Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 22, 2019

When U.S. Officials Ignore The President The Outcome Is Chaos

Since Donald Trump became president many of his subordinates have tried to subvert his policies. Instead of implementing Trump's idea and preferences they have tried to implement their own. Some have done so because they believed that it is the "right thing to do" while others have ignored Trump's wishes to play their own game.

A recent example can be found in a Washington Post Ukrainegate story:

Trump’s conversations with Putin, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and others reinforced his perception of Ukraine as a hopelessly corrupt country — one that Trump now also appears to believe sought to undermine him in the 2016 U.S. election, the officials said.
The efforts to poison Trump’s views toward Zelensky were anticipated by national security officials at the White House, officials said. But the voices of Putin and Orban took on added significance this year because of the departure or declining influence of those who had sought to blunt the influence of Putin and other authoritarian leaders over Trump.
American policy has for years been “built around containing malign Russian influence” in Eastern Europe, a U.S. official said. Trump’s apparent susceptibility to the arguments he hears from Putin and Orban is “an example of the president himself under malign influence — being steered by it.”

The president does not like how the 'American policy' on Russia was built. He rightly believes that he was elected to change it. He had stated his opinion on Russia during his campaign and won the election. It is not 'malign influence' that makes him try to have good relations with Russia. It is his own conviction and legitimized by the voters.

Trump's policies look chaotic. But one big reason for that is that some of his staff, like the 'U.S. official' above, are trying to subvert them. They have tried and still try to cage him in on nearly every issue. When Trump then wields his Twitter sword and cuts through the subversion by publicly restating his original policies the look from the outside is indeed chaotic. But it is the president who sets the policies. The drones around him who serve "at his pleasure" are there to implement them.

Instead they have tried (and try) to make their own ones:

White House and State Department officials had sought to block an Orban visit since the start of Trump’s presidency, concerned that it would legitimize a leader often ostracized in Europe. They also worried about Orban’s influence on the U.S. president.

“Basically, everyone agreed — no Orban meeting,” said a former White House official involved in internal discussions. “We were against it because [we] knew there was a good chance that Trump and Orban would bond and get along.”

The effort to keep distance between Trump and Orban began to fray earlier this year with the departures of senior officials and the emergence of new voices around the president. Among the most important was Mulvaney, who became acting chief of staff in January and was seen as sympathetic to Orban’s hard-right views and skepticism of European institutions.

One "senior official" who tried to sabotage the Orban visit was Fiona Hill who until recently served as the Russia analyst at the National Security Council.

One wonders if Ms. Hill ever read her job description. The people in the NSC do not get hired to implement their own policy preferences. The task of the National Security Council is to "advise and assist" the president and to "coordinate" his policies within the administration. That's it.

The same rules apply to the Pentagon and other agencies.

Aaron Stein points out that those aides who disregarding the declared policy of the president are responsible for the current chaotic retreat from Syria:

Trump has been clear about his intentions in Syria. As he told the world in April 2018, after years of fighting foreign wars, in his view it was time for the United States to withdraw from Syria, passing responsibility for the mission to hold territory taken from the Islamic State to regional states. I was listening, and wrote in War on the Rocks that the longer the president’s own staff continued to treat the world’s most powerful man like an infant, the more likely it became that he would simply order a hasty withdrawal. This chaotic U.S. exit from Syria was obviously coming, for anyone paying attention to the opinion of the man who matters most in the United States: the president.
For over a year, it was obvious Trump wanted to leave Syria and, as I wrote in April 2018, Trump “has made his preferences for U.S. policy in the Middle East clear” and it was time “for his national security staff to listen to him and to devise a sequential drawdown policy that fits with the spirit of the president’s demands, but takes deliberate and uncomfortable steps to protect U.S. interests.” This did not happen.

Rather than plan and begin to implement a coordinated withdrawal, the president’s appointed envoy for Syria and the Department of Defense worked to ensure Washington could stay, and ignored the reality that Trump would eventually order an American withdrawal. Such delusions have not served the United States and its friends well.

The lack of planning for the option the commander in chief had already decided on led to the current mess. The Pentagon practically sabotaged trump's announced policies by continuing to build up bases in Syria and by falsely telling the Kurds that the U.S. would stay. It should instead have planned and prepared for the announced retreat from the country.

One can clearly see that this current withdrawal was not prepared for, neither politically nor militarily, in any orderly way. Yesterday the Pentagon said it would pull the troops out of Syria but station them nearby in west Iraq. But no one had asked the Iraqi government what it though of that idea. The inevitable outcome is that Iraq now rejects it:

U.S. forces that crossed into Iraq as part of a pull-out from Syria do not have permission to stay and can only be there in transit, the Iraqi military said on Tuesday.
The Iraqi military statement contradicted the Pentagon’s announcement that all of the nearly 1,000 troops withdrawing from northern Syria are expected to move to western Iraq to continue the campaign against Islamic State militants and “to help defend Iraq”.

“All U.S. forces that withdrew from Syria received approval to enter the Kurdistan Region so that they may be transported outside Iraq. There is no permission granted for these forces to stay inside Iraq,” the Iraqi military said.

There was also the idea that some 200 soldiers would be left behind in Syria to deny the Syrian government access to its own oil fields in east Syria. Not only would this be obviously illegal but nobody seems to have given a thought on how the logistics for such remote unit could be sustained. The oil fields are geographically large and the 200 strong unit would have to be dispersed into tiny outposts within a hostile country and resupplied over unsecured roads. To defend them from surprise attacks the U.S. would need to put combat air patrols above them for every hour of each day.

One hopes that the Pentagon and State Department recognize that the high political and financial costs of such a deployment are not justified for making a minor political point that will not change the inevitable outcome of the war.

Trump ordered that all U.S. troops leave Syria. An illegal occupation of Syria's oil fields would keep the U.S. in Syria but in an clearly indefensible position. Whoever came up with or supported that idea needs to be fired.

Here is a sign that the Pentagon has finally recognized that its utter lack of planning for the implementation of Trump's decision to leave Syria resulted in a bad outcome. It is now trying to avoid being (again) be caught with its pants down with regards to Afghanistan:

The Pentagon recently began drawing up plans for an abrupt withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan in case President Donald Trump surprises military leaders by ordering an immediate drawdown as he did in Syria, three current and former defense officials said.
Ending wars like the one in Afghanistan was one of Trump's chief campaign promises in 2016, and administration officials have privately expressed concern that as the 2020 election approaches, he'll be more likely to follow through with threats of troop withdrawal, as he did last week in Syria.

Trump has made clear to his advisers that he wants to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the 2020 election, NBC News reported in August.

Trump made his decision in August but the Pentagon is only now reacting to it. That is too slow.

Trump should have been and should be more rigorous with his staff. Those who sabotage his policies need to be fired early and often. It would make his polices look much less chaotic than they currently seem to be.

Posted by b on October 22, 2019 at 17:24 UTC | Permalink

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Perhaps if Trump had not been so clueless/careless in his appointments then he would not be ignored and subverted so routinely. As Paul Craig Roberts recently stated, who in their right mind would appoint a warmonger like John Bolton if his purpose was to stop regime change wars and improve relations with Russia?
I don't believe in the 4D chess theory, this seems more like sheer incompetence to me. Yes, it's preferable to Hillary, but hardly the best of times.

Posted by: Perimetr | Oct 22 2019 17:31 utc | 1

All the imperial hangers-on desperately scrambling to keep their winnings. Yeah, it doesn't work well as a foreign policy.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 22 2019 17:46 utc | 2

Even more remarkable than the way the US is exiting Syria is the way it got in. The us backed Turkey/Saudi/Israel in the creation of Jihadi forces to bring down such a well entrenched and popular leader, Assad, and then maintained a presence based on the bizarre claim that it was fighting terrorists and leading a mighty coalition that made the Syria/Russia/Iran/Hezbollah coalition laughable.

No wonder no one (not reading MofA or similar) understands quite what the US was doing there. No wonder people found the Assad is deeply evil story credible, it did at least make more sense to an ordinary newspaper reader than the rest of the story (though untrue).

The Obama/war party got the US got into a stupid mess, and we have to admire Trump for getting them out, without betraying the monsters in the State department under Obama and the CIA or their Saudi/Israel allies. Indeed if Obama hadn't lead a coup against Erdogan this might not be possible.

Posted by: Michael Droy | Oct 22 2019 17:48 utc | 3

CNN Commissars

CNN reported on Trump's Viktor Orban's heresy informing us that Trump was deviating from U.S. foreign policy and you should have seen the smirk plasted on all of their faces. Do they realize that they have been groomed by the CIA like trained seals begging for fish?

It's as if U.S. foreign policy is cast in stone. Now we know that there is a list of foreigners you can talk to, Netanyahu and whatever clown is governing Britain, and a list of pariah states we have to forever be at odds with. This precludes ever understaning Iran's issues.

I hate the deep state but I hate their MSM enablers even more.

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | Oct 22 2019 17:52 utc | 4


Even before Trump took office they began to stack his appointments with the same treasonable and corrupt bunch from prior administration. One man cant do everything

Posted by: othello | Oct 22 2019 18:00 utc | 5

Holding the Deir Ezzor oilfields would only require an operation the size of the Tanf operation. Anything wandering into that area gets hit by US airstrikes or artillery strikes.
Paved plus unpaved roads from Iraq into eastern Deir Ezzor...

But more to the point is listening to Trump policy. Libya "We should have taken the oil", Iraq "We should have taken the oil, who knows we may get anther chance", Syria "We should take the oil".

Taking the oil is as much Trump policy as ending endless wars. It must be noted that Trump is very specific about which type of wars he does not like. Expensive wars and endless wars are not to his liking.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22 2019 18:18 utc | 6

We sadly live in a political era of not 'good guy vs bad guy', but of 'shittier vs shittiest'. Clinton was, and is shit. But so is Trump! The author here naively projects too much of his own hopes or fantasies onto Trump. Totally swept aside is the complete asshole domestic policies of Trump: sell off national parks to oil and gas, privatize public schools, drill for oil in Arctic Nat Refuge, gut the EPA, build Israel-like walls along Mexico border, etc not to mention utterly fucking over the Palestinians and giving Israel everything....not to mention the Khashoggi disaster. Zero ethics, blah blah blah this guy fucking sucks.

Posted by: deschutes | Oct 22 2019 18:39 utc | 7

Today in Sochi, Putin and Erdogan agreed:

A Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey
22 Oct 2019
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed on the following.

1. Both parties reaffirm their commitment to preserve political unity and territorial integrity of Syria, as well as national security of Turkey.

2. They reiterate their resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and to resist separatist aspirations in the Syrian territory.

3. In this context, existing the status quo in the current operations area "Source of peace" between tel-Abyad and RAS Al ain to a depth of 32 km is saved.

4. Both sides confirmed are important the value of the Adana agreement, the Russian Federation will assist the implementation of the Adana agreement in modern conditions.

5. Starting from 12.00 on 23 October 2019 on the Syrian side of the Syrian-Turkish border outside the area of operation "The source of peace" entered the units of the military police and Syrian border service. They will facilitate the withdrawal of the KOS and their arms at 30 km from the Syrian-Turkish border, which should be completed within 150 hours after 12.00 noon on 23 October 2019 this moment will start joint Russian-Turkish patrol to a depth of 10 km from the border to the West and to the East of the operations area "Source world", in addition to the city of Qamishli.

6. All divisions of CBS and their weapons will be withdrawn from Manuja and tal Rifat.

7. Both sides will take the necessary steps to prevent the infiltration of terrorist elements.

8. Will be undertaken by joint efforts to promote the safe and voluntary return of refugees.

9. Will set up a joint mechanism monitoring and verification for reviewing and coordinating the implementation of this Memorandum.

10. Both sides will continue to work on the search for a political solution to the Syrian conflict in the framework of the "mechanism of Astana" and will support the activities of the constitutional Committee.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Oct 22 2019 18:42 utc | 8

In the good old days when the hand did not implement the policies of the regent, the head would usually fall soon after..

Its a shame that these days these criminals the world over get away with it because its 'policy' of the government.. What ever it is.. Thats it.. They usually are moved and promoted into higher posts.. Never are the government employees fired for their malign deeds..

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Oct 22 2019 18:42 utc | 9

... many of his subordinates have tried to subvert his policies.

Wait ... what?

Those 'subordinates' work for Trump. Trump could easily prevent the subverting of his policies - if he chose to.

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Wasn't it Trump that tweeted that he was "locked and loaded" for war with Iran?

Wasn't it Trump that ordered TWO missile strikes on Syria based on false pretenses?

Wasn't it Trump that fully supported the Venezuela coup? And approved of illegally seizing Venezuelan assets?

Wasn't it Trump that violated UN Resolutions by moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing Golan Heights as Israeli territory? All while drastically curtailing aid to the Palestinians?

Wasn't it Trump that militarized Space? (He seems rather proud of doing so.)

Furthermore, I don't hear Trump complaining about things like USA not following thru on commitments made for peace in Korea or USA's terminating the INF Treaty.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 22 2019 18:45 utc | 10

Thank you for this post, b. The last president to have had obstruction within government that he had to adjust to, as well as press adversity, was Jimmy Carter. It is really a huge problem when so much of the government is carry over, and in the case of Trump it has been so obvious that he needed to have his own people and a better atmosphere in press coverage. For a volitile leader this situation has been charged from the getgo. So much so that it is very difficult for the public to assess his actual leadership abilities. We either over- or underestimate him, to our own peril. And that is true of other countries as well. They see the pull and tug and the histrionics that ensue on both sides - how can they help assessing the chaotic situation as chaotic?

It was the people's will, in accordance with the Constitution, that Trump be declared president. I didn't vote for him, but he is supposed to be our leader. What this country then did in the international arena should have been according to his decisions. I do not believe, if that had been the case, that we would now be in the sad state we are in with our international reputation in tatters.

Trump would have seen his policies followed, and we would have had more consistency in government than we now have. Some of those policies would have been less than perfect and could then have been argued against in order to give us better government in future. With the obstinate warpath he has been forced to adhere to, and that footdragging by those under him so clearly obstructing an orderly situation that had been hoped for in Syria, we have to conclude that it is only the obstructionists who are to blame. Them we see, what Trump might have accomplished or not accomplished we do not see.

Please, Circe, pull in your horns. There is no way to accurately tell what is Trump and what is his opposition when it comes to US policy - even when he seems to say something in contradiction to what he has said previously, we cannot know but can reasonably suppose forces in disagreement with him have the upper hand when it comes to actual implementation.

That upper hand is a high crime in Constitutional terms.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 22 2019 18:50 utc | 11

Trump has no policies... He tweets... All the power he's allowed to yield, from his position of Reality TV star. Troops follow orders, not tweets. And orders remained the same. Keep Syria ''occupied'', to keep Russia busy and China and Iran away from Europe.

Posted by: AlainJ | Oct 22 2019 18:55 utc | 12

The only reason Trumpty is trying to APPEAR to get out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan is because it is the only policy space where his campaign promises differed in any great degree to the rest of the 2016 and 2020 POTUS competitors (Gabbard excepted). And the DNC is trying to bury Gabbard on behalf of themselves and the rest of the warmongers in the Republican race.

Iraq refusing to take delivery on Syria-exiting US troops, let alone their Kurdish/ISIS terrorist hangers-on shows how little influence the US now really carries outside Israel and Saudi Arabia. Non-terrorist Kurds were giving the US troops the send-off they deserve... rocks and rotten veggies.

Posted by: A P | Oct 22 2019 18:56 utc | 13

Trump was better at governing his TV show than running his government. Certainly, his irresponsible choices for his chief aides carry much blame, but so does his inability/unwillingness/false promise to drain the swamp of all the saboteurs--just look at the Justice Department for a graphic example. But Trump's mismanagement was exacerbated by his totally different conception of the Outlaw US Empire and how it would go about its business--views that were diametrically opposite of those indoctrinated into the career bureaucrats that would be charged with carrying out policy--when you've been told it's fine and dandy to ignore and break as many laws and treaties as needed to implement policy, it becomes second nature to ignore and work against policy directives that go against your indoctrination. One major point Trump was correct about was the a priori need to Drain the Swamp of the creatures that brought about all the ill-fated policies he now wanted to unwind and abandon--the most important singular point he hasn't really tried to accomplish. Instead, one of the first places he visited after his inauguration was CIA headquarters--Downtown Swampland HQ.

I included and linked to this article earlier today, "Trump’s Foreign Policy Strategy Is All About the 2020 Elections." Lets assume that assumption is 100% correct; what does that leave post-election when there's no further election to attempt to win? If all troops are removed from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, what else will occur? Continued withdrawal from the Persian Gulf as Iran's HOPE project swings into action? Withdrawal from Korea? Closing Gitmo? I haven't heard Trump say anything about potential domestic or foreign second term policy. The D-Party's candidates have proposed lots of domestic policy changes, some greatly needed and desired by the public; but aside from Gabbard, little's been said about foreign policy.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 22 2019 18:57 utc | 14

@Red Ryder #8:

will start joint Russian-Turkish patrol to a depth of 10 km from the border to the West and to the East of the operations area "Source world", in addition to the city of Qamishli.

Oh, the perils of machine translation! The document actually says “except the city of Qamishli”.

Posted by: S | Oct 22 2019 19:02 utc | 15

b notes: "Not only would this be obviously illegal but nobody seems to have given a thought on how the logistics for such remote unit could be sustained."

This is just a small detail to highlight the point that b makes above, but fuel airlifted in to run base generators and power the troops' vehicles and such ends up costing about $400/gallon. This assumes the base has a regular runway that cargo aircraft can use and not that the fuel has to be relayed from a nearby airfield by helicopter. And even just 200 troops will burn through a lot of fuel... many hundreds of gallons per day even if they are trying to conserve. Figure about 1,200 gallons per day just for electricity alone if the base can get by with a modest 1000kw genset. That works out to almost half a $million per day just for electricity for your soda coolers and air conditioners and battlefield radar.

These little details are not what people like to think about when they propose that some troops just camp out around some oil wells.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 22 2019 19:04 utc | 16

so all his handpicked bootlickers and his handpicked 'acting' this n that are not doing what the man wants them to do?
oh dear, you mean they are not loyal to the shitface? they have their own agenda? oh really? is that like the turtle not letting go anything up for a vote if he (shitface) is not gonna sign it? Or is that the turtle not letting anything go up for a vote if he (turtle) don't like it.

I have said since the beginning that the shitface is dumb, dumber and dumbest, simply by making enemies left right n centre, using people until they are bled dry and then never eve working with anyone. Cause frankly, that is what he does.
So why are people astonished and surprised that those that he surrounds himself are a carbon copy of himself?

btw, anyone know how many children the us of baby snatchers has stolen for the international adoption markets? Cause yeah, they are being 'quietly' adopted out.

and does anyone here care? I mean stealing children is not as sexy and exiting as discussion the never ending war that will never end cause ending it will benefit neither the shitface in the us nor the shitface in russia nor the shitfaces in the middle east.

Posted by: Sabine | Oct 22 2019 19:05 utc | 17

We should all hope the pentagon is never caught with its pants down because they always go commando.. being exceptionally manley and all that... That sight would forever give PTSD to anyone watching.. The Roman generals on the other hand was at the front giving orders.. These commandos hide in bunkers thousands of miles away and gives insane orders..

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Oct 22 2019 19:17 utc | 18

Some people on this site refuse to give Trump credit for anything, but the results speak for themselves. In less than a week, two of the main participants (Russia and Turkey) have consummated an historic deal that could resolve issues on the border. allow Turkey to resettle tens of thousands of refugees in syria, and clear the way for an end to the war.

No matter how you cut it, this is a major achievement.

It's worth noting that the Syria war was never going to end as long as the US occupied territory east of the euphrates. So, if peace finally breaks out, it will be largely because of the change in US policy. Trump deserves credit for that.

Trump might not be the president that everyone wanted, but he's sure done a heck'uva a lot more than warmonegring Obama.

Posted by: plantman | Oct 22 2019 19:18 utc | 19

A. "Take the oil".
B. "No endless wars".

If this is to be congruent one must take the oil without endless war. Occupation is endless war thus it's not an option. The more expensive the "taking the oil" is or becomes the less interesting it should be for a society on the whole (as it turns defense into wealth distribution at a loss). "Taking the oil" is heavily dependent on time.

Maybe Trump never really thought that far, maybe no one else did either, and maybe he's simply wrong about the oil but that's okay if "no endless wars" (and at this point in time most wars tend towards either "endless" or "instant mutual defeat") takes precedence and so far for as little or much as it is worth that is the difference between him and '"business" as usual'.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Oct 22 2019 19:19 utc | 20

To [1]
"who in their right mind would appoint a warmonger like John Bolton if his purpose was to stop regime change wars..."

The one who appointed Bolton is obviously not in his right mind and his purpose is immediate war with Iran and further destruction of the entire Middle East. He's called Sheldon Adelson, not Trump.

Posted by: joe | Oct 22 2019 19:20 utc | 21

The commandos at the pentagon still think they lost the vietnam war because they did not have enough support.. Losing 10,000 planes and using more bombs than used in WW2 and dropping daisy cutters and other chemical weapons etc etc etc was all just shy of not enough and if only they had a little more.. half a million men was also not enough now that the Red army was not tying up 90% of the enemy.. Also harder to bribe true communists than most others like they did in Iraq and afghanistan and even in Syria and you wonder why the place is run like al capone's garage, thats because the US hires thugs and criminals because those are the only ones who blatantly betray their countries.. same as random guiado and his ilk..

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Oct 22 2019 19:23 utc | 22

@Perimetr #1
I don't know, but I can guess: Bolton is a known entity to the departments and people in question. If Bolton sucked up in his interviews, he may have left Trump with the impression that he would actually follow orders.
We all know that is nonsense, but Trump wouldn't necessarily.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 22 2019 19:37 utc | 23

the Russian Defense Minister said all foreign forces (the US) had 90 minutes to withdraw from Syria. I don’t think the Russians were going to agree to the US holding that oilfield. I’ve rarely read of them making such a strong statement. People are getting fed up and rightfully so.

Posted by: DannyC | Oct 22 2019 19:40 utc | 24

I do not agree that the US withdrawal from Syria is that disorderly. When a war is lost and withdrawal is the only option it will look very disorderly. That is the nature of war.

Look at Vietnam when Nixon first became president. He basically campaigned on getting out of that war -- the slogan was peace with honor. That "orderly" process began in 1969. The first stage was "Vietamization". The US began an "orderly" withdrawal. That withdrawal took four years and involved the deaths of 25,000 US troops (yes half of all US casualties in that war happened during the withdrawal). The final stage of this "orderly" withdrawal happened in 1975 was captured in those iconic photos of US marine helicopters evacuating US embassy personal from the roof of the US embassy. And then there was the mass exodus of millions of Vietnamese US collaborators that fled and became the boat people. That lasted about three years.

So compare to Trump's Syrian withdrawal. US casualties: 0. Kurdish causualites: likely less than a few hundred. US collaborators that must flee their homes: Not clear but no likely to exceed a few 10s of thousands.

I would likely to offer that this Trump instigated withdrawal is very likely much more orderly than if it was carefully planned by the US DOD in collaboration with all 17 intelligence agencies and the US DOS.

Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 22 2019 19:40 utc | 25

*Northern Syria. Sorry

Posted by: Danny C | Oct 22 2019 19:40 utc | 26

When wondering why Trump chose poorly for his staff you need to forget the nonsense that Trump was the establishment's chosen winner of the elections in 2016.

Was the 2016 election staged? Yes, and Trump was certainly aware of it. This is why Trump had not bothered to have a transition team set up on election night, and why he had not bothered to even start vetting anyone for any of his cabinet positions until after the election results were announced on November 10th.

Trump wasn't supposed to win the 2016 elections (ignore the jack bunny's silly nonsense about Kissinger anointing Trump in 2014 because the paywalled link it always provides as evidence doesn't mention Trump at all). Trump himself wasn't expecting to win. Trump basically chose his staff by writing down names he recognized on slips of paper and pulling them out of a hat. "Hmm... since I am pretending to be a Republican, who do I know that would make a stereotypical Republican Secretary of Defense? I know, 'Mad Dog' Mattis! OK, so how about the Secretary of State? Well, the CIA already runs the State Department, so why not appoint Pompeo? He knows the job already. Let's see, Secretary of Education... Hey, Betsy, are you busy?" and so on.

These choices were made on the spur of the moment in the chaos of an entirely unexpected victory with Trump trying to think of the kinds of choices a blowhard Republican like he was typecast as would make. Do not assign them overly much significance.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 22 2019 19:45 utc | 27

From May 19 2017
"The coalition led by the U.S. military claimed it asked Russia to intervene and that Russia tried to deter the Syrian force to move towards al-Tanf. I am told that this claim is incorrect. Russia supports the Syrian move to the east and the retaking of the border. The move will be reinforced and continue. The revamped Syrian air defense will actively protect it. Russia will support it with its own forces if needed.

The illegitimate occupation forces, the U.S. and British forces and their proxies, will have to move out of al-Tanf or they will have to directly fight the Syrian government forces and all its allies. They have no right to be there at all. The Iraqi PMU in Syria, some of which were hurt in yesterday's U.S. attack, are an active part of the coalition against ISIS in Iraq. If the U.S. fights it in Syria it will also have to fight it in Iraq (and elsewhere). Russia is able and willing to reinforce its own contingent in Syria to help the government to regain the Syrian east."

As to the US setting up a similar operation on the Deir Ezzor oilfields, much will depend on Iraq.
Iraq have allowed the US to hit the Iraqi militias with impunity, Trump flew into the US base in Iraq and flew out again without bothering to meet the Iraqi president or PM, nor ask permission to come to Iraq, treating the base as sovereign US territory (perhaps it is).
Going on past performance, US forces leaving Syria will most likely be positioned in Iraq regardless of what Iraq says.
As yet, no Syrian forces moving into east Deir Ezzor, apart from the bridghead that has been held for some time.
Oilfields in north eastern toe of Syria will be within SAA zone on the border.
Esper has stated US forces stationed near the oil fields have not been given orders to pull out. Supposedly that will be a second stage of the pull out.
Allowing Syria to regain the oilfields would defeat the purpose of the oil blockade so enthusiastically enforced by US and UK, as once up and running, the oilfield would supply the bulk of Syria's requirements.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22 2019 19:47 utc | 28

@Perimetr. I'm not sure it's all incompetence, though I agree there is plenty of that to go around, which may not always be a bad thing if incompetence allows the Empire do less damage was it keels over. I'm not a fan of Trump, but I think he had to make a whole lot of deals with a whole lot of devils in order to survive, in the political and the literal sense. The deals came with many demons attached, some of whom have been shown the door recently, and maybe more will go. Interesting to me there seems to be some daylight showing between T and Bibi that wasn't there before. Not quite sure how T is pulling that off, but I suspect it is a risky independence. Might Barr and Co. have something ready to drop that will stick? Unlikely, I know, but something seems to be giving Trump more room to maneuver.

Posted by: casey | Oct 22 2019 19:50 utc | 29

Oilfields! Lmfao! Sure..they're going to be there forever! This from a nation that ran from the battlefield with it's pants down. I mean...doesn't every victorious occupier bomb it's own facilities while fleeing? More optics from losers...for idiots. Patience will see them gone for good...crying tears of shame.

Posted by: Nemo | Oct 22 2019 19:53 utc | 30

Let's back away from the chalk board and its maps to look at the entire globe and do a quick review of Trump's global policy.

His Trade War multiple tariff impositions were aimed at numerous nations, not just China, all aimed at enhancing the MAGA domestic policy. The so-called Freedom of Navigation provocation remains in place despite the USN botching it so badly. Somewhat reinvigorated imperialism South of the border, particularly with the targeting of Venezuela and revamping the Cuban Embargo. Renegotiation of NAFTA and dropping of all other pending Neoliberal trade pacts. Illegal withdrawal from JCPOA, but withdrawal of troops from Syria and perhaps beyond. Continued support for Saudi and UAE aggression against Yemen, which Ansarallah calls US-Saudi aggression and terrorism. Included in all the above are numerous war crimes and other crimes against humanity either originated or exacerbated by Trump. Those saying Trump hasn't begun a war are 100% liars. But what was perhaps the most curious was his rant at the UNGA where he declared war against Globalists and promoted Patriots. And although the ice was broken in the frozen relations with DPRK, nothing positive has ensued.

In some ways we see continuity with the ongoing Outlaw US Empire policy to gain Full Spectrum Dominance, but in other ways there're distinctive breaks with that policy. It appears Trump wants to rollback US Imperialism to the Western Hemisphere in an effort to MAGA as the Globalist's drive is a massive drain on US wealth and prestige. Do recall his loud but very brief threat to attack all US-based companies that didn't repatriate their overseas factories. As Trump's continuing Imperialism South of the Border proves, he's no isolationist; and as his requests for additional military funding show, he's no pacifist either. And to-date, his war fighting is limited to all forms of hybrid warfare, his only kinetic actions being war crimes against Syria.

So, where will Trump go from here? Will he make any additional foreign policy related campaign promises; and if so, what might they be? And as we've seen, there's a big push on to replace the Dollar as the primary commercial currency with Trump so far being silent about that. Does Trump even care about the international status of the Dollar or its importance to the domestic economic situation, or is he totally ignorant?

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 22 2019 19:56 utc | 31

Sunny Runny Burger "Maybe Trump never really thought that far"

Yep. He thought of that. Simplest way to occupy some oil country without endless war is to eliminate the inhabitants or sufficiently cower them with a demonstration.

Russia also thought of this and gave a warning.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22 2019 19:56 utc | 32

S, @ 15, thanks for the catch on the crucial word regarding Qamishli city.

From english language Kremlin official site:
Memorandum of Understanding Between Turkey and the Russian Federation
October 22, 2019
President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President of The Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin agreed on the following points:

1. The two sides reiterate their commitment to the preservation of the political unity and territorial integrity of Syria and the protection of national security of Turkey.

2. They emphasize their determination to combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations and to disrupt separatist agendas in the Syrian territory.

3. In this framework, the established status quo in the current Operation Peace Spring area covering Tel Abyad and Ras Al Ayn with a depth of 32 km will be preserved.

4. Both sides reaffirm the importance of the Adana Agreement. The Russian Federation will facilitate the implementation of the Adana Agreement in the current circumstances.

5. Starting 12.00 noon of October 23, 2019, Russian military police and Syrian border guards will enter the Syrian side of the Turkish-Syrian border, outside the area of Operation Peace Spring, to facilitate the removal of YPG elements and their weapons to the depth of 30 km from the Turkish-Syrian border, which should be finalized in 150 hours. At that moment, joint Russian-Turkish patrols will start in the west and the east of the area of Operation Peace Spring with a depth of 10 km, except Qamishli city.

6. All YPG elements and their weapons will be removed from Manbij and Tal Rifat.

7. Both sides will take necessary measures to prevent infiltrations of terrorist elements.

8. Joint efforts will be launched to facilitate the return of refugees in a safe and voluntary manner.

9. A joint monitoring and verification mechanism will be established to oversee and coordinate the implementation of this memorandum.

10. The two sides will continue to work to find a lasting political solution to the Syrian conflict within Astana Mechanism and will support the activity of the Constitutional Committee.

Not a machine translation.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Oct 22 2019 20:04 utc | 33

karlof "Trump hasn't begun a war are 100% liars."

When the basic term war is used on its own, it implies military shooting war rather than say financial war. Most hostile actions short of kinetic war come under just that, hostile actions.
Trump has initiated and ramped up hostile actions against a number of countries, vetoed pulling the US out of the Yemen, but as yet has not started a new war though I believe he intends to.

I guess another example would be India and Pakistan. They regularly have military to military skirmishes and incidents, but as yet no war.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22 2019 20:15 utc | 34

Hmmm, i am not sure what to think of this analysis. On the one hand, Trump has said many things, so who knows what he really wants. On the other, we are talking about a man who launched 60+ Tomahawks over chocolate cake, with no investigation on a false flag gas attack, has reopened a war on Iran and is currently sanctioning Syria, Russia, Venezuela and many more to a level never seen before, sold anti tank missiles to Ukraine and made the KSA his first official overseas visit.

In other words, not much of a peace maker. So while he may talk about bringing troops home, one wonders how much of it is really just for show. His incompetence is well established, but as others also mentioned, if one really wanted peace, then Pompeo, Bolton and Haley are not really the people to be surrounded with. There are plenty of Republicans from former senior Pentagon's Col. Wilkerson to Senators like Rand Paul who would have been both fit for the job and willing to enable such policies, so forgive my skepticism, Trump the peacemaker he is not, as for honouring any promises, never trust a salesman especially a proven liar like Trump.

Posted by: Et Tu Brute | Oct 22 2019 20:16 utc | 35

re Joe @ 21

Sure, Adelson may have pressured Trump to appoint Bolton, but it was Trump who made the appointment

Posted by: Perimetr | Oct 22 2019 20:20 utc | 36

karlof1 @31

Thank you karlof1!

What we see with Trump, time and time again, is one step forward, two steps back. It looks jerky and chaotic but it never really delivers what people naively expect.

We don't need Gulf Energy, but we NEED the Saudi Alliance?

We must exit "forever wars) but Trump is "locked and loaded" for war with Iran.

We must stand with the people! but only as a propaganda ploy (witness Venezeula)

We need jobs and infrastructure ... but get a higher military budget.

Trump complains about Fake News ... but prosecutes Assange who delivered real news.

And if you talk about these things, you're met with derision or labeled a "Putin Asset".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 22 2019 20:21 utc | 37

karlof1 31

Agree completely with the rest of your post. Something to keep in mind when thinking about what you have written on Trump - Early after taking office, Trump said he intended "to regain the importance US held in the world 25 years ago". 25 years ago from 2017 is 1992 and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22 2019 20:23 utc | 38


"Perhaps if Trump had not been so clueless/careless in his appointments then he would not be ignored and subverted so routinely."

Trump was a real estate developer who arrived in Washington with a thin public sector Rolodex. He was talked into many subversive appointments. Remember he took on consummate insider Manafort (Podesta colleague) purely on the advice of others. Plus Manafort was willing to work for free. The Swamp draws from the Swamp. It's an incestuous and highly self-protecting parochial system. Sessions almost certainly was a plant, and may yet still be the most ruinous appointment of all from an opportunity cost standpoint. His mission was to recuse, obstruct and delegate to a dissident DOJ-within-the-DOJ (Roman testudo formation). The Mueller SC served as a prophylactic to firings and full Congressional scrutiny. In effect, the Deep State climbed behind the castle walls, or never left more accurately.

The mandate of the SC was to exist and to fish aimlessly, also to serve as a potent fund-raising mechanism for the Dems' retaking of the House at the midterms. Substantively, Russian Collusion proved to be a complete mirage as we all know now. The Flynn trial presided over by Judge Sullivan will prove to be a devastating showcase of egregious prosecutorial misconduct. The Judiciary may yet prove its mettle. Durham may surprise too.

The US Military is an internationalized Empire asset. It is not answerable to national aims. The petrodollar is its paycheck. Similarly the reserve currency USD barely fulfills a national agenda, the essence of the Triffin Paradox. Trade re-nationalization ultimately reorients the USD, returning it to its national prerogatives. So there is a footrace between reindustrialization and hyperinflation. A wall of repatriating USDs must be met with a robust domestic reengineerting well underway or it's somewhere between Weimar and Argentina x10 for America.

Mark Carney has already signaled the Synthetic Hegemonic Currency (SHC) looms ahead in the intermediate term. It's either the USD or the SHC. There are simply no other reserve currency candidates. The Euro will be extinct within 2 years. The yuan is a glorified CCP voucher coupon for in-country transactions. Maybe a Eurasian gold settlement program with occasional true-ups. But not overnight. The USD is pigeon among sparrow which makes it eagle-by-default. There's simply nothing to unseat it in the short or intermediate term.

A dissident, unvetted POTUS the likes of Trump has little chance making the military conform to his bidding. Certainly not in Term One and with the cloud of Putin puppet hanging over his head.

So, as monetary policy exhausts itself with ZIRP, the bankers will make a more aggressive play and break the firewall on fiscal policy (countermand erstwhile 'demoscratic' legislative organs) to enforce peonage. I say the bankers (BIS) availing the IMF/SHC (cleanest balance sheet; the CB balance sheets are unrecoverable from the 2008 crisis) will be the power locus and will run/pay the MIC. Carney’s moving from B of E to IMF. Entitlements are toast, very telling imo. No room for discretionary spending folks. Austerity under Neo-medievel (post-economic) totalitarianism. Hard to see otherwise.

Posted by: FSD | Oct 22 2019 20:28 utc | 39

Well put, B. Pat Lang has made the same point for a couple of years: they are servants and are there to implement the President's (and the Commander in Chief's) policies. At this point, it should be clear that Trump should, ideally, fire half the upper echelons of the administration, specially Pentagon and the Intelligence agencies.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Oct 22 2019 20:28 utc | 40

What is better, a chaotic administration that can't shoot straight or an efficient well-oiled war machine?

Actually the problems are much deeper than that because, as in most countries, the US government was never set up to be a world hegemon with half a dozen "combatant commands" with 800 bases in a hundred countries, with never-ending wars going on in several of them. There is no established, sensible way to deal with an irrational foreign policy based largely on aggression and war.

The government was established with three branches, #1 to deliberate and pass laws, #2 to execute and administer the laws and #3 to make sure everything was legal and conflicts could be settled. The US Constitution gave #1 the authority to raise & support armies if required "but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years." Also the legislature had authority to provide and maintain a navy and to declare war, in those days mainly concerned with exterminating the native peoples and not foreign wars. The president was given the authority to "be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States."

So: Declare war, employ an army for a couple years, with the president commanding forces at that time. That's a far cry from what we see now and there's no way to do it right because it's wrong to begin with, what with all the "national security' baloney.

from President Washington's Farewell Address:

Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. ... In the execution of such a plan nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded, and that in place of them just and amicable feelings toward all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges toward another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. . .The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. ...

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 22 2019 20:42 utc | 41

As to Trump appointees only a few positions like national security advisor and so forth do not need to be approved by the senate but many must be approved by the senate. But even for those positions that do not need approval of the senate, how many people that would there be available, that were capable of doing a job but not locked into the deep state or with the mindset of "that's the way we have always done it"
I doubt Trump has the interests of the world at heart, but he does have a new scheme for US leverage and control in the world that is a clean break from the post WWII dollar hegemony era.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22 2019 20:42 utc | 42

This by far is the best discussion of the freefall of US empire on the web. Only can add, that a national identity and posture built almost entirely of lies (foreign and domestic) could not long endure. I don't know where we're going, but it appears that much of the façade is going to go up like so much flash paper on a hot day. A thought that I have recently cherished is that at some current State of the Union Address, when all of the Empire is in attendance, that someone (please) drop the bomb. BUT! not necessary, they are all eating themselves alive. What a fucking mess this nation is. It has been said that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I would amend that to say that corruption destroys, and absolute corruption destroys absolutely. The United States of America, arguably the most corrupt nation in history. Now that IS exceptional. Wrt Syria: you shall reap what you sow.

Posted by: vinnieoh | Oct 22 2019 20:54 utc | 43

Don Bacon 41

Something about US culture that I had not thought of for some time. Apart from exceptionalism, pre-emptive war became part of the US culture after WWII. Perhaps due to Pearl Harbour but also seeing what happened to nations that had been over run and occupied.
This is a part of the culture that is separate to exceptionalism, and perhaps the mix of these two is why much of the US population goes along with wars against countries they think may have even looked sideways at them.
The combination ofthe two parts of the culture turning the US into a very aggressive nation easily led to war...

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22 2019 20:58 utc | 44

Peter AU 1 @38--

Thanks for your replies! We shall disagree about Trump's starting wars. Thanks for the reminder of that point! I'm sure there're others I missed that might have similar importance. However, I'd argue that the Outlaw US Empire's "importance" was self-given and not at all universally acclaimed. The Cold War was a total contrivance where neither side won, although large segments of the US polity swallowed the End of History malarkey. And its president had just overseen the committing of the grossest war crimes and crimes against humanity since the Korean War and WW2, facts not lost on nations and people not misled and lied to by 5-Eyes BigLie Media. As with ToivoS @25's recollection of Nixon's Peace With Honor pledge that he immediately went to undermine using Kissinger to derail the initial peace Talks with Hanoi and the illegal invasion of Laos and subsequent wholesale bombing of the entire region--100% dishonorable!--the same can be said of Trump's selective memory of 1992.

Trump wants to be reelected, so what will he do? Continue withdrawing troops and be seen as attempting to end the 3 forever wars. If Iran's HOPE gains traction, he can further his troop withdrawals by closing the bases in Bahrain and Qatar. But if he's really after the oil, then he won't do the latter of those things and will risk his reelection chances. It looks like his negotiators have yielded and made a trade deal with China possible which he really needs as he's upped the trade war against the EU. I doubt he'll make any changes to South of the Border policies, although several nations are in the midst of anti-neoliberal revolt. And not even discussed is his policy toward Assange and the Establishment's attack on journalism, which has the potential to become a very big election issue. Plus there's the issue of Dollar Hegemony on which Trump remains aloof. But IMO, foreign policy isn't going to reelect Trump; as with 2016, only D-Party idiocy can accomplish that task.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 22 2019 21:05 utc | 45

Qualis dominus talis et servus, Trump his incoherent and so are his diplomats, generals etc.

Being incoherent, Trump could not rely on any group to provide him cadres for political positions in the Administration. For domestic policy posts he relied on plutocrats, but his personal choices on foreign policy were hard to made because it is hard to find ANYONE sharing Trumpian mishmash of positions. Tough on Iran, negotiating with North Korea and maintaining "maximal pressure" with no trace of realistic proposals, zigzags in Syria, full Attilla the Hun on Venezuela, then some soft remarks on Russia with no follow up.

With more coherent policy views, Trump could recruit paleocons, or "realists", or at least create a mix crew with different opinions and lively debate.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 22 2019 21:24 utc | 46

What is better, a chaotic administration that can't shoot straight or an efficient well-oiled war machine?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 22 2019 20:42 utc | 41

Quartering on Libya could be attributed to a "well oiled war machine", but was it "shooting straight"? Etc.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 22 2019 21:28 utc | 47

Don Bacon @41--

Best quip I've read in years:

"… and there's no way to do it right because it's wrong to begin with..."

Peter AU 1 @44--

The term "pre-emptive war" is the same as aggressive war--the #1 War Crime, and the USA used it covertly against Spain in the Floridas, against British Canada during the War of 1812, against Mexico in Texas, and then again against Mexico in 1846 when the USA became the Outlaw US Empire and stole 1/2 of Mexico. And of course the entire waging of the Indian Wars of extermination. So, the waging of such wars wasn't something new to American culture after WW2; rather, it was a resumption from the past. As Don noted and I cited, doing so continually overseas after ratifying the UN Charter couldn't be done "right because it was wrong to begin with" as the Cold War was devised to act as cover for continuing US Imperialism so it could continue its massive consumption of the planet's resources for its domestic growth--growth that had to occur lest Depression return and the Oligarchy finally be ousted.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 22 2019 21:29 utc | 48

Sorry, "Quartering OF Libya" (not "on").

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 22 2019 21:29 utc | 49

By importance, Trump means power. He said at at a presser at the white house with Kissinger.
Times have changed since the cold war, Russia and China in a solid partnership that cannot be separated by any Kissinger type, the there is Putin and Xi, far smarter when it comes to US shenanigans that their cold war forbears.
This time I believe the goal is physical control of oil and a lot of Trump's moves are to do with positioning for that goal.
Trump needs Russia as an ally or a neutral (as they have military power plus oil) to pull it off, but I don't see that happening. Not that it will stop Trump from trying.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22 2019 21:30 utc | 50

I think a lot of the people around him see him as a naive amateur. So they humour him but don't take him seriously. I mean more war? Doesn't he realise war and weapons are a mainstay of the US economy? And what are those troops going to do if we bring them home?

Posted by: dh | Oct 22 2019 21:30 utc | 51

"... Trump should have been and should be more rigorous with his staff. Those who sabotage his policies need to be fired early and often. It would make his polices look much less chaotic than they currently seem to be."

Maybe the solution should be for Trump to run his administration in the same way he ran the bootcamp that was the TV series "The Apprentice"?

Posted by: Jen | Oct 22 2019 21:34 utc | 52

Karlof1@31 'Where will Trump go from here?'

To Make America Great Again Trump has, from the start, emphasized rebuilding the U.S.'s industrial capacity, and erasing the U.S.'s chronic trade deficits. As a result of de-industrialization, the U.S. is no longer able to compete with the likes of China and Germany, Korea, Japan, etc.; thus Trump is building economic walls around a U.S. led world (comprised of the U.S. and a few of its allies: North America, Britain, others?). Once economically isolated, the U.S. will have the opportunity to rebuild its economy in a protected environment.

The U.S. dollar's status as the world's reserve currency, which guarantees an overvalued dollar, runs counter to the need to economically isolate the U.S. and rebuild its industrial capacity. Trump has long criticized the overvalued dollar, and in my view he will be quite happy to see the dollar's decline.

Regarding, International Relations, Trump has from the start said that he wants to get out of foreign entanglements, and has been working to do this from the start. I think that Trump's focus on Iran was payment to the likes of Adelsen who financed his campaign. And his policies with respect to North Korea, and his Middle East Peace Plan, led by Kushner, were his attempt to quickly resolve these long festering issues that provided on-going excuses for foreign entanglements. Having been blocked at every turn by the Globalists, Trump appears to have lost interest, and now simply wants to pull the troops back home.

Where to now? Well, for the 'Globalists' (which includes the Neo-Cons), it appears that Trump's last minute refusal to bomb Iran in June was the last straw, and they are now committed to removing him from power as quickly as possible, and by any means available. Trump is therefore in a fight to the finish with the 'Globalists'. All other issues will be put on pause until after he is re-elected in 2020.
Karlof1@31 'Where will Trump go from here?'

To Make America Great Again Trump has, from the start, emphasized rebuilding the U.S.'s industrial capacity, and erasing the U.S.'s chronic trade deficits. As a result of de-industrialization, the U.S. is no longer able to compete with the likes of China and Germany, Korea, Japan, etc.; thus Trump is building economic walls around a U.S. led world (comprised of the U.S. and a few of its allies: North America, Britain, others?). Once economically isolated, the U.S. will have the opportunity to rebuild its economy in a protected environment.

The U.S. dollar's status as the world's reserve currency, which guarantees an overvalued dollar, runs counter to the need to economically isolate the U.S. and rebuild its industrial capacity. Trump has long criticized the overvalued dollar, and in my view he will be quite happy to see the dollar's decline.

Regarding, International Relations, Trump has from the start said that he wants to get out of foreign entanglements, and has been working to do this from the start. I think that Trump's focus on Iran was payment to the likes of Adelsen who financed his campaign. And his policies with respect to North Korea, and his Middle East Peace Plan, led by Kushner, were his attempt to quickly resolve these long festering issues that provided on-going excuses for foreign entanglements. Having been blocked at every turn by the Globalists, Trump appears to have lost interest, and now simply wants to pull the troops back home.

Where to now? Well, for the 'Globalists' (which includes the Neo-Cons), it appears that Trump's last minute refusal to bomb Iran in June was the last straw, and they are now committed to removing him from power as quickly as possible, and by any means available. Trump is therefore in a fight to the finish with the 'Globalists'. All other issues will be put on pause until after he is re-elected in 2020.

If Trump survives impeachment, is able to purge the Deep-State, with the help of Bill Barr and wins in 2020 then I look for him to refocus on economically isolating the U.S. (with a few of it's allies). I look for him to bring the troops home, and look focus rebuilding the U.S as an industrial power. The dollar will need to fall, and the massive U.S. deficits will need to be dealt with. The deficits can be handled by slashing military spending, which will no longer be needed, lowering interest rates and economic growth as a result of a much weaker dollar and investment in production in the U.S.

If the 'Globalists' win and Trump does not survive as president, then we can look forward to the continued collapse of the U.S., and much higher levels of international conflict as the 'Globalists' return to their quest for global domination.

Posted by: dh-mtl | Oct 22 2019 21:43 utc | 53

I don't usually post National Interest, but this is amusing:

Exclusive: Inside the State Department's Meltdown with the Kurds

The National Interest has learned from multiple sources about tense meetings between SDC diplomats and State Department officials who oversee the Trump administration’s policy on Syria. The State Department repeatedly pushed for the SDC to work with Turkish-backed Islamist rebels while berating Syrian Kurdish officials and refusing to listen to their concerns, according to multiple sources.

One source with firsthand knowledge of the screaming session told the National Interest that Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Joel Rayburn, who is a special envoy for Syria, yelled at SDC officials and broke a pencil in a translator’s face. Two sources with secondhand knowledge confirmed this version of events.

“[Rayburn] loves the Syrian Islamist groups,” one of the three sources said. “He thinks they can counter Iran. He is dreaming.”

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 22 2019 21:46 utc | 54

it's hard to fight the entire military-industrial complex

and the intelligence/national security state

and the neo-liberal interventionists both in the US gov't and in the fake mainstream media

wearing just a pair of kid gloves

As far as getting US troops out of Syria and Afghanistan, I am in agreement with the donald. One of the very very few things I find myself at all agreeing with him on.

Posted by: michaelj72 | Oct 22 2019 21:48 utc | 55


I have put the allies as five-eyes and Israel. Although a few others may tag along, they wont be considered core allies - can be dumped or otherwise disposed of if required.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22 2019 22:00 utc | 56

The tone of this post is correct: yes, there is a Praetorian Guard cum Stoic Opposition element in the USG -- what we call here informally as the Deep State -- but it is true it is not that all-powerful as many conspiracy theorists (specially from the anti-Zionist brigade) think.

There is conflict within the American elite. On one side, there's the majority faction that believes America's efforts should be directed towards the destruction of Russia (because it is the successor State of the USSR and, as such, is the only nation today that can completely destroy the USA thanks to its huge nuclear arsenal); on the other side, there's the minority faction that believes America's efforts should be directed towards the destruction of China (since it is the closest to America economically and is a socialist nation). At the middle, there's the Chicoms -- the ones who believe China should be destroyed now, by any means necessary and at all costs, because China is both the immediate competitor economically and the successor of the USSR (as the torch bearer of communism in the 21st Century).

Ideally, there wouldn't be this division, and the USA should have resources to destroy both Russia and China at the same time, thus taking control of the entire Eurasia. However, the Americans don't have said resources: they must choose either one or the other (i.e. they have a "short blanket"). This contradiction didn't exist during the Cold War because the USSR was much stronger than modern Russia and China was extremely poor and very easily exploitable by American capital, but that conjuncture changed: now Russia stabilized in a precarious, but not at a full-Third World level (like, e.g. Brazil) and China demonstrated the possibilities of the socialist system for the whole world to see.

In this scenario, what was an ace in the sleeve became a liability (NATO), because it pushed the Russian Federation to an alliance with China. Had the Americans immediately dissolved NATO right after the USSR fell, there would be a very good possibility they could absorb Russia and turn it into an Eurasian Brazil, i.e. a completely dominated whale economy whose sole reason would be to export cheap commodities to feed the Western industrial apparatus.

But that didn't happen. And it didn't happen, I think, mainly for two reasons:

1) the USSR dissolved, but many of its toys, infrastructure and legacy (both political, ideological and cultural) were still around for even decadent Russian leaders to play around and do something useful; plus they were too big for only one man (Yeltsin) to destroy in eight years;

2) the USA's own economy begun to enter in exhaustion, i.e. it lost its dynamic capability to quickly Americanize and develop its vassal nations like it did to Western Europe with the Marshall Plan in just 13 years. Put it in another way, by the 1990s, America could no longer govern by consensus: the rest of the world would be treated like Latin America.

The result of this is that, for the entire 21st Century until now, the USA had to rely on wars on minuscule countries with a high concentration of wealth in the commodity form (i.e. oil and gas) in order to maintain its economy young (by feeding its MIC). But even that has its limits, and 2008 crisis happened.

Now, the moment finally came, where the USA will have to wage a hot war against a big enemy: Russia and/or China. To the shock of the "Deep State", an anti-China capitalist won the 2016 election for POTUS against an anti-Russia representant.

In my opinion, there's no "right" side on this coin: both doctrines are sound. On one side, China can be decapitated by a preemptive massive nuclear strike -- but it will happen at a great cost to the domestic economy, since Walmart can't exist without China, plus the US Treasury has too much debt sold to them. On the other side, the anihilation of Russia would mean the conquest of much of the Eurasia at little to no damage to the domestic economy -- but the risk of direct anihilation by the USA is too big (MAD). Sincerely, I don't think the USA has -- outside a full-fledged revolution from the inside -- any good options.

The only x factor I can see here is the American working classes: will they do a revolution or not?

Posted by: vk | Oct 22 2019 22:18 utc | 57

dh-mtl @53--

Thanks for your well considered reply!

IMO, your sketch has merit. The big hindrance is rebuilding industrial base without a nationalist industrial policy and monies to implement, since what remains mostly services the MIC. The Tariff Policy acts as a self-imposed sanction regime, but it's not drastic enough to incentivize reindustrialization--harsher tariffs will cost him the election. Then there's this big problem: the unwillingness of Wall Street to finance run-of-the-mill capitalism which is what's at the core of Neoliberalism and the financialization of economies. Just look at the resistance given to Sanders own version of MAGA; Trump will get just as much. The biggest problem for Trump is his anti-social/anti-people policies, particularly as seen by young voters. Just 54 weeks to go!

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 22 2019 22:19 utc | 58

i just finished reading b's post and the 58 posts to here... thanks b and everyone for the comments..

i think b's comments on trump here is a bit too rosy for me, but on balance it is more on, then off... i found @53 dh-mtl and
@57 vks comments really in the zone of where we are on the world stage now regarding the usa, russia and china.. i think trump is beholden to others, even if it looks like he isn't... sheldon adelson is one of them, but maybe trump has moved on to some other major donor... i question where the us$ goes from here and i think trump is just a pawn in where it is going.. i think the globalists - 1% know where it is going, or will know how to ride the roller coaster we are going to be going on soon enough..

it is hard to know what happens here.. does trump make it to getting re-elected, or is he replaced with some other loser.. either way the usa is in a real state of decline and no leader is going to change any of that..

Posted by: james | Oct 22 2019 22:53 utc | 59

vk 57

Good post. Though rather than decapitation strike, which would have major risks for the US as China does have a small nuclear deterrent, I believe Trump is going for China's energy supplies.

On Yeltsin, I read something surprising not long back that may have something in it.
Yeltsin finished off the Soviet Union and communism to ensure Russia once more become an independent country, not tied to the various states that made up the Soviet Union.
Also Yeltsin's resignation speech is well worth watching and listening to carefully. He basically said he had failed and it required a younger generation to run the country.
After listening to that and thinking about how Yeltsin appointed and quickly sacked a number of PM's, then after a trial run, appointing Putin interim president to take his place, that Yeltsin was in fact looking for somebody with the the qualities to be able to put Russia back on its feet.
If yeltsin failed in all else, he certainly succeeded in finding somebody capable of getting Russia goping again.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22 2019 22:56 utc | 60


Trump beholden or perhaps on the same page...

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22 2019 22:58 utc | 61

Today the CIA News Network, CNN, revealed that there's an "anonymous book" by the writer of the "anonymous op-Ed" coming soon. Trump is psychopathic but this seems like an illegitimate attempt to undermine the elected government, as Matt Taibbi has warned

Most Americans would probably rather live knowing they could vote a hideous government out than have permanent elected NATO blob monster comandeering the ship

Posted by: Blooming Barricade | Oct 22 2019 22:59 utc | 62

and in related news - Trump approves $4.5 million in aid to ‘White Helmets’ in Syria..

they can say trump isn't into wars, but how does he rationalize this? trump is a mixed bag -trick or treat - as i see it...

Posted by: james | Oct 22 2019 23:00 utc | 63

@ 61 peter.. it is hard to know - same deal in this last move.. i want to be positive, but too many signs pointing in the other direction too...

Posted by: james | Oct 22 2019 23:01 utc | 64

What's bad isn't that underlings might be subverting Trump's policies. What's bad is that they ones they want to subvert are the relatively good ones, in order to pursue much worse ones.

Posted by: Paul | Oct 22 2019 23:34 utc | 65

they can say trump isn't into wars, but how does he rationalize this? trump is a mixed bag -trick or treat - as i see it...

Posted by: james | Oct 22 2019 23:00 utc | 63

trump is one bag and one bag of tricks/treats, all of it in his bag. The rest can get fucked. Simple as. And we have a life time of trump doing trump that shows exactly that.
You think he did not stiff these contractors? Wait till he stiffs the us like a bunch of useless contractors once the job is done and he does not need them anymore.

i get wishful thinking, i do, but when someone shows you who they are over and over again at some stage you have to start believing them.

Posted by: Sabine | Oct 22 2019 23:36 utc | 66

Very interesting posting by b and comments by others.

I continue to see the world in a civilization war over public/private finance or socialism versus barbarism

I think vk is delusional to think the US could/would initiate a successful first strike attack on China, because I believe Russia would not allow it and China would demolish the US in response and the US knows that.

Since the parasite of global private finance cannot get China to be its new host, they are circling the wagons as best they can in hopes of holding on to power/control as long as possible.....which I don't think will be that long.....10 years or less would be my guess. The example of social governance that China is providing to the rest of the world will continue to grow the number of nations under their shared civilization meme.

The world wide debt bubble is going to blow up as part of this realignment and Might-Makes-Right will not work for enforcement of debt repayment.

Trump is an active "actor" in this kabuki of world realignment with the Deep State playing its part......if it where otherwise, Trump would be dead just like JFK.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 22 2019 23:41 utc | 67

I think when it comes to Israel, Trump is on the same page as Adelson, just the tactics and strategy may vary.

Re Idlib, Trump seemed genuine a year or so back in his threats against a major offensive to clean up the jihadists. White helmets are part of AQ which is not under the control of Turkey. It is AQ that prevents some form of long term agreement being negotiated between Syria Russia and Erdogan.
Why I say long term is I think Putin is looking at a long term winding down of the Turk controlled jihadists and eventual reconciliation in some form with the Syrian government.
Money to white helmets is funneling money to AQ in Syria and helping keep Idlib as a festering sore.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22 2019 23:43 utc | 68

b, I've been a participant at this site for 14yrs, and I don't believe I've ever seen your take on any subject more "off base", than your take on DJT.

This "man" has never been anything else but a grifter and giant con. Virtually everything
he has done, he's done to enrich himself and his family. That is, besides deconstruct the U$ govt. to enrich his class of people,(the malignantly rich) by dialing back regulations
that protect everyday Americans from the greed of the mega-corporations.

He's a sycophant for the corporate monsters who now own the U$A. Anything and everything he's done, isn't because he is such an egalitarian, it's for his personal enrichment, and the monsters he works for.

When they're done with him, they'll throw him under the bus, just like all the rest of us...

P.S. The rabbit is right on...

Posted by: ben | Oct 23 2019 0:13 utc | 69

psychohistorian @67:

Trump is an active "actor" in this kabuki of world realignment with the Deep State playing its part......if it where otherwise, Trump would be dead just like JFK.

Why do so many choose NOT TO SEE this. How can anyone believe MSM "fake news" that Trump is either Putin's puppet, or fighting the Deep State? IMO these views are fostered upon us to divide us and keep us distracted.

But you're wrong about Trump being forced to play the Deep State game. Why would the Deep State risk their power & prestige on a President that they aren't SURE will be pliable? Instead, wouldn't the DS arrange to have us chose between two candidates that they are "part of the Club"?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 23 2019 0:14 utc | 70

Those who state, or beieve, that the US can remain in either the Al-Omar oilfields or Al-Tanf garrison are delusional. The fact of the matter is quite obvious, the US must withdraw.

Posted by: Joshua | Oct 23 2019 0:28 utc | 71

It is now quite obvious that anyone who thought US would be kicked out of Tanf a couple of years ago was delusional.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 23 2019 0:53 utc | 72

For those who think that if Trump was really against the deep state globalist he would be offed, don't be shortsighted.

Don't you know that making a martyr out of potus would galvanize the right and sympathetic independents, who hide in the shadows with their support of potus, who have in their power the political wherewithal to force an even more stringent nationalist agenda for this country?

Please don't be blind to the ramifications of simply offing the potus. That's just silly. JFK offed was a different time and a different world. Our situation resembles a powder keg. It is politically prudent to not provide the spark.

Face it: not everything is theatre. You could cry it ad infinitum, but that would only draw more suspicion your way.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | Oct 23 2019 0:59 utc | 73

ben @69
I've been following this blog for ~5 years and agree that b has never been so far off-base about anything as he is about Trump.

Posted by: Schmoe | Oct 23 2019 1:07 utc | 74

@ William Gruff #16
BTW, the surface supply routes to Afghanistan go through Russia or Turkey, except they could go from the Black Sea, truck through Georgia and Azerbaijan, to the Caspian. Would that be cheaper than air?

Posted by: Keith McClary | Oct 23 2019 1:09 utc | 75

Killing President Trump is more difficult for the Deep State than it would be if he were a leftist. That 40% of the population who supports Trump is heavily armed, and tend to have quite a bit more military experience than those who oppose Trump. This includes a good portion of active, enlisted military. A Trump assassination would minimally lead to a minor insurrection, possibly full on civil war. It wouldn't surprise me if a Marine Corp detachment was immediately send to Langley to string everyone up on light-poles in the event Trump is killed.

That isn't to say Trump isn't part of the Deep State or that Trump won't be killed if he continues to pull troops from Syria or resist the MIC in any significant way. It is to say that the risks are far higher than killing off a leftist, possibly touching of a serious insurrection, civil war or holocaust.

Posted by: Haassaab | Oct 23 2019 1:49 utc | 76

Trump is putty in the hands of the deep state, and execution of what passes for a policy is chaotic, because he's ignorant and unprincipled. If his subordinates could ignore his orders, this withdrawal wouldn't be happening, so he hasn't given the orders previously, or his orders have been incoherent. Blaming subordinates for the chaos is nonsense. The buck stops with Trump, and his "bring the troop home" rhetoric is incoherent not because he's leaving troops at Al-Tanf and western Iraq and wherever else his subordinates tell him to redeploy them, rather than bringing them home, but because he's ordered thousands more troops to Saudi Arabia to be human shields for Saudi oil facilities, and he's openly signaling a war with Iran that can only be far more costly than the "regime change" operation in Syria, and he has no predecessor to blame for it.

Posted by: Martin Brock | Oct 23 2019 1:50 utc | 77


Whole sections of the Gov, both civilian and military ignoring the president is nothing new.

How many ceasefires and other deals did Obama commit to only to have some Pentagon or CIA or State department types launch actions that saw Syrian and Russian troops bombed, shot down, etc.

The CIA has always been independent, and since Reagan era drug running has owned much of the presidential inner circle

Mossad has as well.

State department influence dropped as the Ziocons grew - what president since Nixon could afford to not let them have their way?

the rotating door with big finance grew to the point the finance guys tell the president what will and will not be.

Defense contractors are immune to accountability, - when was the last time a president could call into question the waste or the missing 6 trillion in Pentagon accounts - the paperwork conveniently disappearing with the trade towers.

Big oil and pharma have their own rotating doors of influence only smaller

Presidents are given a sop to play with while the PTB do their own thing. Should one get seriously out of line, there are serious consequences.

Trump is treated the same way.

Posted by: les7 | Oct 23 2019 1:56 utc | 78

@8 Red Ryder

Here's what I don't get about Erdo-Putin Agreement.

8. Joint efforts will be launched to facilitate the return of refugees in a safe and voluntary manner.

So Assad is okay with millions of Opposition refugees relocating to that area? And where exactly are they sending the Kurds to?



@69 ben

Excellent, real description of Trump that many around here will scroll over.

@66 Sabine

when someone shows you who they are over and over again at some stage you have to start believing them.

I tried that strategy a multitude of times to no avail. Trump is PeaceMangod here, and this article was written either by a Christian Evangelical, a Rusian bot or a Russian Zionist in the West Bank, cause only someone in the latter three categories loves Trump that much with blinders on.

All this time I thought swimming against the current was worth it for the sake of truth, but not when you realize that all this time you've been trying to speak truth to the Ministry of Truth.

Here's another modern-day Ministry of Truth : HASBARA.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 23 2019 2:15 utc | 79

This is difficult to believe, that the perspicacious b, believes the problem in the Trump Administration is that insiders sabotage the leader's intent. It isn't that this sociopath Trump is erratic and unreliable, it's a matter of his minions being disobedient. If people would just do what their president says, we would appear less chaotic and be less chaotic. But what about the president's intent? Isn't that worth considering. If Looney Trump decides to incinerate N. Korea, should that intent be obediently implement? You're wrong here, b, you're not considering the, legitimacy of his election or the value of these policies, such as bypassing Congress to fund his border/Berlin wall.Just how authoritarian are you in your disguise as a voice crying in the wilderness?

Posted by: jadan | Oct 23 2019 2:40 utc | 80

b is absolutely correct in his siding with Trump against the imbedded establishment. Those that wish Trump didn't get elected are definitely claiming that Hillary would be an improvement, and that is a dead wrong position to take (there were only two choices).

Hillary was the prime mover on Libya, Ukraine and Syria, for one thing. She was also death on Russia, a policy which Trump has tried to change but not been able to because of "Russia collusion" and other establishment tactics, managed by the Clintons behind "the curtain" as Gabbard has correctly charged.

The depth of the establishment Trump hatred, including especially the intel community, as well as the Obama holdovers, is illustrative of his beneficial achievements.

There have been many foreign policy benefits of Trump's presidency, including:
>canceled TPP which was the cornerstone of Obama's "Asia pivot" which has never materialized.
>Syria and Afghanistan troop withdrawals.
>A breakup of the 'coalition of the willing' which makes any more Iraqs unlikely.
> And MOST important, no US troops engaged in ground combat, compared with over a hundred thousand so misused by our last two presidents, and where we would be again if Trump-negators got way with their terrible Hillary.
>Reform, you negators!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 23 2019 2:54 utc | 81

George Carlin explains it quite well.

Posted by: Perimetr | Oct 23 2019 3:03 utc | 82

Karlofi #25

I am fully aware of what Nixon and Kissinger did during the so-called 'Peace with Honor' policy. However, it was an effort to withdraw from the Vietnam War in an "orderly" fashion. What Trump is now doing is actually trying to withdraw without having to satisfy every faction within the war party. For some crazy reason Nixon and Kissinger thought they could withdraw with a victory.

Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 23 2019 3:16 utc | 83

Until we actually see US troops entirely out of Syria, this endless war has not entirely ended. Trump has said nothing about leaving the oil fields, he has even taken credit for still occupying them.

This is the TRUMP who whose Trademark was "You're Fired." Which he has visibly done quite a lot of. If he is being boxed in by his own administration, he's hiding that well.

Movement of the same troops to Saudi Arabia looks more like deck chair resuffling on the middle east titanic.

Iran would be surprised to hear that Trump is the Peace President, so would most other countries.

Right now it looks more like deck chair reshuffling, combined with electoral optics. He can say he withdrew troops from Syria. And just enough voters might think it's a great achievement without having to get into the details.

And what about those sanctions, another act of war, they're all over.

Posted by: Charles Peterson | Oct 23 2019 3:29 utc | 84

Don Bacon "Reform, you negators!"

I doubt there is any cure for TDS. b's post has sure got those afflicted by it frothing at the mouth and spraying spittle.
When my son was young, he came running from a shed in terror because he had seen a snake. Had to talk him into coming back into the shed where we found the snake and watched it for awhile. I'm not into snake catching so the drill was if anybody saw a snake in the house yard to watch it and call me. A .410 was the weapon of choice.
But back to subject, those afflicted with TDS act with the same blind terror my son did when seeing that snake.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 23 2019 3:51 utc | 85

I just reread b's reporting for a fourth time and it's as unbiased as it can possibly be. Clearly, those with vehement biases against Trump have allowed it to color their judgement and reasoning capabilities. In my capacity as an historian, there's no room for biased judgement; what actually happened is what must be reported not what we wish would have occurred; otherwise, you end up with politicized history that's not worth a sou. Clouding the air with biased miasmas only serves to make arriving at an honest appraisal more difficult and productive discourse uncomfortable or worse.

Most all barflies agree Trump's an unsavory fellow with numerous faults. But just how does he differ in his makeup from Obama, Bush, Bill Clinton, GHW Bush, and Reagan--the POTUSs over the past @40 years? They're all scumbags having different baggage but scumbags first and foremost--IMO, none should ever have become POTUS, yet they did and we had to deal with them.

Emotionally based decisions on the battlefield lead to wrong choices and casualties that shouldn't have occurred given the sober alternatives. The same goes for proper historical and contemporary analysis--park your emotions outside the bar before you enter.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 23 2019 4:05 utc | 86

Correction to my post @ 88 TDS is blind anger rather than blind terror, but resulting babbling is the the same.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 23 2019 4:39 utc | 87


Yep and Trump is one of those rich C...Suckers Carlin refers to that don't give a shet about you at all, at all, at all and it needs repeating.

You can't go through life living the art of the con and suddenly run for office and change your spots and become a born again Evangelical patron.

Thing about Trump is he gives with one hand and takes with the other. He wants to end endless wars but squeezes Iran to retaliate and pimps an arsenal to destroy Yemen. He gets out of Syria but takes their oil to do as he pleases. What is that shet? It's theft; it's an assault on sovereignty, it's a damn provocation at the end of an M27. Come and get it. Assad; I dare ya!

And again and again I read blaming his handlers. Oh puhlease already. He's a snake who made his bed with snakes and we should blame the other snakes??? Like I said, Ministry of Truth speak: don't believe your lying eyes. Trump's the sheep among wolves. Ahhhhh...


Posted by: Circe | Oct 23 2019 4:51 utc | 88

There have been some valuable in-depth discussions on this forum filling those of us who are fairly ignorant about the chaotic events in Syria recently, and I'd like to thank S in particular for two long posts he put forward on one of the previous Syria threads that gave separate accounts of the historical path of the Kurds from their homeland in Turkish mountains forward across Turkey and into Syria. There are many parts of the story that others have revealed also, so many thanks to all.

What struck me about the press conference given by Putin and Erdogan was what they did not say. There was, I believe only one reference by Putin to the chaotic events, which he described as having been 'artificially caused by outside forces.' It was a brief comment, a sort of fly swatting hardly worth mentioning in the tone of the overall briefing.

As in the interview with Lavrov posted by karlof1, not much time is being spent decrying the current US attempts to throw a monkey wrench into the works. Rather, an indirect allusion is all that is necessary, and after that we move on. Or, I should say, they move on.

Perhaps, in world affairs, it now no longer matters whether Trump and his government are at loggerheads. History will sort it out; Syrians will have their country and Turkey will have a safe border; refugees will come home.

And maybe we can begin to acknowledge the many who have contributed to the flow of information that has kept us all sane in these interesting times. We northerners have a winter ahead of us, but way down south it is already spring.

I'm feeling antipodal right now. Time to let Julian Assange go home!

Posted by: juliania | Oct 23 2019 4:59 utc | 89

@88 Peter AU 1

Easy for you who had the weapon. At least your son knows a snake when he sees it.

Believe it or not I read your post only after I wrote 91, as I was replying to 82. Strange that we both used the same analogy.

I say, if the shoe fits...I call it as I see it...a snake.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 23 2019 5:06 utc | 90

A snake can be studied.
Re "Easy for you who had the weapon. At least your son knows a snake when he sees it."
we were two hours from nearest medical help. House yard and house was a no fly zone for snakes. Best way to take them out was remain calm and watch. Most were highly venomous, but a few weren't. Was interesting time when a harmless python took to curling up for a camp on the floor in the toilet.
Trump is venomous but, in the international arena perhaps less so than recent US presidents. Something about Trump though...mmm perhaps TDS was developed in US bio warfare labs for domestic use.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 23 2019 5:40 utc | 91

juliania 92

karlof1 came up with a term in a comment in relation to lebanon and recent events there - Sundays dawning. Fits the wider world I think, or at least the way the non US world is headed.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 23 2019 5:48 utc | 92

Accord to links Willaim B. Taylor, Ex. VP of the US institute of peace expressed concern [10.22.19]to the Congress that informal foreign policy is challenging formal USA:Ukraine channel commitments? Good I say. Why should Trump's threat to withhold funds, war materials, economic, military and political assistance that Ukraine needs in order to continue its war with Russia, unless and until the newly elected Volodymyr Zelenskyy helps Trump gets all relevant information related activities of American persons in, on account of, or responsible for USA commitments in the Ukraine?
WBT suggest the USA should force Americans to foot the bill to free the Ukraine from Russian Influence, but most everyone is Ukraine are Russian so who in America gives a damn if Russia supports its own in the Ekraine? maybe Burisma Holdings has something worthy of such support?
Lobby fee $900000 and this
1.8 billion
diplomat testimony
Taylor exposes Testimony
what formal channels are they talking about?
Withholding of security assistance pending reports on activities of USA candidates?
Some homework for barflies..
1. describe USA relations important with Ukraine that Mr. Taylor refers to..
2. who involved in the so-called established relations with Ukraine?
3. who in USA governed America find relations with Ukraine important. ?
4. How does foreign oil and gas fit into Ukraine relations?
5. Can oil and gas interest be blamed for Russia did it hate?
6. How is host government money used to eliminate foreign competition?
7. How does USA Ambassadorships fit into security assistance to foreign nations?
8. What justifies Ukraine as strategic partner of the USA.. ?
9. What is meant by "security assistance" crucial to Ukraine's defense against Russian aggression
10. Can Russian aggression in Ukraine be verified?

Posted by: snake | Oct 23 2019 6:12 utc | 93

@97 -- "Barack Obama - Even more corrupt President of 21stC, dirty wars all over world - GIVEN SECOND TERM" ... and a BS 'Peace Prize' b4 he even sat down in the chair.

Posted by: imo | Oct 23 2019 6:52 utc | 94

Sun Tzu...
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 23 2019 7:12 utc | 95

While the MSM keep pushing for the Whatsapp tax narrative here it is for you, Old Fisk on 8th October

Posted by: Mina | Oct 23 2019 7:39 utc | 96


Perhaps if Trump had not been so clueless/careless in his appointments then he would not be ignored and subverted so routinely.


Exactly! Trump is so good at firing because he's so horrible at HIRING!

Do losers ever have much in the way of an orderly exit?

No matter, it's the end result here that we need to focus on. Chopping the legs out from under imperialism is the only way that we're going to have some semblance of an orderly decline. The axe is swinging...

Posted by: Seer | Oct 23 2019 9:45 utc | 97

@Don Bacon | Oct 23 2019 2:54 utc | 81
Trump managing the "deep state" scenario, is interesting and plausible.
Inside this, "take back our soldiers" strategy seems a good choice to run for 2020 elections; may be better than "bring democracy there"(= war) or "let's bomb abcd to stone age" and so on.
> And MOST important, no US troops engaged in ground combat, compared with over a hundred thousand so misused by our last two presidents, and where we would be again if Trump-negators got way with their terrible Hillary.
is impressive. It is a real change.

Posted by: y | Oct 23 2019 9:56 utc | 98

Trump set up Gen. Flynn (who would have implemented his campaign promises) and unceremoniously fired him for the crime of doing his job. Then Trump put a bunch of neocons in charge and cleansed the NSC of any staff critical of the neocon agenda.Trump has filled his administration with disgusting swamp creatures and essentially put a simpleton son-in-law in charge of middle east policy. This is a complete disaster and b is way off base. His policy on Israel has been a nightmare, as has the policy on KSA.

Posted by: skeptic23 | Oct 23 2019 10:56 utc | 99

@ ToivoS | Oct 23 2019 3:16 utc | 83 (VN withdrawal) If memory correct, the phrase was "a decent interval between withdrawal and the rape of the first virgin" (Kissinger)

"Long enough to obscure blame." is what that sounds like...

Posted by: Walter | Oct 23 2019 11:51 utc | 100

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