Steering Trump Back to Endless War

Exclusive: President Trump’s chaotic first two weeks have seen senior aides reverse his most promising plans for restoring realism to U.S. foreign policy, especially regarding Russia and the Mideast, reports Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare

Well, that didn’t take long, did it? The Trump administration hadn’t even reached its two-week mark when it surrendered a major portion of its independence and fell in behind the reigning Washington orthodoxy.  The turning point came at the United Nations Security Council on Thursday when Ambassador Nikki R. Haley blasted Russia for the upsurge of violence in the eastern Ukraine.

Nikki Haley of South Carolina speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. March 15, 2013. Haley is now U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. (Flickr Gage Skidmore)

Haley’s statement could hardly have been stronger. She not only assailed Russia for its “aggressive actions,” but described them as “a replay of far too many instances over many years” when it has behaved the same. She called for a “clear and strong condemnation,” declared that the crisis would not end “until Russia and the separatists it supports respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” and demanded the return of Crimea as well.

“Crimea is a part of Ukraine,” Haley said. “Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the peninsula to Ukraine.”

This must be disappointing news for New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, among others, who has long bashed Trump as a “Siberian candidate” and on Friday accused him of stirring up trouble with everyone except puppeteer Putin. “[T]he war with China will, it seems, have to wait,” he wrote.  “First comes Australia. And Mexico. And Iran. And the European Union.  (But never Russia.)” Thanks to Haley’s stirring call to arms, it looks like Moscow is now in America’s sights as well.

What does it mean? Simply that Trump’s foreign policy has already lost an engine before it has gotten off the ground. The man is a bully, a racist, a xenophobe, and more than bit crazy to boot. But despite all that – or perhaps because of it – he has shown an ornery streak in some of his thinking about foreign policy that placed him sharply at odds with Washington’s vast pro-war establishment. He favored a rapprochement with Russia, for example, as well as a new approach in Syria in which the problem of Bashar al-Assad would be put off in order to concentrate on fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda.

As he told the Times last March: “Well, I thought the approach of fighting Assad and ISIS simultaneously was madness and idiocy. They’re fighting each other and yet we’re fighting both of them. You know, we were fighting both of them. I think that our far bigger problem than Assad is ISIS, I’ve always felt that. Assad is – you know I’m not saying Assad is a good man, ’cause he’s not, but our far greater problem is not Assad, it’s ISIS.”

This was not very different from what Bernie Sanders was saying about the dangers of U.S.-imposed regime change in Syria, but utterly at odds with Hillary Clinton’s insistence that Assad had to go because he was somehow aiding ISIS and Al Qaeda when in fact he was engaged in a life-or-death struggle with both entities.

One Slim Reed

So amid all the bluster and braggadocio, racism and Islamophobia, there was one slim reed to hold onto: Trump seemed to be capable of at least a modicum of realism when it came to one or two trouble spots around the globe.

Retired U.S. Army lieutenant general Michael Flynn at a campaign rally for Donald Trump at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Oct. 29, 2016. (Flickr Gage Skidmore)

But then came the post-election back-tracking. On Nov. 18, Trump named Michael Flynn, a former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, as his national security adviser even though Flynn is renowned for his fierce anti-Russian views. Two weeks later, he named the no-less-hawkish James Mattis as his Secretary of Defense. At his confirmation hearing, Mattis described Russia as a “principal” threat to U.S. interests and declared that the U.S.-led world order was “under the biggest attacks since World War II from Russia, terrorist groups, and China’s actions in the South China Sea.”

After once predicting that Clinton’s proposal for a Syrian no-fly zone would “end up in World War III,” Trump also vowed to fix “what’s going on in Syria” by building “safe zones … so people can have a chance.” Then, just this past Sunday, he telephoned King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of neighboring Abu Dhabi to obtain their political and financial support.

“The President requested and the King agreed to support safe zones in Syria and Yemen,” a White House statement said, “as well as supporting other ideas to help the many refugees who are displaced by the ongoing conflicts.” Where Hillary Clinton had called for just one no-fly zone, Trump was now committing to two.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Trump also gave the go-ahead for last Sunday’s disastrous raid on a reputed Al Qaeda hideout in southern Yemen that ended with one American commando killed along with as many as 30 civilians, including the eight-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the Al Qaeda propagandist and U.S. citizen who was eliminated in a drone strike in 2011.

On Wednesday, Trump allowed Flynn – whose resemblance to Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper, a character in “Dr. Strangelove,” grows ever more striking – to announce that the administration was “officially putting Iran on notice” for conducting a ballistic missile test and for backing Houthi rebels who a day earlier had fired a guided missile at a Saudi warship off the coast of Yemen.

In other words, Washington was returning to its usual disastrous ways as the administration took aim at all the usual suspects and dealt in the same self-serving half-truths that have long characterized Official Washington.

Not Making Sense

But none of it made any more sense than it did before the election.  For example:

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

–Safe zones will not make Syria safer. To the contrary, they could well emerge as safe havens for jihadists and their families and come under attack by other rebel factions or by government forces. U.S. forces would have no choice but to respond and would thus find themselves drawn into another Middle East ground war.

–They would require the U.S. to secure the skies to prevent air attacks. This means taking out Syria’s sophisticated air defense system, an effort that, as Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman at the time of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the White House in early 2012, would require as many as 70,000 American military personnel and cost as much as $1 billion a month – and that was before Syria upgraded its defenses by adding advanced S-400 Russian anti-aircraft missiles.

–A safe zone in Yemen is even more bonkers. In August, the U.N. Human Rights Council reported that 84 percent of civilian deaths were due either to Saudi-backed ground forces or Saudi-led air strikes, strikes that the U.S. enables by providing Saudi Arabia with advanced weaponry, targeting data, and midair refueling. So what’s the point of a U.S.-backed safe zone if the problem is U.S.-backed air assaults?

–As for the botched raid in Yemen, the U.S. government again is in contradictory situation because the Houthi rebels who were fighting Al Qaeda’s local affiliate have lost ground to the terror group because of the U.S.-backed Saudi intervention against the Houthis. In a recent report, the International Crisis Group found that Al Qaeda “is thriving in an environment of state collapse, growing sectarianism, shifting alliances, security vacuums, and a burgeoning war economy.”

In “Yemen Under Siege,” a PBS documentary aired last May, journalist Safa Al Ahmad filmed Al Qaeda units fighting side by side with forces backed by the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates. (See clip starting at 8:38.) So, why battle Al Qaeda with one hand while aiding it with the other? Again, the U.S. has gotten itself into the bizarre position in which Al Qaeda is simultaneously its enemy and an ally of its best friend. [For more, see’s “The Secret Behind the Yemen War.”]

–As for the flare-up in the eastern Ukraine, a dispatch by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty – of all outlets – made it clear as to who is responsible: Ukraine.

As RFE wrote: “Frustrated by the stalemate in this 33-month war of attrition, concerned that Western support is waning, and sensing that US President Donald Trump could cut Kyiv out of any peace negotiations as he tries to improve fraught relations with Moscow, Ukrainian forces anxious to show their newfound strength have gone on what many here are calling a ‘creeping offensive’…

“[S]ince mid-December, Ukraine’s armed forces have edged farther into parts of the gray zone in or near the war-worn cities of Avdiivka, Debaltseve, Dokuchaievsk, Horlivka, and Mariupol, shrinking the space between them and the separatist fighters.  In doing so, the pro-Kyiv troops have sparked bloody clashes with their enemy.”

Indeed, Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham visited the front late last month along with Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota to urge the offensive on.

“Your fight is our fight,” Graham told one group of fighters. “2017 will be the year of offense. … Enough of Russian aggression. It is time for them to pay a heavier price.” Added McCain: “The world is watching because we cannot allow Vladimir Putin to succeed here, because if he succeeds here he will succeed in other countries.”

Haley’s False Claims

So the offensive that Nikki Haley denounced was not the work of Russia but of Ukraine with encouragement from two leading U.S. advocates of confrontation. The target was not only to bloody pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine but to mess up rapprochement with Russia in the West. The goal was not only to force Putin “to pay a heavier price,” but to checkmate Trump by presenting him with a case of cooked-up aggression that he wouldn’t dare deny amid Washington’s feverishly pro-war climate.

Ukraine’s anti-Russian President Petro Poroshenko speaking to the Atlantic Council in 2014. (Photo credit: Atlantic Council)

A savvier politician might have seen through the maneuver and turned tables on the hawks. But Trump is not savvy. Rather, he’s a failed real-estate man with little idea of how the world – beyond his narrow focus – works. He may be nonpareil on the campaign trail, but in Washington he’s easy prey for a couple of experienced operators like McCain and Graham.

What next? Maybe Trump has a card up his sleeve or is engaging in some arcane maneuver too subtle for ordinary observers to follow. Or maybe his young administration is beset with chaos from competing factions that Trump has been unable to bring under control.

Otherwise, it’s hard to see how he can avoid being locked into a policy of renewed confrontation. “The fog of war” may have given way to “the fog of policy,” as Anna Nemtsova observes in the right-of-center Daily Beast. 

But the rough outlines are beginning to emerge of an on-going showdown in Ukraine and a renewed alliance with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states. This means deepening U.S. intervention in Yemen and Syria on the pro-Saudi side and hence tacitly in alliance with Al Qaeda. It means more fighting, more chaos, and more refugees. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Some will blame what’s known as the Deep State. It’s not the President or Congress who rules, they will argue, but a vast sprawl consisting of the Pentagon, the arms industry, and 17 intelligence agencies employing hundreds of thousands. All are deeply invested in a pro-war policy and will therefore have their way.

This is true. But it’s also worth pointing out that foreign policy is never just an idea. It’s a system of interlocking military alliances based on long-term strategic planning. The U.S. is partners with Riyadh not because it necessarily likes the Saudis’ extreme version of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism, but because they sit on top of a fifth of the world’s proven fossil fuel reserves, a prize that the United States has controlled since World War II and one that it will not easily relinquish.

Just as the U.S. built up the Saudi oil industry from scratch, it similarly built up NATO and will not easily walk away from that alliance either. The international architecture is not completely unchangeable, but it will take more than a single loud-mouthed businessman to do it, particularly one as reactionary and confused as Donald Trump.

Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).

85 comments for “Steering Trump Back to Endless War

  1. Michael Kenny
    February 9, 2017 at 13:11

    This seems to be the current “party line” among Putin’s American supporters. There he was, good ol’Donald just dying to keep his supposed “promise” to capitulate to Putin and let him annex all of Ukraine and all of anywhere else he cared to annex, when in stepped the dastardly denizens of the Washington Establishment and threw spanners into his works, which, needless to say, Super Donald is resisting manfully (and in which he will, of course, be successful)! An amusing fairy tale but in fact Trump’s policy is,as should have been obvious, entirely Israel-driven. That means destroying rivals to US hegemony (China, the EU, the Russian Federation) and it means making war on terror and on Israel’s declared principal enemy, Iran. Putin is said to be Iran’s ally. Iran is said to back Assad (another of Israel’s enemies). Putin is propping up Assad. Putin is also said to be China’s ally. By picking a fight, first with the EU and then with NATO and the US, and being let get away with it, Putin discredited NATO as an instrument for the defence of Europe and, by extension, Israel. Trump needs the NATO bases to fight his war on terror, so he has to restore NATO’s credibility. The only way he can do that is to get Putin out of Ukraine. One way or the other. Since all that was obvious long before the election, how can anybody now be surprised that Trump shows no sign of capitulating to Putin?

  2. February 9, 2017 at 03:37

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  3. Mark Thomason
    February 6, 2017 at 16:22

    Yes, the Deep State run by the War Party is asserting itself with early success.

    However, it is early days. It has also attacked Trump and his Administration, not just manipulated them.

    They are the people whom Hillary meant to bring to power. Trump really did oppose that, even if he was all over the place on details.

  4. MP
    February 6, 2017 at 14:52

    Governor Pence was in line with the Republican “leadership” during the campaign when he disagreed with Trump on foreign affairs. He openly discussed his support for regime change in Syria and called Putin “a small and bullying leader”during the Vice Presidential debate. Who didn’t see this coming?

  5. Wobblie
    February 6, 2017 at 13:59

    This is what you get when you vote for Liberals and Conservatives and Trumps.

    “Democracy” has once again been steered into undemocratic waters, as usual.

  6. geoff
    February 5, 2017 at 23:17

    i did not want things to go on as usual but as usual the same things are going on. the people of the u.s. have very little choice. force a revolution, storm the gates of corporate control, buy nothing and take back history. the empire is crumbling and needs a catalyst to wipe out the criminal financiers. the bankers et al will bring back 2008 and the ‘street’ needs to respond. we are headed for amazing times so prepare your hearts.

  7. Mike Morrison
    February 5, 2017 at 15:50

    Feb. 4 2017 Donetsk, Ukraine Murad Gazdiev reporting:

  8. MYJ
    February 5, 2017 at 15:18

    More ominous is Bannon saying they will be at war in the South China sea in 5 to 10 years.
    Once again, the endless war title fits………

  9. Mark Thomason
    February 5, 2017 at 14:37

    “the reigning Washington orthodoxy” was Hillary. They meant to ride each other into power.

    There has been a scramble, as those who opposed Trump now seek to take over his agenda from within.

    That is proving to be not so hard as one might have hoped, because Trump was mostly an empty shell anyway.

    However, it is the return of what was rejected with Hillary. If Trump can’t handle that, the next election will bring someone who will. That orthodoxy has ruined us, and must be driven out of power. That is why Hillary lost, and everyone doing Hillary-redux will lose again.

  10. delia ruhe
    February 5, 2017 at 14:17

    Several commentators during the election kept talking about Trump as echoing The Manchurian Candidate, but they were alluding to the wrong version of the film. The recent remake — Liev Schreiber, Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep — that came out during Dubya’s administration is as applicable to Trump as it was to Obama. That’s the version where the candidate (and the Denzel W. character) get implanted. I was reminded of this film many times right from the beginning of Obama’s first term. Somewhere between his upbeat speech on election night and his creepy speech on Inauguration day, the Deep State implanted him, and throughout his two terms, despite a few promising steps, he pretty much danced to its tune.

    With respect to Trump, the implant has taken a bit more time to kick in, but now — after a couple weeks of chaos and destruction — he’s fallen right into line with the neocons, who have managed to grab the upper hand within the Deep State.

    Now, to those of us who follow American politics in order not to miss the final collapse of the empire, everything seems to be in place for it. One can only hope that something of the republic, which was once so promising, will have enough strength to rise up from the ashes like a phoenix.

  11. Rob
    February 5, 2017 at 13:05

    What is most amazing to me is that anyone thought that a bellicose egomaniac would be the one to bring peace, calm and reason to American foreign policy. It may yet happen, but early signs are not promising.

  12. Abe
    February 5, 2017 at 12:47

    White House press secretary Sean Spicer (Melissa McCarthy) Press Conference – SNL

  13. Brad Owen
    February 5, 2017 at 11:24

    If Trump is being steered into Establishment policies (That Hillary championed outright) anyway, then we no longer need to vote out of fear, putting a lesser evil in place to block the ascendancy of a greater evil. The Establishment is itself the Enemy, and its’ various Deep State organizations don’t even stand for election. Instead we should probably look at established (and therefore “captured”) parties VS new, citizen-owned parties. Some state of covert, low-grade civil war probably already is going on, in the form of propaganda, mysterious deaths, false-front ops, and such like things.

    • Brad Owen
      February 6, 2017 at 13:07

      It now appears that it was a bone-headed neocon maneuver to try and sabotage Trump’s intention to re-establish cooperative relations with Russia. Detente is on track…yay.

  14. Bart in Virginia
    February 5, 2017 at 10:29

    Added McCain: “The world is watching because we cannot allow Vladimir Putin to succeed here, because if he succeeds here he will succeed in other countries.”

    Ah, the old Domino Theory. Did he not learn from his Viet Nam experience?

  15. Kramet
    February 5, 2017 at 08:58

    Did Trump really believe he could buck the US national security establishment? I don’t think so! Sanctions lifted on Russia,? There was never any chance! ISiS? Most people in this part of the world believe, they are American proxies. So too are the Saud Kingi and the Sunni Gulf Sheikhs. Back to endless wars? Of course! The fall of the American Empire? Soon! Very soon!

  16. James lake
    February 5, 2017 at 06:40

    Trump is now reported to have told Fox News that he still wants to work with Russia to combat Isis.

    More flip flopping / that lack of consistency is not going to build confidence.

    Haley words in partnership with the UK and then the EU on Ukraine show that nothing fundamentally has changed

    Lavrov in an interview in Austria had said that it is going to take work to restore relations btw USA and Russia

    It would be enlightening if consortium could do a piece analysing what any detente could be based on.
    Trumps words are meaning lies his actions are what he will be judged on

  17. Realist
    February 5, 2017 at 03:57

    Haley and Trump must have been given “the talk” by whomever it is that really runs this country behind the scenes, or else they’ve been replaced by pod people that our space alien overlords use as interlocutors with the human race. Trump certainly has not fired Haley for her outrageous remarks–even more severe than the provocative rhetoric that Samantha Power used to use–like he properly did to Sally Yates over at Justice.

    While Haley is busy returning real estate to whom she considers its rightful owner, why doesn’t she demand that the Cherokees be given back most of the Carolina’s? Then she can arrange for Mexico to take title of Texas, California and the rest of the Southwest, since they did not sell it or give it up voluntarily. Geez, I hope Merkel will let my family have back our ancestral lands after we have to clear out of this place.

  18. Joe J Tedesky
    February 5, 2017 at 03:29

    After Trump’s phone call to Putin, which was reported to be very positive, and then soon after Nikki Haley calls out Russian aggression specifically pointing to Russia’s taking over of Crimea (Haley’s words not mine), I have come to my own reality that I have no idea of what is going on inside the Trump Adminstration, so below is some scribblings I made to maybe start narrowing down to what is really going on.

    1. Ambassador Haley’s unkind remarks concerning Crimea, was a technique used simply to drive up Trump’s leveraging power, for when he finally sits down with Vladimir Putin to ‘make a deal’.

    2. Haley’s UN blasting against Russia, was aimed more towards America’s European allies, with an effort to breath life into the continuation of NATO.

    3. That this Twitter President is nothing less than an out front entertainer who allows his back room Cabinet members stage crew to do the real dirty work.

    4. Newly appointed Ambassador Haley stumbled across a Samantha Powers paper that ‘Sam’ left sitting around, so Nikki took a page out of her new bosses wife’s book, and she plagiarized ‘Sam’s’ writings.

    5. The Trump White House purposely wants to distract from the policies of what really does matter, and use the crazy 3:00 am in the morning Twitter babble as a cover to hide the truth.

    Has anyone here read, or seen, Trumps correction or reversal in regard to Haley’s UN Russia bashing?

    In these trying, and strange days, of our adjusting to our newly elected Commander and Chief, is there any reason to wonder, to just what in the hell is going on?

    I suspect that there are those who are writing down all of these proclamations of our Prez Donald down, and that these ‘no Trump’ legal beagles are stacking up the ever growing by the day unconstitutional evidence for their compiling an impeachment list, that will eventually be used for the ouster of our high ratings tv star leader of the free world. Think section 4 of the 25th amendment, and then think President Pence.

    Lastly, Trump may have already been comprised by his lack of experience, and that he also suffers from his own personal grip of the real geopolitical news, as does his 46% of his misinformed American voters do. There is nothing more perplexing than watching the blind lead the blind through a house of mirrors maze, and then these sightless travels start breaking all the mirrors as they charge randomly in every direction not knowing where they go.

    I know that I am living inside of a national nightmare, and when I awake Bernie will have just finished giving his first term inauguration speech….can’t wait to wake up and share a laugh with my wife, and tell her how that in my sleep I saw Donald Trump become America’s 45th president….damn Benadryl does this to me every time!

    • D5-5
      February 5, 2017 at 13:38

      Joe, I don’t know that it would make much difference but Haley made her speech on the Thursday before Trump spoke to Putin. It’s curious that the Trump-Putin talk could be warm given her Samantha Power type delivery. I have been watching hopefully that Trump could create change, be a force for change, although long ago during the campaign I was very critical, considering the man deeply unsuitable for the role. What is now particularly getting to me is his ignorance and impetuosity. You don’t slam a bunch of judges who are following the law in silly tweets directed to a faceless public. You don’t hurl yourself into non-stop executive orders without reflection, study, thinking, and you don’t assume you are the smartest person in the room when you have no experience. This is immature action, of what would seem a much younger man. As I indicated in my comment at the top I am now done. His two week trial confirms what he’s about from the campaign. He is unfit. He should be replaced. The problem is we do not have a replacement.

      • Joe J Tedesky
        February 5, 2017 at 14:14

        D5-5 possibly I missed the news of Trump speaking to Putin after Nikki Haley’s UN speech, but I was referring to Trump’s Putin phone call which happened on 1/28/17, and then afterwards Haley spoke at the UN on 2/2/17. If there is more, then I stand corrected, but in any regard to any of this making sense we should always consider to who we are dealing with here, Trump.

        We all know by now how Trump will say one thing, and then in the very next sentence say something completely different. Trump does this child like maneuver as though he never said what you said he said. Remember as a child when you may have pulled this denial of words on your mother, and she came back at you questioning, ‘who do you think your talking to, do you think I’m crazy’? Well Trump reminds me of that with his type of reaction to words. Kind of like a magician who doesn’t hide his methods of the trick very well, and then smiles at you while asking, ‘now where did the rabbit go’.

        With all the antics of a circus company in their final days of poor ticket sales and dying off animals, our exceptional clown show goes on, and no one is the better for it. If there is any hope for America, it’s hope may lie within it’s people, and no one is listening to them, so be prepared to bring down the tent one day, and then let’s hope the people will be able to build the next house of exceptionalism out of bricks.

        • D5-5
          February 5, 2017 at 14:28

          Joe, much appreciation of your comments. Just reading the latest on this Haley controversy, as to why she spoke as she did on Ukraine and telling Russia it must give back Crimea–very interesting in the link below. Also note that the comments are largely supportive of Trump and have not yet gotten to my position of giving up on the man, but that said there are also interesting notes on the ambiguous nature of the team he’s created, and himself.

          • D5-5
            February 5, 2017 at 14:50

            PS: It looks like I’m wrong on the dates of Haley’s statements. Sorry.

          • Joe J Tedesky
            February 5, 2017 at 15:35

            Thank you D5-5 for the moonofalabama up date. I read moonofalabama every morning, but I didn’t get to it today, but then there was your link, thank you again.

            I wasn’t aware of Haley’s visit to Russian UN ambassador Churkin’s home, where b reports that the two ambassadors made ‘nice’. Upon learning this, I feel better now, and with that happy feeling that possibly the U.S. is heading in the right direction when it comes to how to deal with this U.S. instigated Ukraine dilemma.

            It is often said how by watching to close how legislation evolves, is like watching how sausage is made, and that may be where our problems with all of this lies. As usual we the public, even with our protesting, or by our acts of encouragement, are held in a limbo kind of word, until we may see what the final outcome will bear.

            I just know this, we are broken financially and emotionally, from too much war. Now is a time to strive to make peace, and for the U.S. to come down off our perch and join the rest of mankind, for in order for us to make the whole world a beautiful place to live in. Our goal has to big, just in order to get half of what we need to reach that impossible goal, but yet we would be fools for if not to try.

          • Joe J Tedesky
            February 5, 2017 at 15:42

            Ps: it would be wrong of me to accuse anyone here of having mixed up some of the facts. This geopolitical merry go round is spinning faster, and faster, as we all try to reach the ring.

            Oh, and in case you haven’t noticed by now, my spelling and grammar is an example of the class clown writing essays while looking out the window. No apology is required, but praise of your honesty is of the upmost. Take care D5-5 …..Joe

  19. February 5, 2017 at 02:58

    The petrol dollars are not only threatened by trading oil in other currencies, but they are also threatened by solar and wind energy, are they not?

  20. Abe
    February 5, 2017 at 02:41

    “President-elect Donald Trump tweeted in December that the United States ‘must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability’ and later told a television host that he would ‘outmatch’ and ‘outlast’ other potential competitors in a nuclear arms race.

    “The comments mostly prompted condemnation and concern in the United States and around the world. Trump tweeted on the morning of Dec. 22 that an expansion would be required ‘until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.’

    “Increasing the arsenal would constitute a fundamental departure from U.S. policy and could prompt similar efforts by other nuclear-armed countries.

    “Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has reduced the size of its arsenal, including through arms control agreements with Russia, from roughly 19,000 operational warheads in 1991 to 4,571 as of September 2015, according to U.S. government figures. The United States has begun a program to sustain and upgrade the arsenal at a cost that could reach and possibly exceed $1 trillion over the next 30 years […]

    Trump seemed to reiterate a willingness to expand the U.S. arsenal in a Dec. 23 telephone conversation with cable news channel MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski. When asked to explain what Trump meant by his tweet, Brzezinski said the president-elect told her, “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.” […]

    “Trump’s statements prompted varied reactions from Russia and China.

    “In a press conference on Dec. 23, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that ‘there is nothing unusual’ about what Trump tweeted because, during the campaign, ‘he talked about the need to strengthen the U.S. nuclear capability and armed forces.’

    “Putin added that the United States had already ‘paved the way to a new arms race by withdrawing from the [1972] Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty’ and expanding its missile defense capabilities, which prompted Russia to respond by building ‘efficient means of overcoming this missile defense system and improving its own’ offensive nuclear forces.

    “But Putin said that Russia ‘will never be dragged into an arms race to spend more than we can afford,’ noting that Russian spending on defense would drop from 4.7 percent of gross domestic product in 2016 to 2.8 percent by 2019.

    “During the election campaign, Trump expressed a desire to improve the U.S. relationship with Russia, but did not say whether he would seek to engage in further bilateral arms control beyond the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

    “China is ‘paying close attention’ to Trump’s nuclear pronouncements and declared that the ‘countries that have the largest nuclear arsenals should bear special responsibility for nuclear disarmament,’ said a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry. That was a reference to the United States and Russia, which together possess more than 90 percent of the estimated 15,500 nuclear warheads worldwide.”

    Trump Nuclear Tweet Sparks Controversy
    By Kingston Reif

  21. MYJ
    February 5, 2017 at 02:23

    The new American government officials may be bluffing…….but Israel is not. Iran is in trouble.

    • Zachary Smith
      February 5, 2017 at 02:28

      Has the murderous and thieving little apartheid state been making threatening noises again?

      • MYJ
        February 5, 2017 at 02:39

        It will be interesting to see the clash of the two egos Trump and Netanyahu. Endless war is the future for America, the title is apt. Those who control the finances control the game.Sadly.

  22. Zachary Smith
    February 5, 2017 at 02:22

    Some interesting gossip from the Sic Semper Tyrannis site. I’m posting part of it despite not being able to find a hint of #3 in the news.

    2. Natanyahu’s trip to the kennel. He will be here on the 15th. The Israeli press is filled with pros and cons as to whether or not he will be able to bring Trump to heel. IMO an opinion an ego as large as Trump’s will not react well to the sound of its master’s voice.

    3. Niki’s visit with Churkin. She went to Vasili Churkin’s home in NY City yesterday to talk things over. A desire for cooperation was expressed thereafter. IMO the message delivered by her was “Don’t pay any attention to the hostile sounds we are making. They are for the benefit of people like McCain and Graham. All will be well.”

    I have seen remarks that Haley’s delivery of the anti-Russia speech at the UN was delivered in a monologue, and thus the tale is at least a little plausible.

    There is a fake but famous “Chinese Curse” which is relevant to our current soap opera:

    May you live in interesting times.

  23. Zachary Smith
    February 4, 2017 at 21:29

    After once predicting that Clinton’s proposal for a Syrian no-fly zone would “end up in World War III,” Trump also vowed to fix “what’s going on in Syria” by building “safe zones … so people can have a chance.”

    I’ve been through many google screens and still don’t know what “safe zone” means. If it’s just a new name for “no-fly” then we fight Russia after all. This issue isn’t a small one and Trump had better do a lot of consultations with people who know what they’re talking about instead of relying only on a bunch of half-assed fanatics.

    Iran? All I’ve seen so far is a sound-and-light show. I’m hoping that’s all it amounts to when the dust settles.

    Regarding Ukraine, I’ve a suspicion that Trump & Co. simply aren’t giving away any bargaining chips before the negotiations start.

    As for Yemen, Trump & Co. need to cut off Saudi Arabia cold and start rushing food aid to Yemen.

    • Kiza
      February 5, 2017 at 13:17

      The most famous safe-zone was the one declared by the West through UN in Srebrenica during the Bosnian war. In 1992, China was not on the world stage yet and Russia was under drunken Yeltsin. Thus the West could push a “safe-haven for civilians” resolution through UN. The Western safe-heaven in Srebrenica was so safe that a whole Bosnian Muslim Army division operated from it, but much, much worse, a vicious paramilitary (terrorist was not so heavily in use yet at the time) was operating from the “UN Safe Heaven” of Srebrenica, pillaging, raping and murdering thousands of Serb civilians in the mountain villages surrounding the valley and the town of Srebrenica.

      Now, there would be a chance of a snowflake in hell of the Western countries pushing a Syrian safe-heaven resolution through UN, the non-Western countries have wizened up to this double-talk construct: safe-haven is a safe base for our terrorists to operate from, a very old military concept re-packaged into the contemporary Western pretend-humanitarian rhetoric.

  24. February 4, 2017 at 21:26

    To begin with, there would never have been a 2014 civil war in the Ukraine if the Obama Administration had not engineered a coup de tat to replace the Ukraine’s democratically elected head of state with a brutal Neo-Nazi regime (which was friendlier with US and EU “corporate interests”). And the residents of Crimea voted overwhelmingly voted to return Crimea to being part of Russia in order to defend themselves from the brutal regime created by the Obama Administration. Nikki Haley’s rant was highly dishonest and hypocritical.

  25. February 4, 2017 at 21:05

    The US has been able to defeat Panama, Grenada and Haiti in the past seventy or so years of war. While the US pivoted to the Pacific on borrowed money, China pivoted to the Atlantic.

    China has built profitable free trade rail links to London, Madrid, Moscow, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France.

    A few US war mongers are becoming even wealthier as the country collapses in a no win series of chess matches with real masters. This can’t go on forever. Austerity squeezing regular working families is running out of real money as bridges, roads and schools sink into rust heaps.

  26. exiled off mainstreet
    February 4, 2017 at 20:39

    This, disappointingly, is an excellent and accurate comment. We knew we’d get WWIII with the harpy and hoped we might not get it with Trump. Things don’t look good now, especially in light of false accusations of Iranian actions on behalf of Saudi war criminals. Perhaps he is bending to the coup attempts or the situation, as I’m afraid, is as the author indicates. Flynn, as others have noted, is not as anti-Russian as the author indicates. What me may see is less intensity than we would have seen, and the Soros resistance may reduce the power of the yankee imperium by reducing the loyalty of the vassal states. Meanwhile, Trump’s victory may open the way for more competent populists to take over in what have heretofore been yankee vassals, creating more scope for action.

    • Kiza
      February 5, 2017 at 12:56

      The Russians do not appear to phased by Haley’s deadpan aggressive rhetoric. Would it not be an interesting reversal of the situation if US started talking tough whilst behaving cooperatively with Russia? I can see several good reasons why Trump wold want to “re-assure” the cowardly allies (NATO) and Nazi dependants (Porky’s Ukraine) that war is business as usual. This could be just my wishful thinking, but Trump is not a politician yet and his moves could be unorthodox. If I were in his shoes, I would certainly want to get all those rotten foreign courtiers off my back whilst I am developing the longer term understanding with my former self-declared enemy – Russia.

      But I can also understand why a frustrated liberal such as Daniel would be desperate to rush to judgement to prove that he was right all along on at least one thing – one pre-election promise that Trump will not keep – detente with Russia. Let things develop and then we will all be smarter.

  27. Dieter Heymann
    February 4, 2017 at 19:39

    The implied threats of this statement and the demand that the Crimea must be returned to Russia before certain sanctions on Russia can be lifted are in total conflict with the statements of candidate Trump and, until now, President Trump on his perceived “new relationship” with Russia. What has caused this abrupt change of policy? This Haley speech sounds like the opening salvo of a divorce lawyer!
    I have a hunch that President Trump was greatly displeased what President Putin was willing to give him during their phone conversation and is retaliating in classical Trump fashion.

    • Patrick Lucius
      February 4, 2017 at 20:54

      Maybe I have been watching RT too much, but what can we reasonably expect Russia to give up? Have not seen them invading countries left and right. Crimea is ethnically Russian and they don’t want to join Ukraine. It is also where a major Russian naval base is. They’d be remiss to give it up. If Russia participated in a coup on our borders–Canada or Mexico–we’do have gone ballistic. What happened to Obama? What happened to the Democrats, which is now the war party? They lost my membership. How long have they been the war party? I used to always assign that term to the Republicans, too easily I think; apparently it is and always has been co-owned to say the least. Yes I think our government has been bought. Is Trump going to try and undo that? Let’s give him a chance. Hrc was not a viable option.

      • FobosDeimos
        February 5, 2017 at 16:07

        That is correct. And Russia cannot forget that the “international community” approved of and cheered on as Kosovo, an integral part of Serbia, declared its unilateral “independence” in violation of UNSC’s resolutions that simply ordered talks aimed at granting Kosovo more autonomy within Serbia. That was Clinton’s way of showing Yeltsin what he really thought about him and Russia as a nation. After Kosovo no one can go with a straight face and accuse Russia of aggression for accepting the self determination of Crimea, a land that belonged to Russia for 200 years, until Khrushev gave it away to the Ukranian SSR.

  28. Jake G
    February 4, 2017 at 18:31
    • backwardsevolution
      February 6, 2017 at 00:47

      Jake G – thank you for posting that great link. If that is the case, if there is a kind of secret cooperation between Russia and the U.S., then my day just got made. It would be in keeping with what Trump promised. Thanks, Jake.

  29. Michael Morrissey
    February 4, 2017 at 17:52

    “Endless” war? How will that be possible with a US-Russia confrontation? I have heard that there are among the powers-that-be in Washington those who feel nuclear war is “winnable.” All very depressing.

    • February 5, 2017 at 13:54

      Well if the US starts another war ( that will be any day now) I do hope it does go nuclear because then the guys and girls who start it are going to be taken along with the rest of us. Nuclear war is the only just war because it will take the bankers and the CEOs of the MIC, the lawyers that give it legal cover, the doctors who design the torture techniques ,the 1/10 0f 1% ers and all those wing nuts like Lindsay Graham,John McCain, Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton and their offspring along with the targeted countries. The good thing is that the Hamptons and the Washington Suburbs and the residents there will be gone in a flash.

      Of course the US does not want war with Russia and China ( Yet) (China now, Russia later yes) because that would mean that the guys making all the money off wars in the US and Europe would go up in a radioactive cloud like the rest of us. But as soon as they think that they can survive that war it will be on. Like the French Aristocracy before the Terror, they still think that just maybe they are immune. They would soon find out that they are not.

      That s the real danger we face. The group think in Washington with the Beltway Warriors Club talking themselves into believing that the US can win a nuclear war. Sounds crazy to even think about that, but these guys and girls have managed to talk the US into war after unwinable war for the last 50 years. The naysayers are shuffled out of the Group Think Tanks and so all the remaining players simply are reduced to Bobble Head Dolls. We live in very dangerous times indeed.

  30. Peter Loeb
    February 4, 2017 at 17:37


    Many on the left have dreamed that many of the outrageous
    neocon foreign policies would end. Daniel Lazare’s contribution
    provides us with a meaningful correction to these illusions.

    (An unrelated correction in my mind has always been along
    the lines of…How many Palestinians are worth the sacrifice
    to acvhieve these foreign policy goals?How many Palestinian
    homes destroyed? How many persons of color murdered
    on US streets are we willing to tolerate? No, not that these
    various aspects are related as they obviously are NOT!!!)

    An appreciation to Mr. Lazare not only for his perceptive
    analysis but as well for providing us “news” (info about
    events) not mentioned anywhere else.

    —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  31. Al Schechter
    February 4, 2017 at 17:29

    Is Gen Flynn really ” … renowned for his fierce anti-Russian views … ? I think he is rather renowned for his fierce anti-Hillary Clinton views.

    • Kiza
      February 5, 2017 at 08:17

      Daniel mixed up Gen Flynn and another retired US Gen Breedlove, one real crazy mofo and a real-life Jack D. Ripper. Gen Flynn was a guest on RT several times and although not particularly friendly to Russia holds no animosity either.

      Daniel is also wrong on Syria having an S400 air defense system. There is one such and several latest S300VM systems (good against US stealth planes F22 and F35, if ever becomes combat ready), plus a marintime S300FM, but they are all under Russian command exclusively. Syria has received one or more S300 systems, not the Russian version then the export version.

  32. Dr. Ip
    February 4, 2017 at 17:08

    The tide comes in, the tide goes out. Not all is as it appears in the looking glass.

    The neocons are bold and ruthless in their endeavors, but Trump and his cabal are sneaky and sly. They need to disempower the old masters before they can plunder their holdings. The best cons work when the mark believes that things are finally going the way they should be. A quick return on an investment urges the mark to make an even bigger investment, even to go all in, and then comes the sting.

    Let’s wait and see how the sting unfolds. After all, has anyone heard angry words from the Russians yet? Of course the Iranian regime is as thin-skinned at the Trumpers, but you’d think they would have learned by now to shut up and just wait it out. If the wind blows this way today, it will blow the other way tomorrow. That one-fifth of the world’s oil reserves in Saudi Arabia is the most vulnerable fifth. In an all-out war with Iran — if one can assume that the Iranian supreme military command has any brains at all — it would be the Saudi oilfields and not Israel they would target. They are not only easily reachable, but cannot be defended from a massive short-range missile attack. No nukes needed.

    Trump has not yet played his ace: Freezing all Saudi accounts in the US banking system. Taking their money first and then taking their oil. I bet that 5 minutes after he put that plan in motion he would have the full backing of Congress and the American people.

    It’s not over until it’s over. And it has just begun.

    • Hayden Head
      February 4, 2017 at 18:11

      Thanks, I needed that! We may yet despair, but let’s bide our time a while longer.

    • backwardsevolution
      February 4, 2017 at 20:37

      Dr. Ip – thank you for some sanity. I too think that this appeasement is for a reason.

    • Ragnar Ragnarsson
      February 5, 2017 at 00:29

      Great comment Dr Ip. I also am hoping Trump is biding his time and has something up his sleeve. I’d like to think he knew what kind of resistance he was going to face, prepared for it and has a long term plan, with contingencies. I think factions of the deep state that want to throw the neocons out have had his ear for a while now.

      Given that the AG (Yates?) went insubordinate on him, who’s to say Haley didn’t do the same. Still too soon to tell what’s really going on.

      Maybe it’s all wishful thinking on my part, but I haven’t given up hope just yet. Trump’s not a stupid man. He may be a lot of things, but he’s not stupid.

    • JD
      February 5, 2017 at 09:40

      Saudi Arabia is a paper tiger.

  33. Herman
    February 4, 2017 at 17:08

    Paul Krugman said

    “He favored a rapprochement with Russia, for example, as well as a new approach in Syria in which the problem of Bashar al-Assad would be put off in order to concentrate on fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda.”

    The statement is fine except it implies that once we have defeated ISIS and Al Qaeda, we will go after Assad. ISIS and Al Qaeda are simply obstacle to getting at the real enemy, Assad. “Putting it off” as Krugman describes it. Sounds like endless war and regime change is still the objective. I think Krugman speaks for a lot of the American leadership who discovered that using ISIS and Al Qaeda to get rid of Assad did indeed have some flaws.

    Unhappily, I think our leader has joined the establishment although in fairness he has not buried working with Putin against ISIS and Al Qaeda. It does look like a grave he is digging, though.

    • JD
      February 5, 2017 at 09:39

      While Haley’s comments were disturbing and right out of the Obama-Powers playbook, nothing seems settled with this administration. Lazare’s characterization of the president as “a bully, racist xenophobe,” fits right into the 24/7 media barrage of hyper-partisan politics coming from the Obama Democrats, paid for by Soros’ millions. Others have pointed out the numerous errors in this slanted essay, but one suspects that the author is in fact hoping that cooperation with Russia will fail. Then he can say, “there, I told you so.”

      • CatsNjammer
        February 5, 2017 at 16:30

        I have a difficult time taking seriously any article in which the author is so obviously tilted in one direction. You always wonder what facts were omitted or just overlooked, which statements? How much honest research went into it? If a reporter is biased in any direction enough that he cannot keep from leaking it into his writing, then I feel that he/she is entirely too biased to be holding themselves out as news reporters.

  34. rosemerry
    February 4, 2017 at 17:05

    I notice the UN has already ruled out the advisability of “safe zones”, but that might not stop Trump (ans Hillary wanted them too).

    • backwardsevolution
      February 4, 2017 at 20:34

      rosemerry – I believe Hillary wanted “no-fly zones”. There’s a difference.

  35. Fergus Hashimoto
    February 4, 2017 at 16:47

    Moreover, the claim that Flynn hates Russia is clearly a complete fantasy. Flynn sat at Putin’s elbow at RT´s 10th anniversary bash in Moscow.

  36. Fergus Hashimoto
    February 4, 2017 at 16:35

    The raid on the Al Qaeda hideout in Yemen was not “disastrous” at all. It was a brilliant success. Three Al Qaeda leaders were killed and much information was retrieved. Most of the dead women had been shooting. As for the real civilians, their deaths resulted from their being present at a military location, namely an Al Qaeda base.
    I find it most peculiar that Mr. Lazare condemns Al Qaeda’s presence in Syria but appears to endorse it in Yemen.

    • rosemerry
      February 4, 2017 at 17:04

      I suppose the dead children were shooting too.

    • b fearn
      February 4, 2017 at 17:29

      Yep, America gives itself the right to kill the bad guys, and women, when ever it wants because this will be considered by some to a “brilliant success”.
      Apparently all this killing, export of arms and wars based on bullshit has been so successful that many americans are more than willing to continue with 15 year wars and all the associated disastrous consequences.

    • Brad Benson
      February 4, 2017 at 21:49

      It was a WAR CRIME and you are a fool.

    • GMC
      February 5, 2017 at 05:09

      I doubt that only 1 seal was killed – I’m betting a whole bunch and it was a very failed operation because even the clandestine community has been hinting in that direction. When you lose expensive aircraft – it just wasn’t a few ya- hoos shooting at you.

    • Joe J Tedesky
      February 6, 2017 at 11:46

      And with this ‘success’ just what did America gain?

  37. West Point Grad
    February 4, 2017 at 16:33

    Scary article but oh so true.

  38. D5-5
    February 4, 2017 at 16:31

    Thank you, Daniel Lazare, for this dish of cold water onto my fevered brow. Got it.

    “The international architecture is not completely unchangeable, but it will take more than a single loud-mouthed businessman to do it, particularly one as reactionary and confused as Donald Trump.”

    • Sam F
      February 4, 2017 at 18:45

      Yet he errs in attributing the Saudi alliance to oil: we can buy it from whomever has it, and they are just as concerned not to lose buyers. Otherwise they would have stopped selling it to us upon Iraq War I, or when we invaded Iraq and changed a largely-Sunni government to a predominantly-Shiite government. The oil “necessity” is an old neocon scam pushed by the MIC.

      • Herman
        February 4, 2017 at 20:19

        Sam F, thank you for pointing that out. Progressive often behind that tired old bromide. The world is floating in oil at the same time advances are being made in battery storage and solar.

      • Murali
        February 4, 2017 at 21:29

        I beg to differ with you Sam the real issue is not oil but it is Petro Dollar which the Gulf monarchies support in return for their safety. With Petro dollar we can print any amount of dollars with no consequences to our so called prosperity.

        • Sam F
          February 4, 2017 at 22:43

          I read economists but am not one. It seems that they are protecting their investments by leaving them in US bonds, whether or not their government is protected, and would do so if we were neutral politically. Why wouldn’t any successor to the Saudis continue to do that, or any other oil supplier, regardless of whom we buy it from?

        • Brad Owen
          February 5, 2017 at 09:45

          I agree. It’s the Money Power that steers global events, and hardly anything else matters. Let S. A. stop selling oil for dollars, selling only for BRICS-related currency, and see how quickly we knee-cap that monarchy, in a war to “bring democracy” to that nation. That’s also the source of all our Anglo-American Establishment’s madness; they’re losing their firm grip and control of the Money Power, despite all their MIC/intelligence/MSM/Government/Deep State assets they control, to control The Narrative. Their Money Power is set to blow up even worse than 2008, worse than1929, which, to their way of thinking, dictates war to degrade their BRICS monetary rivals, so as to not allow them to reign supreme, during our “temporary demise” into a few-centuries-long Dark Age. They don’t care about the welfare of anyone, only their continued reign over their monetary Empire without rival. How does one stop this madness?

        • FobosDeimos
          February 5, 2017 at 15:51

          Right on! And it is also the sacrosanct need to satisfy Israel’s every whim. Israel and the KSA are allies in their fight against the non-existent threat from Iran. And Obama got in bed with Al Qaeda for that reason. Jack D. Ripper and all the rest of Dr. Strangelove cast, under the putative command of The Apprentice will also make sure that things stay as they are. Trump is a hologram.

          • Eileen Kuch
            February 9, 2017 at 17:16

            You’re 100% correct, and I agree. The #1 reason is the sacrosanct need to satisfy Israel’s every whim. As you rightly said, Israel and the KSA are allies in their fight against the non-existent threat from Iran. Iran hasn’t attacked her neighbors in nearly 500 years, but we cannot say the same for Israel or the US. You’re also right in saying that Obama got in bed with al-Qaeda for that very reason.
            Donald Trump – throughout his campaign and in his Inaugural speech – pledged an end to perpetual warfare, good relations with the rest of the world (particularly Russia), bringing US companies back to the US, repairing her crumbling infrastructure and initiating fair trade with all. These pledges are the reason the vast majority of us voted for The Donald, instead of the evil, unstable Hillary Clinton.
            It was Hillary who rigged the primary election to steal the Democrat nomination from Sen. Bernie Sanders. Had Sanders won, Trump wouldn’t have won the November election .. However, Hillary did win the nomination, and she started doing the same in the general election, rigging it in her favor. Fortunately, that trick didn’t work, as the Bernie supporters either stayed home or voted for Trump (under no circumstances were they going to vote for Hillary).
            Here’s the clincher. If he reneges on his pledges, The Donald will be in serious trouble. It was these pledges on which the majority of voters chose him over Hillary.

      • Kiza
        February 5, 2017 at 07:43

        Sam F, in addition to the Petro dollar issue and one of the biggest ownership of US Gov bonds, you are also on the wrong track regarding what Saudis felt about Saddam’s Sunni-ruled Iraq. Saudi monarchy did finance Iraq when it attacked Iran, but the Saudi king at the time and Saddam had a falling out and the king even financed good part of the first US attack on Iraq, that is Gulf War I against the Sunni-ruled Iraq. Saudi monarchy are extreme Sunni Wahabists, who want to rule the Sunni domain and destroy the Shiite domain. Saudis do not tolerate any alternative Sunni factions.

        In short, US does not need Saudi oil, but it needs (in the order of increasing importance):
        1) to control Saudi oil and deny it to otgers if needed,
        2) to impose Petro dollar at the global level and thus keep US dollar as the only/main reserve currency, in order to be able print it in unlimited quantities, and
        3) to finance budget deficit by selling bonds to Saudis in return for the physical protection of the monarchy.

        Therefore, it is not only that Saudis carry the biggest bribing purse to Washington to have the Congress and Senate dance to their tune, then there is a deeper, symbiotic relationship between two countries, which would exist even without a single barrel of oil sold by Saudis to US.

        • Sam F
          February 5, 2017 at 08:04

          Yes, political bribery is their path to power. not currency value. The arguments that dollar stability and bond markets can be threatened to control a very large neutral power do not seem to work: the premise is assumed. Only a small currency could be controlled that way. Please clarify if you disagree.

          If the US simply had no large military, it could not reasonably even offer protection. The Saudi would have to hire mercenaries who generally would not agree with them, a dangerous option historically.

        • Sam F
          February 5, 2017 at 11:04

          I would add that the oil trade deficit and bond market does not appear to be enough to dictate US policy. The US could simply declare neutrality and switch to buying oil from Iran/Iraq/Venezuela/etc to force KSA to sell. If KSA switched to BRICS currency they could not sell enough oil to stay afloat. Also, the US makes little effort toward energy independence, which would be dictated by any injurious dependency. So I am not persuaded that it is a one-sided dependency. Please clarify if you disagree.

          With the evidence of KSA subversion of the US political process, the US could simply invade KSA and set up a democracy. That would end a lot of Mideast problems in one stroke.

        • Sam F
          February 5, 2017 at 11:14

          I should add also that the reason the US supports KSA is apparently their collusion with Israel in political bribery. Both of them are essentially totalitarian states in their treatment of minorities and dissent, and would be readily toppled. Neither of them has any distinct value to the US, and they are both engaged in subverting the US political process. Both of them are purely troublemakers in the Mideast, and US security would be better if their present forms of government were gone.

          • Kiza
            February 5, 2017 at 13:37

            Since Israel controls all Western countries absolutely, then Israel is the best proof of the old maxim that power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely. Even in the tough competition with its head-servant US for the place of the most vile nation on the planet, Israel wins hands down (BDS excepted).

        February 6, 2017 at 11:27

        Sam F,

        Agreed and well written. Amen

    • fudmier
      February 5, 2017 at 04:01

      D5-5 Trumps speaks for America; IO (Israel Occupied) USA speaks for the international community.
      The power of the international community is found in its secrecy, and, up till now, the USA has been able to hide such secrets in under cover of intelligence necessity; but if the public only knew?
      Harboring states secrets will diminish Trump power. The domestic and global intelligence communities would go berserk if all of its activities were made public; that knowledge would bring the public in nearly every country in the world up in arms to stop the kinds of corruption, crimes, use-of-force and BS that goes on in foreign lands to obtain “for a few”, massive corporate profit)..
      Trump’s sole claim to power comes from the public, but unless the public knows the truth and the facts, IO MEDIA will use propaganda to defeat any trump intention not in step with the Neocon agenda. Exposing intelligence community activities, histories and intentions can save Trump’s power to effect the international architecture Trump promised the American people.
      Few Americans willingly tolerate unnecessary war..most Americans want the immigration ban (corporations and universities are against hiring or training Americans; its part of their keep Americans dumb program). Nearly all Americans want USA foreign policy to change. Trump’s trump card is to be found in the power of public opinion; not in the power of the office he holds. American opinion is stronger than the entire international architecture; the Congress, the Courts. Everyone in America is watching and Trump is on center stage. There is a major, gigantic ever widening difference between the American people and the 527 salaried, elected members of the IO USA. Trump”s election proved that.

      • John
        February 7, 2017 at 12:39

        Kutchner and Friedman make clear that Trump is Israeli Occupied as well. Why else would he be talking about moving the embassy to Jerusalem?

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