Trump’s Tulsi Gabbard Factor

Exclusive: By inviting in Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat hostile to “regime change” wars, President-elect Trump may be signaling a major break with Republican neocon orthodoxy and a big shake-up of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Two weeks after Donald Trump’s shocking upset of Hillary Clinton, the imperious and imperial neoconservatives and their liberal-interventionist understudies may finally be losing their tight grip on U.S. foreign policy.

The latest sign was Trump’s invitation for a meeting with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, on Monday. The mainstream media commentary has almost completely missed the potential significance of this start-of-the-work-week meeting by suggesting that Trump is attracted to Gabbard’s tough words on “radical Islamic terrorism.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii.

Far more important is that Gabbard, a 35-year-old Iraq War veteran, endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries because of his opposition to neocon/liberal-hawk military adventures. She starred in one of the strongest political ads of the campaign, a message to Hawaiians, called “The Cost of War.”

“Bernie Sanders voted against the Iraq War,” Gabbard says. “He understands the cost of war, that that cost is continued when our veterans come home. Bernie Sanders will defend our country and take the trillions of dollars that are spent on these interventionist, regime change, unnecessary wars and invest it here at home.”

In the ad, Gabbard threw down the gauntlet to the neocons and their liberal-hawk sidekicks, by accusing them of wasting trillions of dollars “on these interventionist, regime change, unnecessary wars.” Her comments mesh closely with Trump’s own perspective.

After the meeting on Monday, Gabbard released a statement confirming that the focus of the discussion had been her opposition to escalating the war in Syria by following neocon/liberal-hawk suggestions for a “no-fly zone” that would require widespread U.S. military destruction of Syrian government installations and the killing of a large number of Syrians.

“President-elect Trump asked me to meet with him about our current policies regarding Syria, our fight against terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as other foreign policy challenges we face,” Gabbard said. “I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the President-elect now before the drumbeat of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government — a war which has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives and forced millions of refugees to flee their homes in search of safety for themselves and their families. …

“While the rules of political expediency would say I should have refused to meet with President-elect Trump, I never have and never will play politics with American and Syrian lives. …

“I shared with [President-elect Trump] my grave concerns that escalating the war in Syria by implementing a so-called no fly/safe zone would be disastrous for the Syrian people, our country, and the world. It would lead to more death and suffering, exacerbate the refugee crisis, strengthen ISIS and al-Qaeda, and bring us into a direct conflict with Russia which could result in a nuclear war.”

Trading Places

So, the surprise election results on Nov. 8 may have represented a “trading places” moment for the neocons and liberal hawks who were eagerly counting the days before the “weak” President Barack Obama would turn over the Commander-in-Chief job to former Secretary of State Clinton who had made clear that she shared their hawkish agenda of escalating the war in Syria with a “no-fly/safe zone,” and ratcheting up the New Cold War with Russia.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressing the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016. (Photo credit: AIPAC)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressing the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016. (Photo credit: AIPAC)

There was even speculation that one of Clinton’s neocon favorites within the State Department, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, might be rewarded with State’s top job for her “regime change” in Ukraine that sparked the start of the New Cold War in 2014.

Nuland, the wife of arch-neocon Robert Kagan, sabotaged President Obama’s emerging strategy of collaborating with Russian President Vladimir Putin on sensitive global issues. In 2013-14, Putin helped orchestrate two of Obama’s brightest foreign policy successes: Syria’s surrender of its chemical weapons arsenal and Iran’s guarantee that it would not develop nuclear weapons.

But those agreements infuriated the neocons who favored escalating both crises into direct U.S. bombing campaigns aimed at Syria and Iran – in accordance with the desires of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Saudi monarchy. Yet, there was perhaps even greater alarm at what the next move of the Obama-Putin tag team might be: demanding that Israel finally get serious about a peace deal with the Palestinians.

So, the neocons took aim at Ukraine, which neocon National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman identified as “the biggest prize” and an important stepping stone to an even bigger prize, a “regime change” in Moscow removing Putin.

While Gershman’s NED funded (with U.S. taxpayers’ money) scores of projects inside Ukraine, training anti-government activists and journalists, Nuland took the point as the key organizer of a putsch that removed elected President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 22, 2014, and replaced him with a fiercely anti-Russian regime.

Given the geopolitical sensitivity of Ukraine to Russia, including its naval base on the Crimean peninsula, Putin had little choice but to react, supporting a referendum in Crimea in which 96 percent of the voters favored leaving Ukraine and rejoining Russia – and assisting ethnic Russian rebels in the east who resisted the violent ouster of their president.

Of course, the mainstream Western news media presented these developments as simply a case of “Russian aggression” and a “Russian invasion.” And, faced with this new “group think,” Obama quickly abandoned his partner, Putin, and joined in the chorus of condemnations.

Nuland emerged as a new star inside the State Department, a hero of the New Cold War which was expected to funnel trillions of tax dollars into the Military-Industrial Complex.

Trump’s Heresy

But Trump surprisingly adopted the position that Obama shied away from, a recognition that Putin could be an important asset in resolving major international crises. The real-estate-mogul-turned-politician stuck to that “outside-the-mainstream” position despite fierce attacks from rival Republicans and Democratic presidential nominee Clinton, who even mocked him as Putin’s “puppet.”

President Barack Obama meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit at Regnum Carya Resort in Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice listens at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit at Regnum Carya Resort in Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice listens at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

After Trump’s upset victory on Nov. 8, many pundits assumed that Trump would fall back in line with Washington’s hawkish foreign-policy establishment by giving top jobs to neocons, such as former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and ex-CIA Director James Woolsey, or Netanyahu favorites, such as former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney or ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

So far, however, Trump has followed a different course, more in line with the libertarian thinking of the Koch brothers – not only the more famous ones, Charles and David, but also their long-estranged brother William, who I’m told have become behind-the-scenes advisers to the President-elect.

Though Trump did offer high-profile meetings to the likes of Romney and Giuliani, he has yet to hand over any key foreign-policy job to the Republican neocon wing. His one major announcement in that area has been naming as National Security Advisor retired Gen. Michael Flynn, who led the Defense Intelligence Agency when it produced a prescient warning that U.S. policy in Syria would lead to the creation of an “Islamic State.”

Though Flynn is regarded as a hardliner in the fight against Islamic jihadist terror, he is seen as an independent thinker regarding how best to wage that war. For instance, Flynn has objected to the notion that drone strikes, i.e., killing off individual jihadists, is a route to success.

“We’ve tended to say, drop another bomb via a drone and put out a headline that ‘we killed Abu Bag of Doughnuts’ and it makes us all feel good for 24 hours,” Flynn said. “And you know what? It doesn’t matter. It just made them a martyr, it just created a new reason to fight us even harder.”

That leaves open the possibility that a President Trump might eschew the “whack-a-mole” approach that has bedeviled the “war on terror” and instead go after the “mole nest” – if you will – the Saudi monarchy that has long financed Islamic extremists both through the fundamentalist Wahhabi brand of Sunni Islam and by supplying money and weapons to jihadists dating back at least to the Afghan mujahedeen in the 1980s, the origin of modern Islamic terrorism.

Traditional U.S. politicians have recoiled from facing up to the hard reality that the Saudi monarchy is the real “terror central” because of Saudi Arabia’s enormous riches and influence, which is now enhanced by its quiet alliance with Israel in their joint campaign against the so-called “Shiite crescent,” from Iran through Syria to Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Taking on this Saudi-Israel nexus has long been regarded as political suicide, given Israel’s extraordinary lobbying power and Saudi Arabia’s exceptional wealth. But Trump may be assembling a team that is “crazy” enough to take on that mission.

So, while the fight over the future of U.S. foreign policy is far from over – the neocons will surely flex their muscles at the major think tanks, on the op-ed pages and inside the halls of Congress – the Trump transition is showing some creativity in assembling a national security team that may go in a very different direction.

Much will become apparent in Trump’s choice of Secretary of State. If it’s someone like Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, or Rep. Gabbard or a libertarian from the Kochs’ world, that would be bad news for the neocons. If it’s someone like Romney, Giuliani, Bolton or Woolsey, then that will mean that President-elect Trump has blinked and the neocons can breathe a sigh of relief.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

78 comments for “Trump’s Tulsi Gabbard Factor

  1. L Garou
    November 25, 2016 at 10:50

    Once again and seemingly forever, it’s the (((neo-cons))) who hijack this nation into war.
    Their M.O. is one of death, destruction, blackmail, coercion and treachery. They’re scum.
    They should be prosecuted and preferably, hanged. The Kagans first.

  2. Dave
    November 25, 2016 at 07:42

    Notice how carefully writers and commenters dance around the topic of “Jews wrecking our foreign policy”?
    Whether it’s Soros, his gun grabs, funding open border floods in the US and Europe, or Nuland (real Jewish name Nudelman) wrecking Ukraine, this tribe are known as nation wreckers for good reason.
    Is this taboo to mention? You bet!
    However, can you name a bigger threat to you than the threat you’re forbidden to discus?
    I for one shall peak out.

  3. RGerrish
    November 23, 2016 at 19:58

    Yes, Mr. Trump, please give Tulsi Gabbard a prominent place on your team. I have heard her speak several times and she expresses nothing but good common sense, honesty, and sincerity. The Hawaiians love her and so do I.

  4. Kevin Beck
    November 23, 2016 at 19:55

    Going against the Kagan/Nuland empire within the swamp of Washington, DC, is the best reason I can think of for supporting this non-interventionist foreign policy. In fact, there aren’t any reasons that are NOT good for going against those apparatchiks that have destroyed Ukraine.

  5. November 23, 2016 at 08:40

    One of Sanders biggest failings was that he didn’t make more use of Tulsi Gabbard in the primaries. Unlike the most members of the cabal of neocon, armchair chickenhawks in Washington, her no-nonsense approach to war is backed-up actually having served in Iraq. She is extremely well-versed on the situation in Syria, and Trump couldn’t do better than listen to her advice on the Middle East.

    Of course, her problems with being ignored by the mainstream media may have had more to do with inherent bias against Sanders than anything. Behind the scenes manipulation by Deborah Wasserman Schultz on behalf of the Clinton campaign won’t have helped. There is little doubt the opporunist cynic in Trump cannot have failed to notice she is also excellent eye candy.

    I wrote about her last March after she resigned as vice-chair from the DNC.

  6. Jamal
    November 23, 2016 at 03:46

    I hope seeing Trump and Putin work together against terrorists and establish a peaceful meaning for humanity. We need wisdom – not war.

  7. Akech
    November 22, 2016 at 21:55

    Some of the opinions here are insinuating that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is just a pretty face for president-elect Donald Trump or anybody else working with him to salivate over!
    1) This lady is a veteran who served in the neocon’s regime change war in Iraq and , at least over one year period, witnessed the human toll of that war not only on American young men who were sent there but also on innocent Iraqi citizens who died, fled their country or witnessed the destruction of their lives and country
    2) She has very strong views and beliefs and may not be one of those “YES” individuals who are elected and paid to “to-shut-up and push those voting buttons” to advance the policies she does not agree with! American voters may be doomed because 99.9% of people elected or appointed to positions of power are told how to think, talk and behave for their salaries!
    3) To demonstrate her strong views, that very pretty face, Tulsi Gabbard , resigned from her position as the Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee, the party which is now under total dictatorship by the corporate/millionaire class and the people they appoint to run it. She was castigated for asking for more debates between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders during primaries! And they went after her with such vindictiveness by (a) not inviting her to the debates (b) overt intimidation as revealed by this Podesta e-mail :

    The Democrats and GOP establishments and elected officials have to recognize the AUTHORITARIAN nature of the people whose policies they advance at the expense of voters and human beings around the globe whose lives are being ruined! Tons of money is being wasted on an electoral process every four year that benefits very few powerful and selfish individuals . These righteous elites harbor very despicable opinions of voters, including the veterans who bleed, suffer or die for policies they advance domestically and globally! The Podesta e-mails have given the public a bird’s-eye views of how the democratic party elites think about ordinary people. I am almost certain the GOP establishment has similar views about its dedicated voters!

    The DNC and their paid surrogates are bullies who will go after anybody who disagrees with them as articulated by the link below:

    If you are selling a product or an idea and you have to resort to coercion, then that nullifies the authenticity and benefits of that particular product/idea to the potential customer!

  8. Abe
    November 22, 2016 at 21:28

    “President-elect Trump’s national security adviser, retired US Army general, Michael Flynn is perhaps the most symbolic of all in signaling a continuity of agenda regarding US foreign policy.

    “Flynn was appointed in April of 2012 by US President Barack Obama as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). It was during this time the US was already deeply involved in semi-covert intervention in the Syrian conflict, after having decimated Libya in 2011 with direct US military intervention.

    “It was also during Flynn’s time at the DIA, August 2012 in fact, that a now notorious memo was circulated (PDF) regarding the anticipated rise of what it called a ‘Salafist principality’ in eastern Syria, and how it could be used as a strategic asset against what it called the ‘Syrian regime.’ The DIA’s anticipated ‘Salafist principality’ would later be named the ‘Islamic State’ (IS) and did indeed seize territory in eastern Syria where it remains dug-in to this day […]

    “Perhaps the only thing that will change with President-elect Trump’s arrival in the White House is the narrative used to explain why the United States continues to ignore Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s role in perpetuating terrorism, completely side-step the role the US plays in exploiting militant organizations as strategic assets and why the Trump administration fully plans to continue wars designed and initiated under both Bush and Obama’s administrations.

    “With Flynn’s inclusion in a suspiciously familiar-looking administration congealing around Trump, it appears that the American people didn’t truly vote for a new executive in the White House, but rather a new narrative used to sell the same old policy as before, a policy merely emanating from the White House but clearly devised and dictated from well beyond it.”

    Incoming US National Security Adviser to Fuel, not Fight Terrorism
    By Ulson Gunnar

  9. rkm
    November 22, 2016 at 20:55

    Trump is greatly misunderstood. In the campaign, the only thing he was presenting was ‘anti-establishement’, in every way he could think of, the more outrageous the better. That gives him a mandate to do whatever. In reality, he is a very experienced insider and executive. Not a fool. Votes are manipulated, and his victory means the fix was in for him – by whom? – the masters of the universe of course. There are going to be big changes. The word will trickle down to Capitol Hill that Trump has the backing of on high, and those who want to stay in office will not vote against him.

    • Bill Bodden
      November 22, 2016 at 20:06

      Interesting article, but it is from the Washington Post, the DC version of the New York Times to be regarded with some skepticism.

  10. November 22, 2016 at 16:57

    Actually, the real issue is political ladder-climbing from Gabbard. That’s all this is about.

    • Bill Bodden
      November 22, 2016 at 19:57

      Very interesting link. I searched for other articles about Tulsi Gabbard, and several of the results were perplexing. It would probably be a good idea for some of her starry-eyed fans to do similar searches.

  11. Bill Bodden
    November 22, 2016 at 13:30

    Note the good and valid points above attributed to Tulsi Gabbard, but forgive me if I don’t join in the blind adoration. I made similar mistakes in the past, but fortunately by the time I listened to Barack Obama’s impressive speech at the Democratic Convention in Boston in 2004 I had learned to be skeptical about first impressions. Accordingly, although I was delighted with her resignation from the DNC I wanted to know more before placing her on some pedestal.

    First problem. I was uncomfortable with her service in the US army of occupation in Iraq and her pro-military stance.

    Tulsi Gabbard was elected in 2012 to the United States House of Representatives. Did she join the majority of her fellow representatives in 2014 in endorsing Operation Protective Edge’s slaughter of innocent men, women and children in Gaza?

    Now, as we know, Ms. Gabbard is in sync with Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions and other opponents of immigration. There are now millions of refugees fleeing their homelands because, among other reasons, aspects of US foreign policies have caused the destruction of cities and societies from Libya through the Middle East to Afghanistan. To that massive region we can add Central America, especially Honduras and El Salvador. The vast majority of these refugees want to emigrate to some place, probably any country, where they can obtain some peace and security for themselves and their families. If we inject morality into this dilemma then we must come to the conclusion that the nations responsible for this catastrophe also have a responsibility to help resolve the horrors of so much displacement. Unfortunately, it appears the next leaders stepping up to the plate in the American stadium have concluded that being “exceptional” means America doesn’t have to say, “Sorry.” I’m sorry, Tulsi, but the first impression you made on me hasn’t endured and what remains favorable will be extinguished if you continue singing from the same hymnal as Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, and all the other immigrant bashers.

  12. November 22, 2016 at 11:48

    He is playing with getting himself shot. The CIA is already working on an Oswald to eliminate this pothole in the road to their plans to rule the world.

  13. TellTheTruth-2
    November 22, 2016 at 09:29

    Let’s pray Tulsi Gabbard becomes Secretary of Defense and replaces the Ziocon war mongers that infest the swamp called Washington, D.C. In truth, they should all be charged with TREASON for pushing an agenda of fighting wars for Israel and The Greater Israel Project.

  14. Mikhailovich
    November 22, 2016 at 02:53

    Other embarrassment is Samantha Power. It would be nice to replace her by Tulsi.
    Kremlin has no reason for discontent with neocons – the last regime change in Ukraine was very good for them. Not only Crimea changed hands, but also the pro-western liberals in Russia lost any credibility and hardly they can be used for a serious destabilisation of the country any soon. You know the presidential election in Russia is not far away.

  15. Joe Tedesky
    November 22, 2016 at 02:20

    I have noticed that between Trump’s message to the people, and what I heard Mike Pense tell Sean Hannity, that the Trump Adminstration is going to represent all people. Realizing all incoming presidents say things like this, we can only hope Trump will deliver.

    It’s being reported that Trump met with MSM executives and stars (journalist) at Trump Towers in NYC. If the reports are true Trump went ballistic even calling out Zucker from CNN by name. I didn’t vote for Trump, and I don’t care how right or wrong he was, but his yelling at the MSM is priceless.

    I think everyone should speculate, voice their opinion, march in the streets or fly your flag on your pickup truck, because this is the American way. If Trump is somehow able to drain the swamp, then we as a nation could be better off. The only other think is to watch what you wish for, but getting your two cents in right now, could be a valuable input if this new Adminstration really is listening, and not that they are just throwing more rhetoric around as long as that as been going round…the people are on to it. If Trump can unite this country, he may just be that great.

    • Kiza
      November 22, 2016 at 07:38

      Lots of optimism Joe, very pleasant to read. I keep my fingers crossed that most of it comes true.

      Anyone who believed that the US MSM could mend their ways after the election was a hopeless optimist (not referring to you). I was just observing how they unfairly jumped Trump’s transition, probably best summarised as: the place will be the same under the new management as it was under the old management. This is pure wishful thinking of the MSM owners. Keep dreaming busters, the change is coming and it ain’t gonna be pretty and comfy for you.

      I have a simple rule for the consumption of MSM (if one really must): just turn everything they say or show to its opposite – and you will be close to the truth, if they say it is black then it is white, if they say it is white then it is black, who they attack is a good guy, who they promote is worthless trash and so on. This rule really works.

      • Joe Tedesky
        November 22, 2016 at 10:35

        Like the song says, keep your sunny side up, up, keep your sunny side up.

        No matter how much people fear or skepticism the people have over Donald Trump, the American public hate the MSM. When you come to think of it this site talks continually about our media’s poor performance. The American media are nothing but instigators and trouble makers.

        Trust me, if Trump turns out to be more of the same, or worst, then I will not attempt to view him in a good way. I’m hoping Trump will be an all inclusive president. This is something worth being patient for.

        • Realist
          November 22, 2016 at 16:32

          Or, if you’re more of a cynic like me, sing the words to “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from “the Life of Brian” by the Pythons. At least they won’t be holding public crucifixions in 21st century America. Not yet anyway.

  16. Tara;s77
    November 22, 2016 at 00:46

    I too have missed any article which could be remotely construed to be apologizing or excusing Obama: Indeed, as robert has written, obama’s policies are incoherent with above the table and below the table approaches:

    It has been “A Schizophrenic Approach” with fears of softness, fears of the rabid hawks, neo cons, etc;, Mccain, etc

    In short, as this article reflects, Parry describes obama as unwilling to confront these war mongers:

  17. November 21, 2016 at 23:32

    Tulsi Gabbard, Zephyr Teachout or Kamala Harris are the people to watch as the next nominee for the Democratic party for President of the United States. Gabbard is my pick of the day.
    Michael Fish

  18. Eduardo Cohen
    November 21, 2016 at 22:51

    One of Robert’s shortcomings in an otherwise commendable writing career is a penchant to be an Obama apologist. He tends to blame Obama’s policies on his underlings, like Nuland. But at some point we have to ask, why does DICK CHENEY’S special Foreign Policy adviser have such a post in his government. Clinton brought her into her innermost circles by appointing her to State Department spokesperson. And Obama elevated her to Asst Secretary (I think) for European and Eurasian Affairs, a perfect platform from which to launch regime change operations in Ukraine. That’s on Obama. Yes Robert. Its on Obama! And that’s your blind spot. Still have tons of respect for so much of your writing and research.

    • Bill Bodden
      November 21, 2016 at 23:20

      One of Robert’s shortcomings… is a penchant to be an Obama apologist.

      If the Robert you are referring to is Robert Parry, I must have missed those articles where he made excuses for Obama.

    • Joe Tedesky
      November 22, 2016 at 01:42

      In all fairness to Robert Parry, I see Obama as being one of the biggest enigmas to ever hit the political stage. Take for example Obama the Constitutional Scholar. Recently he was asked to if he will pardon Edward Snowden. Obama’s answer was that he couldn’t ‘pardon’ someone who hasn’t had a court sentence. So Gerald Ford couldn’t have pardoned Richard Nixon. BIll Clinton couldn’t have pardoned Marc Rich. Typic Obama, it sounded right coming from a President who’s a Constitutional Scholar, but his conclusion is made up taffy stuff when good comprehension sets in for the listener. Kind of like what finally settles in your mind after a meeting, and your turning on the ignition of your car, kind of …now, I finally got it. Like hope and change, but there is no hope and change, but we all felt good when hearing it…then later it’s WTF!

      Obama way back in 2007-08 was bequeathed the presidency on one condition. That condition was for him to have a hybrid cabinet made up of Clinton and Bush people, and go make terrific speeches to mystify the audience. With a media who’s in the bag, the production for this deceitful venture went off fairly well…the one percent did okay. Job well done. Now Obama as he limps out of office, is even being warned by Minster Farrakhan when the minster said: “Don’t worry about your legacy because the white people that you serve so well, they’ll preserve your legacy,” adding sarcastically, “the hell they Will.”

      Way back in 2009 I wrote how I will look forward to the book Obama will write in his post presidency. I’ll add that if Obama writes an honest account, and not a phony fluff establishment bs novel, then it will be interesting to see just what made his presidency turnout so awful. As bad as the Republicans treated President Obama, I hope he takes better ownership of his legacy rather than how the Democrate’s and Hillary are taking her loss to Donald Trump.

      Obama’s biggest failure was how he conformed, and how he allowed himself to get sucked in to the swamp. Now let’s see if the Donald will drain that swamp.

      • Realist
        November 22, 2016 at 16:24

        Beautiful analysis, Joe, and right on the money in hindsight. Though many liberals and Democrats were tempted because of Obama’s willingness to sell out liberal principles from the get-go (such as seriously floating a “grand bargain” with the GOPers to decimate SS & Medicare and setting up the long-forgotten “Catfood Commision” to implement said policy) we mostly refrained from bashing him in public and we vigorously supported him in the 2012 election though we already felt he had betrayed us. (It was mostly a matter of voting for the lesser evil.) But, after four plus years of defending his series of betrayals on the domestic front, his deliberate enthusiastic rekindling of the Cold War was just too much for this old peacenik to stomach. The man proudly flew his flag as a trash-talking Neocon maniac willing to put the lives of everyone on earth at risk of nuclear war just to punk Russia and add one more destroyed nation in the Middle East (Syria, after doing the same to Libya) onto his scalp belt. Every word he had to say about those conflicts, which he together with Hillary and his Neocon appointments originated and deliberately orchestrated, was a lie. And the rhetoric he directed towards the seven different countries he was concomitantly bombing was bragging. Good riddance to bad rubbish, and thanks to providence for delivering us from even worse under Hillary.

        • Joe Tedesky
          November 22, 2016 at 17:45

          Realist, thanks for your comment, it is always good to hear your thoughts. I knew Obama was in trouble the minute the news came out about his cabinet picks. Then there was the TARP bail out, and no one from Wall Street was to suffer for this crime of selling debt to people who should have never received loans in the first place. The one move that Obama did was establishing the Simpson Bowles commission. Those two creeps cut everything Americans worked for, and yet they left the Pentagon untouched. When our government leaders talk about cutting Social Security and Medicare, I get annoyed to no end, because they always have money to build another expensive failure like the F35 plane, and there is plenty of money to manufacturer and drop more bombs. So, let’s hope for the best, and pray that the Donald gets it right…I’d be okay with that, no matter what party holds the office of President. Did I ever tell you how happy I am that Hillary and Jeb are for now out of the picture?

          • John
            November 24, 2016 at 18:32

            Obama showed his colors before his election, by not once commenting on police brutality, even while running for the Illinois Statehouse. As the John Burge torture-for-confession story was breaking, which caused th the Republican governor to put a moratorium on the death penalty, not a word from Obama on the matter, despite supposedly being a Community Organizer in the same area that Burge was operating out of.

            Andy Thayer, an actual community organizer at the time (and still) was talking about the Burge scandal for years by this time (even though he was a North sider, and began his organizing in the Boystown area)

  19. Evangelilsta
    November 21, 2016 at 22:16

    One of the amusing elements of the post 2016 election consternation was, or has been, the Republican Party regulars’ attempts to claim the ship the popular pirate Trump boarded and commandeered, chucking the party-rat regulars who objected into the bilge to swim with the ballast, while he ran up his own colors and reset to his course, was not commandeered and sailed out from under them.

    Suddenly they have suddenly forgotten Trump being independent and maverick, and their having disowned and attempted to distance him. Suddenly they are attempting to dress Trump up as their long established Party Commodore. They are attempting to claim Trump’s pirating the Republican Party a Republican Party maneuver. And, with Trump’s campaign success, that they deplored, having cleared way so some Republican office-buccaneers were able to sail into office ports under his lee, they are up and cheering who they before disowned, some still dripping with bilge water.

    Democrats seem to have fallen into the same old-formula thinking, too, so they are looking at Trump as a regular Republican who just somehow figured out a system.

    Somehow, in these perceptions, Trump, the independent non-politician, by winning the election became a political regular and party-man.

    There should be lots of surprises coming along. Lots of fun for us spectators. And, since Trump is, as his business records illustrate, a whole lot more intelligent and capable than he seems to be given credit for by his partisan supporters and detractors both, the surprises should for the most part be interesting and pleasant, rather than ugly, as all those imagining their own presuppositions seems to be terrifying themselves for thinking.

  20. FobosDeimos
    November 21, 2016 at 22:12

    I have to say that after almost two weeks of terrible signals coming out of Trump Tower, this meeting with Tulsi Gabbard and the strong words she used afterwards, lambasting the neocons and destroying all of the establishment’s platitudes about Syria, a sudden tiny light of hope has made my day. Also, I read somewhere that Mr. Bannon had arranged the meeting. Is that true?. Too good to be true?

  21. November 21, 2016 at 21:55

    Besides getting another attractive and smart (tack sharp) employee to display, Trump might be thinking of someone he wants to head the VA. Tulsi’s a vet with two tours, each one putting her in the middle of conflict. Regardless, she is on the ascent, though I am starting to be bothered by some undercurrents, some of which are presented in this article.

    • David Smith
      November 22, 2016 at 21:12

      Tulsi Gabbard’s first tour was in Iraq at the giant Anaconda base that looks like suburban America with a multiplex cinema, olympic size pool, shops and restaurants. She had frequent R&R trips to England and Europe. She was doing something medical, but even her website can’t say what it was, rank was “specialist”. After an ” accelerated” officer scholl in Alabama, she was commissioned 2nd Lt. Her second tour was in Kuwait, promoted to Capt. and Platoon Leader of Military Police. She has never been in the middle of any conflict, and was never Combat Infantry. Promoted to Major, but why is left unstated. 2nd Lt. to Major in one tour, doing light duties? Undeserved promotions at lightning speed indicate special connections. Tulsi Gabbard is not a “warrior”, but she does look like daddy’s little girl.

  22. Nancy
    November 21, 2016 at 21:48

    Trump must lead the way against continued war, whether regime change or other deadly ideological types. It’s pasttime for world leaders to unite against death and destruction. Peace and stability should always prevail.

  23. Bill Cash
    November 21, 2016 at 21:14

    I’m afraid you are being suckered by Trump. He loves playing people and he is giving a show right now.

  24. evelync
    November 21, 2016 at 21:07

    Thanks Robert Parry!

    I’ve been pretty discouraged but learning here that Trump plans on talking with Tulsi Gabbard is hopeful news.

    Gabbard is a remarkable woman from what I have seen.
    Risking her political career by resigning from being co-chair of the DNC in order to support Bernie Sanders because, as a soldier she understands that our foreign policy has been a f…..g disaster.

    Gabbard thinks for herself, apparently, and has proven so far that she is not influenced by the Washington bubble.

    I agree that as long as Trump looks outside the Washington D.C. idiot think on foreign policy there’s a bit of hope.

    • Kiza
      November 22, 2016 at 05:15

      Your comment reads like a familiar out of control US militarism – the qualifications for a position in the US Government is how many unsuspecting foreigners you have sniped or blasted to pieces. This is perhaps why McCain is so highly qualified, having blasted thousands of Vietnamese.

      The only reason the US crazies “face men intending to do them harm” is because the US crazies came to their country to pillage their property, to rape their women and to kill their children and elderly.

      I am very happy that Tulsi does not have that “certain look to her face”, this is why she is still sane in a fairly insane country.

  25. Bill Bodden
    November 21, 2016 at 21:02

    This, from the Guardian, could be among the reasons for Trump’s possible interest in hiring Tulsi Gabbard: “But the Iraq war veteran has also expressed views that might appeal to Trump, criticising Obama, condemning interventionist wars in Iraq and Libya and taking a hard line on immigration. In 2014, she called for a rollback of the visa waiver programme for Britain and other European countries with what she called “Islamic extremist” populations.” (My emphasis) –

    This article also notes Gabbard’s affiliation with Hinduism which suggests the Trump camp knows there is a difference between Hindus and Muslims, a distinction that may not be apparent to some of Trump’s supporters.

    • FobosDeimos
      November 21, 2016 at 22:24

      Very interesting background information Bill. I hope she is not into some kind of BJP hindu fundamentalism. Nevertheless, her strong views about neocon and liberal hawks and warmongers are so important that -at least for the moment – I think we can celebrate the mere fact that Trump talked to her.

    • Bill Bodden
      November 21, 2016 at 23:13

      In 2014, she called for a rollback of the visa waiver programme for Britain and other European countries with what she called “Islamic extremist” populations.

      This and the long history of Hindu-Muslim conflict beg the question, “To what extent does Ms. Gabbard’s affiliation with Hinduism influence her opinions regarding Muslims?” While Britain and other European countries do have individuals that some people might refer to as “Islamic extremists” it is something of a stretch to refer to these nations as having “Islamic extremist” populations. Before conferring sainthood on Ms. Gabbard on the strength of telling the wretched Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her Democratic National Committee accomplices to go stuff it, we would do well to get more information about her.

      These quotes attributed to Ms. Gabbard in the Washington Examiner are to her credit:

      “I shared with him my grave concerns that escalating the war in Syria by implementing a so-called no fly/safe zone would be disastrous for the Syrian people, our country, and the world,” Gabbard said. “It would lead to more death and suffering, exacerbate the refugee crisis, strengthen ISIS and al-Qaeda, and bring us into a direct conflict with Russia which could result in a nuclear war.”

      “We discussed my bill to end our country’s illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government, and the need to focus our precious resources on rebuilding our own country, and on defeating al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups who pose a threat to the American people,” she added. –

      • Joe Tedesky
        November 21, 2016 at 23:42

        Representative Gabbard sponsored hr4108 which calls for ending funding to moderate rebels. This bill is certainly a departure from the current strategy the U.S. has been employing. Let’s hope this is a sign that we are heading in the right direction.

    • Tegh Singh
      November 22, 2016 at 13:02

      You should also read up on India’s government BJP and Hinduvta……which is not good for minorities in India… should read up on BJP supporters violence against Muslims and Christians (who they view both as enemies). there is lot of material

  26. JWalters
    November 21, 2016 at 20:42

    Thanks for another insightful article, beyond what the oligarchy media will ever produce.

  27. Herman
    November 21, 2016 at 20:38

    We might be looking at the first woman president.

    • Kiza
      November 22, 2016 at 01:36

      Definitely the Presidential material.

    • exiled off mainstreet
      November 22, 2016 at 02:51

      She has the virtue of not being a war criminal and could be an effective future candidate for president. I hope Trump thinks out of the box and puts her into a cabinet position, though I doubt he will. Since the GOP lamestream opposed him, Trump carries less political baggage. Hopefully he’ll come up with a rational military policy. I also find Flynn competent and independent.

      • Tegh Singh
        November 22, 2016 at 12:59

        Flynn? he flipped flopped on Torture. he was against it. when Trump came a calling…he is now for torture. Flynn is just looking at getting power. just like everyone else who enters politics. it corrupts. as for Gabi…she is real tight and a big supporter of Modi (india’s extreme right prime minister). research up on Modi and Gujarat Riots

  28. Norma Price
    November 21, 2016 at 20:09

    I have always trusted Bernie’s assessment from the beginning of this whole election cycle. What you say makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the information. What do we do about racism and misogyny? What do we do about income disparity?

    • Bill Bodden
      November 21, 2016 at 20:45

      I have always trusted Bernie’s assessment from the biginning of this whole election cycle.

      And I donated to his campaign on the basis that it was the only one of the leading three with a chance of winning and with some decency. That was before I began to pay more attention to his record and long before I read this, “For the last 20 years, Bernie Sanders has presented himself as either an independent socialist or an independent, although he voted in lockstep with the Democrats in the House and the Senate 95% of the time, even when they wanted to expand the police state, bomb a socialist country, and overthrow the governments of Iraq and Libya. Now Sanders self-identifies as a Democrat and this very week accepted a leadership position (director of outreach, whatever that means) under Charles Schumer, the Senator from Citibank. The pretense has been dropped. Sanders is now an aging pitchman for a party that abandoned the working class about the time he entered congress.” –

      As for Tulsi Gabbard we should keep an open mind, but if she enters Donald Trump’s theater of operations she will be at great risk of going downhill as soon as she steps into that asylum for authoritarians and autocrats. She wouldn’t be the first young person of promise seduced by close proximity to power.

  29. November 21, 2016 at 19:41

    I think Bernie has it right. We progressives should oppose Trump when we believe his policies and appointments are wrong, but also support Trump when he is right.

    • Realist
      November 22, 2016 at 03:22

      I think you are exactly right. In fact, I think it is destructive the way the mainstream media continues to demonize Trump as though the campaign were still ongoing. It would be foolish of the Democrats to treat Trump the way the GOP treated Obama from the start of his administration. Yes, they thwarted him, but they hurt the country in the process. Does anyone think that will improve their chances for a comeback? Moreover, do they think that Mitch McConnell will oppose Trump’s proposed policies just because they support them? If McConnell is so stupid, let HIM self-destruct. Work for what is right and what will help the people. Work for peace. If that’s not good enough, so be it.

      • Bart in Virginia
        November 22, 2016 at 19:42

        Turtle Man may be ugly but he is not stupid. He hit the jackpot of his life by his gamble on Garland and now the supreme court is locked up by the GOP for another one or two generations.

      • Jeff Davis
        November 23, 2016 at 14:31

        “…I think it is destructive the way the mainstream media continues to demonize Trump as though the campaign were still ongoing.”

        Yes and no. The neoliberal/elitist opposition to Trump never understood that their snobby/we’ve-got-ours condescension played a major role in electing Trump. Now, they’re still at it, still clueless, still helping. Bring it on. Shoot yourself in the other foot. Then keep on shooting. Perhaps they will finally shoot themselves in the head and kill the Democratic party once and for all. Then Trump can peel off the moderate Dems and form a centrist, populist, working man/woman, America First one-party system which can actually govern and get things done.

        Common sense returns. Trump the brilliant businessman becomes Trump the brilliant President. Mediocrity, paralysis, and despair are not compulsory. Greatness could be the new normal. It could happen.

        (Trump fan-boy delusion, or dynamic can-do optimism in the American tradition? You make the call.)

    • Tom
      November 22, 2016 at 13:44

      Yep. Dems are going to have to do a lot of verbal gymnastics if they want to continue demonizing Trump even as he starts doing some of the things Bernie wanted to do.

  30. Drew Hunkins
    November 21, 2016 at 19:37

    Of course we’ll see what ultimately happens, but Trump cozying up to Gabbard is potentially highly positive. Again, we’ll have to see how this all shakes out, but Gabbard has been a staunch supporter of massively reining in Washington war making; an altogether righteous stance today. And a rare position in the corridors of Washington power.

  31. Knomore
    November 21, 2016 at 19:36

    Wow! This is great news. Onward and upward, Tulsi! You have the right ideas and can influence the world at a time when we seem to have sunk even deeper into a wilderness of unknowing.

    I voted for Trump. I saw him as the only choice. I’ve been biting my nails (and tongue) over the last few days as the world seems ready to write Trump off before he’s even begun.

    So thanks, also, to President-elect Trump for showing the world that they haven’t yet got your number.

    • Jeff Davis
      November 23, 2016 at 14:01

      I’ve been a little concerned as well, what with Bolton hovering around like the angel of death. But Gabbard’s invite and appearance are profoundly heartening, and makes me hope that Bolton will be “rewarded” with the Ambassadorship to the Falklands or Togo. Now that the hysteria and horseshjt of the campaign is over, the Trump reality finally emerges. Could Tulsi Gabbard get Secretary of State? That would be earth-shaking, an indication that the “unknown unknowns” of a Trump victory could be swept away by change you can ***really*** believe in, and perhaps even the first step in a march to American greatness. And not just garden variety greatness, not just DC “greatness” (paralyzed mediocrity just short of abject failure), but rather ***AMERICAN GREATNESS***, ***real*** greatness, courtesy of Trump greatness, Trump boldness, Trump effectiveness.

      Let Trump America now aim for the stars.

      The Trump era begins. Ivanka 2024.

      (Over-the-top Trump fan-boy enthusiasm? You make the call.)

    • Kent Bott
      November 23, 2016 at 14:04

      So, you think tRUMP meeting with Gabbard excuses Jeff Sessions as AG? Your critical thinking skills are nonexistent.

  32. lynne gillooly
    November 21, 2016 at 19:27

    I hope you are right and Trump does go against the neocons, but I seriously doubt it. I think he thinks Tulsi is a very attractive woman.

    • Chris Jonsson
      November 21, 2016 at 19:36

      lynne gillooly That’s exactly what I was thinking. I hope he will listen to Tulsi and Bernie Sanders for that matter.

      • J. D.
        November 23, 2016 at 18:49

        There has been no Democrat, not Bernie, not Warren, no one, more in sync with the Trump/Flynn policy on Syria and Russia than Tulsi Gabbard. And showed more courage to stand up to the Obama/Clinton war drive than any member of Congress. Give Trump credit for recognizing that and opening up a dialogue.

    • Gregory Kruse
      November 21, 2016 at 19:54

      We know how he is irresistibly drawn to beauty.

    • Bill Cash
      November 21, 2016 at 21:24

      She is very attractive but far too old for Trump. If she were 13, maybe. As far as I know the woman who has a case in court for raping her when she was 13 hasn’t been scared out of going forward with her suit. She’s a very brave woman. She was scared out of a press conference by death threats.

      • Victor999
        November 22, 2016 at 05:48

        13 year olds? No, you will have to go to Bill Clinton and Joe Biden for that sort of scandal.

        • Tegh Singh
          November 22, 2016 at 12:50

          why? Donald Trump went to Jeffrey Epstein parties too….and is good buddies with him. The girl who was suing (withdrew due to fear of retribution) was introduced to him by one of Epstein’s enablers (and that enabler was going to testify against Trump)

      • Tom
        November 22, 2016 at 13:29

        She withdrew her accusation because it was proven to a fare-thee-well that is was a total fabrication.

      • Sid
        November 22, 2016 at 20:18

        Flee Troll, flee. You have no evidence, you flaunt your hair-pulling, heart-attacking, chicken little crap and no one cares.

    • Annie
      November 21, 2016 at 23:00

      I think your remark, as well as others made here, regarding Trump’s discussion with Tulsi Gabbard might also be interpreted as sexist

      • Cletus Rothschild
        November 22, 2016 at 08:21

        It isn’t sexist if it’s directed at a Republican. Only Democrats are allowed to level charges of sexism and Democrats can’t, by definition, be sexist.

      • Peter Loeb
        November 22, 2016 at 08:29

        TO ANNIE…

        It’s not only “I think” It IS sexist.It is whining Democrats trying
        to distract from a discussion of ideas and policies to
        a purient discussion of looks. Shame on them.

        To be frank, the hopes and dreams of Bob Parry and
        many of us may never come to pass. But we owe him
        our thanks for opening our eyes.

        —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

        • Marie Lee
          November 22, 2016 at 15:38

          So good to get an informed perspective from outside lame stream media!
          Thank you Robert Parry for helping to educate those of us who are looking for better information to understand our disastrous foreign “policy”. ( wars, coups, economic sanctions et al )

          And to Peter Loeb, thank you for your comment above.
          I’ve become dismayed at all the ranting & blame from many of my “liberal” friends as they continue to decry what has happened to “them” without having any interest in looking under the covers of DNC ( & the Clinton’s ) or to look at what happened to those who voted for Trump and why they voted for Trump other than the usual claims of racism, sexism and such.

          A very dear old friend who lived through the 30’s and 40’s in Germany described to me how it was in the 30’s before the rise of Hitler. There are many parallels here in the US currently.

          We are for some very hard times, but if there is one inkling of hope that Trump may have Libertarians heading up foreign policy – at least those who have been devastated by US foreign policy can breathe a sigh of relief.
          Then, we here in the US will have to work like crazy to make sure to prevent the collapse of what remains of our “civil” society.

    • Andy Jones
      November 22, 2016 at 05:30

      He better not grab her by the pus*y.

    • Ron Stanford
      November 22, 2016 at 10:19

      My first thought, too. Look at the women he has floated for cabinet positions lately: Nikki Haley, Laura Ingram, Sarah Palin, Michelle Rhee, Kellyann Conway. Who else?

      • Tom
        November 22, 2016 at 13:39

        Like it or not, attractive features in both males and females tend to aggregate around things like intelligence and wealth. Intelligence creates wealth, wealth attracts beautiful women, and the circle goes ’round. If Trump only chose to have ugly women in important positions because people might accuse him of being attracted to beauty, do we even have a word for THAT kind of discrimination? How stupid would that be to give up tapping the best and brightest because they were attractive?

    • Tegh Singh
      November 22, 2016 at 12:47

      people should look into her support of the Modi Government. Just look up Modi and Gujarat Riots in 2002.

    • Tom
      November 22, 2016 at 13:26

      Tulsi Gabbard is a very articulate patriot. Perhaps some of her Hawaiian male voters voted for her because she’s a beautiful woman, just like some women voters sometimes vote for handsome men. But now Trump needs to cultivate all the support he can find among Democrats, and Gabbard is an obvious choice to chat with. If Trump chose to forego this alliance because he feared being accused of being attracted to beautiful women, it would be the world’s loss. At 70, Trump has the only beautiful woman he needs in his wife. Give him a break.

    • Abbybwood
      November 23, 2016 at 01:38

      I think he doesn’t want to have to run against her in 2020.

    • Sergio Weigel
      November 23, 2016 at 14:04

      You appear to be a troll. How much do you make?

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