same organization having altered the logo several times to avoid being labeled the terrorist organization they are, and are supported by the same nations since their inception in the late 1970s. (Actually, the concept--Death Squads--was formed much earlier.) You may recall how an organization called the Red Brigades was used in Europe during the Cold War or know about NATO's Gladio cells. They are all essentially the same thing working under the aegis of the same master--the Outlaw US Empire: The Great Satan.

HTS is already being attacked by RuAF within Idlib. SAA forces are further massing for the postponed Idlib Dawn assault. Assad cannot allow any further terrorization of Aleppo's civilians or suffering of loyal Syrians within Idlib. The recent meeting between the Russian and American General Staffs will have delivered the Russian/Syrian position straightforwardly--Stay out of our way so you don't get hurt. Bolton's Turkish treatment also reinforces that message to US Military. SAA's rank & file are more than ready to rout HTS and finish liberating their nation.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 8 2019 19:29 utc | 31

@25 Chevrus.. i am curious if you want to elaborate on your viewpoint.. thanks...

Posted by: james | Jan 8 2019 19:34 utc | 32

on al masdar news now..

"US National Security Advisor John Bolton has reportedly told Turkish officials that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s article, which was published on 7 January 2019, was wrong and offensive."

Posted by: james | Jan 8 2019 20:11 utc | 33

Karlof1 @29
Agreed. What I was thinking about is how the US and Israel will try to stay "relevant" in Syria. (Not necessarily together.)

At the moment Israel is trying to get recognition for its occupation of the Golan (via Democrats arrival). For this it will need to say that the newly freed Syria is a threat and (Syrian) Golan will need "protection" from - Syrians. They will of course use whatever leverage they can in the Idlib area, including (probably) "gas" attacks and other FF's, and supplying Al-Q with up to date weapons.

(One latest "leak" has it that the Trump "peace plan for Palestine" will contain a clause that asks the "Arab" States and Iran for $250 billion to "compensate" Israel/Jewish people being forced out after the six-day war.
2. Under the Golan is supposed to be one of the biggest fields of Gas known, which would incidentally explain why Israel wants an 2900 kilometre, deep water undersea pipeline towards Cyprus and Greece, and for which there are not enough known reserves to justify it. Yet. Money money....

The US, however seems to be more preoccupied with installing itself on Syria-Iran contact routes and blocking the creation of a Shia "crescent" opposition. This includes the Syrian-Iraq border.

Although you mention the red brigades and other more recent(?) duplicitous terrorist groups, I think all of this (including the swamp and Trump) can be explained as a suite of the origins of the 1st World war - but I will come back to that on an open thread

Posted by: stonebird | Jan 8 2019 20:44 utc | 34

@circe Exactly ! Thank you
I am mainly here to read your comments now.Essentially, Trump is doing the same thing as the Saudis promise that the end of a hellish genocide and war of aggression is very very near so they could manipulate the morals of the groups of syrians a d Yemen is to make them doubt their leadership

Posted by: Occidentosis | Jan 8 2019 20:46 utc | 35

DJT and Bolden, classic "good cop, bad cop"..

Posted by: ben | Jan 8 2019 21:04 utc | 36

I don't understand why people hate Trump?
He's bringing back our soldiers and he's not allowing a milenary civilization to continue to be destroyed.
How is this not a good thing?
He's defying the establishment.
He's challenging the US's current mortal enemy, China.
I LOVE the Chinese, but I LIVE in the USA so who do you think I'm going to root for?
Trump is resolving the migratory madness, no more illegals making the dangerous trek.
Trump is helping dismantle the EUSSR.
It's a great time to be alive.

Posted by: Fernando Martinez | Jan 8 2019 21:10 utc | 37

I'm not sure that calling the leader of the USA a 'coward' (#1) is truly correct. What we are seeing in many places but mainly in the US is that so many decisions at the international level are made or heavily influenced by either the 'Deep State' or by military men. Either way Democracy has been killed off over the last 50 years or more. Hopefully there will be a great disintegration of the structures that led to this. I think it is a bit like the Tower of Babel all over again. Trying to organize human beings into one mass of humanity with one language and one culture and one unit of monetary value will fail time and time again. There is so much overreach as far as the EU is concerned let alone what it would be like at a higher level ! Beak up the UN (lessen its power...) ! Break up larger nations into smaller more autonomous statelets a bit like Switzerland ... :-)

Posted by: imoverit | Jan 8 2019 21:12 utc | 38

This is confirmation of what I have been saying for days now.

Bolton wants Turkey to invade northern Syria BUT agree not to touch the YPG.
Erdogan wants Turkey to invade northern Syria BECAUSE he wants to crush the YPG.

The obvious lesson to draw is that the Kurds can not trust anything that either man says.

The obvious next step from the Kurds is to stop listening to the USA and Turkey and swap sides to the Assad Government.

That isn't in any way a "bold" prediction.

It is inevitable, precisely because Erdogan's latest dummy-spit is proof-positive that if the Kurds don't jump into bed with Damascus then they are going to be crushed under the boot of Erdogan's armed forces.

The Kurds will jump.

They. Have. No. Other. Choice.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jan 8 2019 21:26 utc | 39

@31 James That Erdogan op-ed merely spells out exactly what the Turks intend to do i.e. to invade northern Syria to slaughter (sorry, "intensively vet") the YPG.

Bolton is "offended" by it because it lets the cat out of the bag i.e. it puts a lie to Jeffrey's plea to the Kurds not to do a deal with Assad until the USA has had time to hammer out a side-deal with Erdogan.

The Kurds now know exactly what that deal entails i.e. their slaughter at the hands of the Turks.

The Kurds will act accordingly i.e. they will do the very thing that Jeffrey's is pleading with them not to do.

They. Have. No. Other. Choice.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jan 8 2019 21:31 utc | 40

Yes, just like Obama played 11 dimensional chess, according to his countless fans, we now hear from Trumpians, Putin-heads and now even Erdogatians that all those guys are playing 11 dimensional chess. What a flaming load of crap. They are all lying thugs.

Posted by: paul | Jan 8 2019 21:33 utc | 41

I beg to differ with your assessment that the YPG is the same as the PKK. Kurdish politics are complex, and despite sharing ethnicity, there are great differences in ideology, objectives, loyalties, and tactics between the factions in Turkey, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and even Armenia. The YPG has not conducted terror tactics or harmed civillians, and Turkey is the only country to characterize them as terrorists.
I recall your condemnation of the illegal occupation of Syrian territory by US forces, and the ridicule poured on those who said Assad must go. Well, Turkey is one of those states who are guilty of those charges. In addition, they are more guilty than others, because they have been proved to have assisted, armed, trained, and done business with Islamic militant groups that were certainly terrorists. Bolton's terms to Erdogan only helped to show up the real Turkish long-term interest, to cleanse large swathes of territory of all Kurds - and they have had good practice in such undertakings as Armenians, Greeks, Alawites, and Christians will attest.

Posted by: SPYRIDON POLITIS | Jan 8 2019 21:53 utc | 42

So Paul, are you an Obamian?

Was ZERO yer HERO?

He caused this mess the slaughter of thousands and the hands of his pet Jihadis?

Now the Democrats have adopted jihadi tactics to gain power.

Is that what your Obamians do?

I heard some guy call people who support the POTUS policies; Trumpers.

So maybe you're an OBUMPER an Obama Trump hybrid?

Posted by: Fernando Martinez | Jan 8 2019 21:54 utc | 43

Is Trump preparing the ground to kick Bolton out and give a blow to the neocons that have taken over the us foreign policy? It does look like that. Bolton's daysat the white house are counted. pompeo might follow as he is manipulated by the neocons and jeopardizing the north Korea process.
Maybe it is the time where Trump will finally show presidential

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 8 2019 22:19 utc | 44

@40 Virgile "Is Trump preparing the ground to kick Bolton out"

No. Trump does not need to prepare any ground at all. He need only say "you're fired!".

"and give a blow to the neocons that have taken over the us foreign policy?"

No. He can fire all of them, and do it tomorrow.

He hasn't done that because he has no idea what he is doing.

That's all you need to understand: Trump has been elected into a role for which he is incompetent, and because of that incompetence he is now attempting to herd cats.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jan 8 2019 22:25 utc | 45

Fernando Martinez @33--

You seem confused about a great many things, most importantly that China is your enemy--it is most certainly not. It's promoting an economic model where everyone wins, whereas the US Government implemented the Neoliberal economic policy in 1978 that promotes Zero-sum outcomes where only a few get ahead at the expense of all others--Think of the board game Monopoly, and you'll have a good grasp of that concept.

Here I submit for your edification the Preamble to the 1787 US Constitution which is supposed to provide the rationale for the aims/goals of governing the nation:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Please note which words are capitalized for emphasis and which are not. Now ask yourself how it is Zero-sum outcomes jibe with the "promote the general Welfare" clause? This is but one of numerous contradictions I could list proving that the USA isn't being governed in line with the fundamental rationale. Isn't a system aimed at seeing everyone win compatible with the above cited clause whereas Zero-sum is in complete opposition?

I heartily suggest you reexamine your position on immigration, particularly considering the surname you've adopted. All people living everywhere on the planet are the kin of immigrants, except for a select few that never left Africa, the birthplace of all humanity.

As for paul, it's the nom de plume of a drive-by troll, and is best ignored.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 8 2019 22:29 utc | 46

I rather think that instead of firing Bolton as NSA head, Trump should give him a minor position, with a title that makes it sound important, similar to what the Russian government did with neoliberal economist Alexei Kudrin in making that fellow Chairman of the Accounts Chamber (equivalent to Chief Inspector of the Government Audit Office) in 2018. As C1ue @ 3 says, Trump should keep his enemies closer than his friends.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 8 2019 22:39 utc | 47

After ridiculously trying to prop up John Bolton, the NYT now tries to save face:

Who Speaks for America?

Posted by: vk | Jan 8 2019 22:55 utc | 48

Yeah, Right @41--

IMO, given it appears that Trump has no policy, "has no idea of what he's doing," that it's worthwhile revisiting this 2014 article where Escobar concludes, "this is The Empire of Chaos in action," and ask if Trump's "no idea"/no policy is just his version of The Empire of Chaos? Given the utter lack of a professional diplomatic corp, Outlaw US Empire policy since its Vietnam defeat appears to be one of consistent waffling--those politicos put in charge have no idea of what they're doing--and tug-of-war between differing departments--State, Defense, NSA/CIA, Treasury, Commerce. The Anti-Communist Crusade at least provided a framework on which to hang policy moves; but going after Full Spectrum Domination doesn't provide the same support--note that during the Cold War, denouncing Communism was like breathing, but from whom do you hear the righteous arguments for Full Spectrum Domination as most of the public doesn't even know such a policy exists or that it's been the #1 overarching policy since GHW Bush announced the advent of a New World Order.

Before and during his campaign, Trump was forthright in saying gross blunders were made that must be amended and implied that Imperial Expansion by the Outlaw US Empire needed to cease. I see him allowing the Empire of Chaos to continue sputtering, but is that by choice or happenstance? Which is the Frontstage Trump and which the Backstage? Is it even worth trying to discern? IMO, close attention's warranted.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 8 2019 23:09 utc | 49

Well, the real Donald Trump writes this about his policy regarding the withdrawal:

"The Failing New York Times has knowingly written a very inaccurate story on my intentions on Syria. No different from my original statements, we will be leaving at a proper pace while at the same time continuing to fight ISIS and doing all else that is prudent and necessary!....."

That was yesterday's tweet.

The nice thing about geo-politics is that no amount of words can change its realities.

It's amusing to see Bolton get slapped by the Turks. Turkey enjoys the ability right now to tell the US to fuck off to its face. I note also how specifically Turkey emphasizes that its agreement is with Trump, and not with little man Bolton, the insulter. You don't ever want to be someone who's just insulted a bunch of Turks - they don't like it.

The parallels with the Korea dynamics are indeed striking. It suggests that the whole world sees what we see, which is that Trump has to have his token neocons to please whatever forces require this, but that every one of their actions falls flat - and diminishes the power and prestige of those forces - while Trump himself remains in his own narrative, and seemingly unmoved out of his traditional style of hiring and firing.


And Trump himself? I had a discussion the other day with someone who had very strong feelings against Trump, and wanted to know mine. I said that I truly don't care who he is, and I don't expect ever to know, but I note what actually happens on his watch, and it suits my hopes for the death of empire greatly to see the things that occur - the words, I spend almost no time with.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 8 2019 23:45 utc | 50

Generally not a big fan of Erdo, but him bitchslapping Bolton for all the world to see (and hearing about it on State Radio, a.k.a. NPR) was a delicious change of pace this morning! Bravo!

Posted by: DougDiggler | Jan 9 2019 0:04 utc | 51

Listen Karlof1 I really like when you write.
I ain't confused about anything, I know what China's rise is all about, I like the Chinese I really do.
I understand the issues or at least I make an effort too.
I'm a LEGAL immigrant and I want everyone who comes to wait their turn.
If I'm considered a racist, I don't care anymore people are irrational when it comes to that topic.
I don't have an irrational fear of immigrants, like I have of swimming in deep water so I'm not xenophobic.
I'm not a white latino either. I'm from the caribbean so I'm darker hued.
I've worked hard following the rules and me and many like me just want the other migrants to do the same and if you come illegaly don't expect a welcome mat unless Maduro is your president.
Trump is trying to change things and I'm sure he's making some deals on the side, yet the deep state and the media are doing their utmost to hobble the changes he's bringing about.
I'm not gonna waste my time writing any more, I'm not getting paid to do this nor to debate with any of you guys.
I do like when you write Karlof1 so if you wanna rip me apart you do so against a huge sympathizer who mostly agrees with you. People like Paul, blurggghhh.

Posted by: Fernando Martinez | Jan 9 2019 0:19 utc | 52

@36 yeah, right.. i pretty much agree with you... the kurds are very slow learners, but i think they are starting to see the big pic here and realize they would be better served not working with the usa.. will have to wait and see how it plays out.. and i mostly agree with your @41 too.. trump is in gaga land without any specific plan other then to create more value for his own ass... but i like what @46 grieved said about this and would like to be more sophisticated and be able to take a position like grieved!!! i see @45 karlof1 supports your postion as well as does pepe escobar...

i would like to say i am beyond trying to figure out trump.. it gets tiring trying to figure the guy out.. he seems like mostly a vacuous self serving kind of guy and doesn't care much about what anyone else thinks.. some of this is a good thing! some of it is more challenging.. i will take the good with the challenging and accept he is leading an empire in decline which has been my position all along.. no matter how we get their, i see the sun setting on the us empire, not rising..

Posted by: james | Jan 9 2019 0:23 utc | 53

@45 karlof1 The problem that the USA has is - as you note - its complete lack of a professional foreign office.

The State Department gets cleaned out from top to bottom every four or eight years, and in between nobody really pays the slightest amount of attention to it or give it anything like the resources it needs to perform is (supposed) function of Speaking On Behalf Of The United States.

That's why a strong National Security Advisor can accumulate enormous power (not that Bolton fits that definition, except in his own mind).
That's why what the Pentagon decides is far, far more important than anything that is being mulled over down at Foggy Bottom.

Compare and contrast to the British Empire in all its pomp: no matter how much it may have been derided as Perfidious Albion the Brits took care to nurture a professional Foreign Office that knew what it wanted to do and had the institutional memory to know how to get there.

By comparison the USA is, indeed, an Empire of Chaos.
Not just in its international dealings but also in its internal bickering: the unedifying sight of a bunch of petty tyrants fighting endless turf-wars, and all the time living in fear of being overruled by a President who answers only to the billionaires who put him in the Oval Office.

A bunch of amateurs, being led by a professional shyster who - when it is all said and done - answers only to a bunch of oligarchs.

What could possibly go wrong?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jan 9 2019 0:41 utc | 54

@47 DougDiggler That Bolton thought that he could convince Erdogan to
(a) invade northern Syria while simultaneously
(b) lay off the Kurdish YPG
is so outlandish an act of blinkered, delusional thinking that it simply staggers the mind.

Bolton is as incompetent a National Security Advisor as he is a stark-raving, utterly-insane, neocon-zealot.

Erdogan has exactly one (1) policy goal w.r.t. Syria and it is this: to end the threat that an independent (or even semi-autonomous) Kurdish body politic inside Syria poses to his ongoing war against the Kurds inside Turkey itself.

Such a Kurdish enclave on his border poses a mortal threat to his rule, as anyone who has more than one brain cell should be able to understand.

To suggest - as Bolton has been suggesting - that the Turkish Army invade northern Syria IN ORDER TO play kissies with the YPG is so offensive a concept that Erdogan is to be commended for having the self-control not to invite Bolton into his office to throttle the life out of the little gnome with his bare hands.

Honestly, Bolton's incompetence is breathtaking even for a US government official.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jan 9 2019 0:55 utc | 55

james @49--

Then don't make yourself tired trying to understand Trump; just watch what he does from day-to-day. Trying to figure him out would require spending quite a bit of time cross-examining him about a great number of things, which we'll never get the opportunity to do; so, such a task is pointless, Sisyphean. If you read that old Escobar essay, you'll read of Lavrov and Putin out maneuvering Kerry and Obama on Ukraine, which they then did regarding Syria, and they continue to do so to Trump's tandem of Pompeo and Bolton. A story's told and was written about a conversation between FDR and Churchill on a warship in the Northwest Atlantic dealing with what would become the Atlantic Charter, the point being that FDR could accomplish much provided nothing needed to be authorized by Congress such as further tweaking Lend/Lease. The same point applies to what we see happening between Trump and other national leaders--they deal with things Congress or entities within the Executive have little power to alter or meddle in. They try to meddle but lose face when exposed and their meddling repudiated. Such diminishes overall imperial power and helps to restore sovereignty--paraphrasing Trump: stand up for your nation or grovel like the EU vassals. The former earn his respect while the latter get spit upon, as is clearly his style well displayed on The Apprentice.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 9 2019 1:07 utc | 56


Yeah, Right is only saying that USA will be forced out by the Kurd's aligning with SAA.

Yeah, Right and I actually agree that Trump is a blunderbuss.

But I care about what motivated Trump's blunder (Israels attempted ff) and Yeah, Right doesn't (AFAICT). I care about it because I think it's likely that there will be more ff attempts.

Now we see a new claims of 11-th dimensional chess: Trump set up the neocons! (Ghostship @7, Hoarsewhisperer @16) LMFAO! Trump couldn't set up deck chairs on the Titanic.

My read would be this: Trump used Bolton as political cover for his goof-up. A goof-up that was driven by his quick positioning before the expected Israeli ff on Christmas. But don't fret for B-man. If I'm right, Bolton will be vindicated when the Israelis conduct a successful ff that gives Trump political cover for increasing US troop strength and operations.

What passes for "leadership" in the Empire is the ability to trick the rubes into taking up causes that further the elite agenda. Will of the dumbasses must be obeyed. Voilà, "democracy".

Welcome to the rabbit hole.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 9 2019 1:16 utc | 57

Will of the dumbasses people ...

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 9 2019 1:19 utc | 58

. . .adding to karlof1 at 52

When Trump, an outsider who amazingly, unexpectedly gained the presidency arrived he installed a coterie of generals in high office, and then later, the arch-neocon Bolton. "Hey look, I'm not a threat to the establishment, in fact I'm giving them a chance."
The generals are now gone, bringing failure with them. Bolton soon will be gone, probably, for the same reason.
Trump: "See my establishment opponents, see them fail . . .you better deal with me" has been Trump's strategy. Actually it fits in with his attacks on "allies" who have been sucking off the US taxpayers for years.
How much can an outsider accomplish w/o support from the Pentagon and the Congress, all of which have been bought off? to reverse the all-war establishment?
I look on the bright side.
..from the web...
De La Rochefoucauld: "It is not enough to succeed, others must fail."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 9 2019 1:33 utc | 59

@53 Jackrabbit "Yeah, Right is only saying that USA will be forced out by the Kurd's aligning with SAA."

That is correct. Trump's announcement leaves the Kurd's with no option but to switch sides, and once they do then it will no longer matter what Very Cunning Plan the Americans are hatching, the continued deployment of US Special Forces inside Syria becomes untenable.

"But I care about what motivated Trump's blunder (Israels attempted ff) and Yeah, Right doesn't (AFAICT)."

That is correct, I do not believe there is any need to look for any hidden reason behind "Trump's blunder".

Trump seized upon Erdogan's phone conversation for no other reason than that Trump does not want US troops to be in Syria.
There is no mystery about that - he has been on record for many years questioning why US troops need to be in Syria.

He's the President. He wanted to order US troops outta there, and when Erdogan gave him an opening he impulsively took it.

Honestly, I do not believe that to be a "blunder" at all.

I believe that Trump's instincts are correct on this matter: the USA should never have put those troops on the ground and should now remove them with all haste. And having made that decision Trump should stick to it, and if Bolton insists on attempting to reverse that announcement then Trump should unceremoniously sack the little s**t.

Bolton's days are numbered anyway, for no other reason than that the little s**t is so spectacularly incompetent at the only task that matters i.e. giving Trump sound advice on issues that affect the USA's national security.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jan 9 2019 1:40 utc | 60

Jackrabbit - I find myself agreeing with you more and more these days. Not 100% but not that far off.

I'm not sure which one of us should be more worried about

I may have to turn in my DLC badge and stop cashing my pay checks.

Posted by: donkeytale | Jan 9 2019 1:41 utc | 61

Excellent analysis or rather perception.Bolton and Muller are nearing a shithole non of Trump's adversaries would dare even Netanyahu. Trump will have is administration even if it is the last 15 months of his term. We've underestimated Trump - not me.

Posted by: Ghifari AL Mukhtar | Jan 9 2019 1:41 utc | 62

YEAH B!!!!!!! I don't know what will happen when I post but the personal info upgrade I am seeing is encouraging....THANKS!!!! I am lazy like everyone else

@ Grievbed who wrote:
I said that I truly don't care who he is, and I don't expect ever to know, but I note what actually happens on his watch, and it suits my hopes for the death of empire greatly to see the things that occur - the words, I spend almost no time with.
I agree with most of it and karlof1's perspective but your hopes for the death of empire I think are misstated....let me explain

I equate the term empire with the elite that own global private finance and everything else. If Trump were really "leading" America towards the end of empire he would be dead by now. What Trump is doing is preparing the world for the next transition of empire from the US version to ???

I also am a bit dismayed at b's characterization of Trump's machinations. I normally credit b with more depth of understanding but it does speak strongly to the effects of maintaining that faith based narrative where people suspend belief in the face of opposing facts. I just can't understand how folks can have any faith in Trump doing anything for the betterment of humanity, long term. Trump is a bought character actor in a very sick social manipulation scheme. He is the good cop but tough negotiator for continuing empire in whatever form it morphs into.

I agree with you Grieved that Trump bringing out the true face of the West instead of Clinton II is preferable. I just hate to see folks portraying the events in the "wrong" context".

I see humanity being set up by good cop Trump for the American Shock Doctrine event and next stage of empire which I don't presume to believe can exist so I don't speculate on structure.....

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 9 2019 1:42 utc | 63

@52 karlof1.. i agree it is mostly pointless, but speculation is something some do and sometimes fun too.. i can't see how trump could compare the usa to the euro poodles.. it is not a fair comparison, but those trump would pitch this to might be oblivious of that either way... it is the same with thinking of whether trump will last his full term, or not, or whether he will win the next usa election or not.. it is all needless speculation, but many people engage in it..

@53 jackrabbit.. i too have the concern for more false flags.. this seems to be the go to tool of the empire at this point.. i am sure they can cook up something anytime they want, so the question remains - when will it be? this is just like speculating on trump, as i was saying to karlof1 above - it is mostly a fools exercise, but many do like to do it, or contemplate it.. i think it is important to keep it in mind though.. your speculation on trump, bolton and etc is valid... i don't know how any of this is going to play out, but i do not believe trump is all that brilliant.. he may be just a tool of the oligarchs as yeah, right seems to suggest.. then again, perhaps there is a lack of agreement on this level too and we are witnessing this.. it is all speculation at this point and anyone's guess... thanks for your comments here and elsewhere..

Posted by: james | Jan 9 2019 1:45 utc | 64

@44 vk, both NYT articles are appalling.

Trump is the POTUS, like it or not, while Bolton is merely a flunky who serves at the President's pleasure.

Bolton can advise - that's his job, after all - but Trump is at liberty to reject that advice out of hand, because that's HIS job: to decide.

He decided, and his decision was to declare victory and then order all US troops out of Syria.
It is a good decision.
A sensible decision.
Heck, even a wise decision.

That nobody else in the American body politic agrees with that decision is a sad indictment of how pathetically blinkered Washington is.

That those nobodies are attempting to force Trump to change that decision - not just to advise against it, but to actively attempt to undermine it - is appalling.

The NYTs is asking a question that it already knows the answer to: it is TRUMP who speaks for the USA, nobody else, because the Constitution is absolutely crystal-clear that this is a role that is invested in the office of the POTUS.

And if Bolton wants to usurp that role then Trump should pin the little s**t's hide against the wall, and if the NYT editorial staff is advocating any other outcome then it is doing a grave injustice to its readership.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jan 9 2019 1:57 utc | 65

Bolton, the Israeli representative, received a very lukewarm welcome in Ankara. Bolton has failed his chief Netanyahu. He will now shave his ugly moustache - that is harakiri gringo style for you.

Posted by: Hem Lock | Jan 9 2019 1:59 utc | 66

My own thought is that Bolton is not remarking off the cuff or in defiance of Trump or outside of Trump or in any way disassociated from Trump.

He represents Trump with these comments made in his official capacity as the National Suckass Advisor.

That you are merely insinuating Bolton is acting in defiance of Trump is a bold statement which requires proof.

How often in history has the National Suckass Advisor of any President defied the Boss right out in the open in front of God and everybody?

Posted by: donkeytale | Jan 9 2019 2:04 utc | 67

Fernando Martinez @48--

Thanks for your reply! Latino is a strange descriptive term as is Hispanic. Heritage/ethnicity is an interesting study. Did you know that most modern Spaniards are Germanic, the only Latin connection being to the Romans who allowed the Visigoths to migrate into Iberia? That makes my ancestors mostly Celtic, the largest Germanic tribe, although my surname is Spanish. Have you become a citizen yet? I once helped folks like yourself learn English and the information needed to pass the citizenship tests, thus The Preamble lesson. Once it was possible to go anywhere internationally, money being the only limiting factor, not laws. IMO, that was a much better system. But, it's also important to understand what drives people to move from one place to another; and in the USA's case, it's policies are what drive people from their lands to seek opportunity within the USA. So, Trump wants to build a wall but says nothing about the very policies of his and prior administrations that cause the emigration in the first place.

I like your choice to participate, so keep informing yourself and write!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 9 2019 2:04 utc | 68

Yes there are many words, and then there is the actual context, and the action and trends 'on the ground'.

When it comes to Trump, remember that expression of concern from Hillary about Trump getting into power: What she is said to have said, according to the NBC crew:

"If that fucking bastard wins, we all hang from nooses."

Hillary was fed the questions before an interview with Matt Lauer, and he asked her an unexpected tough question, leading to her subsequent meltdown.

Okay, so Hillary is not yet hanging from a noose. But now, two years later, the Clinton Foundation as a fount of serious criminality is now well established, globally.

And millions of Americans have noticed that while top FBI officials have been fervent opponents of Trump and appear to have committed egregious crimes in their in their opposition to Trump (see for example FISAgate), it is Trump who has received more or less constant attacks, investigations, condemnations etc for two years, led by former FBI boss M.

That 'story' is still unfolding, as it were.

Or consider: Trump in 2012 famously tweeted "got to do something about these missing children grabbed by the perverts. Too many incidents-- fast trial death penalty"

I noticed that late in 2018 January 2019 was declared by Trump to be "National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month"

Okay so here we have an action of sorts, not just mere words, but highly symbolic action. And as part of the context for that, note that there has been a much increased apprehension of predators on children under Trump. Here is a pertinent headline:

"Sex Trafficking Arrests Soar Under Trump; MSM Completely Ignores"

That 'story' is still developing

Or consider Trump's musing over the possible connection of vaccines to autism: Robert Kennedy Jr. was asked by Trump in 2017 to chair a new commission on vaccines. Kennedy was interviewed by Tucker Carlson recently on the subject of vaccines and told Tucker that the few minutes interview was only the second time in ten years he had been given a chance on the MSM to talk about vaccines. The interview is well worth watching in my opinion.

So here we have Trump in effect challenging and making an enemy of an enormously powerful pharmaceutical 'mafia', which as far as I know is more than any other President has done. What will come of it I don't know but there was a huge political action on that front in Italy very recently re shoddy standards involved in some of the main early vaccines.

And this 'story' is still unfolding. As are many many others.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 9 2019 2:16 utc | 69

Haven't they figured it out yet? John Bolton is really Hillary Klinton in Groucho Glasses.

Posted by: Rabbit | Jan 9 2019 2:20 utc | 70

Snefjella @ 65

Trump's musings don't matter. When the pharmaceutical price comes down matters. What is being done beyond criticism?

So here we have Trump in effect challenging and making an enemy of an enormously powerful pharmaceutical 'mafia', which as far as I know is more than any other President has done. What will come of it I don't know but there was a huge political action on that front in Italy very recently re shoddy standards involved in some of the main early vaccines.

Posted by: donkeytale | Jan 9 2019 2:24 utc | 71

Everything Bolton has done on his recent trip to the middle East seems to be aimed at placating Israeli and the American Empire to a completely delusional level. let's briefly list all the items Bolton has stated on this trip alone.

1) He said that US will remain in Syria as long as Iran is also in Syria (which effectively means the US occupation will be indefinite, as the US is continually resupplying the terrorists that Syria asked Iran to help them defeat).

2) He said that the US wants to prevent the Turks from massacring the Kurds a flagrant insult to Turkey as it basically accuses Turkey of intending to commit crimes against humanity - true or not, flat out accusing Turkey of planning a Genocide / ethnic cleansing, is going to enrage Turkey, the US's primary partner in Syria whose' help they desperately need to salvage anything out of this epic disaster/crime

3) Demand that the Kurds don't make any agreements with Damascus AND that the Kurd militias keep their US gear/weapons, aside from the obvious inane nature of this demand (a week ago the US said they were going to abandon the Kurds and that the Turks could have all of northern Syria. Turkey will never accept Armed, independent Kurdish groups operating in Northern Syria - they might accept Kurds under the control of Damascus, but never an wholly independent armed force - even now Turkey is threatening to invade and ONLY the presence of Syria and Russia troops is discouraging them). this demand also shows that the US interest in the Kurds is solely based around the US using them as the respectable cannon fodder to clean up their messes (ISIS and the other terrorist groups are the non-respectable cannon fodder the US uses to create messes to justify their presence in the first place) and that their mostly concerned with losing all of the weapons and equipement they've supplied them with (I also imagine that if they turned these weapons over to Damascus, they could checked the Serial # of these supplies and link them to other weapon caches captured from ISIS and other terrorist groups). given how the Americans used and abandoned the Kurds in Iraq (3 times in the last 3 decades, including just last year in Iraq), I can't imagine the Kurds will continue to be blind to the obviously disastrous consequences of listening to the US's advice.

4) Talked about moving more US troops in Iraq to use them as a rapid reaction force for the entire region, i'm sorry, but shouldn't Bolton have checked with the Iraqi government before announcing such a bold plan - they might have an opinion on it, especially since this move would be obviously based on attacking Syria, Iran & Lebanon (Iraqi's current allies).

I'm sure commenters will find more good examples, but it's shocking to see even a hack idiot like Bolton, who has never been right about any of his decisions on the Middle East, blunder about insulting allies that the US desperately needs to help them. This trip has made Bolton look more like the boorish lout the Media accuses Trump of being on the foreign stage, but the media is supporting Bolton on this trip! I know that Bolton has always despised diplomacy, but making insane, impossible demands and requirements like this make me think of the US as less like the slow, demoralizing decline of the Roman empire and more like Hitler in his bunker spouting out orders to non-existent divisions on a map that no longer reflects reality.

Posted by: Kadath | Jan 9 2019 2:41 utc | 72

@68 kadath.. your last line is priceless, lol.. indeed that is a fair analogy! thanks..

Posted by: james | Jan 9 2019 2:53 utc | 73

on can only rub one's hands in glee when Bolton, Dunford and Jeffrey, war mongers every single one, are sent packing

Posted by: michaelj72 | Jan 9 2019 2:55 utc | 74

@ James-30
I was merely parroting a trollish poster who frequently tries to stomp any optimism here.
To elaborate: the statement does not depict my view, and is nonsensical!

Posted by: Chevrus | Jan 9 2019 2:57 utc | 75

Protocol No. 9

For us there are not checks to limit the range of our activity. Our Super-Government subsists in extra-legal conditions which are described in the accepted terminology by the energetic and forcible word - Dictatorship. I am in a position to tell you with a clear conscience that at the proper time we, the law-givers, shall execute judgment and sentence, we shall slay and we shall spare, we, as head of all our troops, are mounted on the steed of the leader. We rule by force of will, because in our hands are the fragments of a once powerful party, now vanquished by us. AND THE WEAPONS IN OUR HANDS ARE LIMITLESS AMBITIONS, BURNING GREEDINESS, MERCILESS VENGEANCE, HATREDS AND MALICE.


5. The people have raised a howl about the necessity of settling the question of Socialism by way of an international agreement. DIVISION INTO FRACTIONAL PARTIES HAS GIVEN THEM INTO OUR HANDS, FOR, IN ORDER TO CARRY ON A CONTESTED STRUGGLE ONE MUST HAVE MONEY, AND THE MONEY IS ALL IN OUR HANDS.

6. We might have reason to apprehend a union between the "clear-sighted" force of the GOY kings on their thrones and the "blind" force of the GOY mobs, but we have taken all the needful measure against any such possibility: between the one and the other force we have erected a bulwark in the shape of a mutual terror between them. In this way the blind force of the people remains our support and we, and we only, shall provide them with a leader and, of course, direct them along the road that leads to our goal.

7. In order that the hand of the blind mob may not free itself from our guiding hand, we must every now and then enter into close communion with it, if not actually in person, at any rate through some of the most trusty of our brethren. When we are acknowledged as the only authority we shall discuss with the people personally on the market, places, and we shall instruct them on questings of the political in such wise as may turn them in the direction that suits us.

8. Who is going to verify what is taught in the village schools? But what an envoy of the government or a king on his throne himself may say cannot but become immediately known to the whole State, for it will be spread abroad by the voice of the people.

9. In order to annihilate the institutions of the GOYIM before it is time we have touched them with craft and delicacy, and have taken hold of the ends of the springs which move their mechanism. These springs lay in a strict but just sense of order; we have replaced them by the chaotic license of liberalism. We have got our hands into the administration of the law, into the conduct of elections, into the press, into liberty of the person, BUT PRINCIPALLY INTO EDUCATION AND TRAINING AS BEING THE CORNERSTONES OF A FREE EXISTENCE.

Posted by: Albert Pike | Jan 9 2019 3:07 utc | 76

@68 Kadath
Correct. Bolton couldn't have been more offensive if he had tried.

The reason why is obvious: the sensible option post-announcement is for the US Special Forces to broker a deal that involves the orderly handover of that territory to the govt in Damascus, and the orderly demobbing of the YPG (or its orderly integrationn into the Syrian Arab Army). And once that was done they would leave, leaving behind a chorus of "Wow! What proffesionals!!!!"

That would have placated Erdogan. It would earn at least *some* Brownie Points with both the Syrians and the Kurds. And it would minimise the kudos that will now accrue to the Russians.

It would peeve the Izzies but, heck, there is no pleasing them.

But because Washington is ideologically blinkered then they feel compelled to chose the worst possible outcome: enrage the Turks, burn bridges with the Kurds, earn the continued contempt of Assad, grant kudos to the Russians, and it still peeves the Israelis.

Way to go, Bonkers Bolton!!!

All that effort, and all that travel, and there is nothing to show for it except a trail of Very Pissed Of People.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jan 9 2019 3:09 utc | 77

Yeah, Right @ 50:

I rather like the idea of the most senior officials (Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Assistant Secretaries, Under Secretaries) and their immediate staff such as personal assistants being cleaned out of the US State Department every four or eight years. The people who do the equivalent of working at the coal-face can stay: they are the ones who maintain the organisation's ethos and values. Who would have relished the thought of Victoria Nuland continuing her reign as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs or in a similar position under President Trump?

The British Foreign Office seems to have become a much less effective organisation over the past decade or so though.

"Lights are going out at the Foreign Office" (November 2009)

"Boris Johnson's Foreign Office has worst levels of discrimination, bullying and harassment of any government department" (June 2018)

(Well that's no surprise when BoJo the Klown is in charge.)

"Foreign Office admits it is worst government department for pay" (July 2018)

Posted by: Jen | Jan 9 2019 3:18 utc | 78

Kadath @ 68, James @ 69:

Coming soon to another English-language translation of that infamous "Downfall" bunker scene where Bruno Ganz (as Hitler) goes completely bonkers at US foreign policy in Syria and how he would move US troops to Al Tanf, Deir ez Zor and other places to obliterate ISIS ... only to be told by his officers that Donald Trump already agreed with Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pull out US troops ASAP.

Or something like this:

Posted by: Jen | Jan 9 2019 3:26 utc | 79

It seems likely that the SDF will settle with the SAA in the North and the Northeast. As for al-Qaeda's fate in Idleb, Trump/Pompeo/Bolton should get their marching orders from Netanyahu shortly. Like the Bolton/Jeffrey fiasco in Ankara, Those would prove ineffective as well.

Posted by: Christopher Assad | Jan 9 2019 3:31 utc | 80

@74 "The British Foreign Office seems to have become a much less effective organisation over the past decade or so though."

Well, yes. I did mention the FO during the glory days of the British Empire when, you know, there was an empire to run and other empires to conspire against.

Those days are long gone, so no big surprise that the FO is now a mere shadow of its former self.

Still, I'm sure they still dream of the good ol' days...

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jan 9 2019 3:52 utc | 81

@59 p

So what you're basically saying is the only choice we-the-people have is who drives the Crazy Train since regardless we always end up at the same pre-determined station, on our way to oblivion?

Posted by: xLemming | Jan 9 2019 3:59 utc | 82

@71 Chevrus.. ah hah! good stuff! i was slow on the uptake!

@75 jen... i had never seen that before.. hilarious! would be nice to get an update to this one..

@76 christopher... as jackrabbit has said - false flag is a distinct possibility anytime... i am sure these neocon freaks are cooking something up, as they are not the kind to go quietly into the night..

Posted by: james | Jan 9 2019 4:05 utc | 83

@ xLemming who wrote:
So what you're basically saying is the only choice we-the-people have is who drives the Crazy Train since regardless we always end up at the same pre-determined station, on our way to oblivion?

Yes, it has been that way in my observation life since JFK days but oblivion has not happened yet so course correction may be possible but seems unlikely given the brainwashing evident, even on this platform.

Look at how my call for a paradigm change in our social system on this platform is received and reinforced. There is some support for my drum beat of public finance, but the majority of commentary is about other than structural approaches to our situation, if not more and more general obfuscation about the sources of our problems more recently at MoA.

I think we should all be beating my drum about public finance very loud at this time because we are approaching an inflection point in our world and ending private finance is a logical move in the right direction for humanity's future survival.

@ james who thinks that conflict is being generated....I agree and wouldn't you want to do something big to control the narrative if you were the UK and had BREXIT and Integrity Initiative, etc biting at your heels and if you are Trump and the US there are all those investigations and lawsuits and DEBT piling up as the "printing presses" run overtime.

A crisis is being set up for deals to be made by the elite to establish the global New Order to replace the global Old Order. Stay tuned for your cog and wheel assignment.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 9 2019 5:37 utc | 84

@38. Who gives an explanation of YPG and defence of same.
YPG are USA proxies. They go under the name SDF pretending with a few locals to be syrians.
38 writes YPG ie SDF do not attack civilians. Yet their partners the USA do and drop white phospshorus in hajin on villages.

SDF these paragons of virtue ambushed 12 senior SAA doing careful administrative peace keeping going from checkpoint to checkpoint in Idlib de escalation zone. These men were killed in cold blood by the YPG because two American military had been stopped and refused entry at a checkpoint. A revenge killing. Out in the open.

Do not pretend these YPG fake Syrian defence force do not kill not kill syrian civilians. Vermin.

The Syrian kurds were given 5% of the oil profits by Assad even tho they were 4% of the population.
They want 30% of Syrian land with the agriculture and the oil fields, and the SAA to guard the border. Crazy tainted by contact with the USA no loyalty to Syria.

Posted by: Jan | Jan 9 2019 5:45 utc | 85

Sincere apologies for the OT, however...

but speculation is something some do and sometimes fun too.
Posted by: james | Jan 8, 2019 8:45:29 PM | 60

Hey! If you're the canuck muso 'james' you've just created a more solid foundation for a new song than the Beatles, Rolling Stones and David Bowie launched some of their big hits from.
'Yesterday' was inspired by 'scrambled eggs' and laid dormant in the pot for months, if not years.

But speculation is something some do.
And sometimes fun too.

Give it a bash!?
It's already got rhythm and it doesn't even need to be about "speculation."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 9 2019 6:47 utc | 86

@80 psychohistorian

An inflection point indeed draws near when a military or financial event (or both) displays quite clearly how few clothes the emperor truly has. What happens after that is unclear and potentially frightening. Your call for reform of the key structural issues driving this insanity is sound, but we will likely only have a very small window in the ensuing chaos after the inflection point to enact reforms and make this a better world. In the United States my hope lies with American military veterans who have seen the empire's work up close and personal over the past 20 years. I believe they will make make a stand and we should pray it does not fail.

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Jan 9 2019 6:52 utc | 87

speculation is something some do and sometimes fun too

speculation helps some understand and other lend a hand

speculation is what you want to be instead of what you see to sleep now

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 9 2019 7:29 utc | 88

psychohistorian @59 and many others;

I see Trump just parading his stable of losers and such as Bolton and Mattis and Kelly and all the others, now gone. It his way cleaning out the Augean stables of neo-con imbeciles and ghouls. At the same time he will need to confront the mutiny that appears could build in reaction to his cleansing method.

I believe in actions too and will wait for the pass of time to reveal the Trump intentions. Erdogan can only be bought in flesh, Muhammed Fethullah Gulan flesh. Bolton is low enough to trade (Clinton too)but maybe not Trump.

I do note a couple of things though.

Trump could ask about an account for $21trillion dollar wasted effort and how come USA appears to be behind certain other nations in terms of hypersonic capability. He could bring the troops home in a rush to quell the murmuring of top brass mutineers.

He appears slow on the uptake at times and I sense he is a pathetic strategist and more a thuggish bully in terms of getting his way. Time will tell.

If I were in his boots I would go after the Awan family spy gang and Debbie Wassername Shultz just to smash a leg under the bemoncratz. Maybe his new FBI guy will surprise. I note Kushner is very quiet these days, or at least the media has ignored him since his Saudi gaffe.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 9 2019 7:30 utc | 89

Posted by: Albert Pike | Jan 8, 2019 10:07:33 PM | 72
(Protocol No 9)

Hm-m ... a forgery, eh?
I'm told that a good one is indistinguishable from the original.

The Occult Technology Of Power is a similar morbidly fascinating meme.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 9 2019 9:16 utc | 90

psychohistorian 83
Speculation is also a projection of future events based on how each of us reads current events. Bias towards what we want to see can be a problem, but we do seem to be moving on from the US centric, post USSR collapse, uni-polar world.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 9 2019 9:31 utc | 91

uncle tungsten 84
Trump may have a reasonable working knowledge of strategy, but he also has a lot of chats with Kissinger who was the strategist that oversaw the downfall of the Soviet Union.
Kissinger dreamt up and set in place the petro-dollar which for a number of decades gave the US an unlimited credit card.
Kissinger was perhaps the best strategist the US has produced.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 9 2019 9:39 utc | 92

nice to see yosemite sam slapped down like this. maybe trump will finally fire his ass, but the replacement will probably just be another neocon warmonger.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 9 2019 9:52 utc | 93

So Bolton is going around meeting the governments of other countries and actively and openly undermining the "expressed policy" of the US President and, also, as a representative of the US state being humiliated by those government. This is such ridiculous soap opera that it cannot be "real.

Posted by: ADKC | Jan 9 2019 10:35 utc | 94

@88 Sad to say, but Barkin' Mad Bolton may very well be the best that the neocons can come up with.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jan 9 2019 10:38 utc | 95

Grieved says:

You don't ever want to be someone who's just insulted a bunch of Turks - they don't like it

unless you're Lawrence of Arabia, perhaps?

in The Seven Pillars of Wisdom(highly recommended), Lawrence recounts witnessing the aftermath of the horrific slaughter of civilians in the Syrian town of Tafas by retreating Turkish forces. outraged to the point of madness, he ordered his troops to attack the retreating Ottoman columns and to take no prisoners. and no prisoners they took.

from his diary:

We left Abd el Main there and rode on past the other bodies, now seen clearly in the sunlight to be men, women, and four babies, toward the village whose loneliness we knew meant that it was full of death and horror. On the outskirts were the low mud walls of some sheep-folds, and on one lay something red and white. I looked nearer, and saw the body of a woman folded across it, face downward, nailed there by a saw-bayonet whose half stuck hideously into the air from between her naked legs. She had been pregnant, and about her were others, perhaps twenty in all, variously killed, but laid out to accord with an obscene taste. The Zaggi burst out into wild peals of laughter, in which some of those who were not sick joined hysterically. It was a sight near madness, the more desolate for the warm sunshine and the clean air of this upland afternoon. I said: "The best of you brings me the most Turkish dead"; and we turned and rode as fast as we might in the direction of the fading enemy. On our way we shot down those of them fallen out by the roadside who came imploring our pity

Posted by: john | Jan 9 2019 11:41 utc | 96

From Zero Hedge this morning, in a piece with the the title "A Soft Coup Against Donald Trump is Underway" Declares Major Turkish Daily", the final sentence is:

The astute geopolitical blog Moon of Alabama rightly concluded, "And with that, Bolton was humiliated and the issue of the U.S. retreat from Syria kicked back to Trump."

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 9 2019 11:43 utc | 97

Guess, we will be seeing a colour revolution in Turkey in the near future.
Not that I am too fond of Erdogan but he is becoming more liability than asset for the empire so I suppose there already plans in the making as to get rid of him.

Posted by: Holger | Jan 9 2019 11:51 utc | 98

The Empire already shot its bolt with that failed coup against Erdogan a couple of years ago.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 9 2019 12:50 utc | 99

>>>> Yeah, Right | Jan 8, 2019 10:52:05 PM | 77

Still, I'm sure they still dream of the good ol' days...

Their political masters still do, although privatization makes it impossible:

Capita was awarded the £495m contract for army recruitment in 2012 but the army has not recruited the number of soldiers it requires in any year since the contract began.

The Commons defence committee was told in October that the army had 77,000 fully trained troops compared with a target of 82,500.

Forty-seven per cent of applicants dropped out of the process voluntarily in 2017-18, and both the army and Capita believe the length of the process is a significant factor in this, according to the report.

If the UK went to war with Russia, they'd need the "phoney war" to last about a year:

Auditors found that it took up to 321 days for new recruits to go from starting an application to beginning basic training, and that many dropped out of the process while waiting.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 9 2019 13:49 utc | 100

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