Trump’s Continuation of US Interventionism

Criticizing his predecessors for misguided foreign wars, President Trump promised a break in that approach, but his National Security Strategy report indicates a shift more in rhetoric than substance, reports Dennis J. Bernstein.


By Dennis J Bernstein

President Trump’s recent report on National Security Strategy supposedly reflected his America First “realism” but his approach seems more like old wine in a new bottle, particularly his continued strong support for Saudi Arabia and Israel in the Middle East combined with an even more aggressive U.S. policy in Asia aimed at containing China as well as confronting North Korea.

President Trump outside the Department of Defense on July 20, 2017. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

For more background on Trump’s foreign policy, I spoke to Matthew Hoh. In 2009, Hoh resigned his position with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of the escalation of the Afghan War by the Obama administration. He previously had been in Iraq with a State Department team and with the U.S. Marines. He is a senior fellow with the Center of International Policy. Hoh is also a member of the advisory boards of Expose Facts, Veterans For Peace and World Beyond War.

Dennis Bernstein:  Before we get into Trump’s recent major speech on foreign policy, let’s take a look at Afghanistan, where you were posted by the State Department until you resigned in protest. Your thoughts after over 16 years of a US-waged war there?

Matthew Hoh: For the people of Afghanistan, this war has been going on since the 1970’s, much of it propelled by and supported by outside involvement.  It has been eight years now since I resigned.  If you had told me back then that this level of tragedy would still be continuing eight years on, there is no way I would have believed you.

It was just revealed by the Pentagon that in the last six months, American and Afghan commandos have conducted more than 2,000 raids in Afghanistan.  Americans are still there kicking in doors, raiding people’s homes in the middle of the night, killing them, taking prisoners.  This has happened over 2,000 times in Afghanistan in the last six months!  In addition to that, we have seen an escalation in air strikes, both from drones and from manned aircraft, in Afghanistan and throughout the Muslim world.

These poor suffering people are no closer to seeing an end to this horrific violence.  Money continues to pour in to support the war, people continue to get rich off the war, the opium trade continues to expand.

Bernstein: It’s interesting, there are two major things that Trump has done when it comes to Afghanistan.  One was to test out “the mother of all bombs” there and the other was to state that we are not going to make any commitment to withdraw by a certain date.

Hoh: Dropping the mother of all bombs was really the first indication of what war policy was going to look like under Trump.  Under Obama and under Bush, there was a political victory sought.  As immoral and misguided as the military aims were, there was a political end stated.  They encouraged elections, they assisted in development, they were involved in a process of reconciliation.

Under the Trump administration, there is no political end state.  People who were concerned about there being so many generals in the White House were concerned for a reason.  We have General Kelly as Chief of Staff, Mattis as Secretary of Defense and General McMaster as National Security Advisor.  You have military operations now conducted simply for military purposes. This new bomb is a great example of that.

They lied that it was used to go after a tunnel complex.  It was above ground and turns the entire area into one huge flash.  It is useless against tunnels.  The dropping of this bomb was meant to punish the people there because, a week prior, an American service member had been killed in that area.

This policy of terror and punishment is in common with other wars which America is leading in the region.  In Iraq, the US-led forces have demolished Sunni cities in the Euphrates and Tigris River Valleys.  Look at what the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates have been doing in Yemen, what the Kurdish forces along with the American Air Force have done to Raqqa as well as other cities in eastern Syria.  And in Afghanistan we are seeing an increase in air strikes, in artillery operations and in these night raids into people’s homes.

Our policy has become to terrorize people into subjugation.  And this ties into what Trump said on the campaign trail.  Trump said a number of times that he was going to “take the gloves off,” that our wars were too politically correct, that we should be killing the families of terrorists and destroying their homes, etc.

The photograph released by the White House of President Trump meeting with his advisers at his estate in Mar-a-Lago on April 6, 2017, regarding his decision to launch missile strikes against Syria.

Bernstein: President Trump gave his big speech yesterday [Monday, Dec. 18]  on US foreign policy.  What is your take on what was said?

Hoh: As has been pointed out by a number of commentators, Trump’s speech yesterday was really a public relations speech, affirming his status as the leader of the Make America Great Again campaign.  The first thing he talked about, as he was addressing the national security interests of the United States, was how thirteen months prior the American people elected him to be a “glorious new hope.”  The target of the speech was not China or Russia or the Islamic State.  Its purpose was to reaffirm to his domestic political base that he is the man to lead a policy of American exceptionalism.  This is the belief that American moral superiority is needed to keep the world in order.

If you wanted details, you weren’t going to get them in this speech.  I always tell people, if you want the details, go to the budget.  Just as in previous administrations, there is a preoccupation with China.  We are building ten new aircraft carriers that will cost $13 billion apiece.  That is meant for an adversary like China.  The Air Force refuses to even reveal the price tag of its new nuclear bomber.  Our nuclear weapons program will get a trillion dollar shot in the arm to modernize over the next thirty years.  These types of weapons are meant to intimidate our “competitors,” as Trump likes to call them, who might rival our power.

Bernstein: The Obama administration had a very aggressive policy in the so-called Pacific Pivot, drawing a ring around China to undermine it while at the same time asking for China’s support in dealing with North Korea.  Is it more dangerous now because Trump is a little more volatile and dangerous and might want to create a distraction from his troubles at home?

Hoh: For those of us on the left, we should not lose sight of what took place during Obama’s eight years which allowed this to happen.  The previous administration did nothing to hold the torturers accountable.  This makes it easier for a Donald Trump to proclaim that torture is back.

In the case of the Pacific Pivot, we are ringing China with military bases, strike aircraft and naval ships that would demolish anything that China has, despite the fact that they have expanded their military forces over the last couple decades.  A modern conventional war with China would last a week at the outside.  Obama did a lot to heighten those tensions.

For centuries, the Chinese have had to deal with colonization and the imperialist ambitions of various powers.  A hundred years ago, the American Navy was present on Chinese rivers!  What we are seeing now is really an extension of gunboat diplomacy.  So when, today, the Chinese hear of American plans to build new aircraft carriers and bombers and nuclear cruise missiles, and know that this is geared toward them, it is not difficult to predict how they are going to react.

I think Trump truly believes that, through our weapon superiority and our violence, we can be a great nation again.  And also, as you mentioned, there’s the “wag the dog” phenomenon.  What if his son does get indicted (which is probably what he deserves)?  Will he do something to distract from that?  Clinton did something similar to distract attention from the Monica Lewinsky affair.  It is not uncommon for politicians to get the media and the public to focus elsewhere.

But the fact that Trump has these generals on his cabinet who are driven by their military mindset and tend not to have the political concerns that civilians have, makes this administration more dangerous than the previous two.

Bernstein: I’d like to hear your thoughts on Russiagate.

Hoh: First of all, if the Russian intelligence services were not trying to hack into the DNC and RNC computers in order to understand our election system, as well as everything else about us, then the head of Russian intelligence should be fired.  This is what intelligence services do.  We’ve known about hacking for decades now.  It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that they did hack into these systems.  However, evidence of this has not been presented to the American public, other than assertions from the intelligence community, whose chief function is to lie.

Normally, what is called a “national intelligence estimate” is done, which follows specific guidelines and is reviewed by all the different agencies.  This is what was doctored under the Bush administration to allow for the war in Iraq.  But we also saw it with the 2007 national intelligence estimate, which said that the Iranians had not been doing anything with their nuclear weapons program since 2003.

So, within the intelligence community, they do have a process that would substantiate these claims of Russian interference in our elections but that process has not been utilized.  This hand-picked group of a dozen or so men and women from a few different agencies produced a report that says, in effect, “trust us.”  I am very skeptical, because no real evidence has yet to be produced.

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of “Flashpoints” on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom. You can access the audio archives at

78 comments for “Trump’s Continuation of US Interventionism

  1. Zachary Smith
    January 2, 2018 at 20:07

    I want it understood that I realize Trump is a disaster. The old rich guy is both ignorant and arrogant and stubborn. On the other hand, think about what we might have had in the White House.

    The coming shift: Hillary Clinton’s plans for Israel and Iran
    October 27, 2016

    This was back when Queen Hillary was preparing to graciously accept her scepter, for she KNEW she was going to be President. Though we’ve had our noses rubbed in the reality of how bad Trump has turned out, take at look at what we dodged.


    News stories in the US may not have been so blatant about it, but Holy Israel didn’t hold back. This was their dream President. The first photograph in the link shows Hillary with Laura Rosenberger, a real right-wing neocon. She may have missed out on an important Hillary Administration job, but she’s still doing good neocon work. To wit:

    Shredding the Putin Playbook

    Take a look at the link to see some real crap. These two nuts are spouting the most insane nonsense as if it were the truth. According to these nuts, Russia is responsible for every known evil in the world.


    The co-author of that piece is also a real gem.

    Neocons never go away–Marco Rubio hires Jamie Fly, ultra-hawk on Iran

    Fly and his organization argue for the exact opposite: they are for a large footprint in the Middle East; favor the U.S.’s one-sided deference to Israeli wishes; and push military intervention in Syria and Iran.

    So yes, Trump is rich ***** who has no business at all being in the White House or any other elective position I know of. He’s a functional moron, a *s e x u a l* predator, and a general jerk.

    All that said, perhaps we ought to count ourselves lucky we have that clueless monster instead of the alternative offered in the 2016 Presidential election.

    My own personal nightmare is that Hillary will be running against him again in 2020.

  2. Zachary Smith
    December 31, 2017 at 13:10

    Iran – Early U.S. Support For Rioters Hints At A Larger Plan

    The Moon of Alabama blogger has a new story updating Neocon maneuvering in Iran. The general plan appears to copy the strategies used in Ukraine and Syria. Though the element of “surprise” is missing now, Iran is vulnerable on account of the NeoLiberal policies of the current government. Unfortunately, President Rouhani resembles Hillary Clinton more than he does Bernie Sanders on domestic issues. “TPP is great” sorts of things.

    The usual group of Neocon suspects are going to be able to get some leverage from genuine economic issues in Iran, and will try to turn them into “regime change”. And I suspect they don’t care how much Iranian blood is spilled in the process.

  3. Zachary Smith
    December 31, 2017 at 12:55

    The Saker makes some cautious predictions for 2018. His essay begins with this sad remark.

    If the first months of 2017 were a time of great hopes following the historical defeat of Hillary Clinton, the year is ending in a sombre, almost menacing manner. Not only has the swamp easily, quickly and totally drowned Trump, but the AngloZionist Empire is reeling from its humiliating defeat in Syria and the Neocons are now treating our entire planet to a never ending barrage of threats.

    I was inclined to view Trump as I first did Obama – “Maybe he won’t be so bad.” Obviously that didn’t work out for either one of them. (but at least I don’t have my personal fingerprints on Trump as I did Obama)

    Later on the Saker has this to say about the US “planners” and “doers”.

    Besides people with intelligence there is another type of people which now has completely disappeared from the US national security establishment: people with honor/courage/integrity. Let’s take a perfect example: Tillerson.

    There is no way we can make the argument that Tillerson is an idiot. The man has proven many times over that he is intelligent and quite talented. And yet, he is Nikki Haley’s doormat. Nikki Haley – there is the real imbecile! But not Tillerson. Yet Tillerson lacks the basic honor/courage/integrity to demand that this terminal imbecile be immediately fired or, if that does not happen, to leave and slam the door really loud. Nope, the man just sits there and takes humiliation after humiliation. Oh sure, he will probably resign soon, but when his resignation comes it will have no value, it will be a non-event, just the sad and pathetic conclusion to a completely failed stint as Secretary of State.

    The same goes for the US military: not one single officer has found in himself/herself to resign to protest the fact that the USA is deeply in bed with those who are responsible, at least according to the official conspiracy theory, for 9/11. Nope, in fact US special forces are working with al-Qaeda types day in and day out and not a single one of these “patriots” has the honor/courage/integrity to go public about it.

    Imbeciles and cowards. I also happen to think that they are traitors to their country and their people. Patriots they are not.

    Delusional imbeciles giving orders and dishonorable cowards mindlessly executing them. That is the setup we are dealing with. As Trump would tweet “not good”.

    Alas, this is also a very hard combo to deter or to try to reason with.

    Lots more of interesting reading at the link. He may or may not be right about all this stuff, but there is plenty there to chew on.

  4. aprilmurphy444
    December 31, 2017 at 07:12
  5. Zachary Smith
    December 30, 2017 at 17:51

    It seems that Secretary of Defense Mattis is beginning to get stung from news reports of the slaughter in Yemen. His reaction:

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary James Mattis said Friday the U.S. is determined to reduce the number of civilian casualties in the Saudi-led campaign against rebels in Yemen and will press ahead with efforts to train Saudi pilots to identify legitimate targets.

    We’re not going to stop sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia. We’re not going to stop refueling the Saudi bombers. Nope. We’re going to make some kind of new target identification cards for the Saudi Pilots! How nice. Assuming those Saudi pilots haven’t been instructed by their Israeli advisors to bomb the hell out of everything, this might work. Assuming again that the Saudi pilots give a hoot about who they kill. Finally, a third assumption that the people flying those bombers aren’t foreign mercenaries. In the meantime:

    At the same time, he blamed the rebels for stockpiling weapons in residential areas, which he said was not a sign that they care about the safety of civilians.

    For what it’s worth, Mad Dog Mattis said the same things about Raqqa and Mosul when the US was officially in charge.

    BTW, the link quotes the standard death total of 10,000. As the blogger at the xymphora site remarks, no matter how many bombing raids or famines or epidemics happen, the number of dead bodies is stubbornly stuck at 10,000.


  6. Frank
    December 30, 2017 at 04:26


  7. elmerfudzie
    December 29, 2017 at 09:51

    As long as international corporations such as Halliburton, Brown & Root and hundreds of supporting contractors, continue to buy seats in the congress of the United States, Trump’s hands like all preceding presidents, are tied. They cannot alter the momentum of a militarized and lopsided economy. This momentum has been true since the Viet Nam war. Failure to pass Campaign finance reform in congress, failure to advertise for and reenact the issuance of War Bonds (similar to FDR’s Series E), failure to pass a flat war tax, has collapsed our economy (all fictive capital now). These legislative failures were made even more distressing with that Supreme Court decision to interpret money as being at par with free speech. If anything, Trump has accelerated our economic collapse with tax cuts and simultaneously authorizing the construction of two new aircraft carriers. These “sitting ducks” will cost us about fourteen billion dollars, will require over ten thousand sailors and both can be utterly destroyed at the cost of a two million dollar Chinese or Russian hyper sonic cruise missile(s). The military lobbies have got us all by the “family jewels” and they are taking the Western Occident nations down a path of total annihilation. Their thirst for global control and ” blood wealth” is, in a word, bottomless. I needn’t remind CONSORTIUMNEWS readers about that last fiasco, The Iraq War, where a planned construction of the Haifa Pipeline by Bechtel or was it Halliburton? cost the lives of some five hundred thousand Iraqis, most of them children. Apparently “our man in Iraq” Sadam, (CIA asset par excellence) didn’t want this deal to go through, so- he and almost a million Iraqi’s were annihilated. I’m not a peace-nick, by any means, there is time to fight (Un and his missile threats) and there’s a time to stand down and withdraw. Once this confrontation with North Korea is settled, it will be followed by a special moment in history, to just “let go”, pass the Pacific Theater policing to an Australian, New Zealand, Japan, Philippines and Malaysia (they need to create a Navy from scratch!) Naval Asian-Alliance. Let’s give them the ships and tools required to begin monitoring China’s brown to blue water expansionist plans. Good luck, to the transfer of our USPACOM over to Americas long standing and closest allies! we can’t afford it anymore. Again, after North Korea is over, please, don’t come back crying to us, we’ve had IT!, in terms of blood and treasure, morally, ethically and politically!

  8. December 29, 2017 at 00:50

    During the Republican Convention in 2016 the Trump team pulled from the Republican platform language which called for providing arms to Ukraine.
    At the time it was noted that the Trump team was essentially supporting the position of then President Obama against sending arms to Ukraine.
    Now, at the end of 2017 President Trump has done a 180 degree turn on that position from 2016 and is calling for sending arms to Ukraine.
    I would venture to say that President Donald Trump is sounding a lot like then candidate Hillary Clinton.

  9. j. D. D.
    December 28, 2017 at 18:16

    It is time to confront the underlying dogma that is preventing the true introduction of peace.The British-originated doctrine of geopolitics has started two world wars, and created a state of almost perpetual war, with the idea of “national interests” which says that for one nation or group of nations to advance, another must fall; for one to win, another must lose; and ultimately, wars will determine the outcome.The Trump Administration is still divided between geopolitical rivalries on one hand, and common economic progress on the other. In the President’s presentation of a National Security Doctrine, he may have called China and Russia “rivals” rather than the doctrine-writers’ “adversaries” and “enemies”; but this is still geopolitics. The attempt to drive Trump from office with “Russiagate” is pure British-American intelligence driven geopolitics, based on the premise that Russia and China, as great powers, are America’s great adversaries. If Trump wants collaborative relations with them, geopolitics must be abandoned, and replaced with the notion that one nation’s prosperity can and will benefit all others. or as China, which practices this in its New Silk Road foreign policy, simply calls it “win-win.”

  10. December 27, 2017 at 20:08

    Actually, godenich, “The Black Count” is not a novel but is nonfiction based on Dumas-Davy’s life. It’s only Reiss’s second work and got him a Pulitzer, that’s how interesting the topic is!

    • godenich
      December 29, 2017 at 04:54

      Yes, my error, “Biography”! Great works, all, for my Dumas collection. The Pentagon Study is also a gem!

  11. December 27, 2017 at 19:27

    Since Trump knows little or nothing of history and power politics, but loves power, he is a perfect chess piece to be moved around by the MIC. Mad magazine showed him on a box of “Tweeties”; he loves the show, never mind what’s playing!

  12. December 27, 2017 at 18:17

    Donald J Trump is like that former guy who said ‘I’m in charge, now’, when it was the Vice President who would have been in charge. So now, since Donald J Trump is both President of the U.S., and in charge of the U.N., God can take the day off. What a relief.

  13. December 27, 2017 at 18:10

    I guess president Donald J Trump thinks since he is POTUS, and buddy buddy with Netenyahu, that everyone in the United Nations should throw in the towel and go home, and Donald Trump should be declared the new King of the World.

    • backwardsevolution
      December 27, 2017 at 18:34

      L.G. Swift – if you think Donald Trump is controlling the U.S. government, then you need to think again.

      • Drogon
        December 27, 2017 at 19:26

        Yeah L.G. Swift, didn’t you get the memo that you need to keep adjusting your thinking until you’re 100% in tune with backwardsevolution? Let’s have no more thought crimes outta you :)

        • backwardsevolution
          December 27, 2017 at 20:35

          Drogon – and you’re telling me to drop the sarcasm? Okay then. Anyone watching what’s been going on (Russiagate, Uranium One, the Clinton Foundation, the Steele Dossier, the destruction of subpoenaed emails, destruction of hard drives, the “coincidental” meeting on the Arizona tarmac, Comey deciding Hillary did nothing wrong, when he should have sent his factual findings to the Attorney-General, the leaks, using the phoney Steele dossier to get FISA warrants to spy on the Trump administration) would find it hard to come to the conclusion that Trump is controlling the U.S. government.

          Trump is being destroyed. But a funny thing is happening: people are noticing the lies and destruction. They are waking up.

          It’s a free country and you can have any thoughts you want. Just examine the facts before you make up your mind.

          • Drogon
            December 28, 2017 at 19:08

            backwardsevolution – Yes, I’m telling you to drop the sarcasm. I posted this comment after you posted yours. Go back and look at the time stamps. And for whatever it’s worth, I’m gonna toss your own advice back into your face: please examine the facts before you make up YOUR mind. Stop and consider the possibility that you’re not nearly as enlightened as you’d like to think.

  14. December 27, 2017 at 17:45

    The Pentagon published a paper titled “The US Empire is Collapsing” in June 2017, discussed by Nafeez Ahmed on Alternet under exactly that title, and Abe’s reference to the NSS supports their fear expressed in that paper. China and Russia as “revisionist powers” are discussed as the biggest threat, with other threats from Iran and North Korea, and the Joint Chiefs admit that these are threats because they desire to further their own “nationalist interests”. (Imagine that?!) Yet the Pentagon strategy is more of the same, increased military might. Nowhere do they discuss budget. Internet is also discussed as threatening their ability for secrecy, hence we have the push for net neutrality restriction. Trump fell right for their game. If the GOP tax plan passes, the new version of “trickle-down”, collapse should be hastened. Where’s the money going to come from? And now with Trump and Bibi ratcheting up the world social dystopia with this Jerusalem business, certainly looks messy.

    Incidentally, check out the fascinating Pulitzer Prize book by Tom Reiss, “The Black Count”, about Alexandre Dumas-Davy, born on Haiti to a French aristocrat sugar/coffee planter and black female slave. Dumas-Davy rose to prominence in revolutionary France and even became Brigadier-General in France’s Revolutionary Wars under Napoleon. His son was the writer Alexandre Dumas, who based “The Count of Monte Cristo” loosely on some events in his father”s life. (Common Tater’s statement about “left” and “”right” in politics originating with seating of royalists and republicans is one of many historical references and the book is an enlightening read.)

    • godenich
      December 27, 2017 at 19:44

      You reminded me of the movie, “The Shawhank Redemption”. Like “Great Books of the Western World”[1], great works of the world, like those of Dumas[2,3], can be found on the “Internet Archives”, “Gutenberg” and “Librivox”. “Black Count”[3] sounds like a tempting novel before watching the movie.

      [1] Great Books of the Western World | Wikipedia
      [2] Books by Dumas, Alexandre (sorted by popularity) | Gutenberg
      [3] Alexandre Dumas | Librivox
      [4] The Black Count | Tom Reiss|

    • Abe
      December 27, 2017 at 21:29

      At Our Own Peril: DoD Risk Assessment in a Post-Primacy World

    • Abe
      December 27, 2017 at 21:32

      Pentagon study declares American empire is ‘collapsing’
      By Nafeez Ahmed

      DoD report demands massive expansion of military-industrial complex to maintain global “access to resources”

  15. backwardsevolution
    December 27, 2017 at 16:49

    Paul Craig Roberts also said: “Is the fault Trump’s or the fault of the military/security complex, the DNC, and the presstitute media for putting Trump in a desperate situation?” He goes on to say:

    “As I have emphasized repeatedly, Americans as a result of their insouciance and patriotism live in a world in which the explanations they are given by government and the presstitutes are used to control what they think and believe. In this way, government and the interest groups that control government make their agendas independent of any control by the citizens. In the United States, and probably throughout the Western world, democracy simply does not exist. George Orwell predicted that this would be the case by 1984, but it took the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes to achieve it. Today in 2017 Big Brother does indeed rule the Western World.

    Trump’s election was like Reagan’s. He appealed to the people instead of to the ruling interest groups. As a high official in Reagan’s government who was aligned with Reagan’s goals to end stagflation and the Cold War, I experienced first hand the cost of going against the powerful interest groups that are accustomed to ruling. We took part of their rule away from them, but now they have taken it back. And they are now stronger than before. Essentially, Trump is powerless and is limited to expressing his frustrations on Twitter.

    In my opinion, the lesson being dealt to Trump will teach any future presidential candidate not to challenge the ruling oligarchy by appealing to the American people.

    This means that democracy in America is stone dead. I sometimes wonder if democracy can be revived without violent revolution, and of course revolutions can go wrong.

    Are Americans capable of violent revolution? If they are not, will the greedy elites remain in control until they stumble into a nuclear war?”

    Trump’s presidency is doing one thing, though: shining a light on the scum that rule the U.S. He has brought them out from behind the curtain, exposed them. This exposition is causing them to twist, lie, bring in censorship, label opponents as purveyors of “fake news”.

    If that’s all his presidency does (with the forces allied against him, probably all we could expect of him), it will have been successful.

    • Sam F
      December 27, 2017 at 19:50

      Yes, Trump is “shining a light on the scum that rule the U.S” who ensure that “democracy in America is stone dead” but it is less clear how they have taken power back from the self-financed maverick.

      An overreaching president intent upon restoration of democracy could do so unless honey-trapped after election. He could investigate Congress for bribery, jail the lot of them along with the corrupt judiciary, turn over mass media temporarily to the universities, hold new elections a year later, demand amendments to restrict funding of mass media and elections to limited individual contributions, and repeat the process until they do that. Of course he must first install a shadow high command of military and intel agencies, and give them time to study and terminate potential coup plotters and secret power centers.

      I would suggest that he had no support group of experts, just a few friendly ideologues, and was surrounded by the NSC and mil/intel agencies, until they were his entire social group, and convinced him that they know better how to run the country. His surrounding himself with generals strongly suggests that he is merely socially controlled due to lack of knowledge, preparation, and organization. That would be pathetic but unsurprising.

      • backwardsevolution
        December 27, 2017 at 22:07

        Sam F – yes, Sam, Trump could do a lot of things, but I don’t think he knows enough to do them. As Jessica said down below, “Since Trump knows little or nothing of history and power politics, but loves power, he is a perfect chess piece to be moved around by the MIC.” Sad, but true.

        Trump wasn’t a career politician, like Hillary or Obama. You almost have to be to know your way around the Swamp. I think Trump had an inkling that it was a Swamp, but I don’t think he realized the extent of the corruption. I also don’t think he realized (he’s probably becoming aware of this now) that the corruption goes down several levels in the State Department, the Justice Department, the FBI, CIA, NSA, Pentagon, etc. Career professionals leaking and resisting his administration.

        I remember Paul Craig Roberts saying right after Trump won the election that he would have trouble finding people who wouldn’t be opposed to him. Washington, D.C. is full of Democrats who absolutely hate his guts (as evidenced by the emails coming out of the FBI recently), and these are the career professionals Trump had to choose from. Given enough lead time, he probably could have done it, thrown out the old and picked good replacements, but I don’t think he actually dreamed he was going to win.

        I read that he might have surrounded himself with generals for protection (at least they might be pretending to give him protection).

        Paul Craig Roberts also said right after the election that if Trump did not do what they wanted him to do, he would be assassinated. I remember getting chills just the way he said it, so sure he was that they would take him out. Perhaps Trump has been warned.

        Good talking to you, Sam.

      • turk151
        December 27, 2017 at 22:12

        My understanding is that he surrounded himself with Generals because the army is the only institution left that is not thoroughly corrupted and stands for the US.

        • backwardsevolution
          December 27, 2017 at 23:02

          turk151 – good point.

  16. backwardsevolution
    December 27, 2017 at 16:12

    From Paul Craig Roberts:

    “Trump is portrayed by the presstitutes as an idiot. But he is not an idiot. Idiots don’t wind up being billionaires or married to the most beautiful woman on earth. Idiots don’t have the confidence to take on the interest groups that control the two political parties and win a presidential election.

    Trump is anything but dumb, but he understands now that he is not really the president of the United States.

    The United States is ruled by the military/security complex, by the Federal Reserve in the interests of the big banks and Wall Street, by the extractive industries as evidenced by Trump handing over to them two national monuments in Utah to be ravaged, raped, and ruined for their profit, and by the Israel Lobby, which has kept Washington at war in the Middle East for 16 years. The American people have no input into decisions. Americans are powerless and helpless, like Jews and everyone else in the Nazi camps and like the Palestinians in the Gaza ghetto. They have no voice and are irrelevant to the decisions made in Washington.

    Once you understand this, you can understand why Trump would move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The Israel Lobby is one of the most powerful interest groups in Washington. Trump, under attack from so many quarters, can do no better than to have the Israel Lobby and Mossad on his side.

    Who else can Trump turn to? The people in flyover America who elected him are powerless. The Israel Lobby isn’t.”

    • Drogon
      December 27, 2017 at 16:32

      Please. Trump didn’t suddenly decide to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem as part of some desperate, last-ditch attempt to save his presidency by currying favor with the Israel Lobby. Throughout his 2016 campaign he repeatedly promised that if elected he’d move the embassy. In fact, he’s on the record as saying he’d relocate it “fairly quickly” after taking office, suggesting that he considered the matter a bit of a personal priority. All of this was, of course, well before Russiagate hysteria gripped the MSM or Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel. The truth is, Trump moved the embassy because he felt like it and because he’s never been one to listen to advice once his mind is made up.

      • backwardsevolution
        December 27, 2017 at 18:29

        Drogon – “…because he felt like it and because he’s never been one to listen to advice once his mind is made up.”

        Yeah, right, Drogon. No, there’s no pressure on Trump. Why, he just goes around doing whatever he wants! (sarc)

        Look at what happened when Trump moved the embassy to Jerusalem. Where was the political uproar? Crickets. That’s because almost every U.S. politician is owned by the Israel lobby.

        Look at what happened when Trump wanted to make friends with Russia. Russiagate, the Steele dossier, Mueller (the corruption is beginning to escape through the barn door, though, and we’re beginning to hear exactly what happened). Comey, Rosenstein, Mueller, the upper slime in the FBI, NSA, CIA and the Justice Department will all be behind bars before this is over. Yeah, on Russia, Trump did exactly what he wanted, didn’t he (not!)

        Trump is allowed to do some things and not others. It all depends on whether the Deep State want it or not. He is not in control anymore than you are.

        • Drogon
          December 27, 2017 at 19:31

          I clearly stated that, on the matter of the embassy move, Trump did it because he felt like it. Nowhere in my comment do I say anything about Trump ALWAYS being able to do what he wants. Please lose the sarcasm and stick to addressing what was said.

          • backwardsevolution
            December 27, 2017 at 20:07

            Drogon – your “Please.” started off the sarcasm. I’d be happy to stop.

            And I clearly stated that Trump does nothing “because he felt like it”. There are great forces on Trump. No other President has had a full frontal attack like Trump has suffered under. Constant, 24/7 attacks on everything he does. Even President Carter said that he’s never seen anything like it.

            Imagine if Obama had been confronted with this. Of course, he wasn’t confronted with this behavior because he pretty much went along with whatever they dictated he go along with. Easy, peazy. And at the very tail end of his Presidency, Obama suddenly decides he’s going to thwart Israel? I don’t believe it. He wouldn’t be making money on his speaking tours if he did it without prior consent.

            Trump is being an idiot, yes, but he’s new. I think he’s wising up right about now.

    • Larco Marco
      December 27, 2017 at 02:44

      ‘The al-Tanf base is located within the 55km “de-confliction” buffer zone.’ Why does this buffer zone still exist??!!??

  17. Zachary Smith
    December 26, 2017 at 23:06

    “Trump’s Continuation of US Interventionism”

    Regarding this essay’s title:

    US lets militants train, mount attacks from its Syrian bases – chief of Russian General Staff Published time: 27 Dec, 2017 01:02

    The US is hosting training camps for militant groups in Syria, including former ISIS fighters who fled from Raqqa, said the head of Russia’s General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, citing data obtained by aerial surveillance.

    The US forces have effectively turned their military base near the town of al-Tanf in southeastern Syria into a terrorists’ training camp, Gerasimov said in an interview to Russia’s Komsomolskaya Pravda daily on Wednesday.

    “According to satellite and other surveillance data, terrorist squads are stationed there. They are effectively training there,” Gerasimov said, when asked about what’s going on at the base.

    The general also said the US has been using a refugee camp in northeast Syria, outside the town of Al-Shaddadah in al-Hasakah province, as a training camp for the remnants of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group, including those evacuated from Raqqa, and other militants.

    I suppose this begins to explain why the US has been rescuing ISIS head choppers and human flesh eaters when they’ve been on the verge of getting destroyed. A final all-out attack on Syria and Lebanon may be in the cards after all.

    Thanks, Obama. Thanks, Trump.

    • Mercutio
      December 27, 2017 at 03:28

      “They might be head choppers and human flesh eaters, but they are OUR head choppers and human flesh eaters!”

      Something like that I guess…

  18. Bob In Portland
    December 26, 2017 at 14:10

    Negotiations over. The Deep State won. Trump apparently gets to be President if he goes along with every war that the Deep State wants. How much further Syria goes is debatable, but the big one has always been Ukraine.

    • backwardsevolution
      December 27, 2017 at 16:05

      Bob in Portland – “Negotiations over. The Deep State won. Trump apparently gets to be President if he goes along with every war that the Deep State wants.”

      You nailed it. It is exactly as you’ve stated. The media, the military/intelligence agencies, the Department of Justice and the FBI are all keeping Trump on the edge of impeachment. Right on the very edge. If Trump steps out of line and they can’t get him on impeachment, they’ll use assassination.

      While a good deal of the population has an understanding (or at least an inkling) that this is going on, there is also a huge number of brainwashed idiots who actually believe the lies that the media are telling.

      The President has been hogtied.

    • Drogon
      December 27, 2017 at 16:14

      I don’t see this as the “deep state” defeating Trump at all. IMO Trump is, and always has been, a warmonger. Just a different type of warmonger from those we’re used to seeing in power. True, he has no apparent interest in using military force for traditional imperial/neocon priorities such as expanding NATO or engaging in dubious “regime change” and “democracy building” projects. But he appears to have an almost visceral conviction that what makes America “great” is its superior firepower combined with an utter contempt for diplomacy and a need to lash out at anyone who challenges him. He campaigned relentlessly on strengthening military spending, repealing the defense sequester, and boosting the numbers of troops, ships, and aircraft. Only a warmonger would look at America’s current military budget and think this should be our top priority for ADDITIONAL spending. To paraphrase Abraham Maslow: “if all you have is a well-funded military, everything looks like a military target.”

      • BobS
        December 27, 2017 at 18:05

        Forget it, Drogon…it’s Consortium News.
        Where everything is…THE DEEP STATE!!!!

        • Anon
          December 27, 2017 at 19:06

          Troll alert; to be ignored.

      • backwardsevolution
        December 27, 2017 at 18:08

        Drogon – I totally disagree that Trump is and always has been a warmonger. I think he’s always believed in having a strong defense to protect the U.S. But what he said during his election campaign (cutting back NATO, or possibly ending it, and making peace and doing business with other countries, not making war) is I think exactly how Trump thinks.

        Trump is a builder, not a destroyer. He likes to be surrounded by fine things (his apartment, his wife, his plane, his family, his golf courses, his buildings). Destroyers are not interested in these things; they could care less about them. They are only interested in destruction and conquest.

        Trump wanted to make America “beautiful” again too. He is being stopped from doing this (see Paul Craig Roberts’ post below).

        Maslow also said that self-actualizing people want to be first-class, the very best that they can be. Destructive people (the warmongers) are situate at the lower end of Maslow’s heirarchy.

        • BobS
          December 27, 2017 at 18:44

          “I think…”
          And it seems to be all downhill from there.

          • backwardsevolution
            December 27, 2017 at 18:50

            BobS – yeah, and there’s no DEEP STATE either, is there, Bob? (sarc) And it seems to be all downhill from there.

        • Drogon
          December 27, 2017 at 20:05

          And for my part backwardsevolution, I totally disagree that Trump is fundamentally a “builder” who wants to make America “beautiful” again. There’s a string of lawsuits, liens, and court judgments out there that document Trump’s penchant for failing to pay his employees and small businesses for work that they’ve done. ( And let’s not forget Trump University, which was basically just a way to separate the credulous from their money in exchange for worthless “business seminars.

          IMO people like Trump aren’t builders or creators, they’re users. They go through life viewing every interaction as purely transactional: what can this person/group/nation do to help or hurt me? How can I maximize what I get from them while simultaneously minimizing what I have to give to them? He’s laissez-faire capitalism personified. He’s not self-actualizing, he’s self-aggrandizing. Does that automatically make him a warmonger? Maybe not. But sadly war is exceptionally good for business, especially if you can make sure that all the fighting and dyeing happens somewhere far away from you.

          • backwardsevolution
            December 27, 2017 at 23:00

            Drogon – goodness, who said anything about Trump being a self-actualized person. But he’s farther up Maslow’s hierarchy than previous Presidents or presidential-wanna-be’s have been. They’re still at the bottom wallowing around in the corruption muck.

            Trump built hotels and golf courses; Churchill built toy soldier battlefields while young, and then took his country to war when he grew up. There IS a difference. War is the last thing on Trump’s mind. Trump’s dream is restoring America’s infrastructure, the economy, bringing jobs back, securing the U.S. border. The only war Trump was interested in was the war against the Swamp.

            To the rest of your post, I would say “know thyself”. I find it hard to believe that you haven’t lived your life exactly the way you’ve stated above, without even knowing it.

  19. December 26, 2017 at 13:31

    I believe Santa Trump’s Tax Cut will be a “Continuation” of more money for the War Criminals Agenda. See more at link below.
    December 24, 2017
    “Santa Trump and His Tax Cut: Ho, Ho, Ho”

  20. mike k
    December 26, 2017 at 13:27

    A companion piece to this one is the link below that describes the administrations plans to create new excuses for interventions, including nuclear ones:

    And please don’t tell me, “this is nothing new, it’s always been like this.” No it has not. I see a cartoon in my mind’s eye, where two spectators see mushroom clouds sprouting all over the world, and one of them is saying these asinine words to his companion. Our history never repeats itself in how it unfolds, it is constantly changing and mutating into new and unexpected forms. We may never step into the same stream twice, and your naïve expectation that things will go on pretty much the same is ridiculous. Another cartoon: One dinosaur witnessing the Yucatan comet streaking down says to his companion, “We’ve always had stuff falling out of the sky, nothing to worry about.”

    • Mercutio
      December 27, 2017 at 03:36

      Is my mind playing tricks on me, or Looney Tunes(or was it MGM?) actually HAD a cartoon with almost exactly same scene? I vaguely remember those two explosion engulfing the planet and something about post-apocaliptic world where animals study human political books in a ruined church.

  21. exiled off mainstreet
    December 26, 2017 at 12:41

    Either the KIng has bad advisors, the king himself is bad, or it is some combination of the two. The king himself may have had some common sense, but he was convinced to appoint the bad advisors, who have also convinced him that what common sense views he may have held are unrealistic. In the end, the king is responsible for his advisors in any event.

  22. censbot
    December 26, 2017 at 12:03

    Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

    Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

    Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

    Brzezinski: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

    Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

    Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

    this is an excerpt from here…..

    need i say more?

  23. godenich
    December 26, 2017 at 10:25

    Overthrow[1] does seem to be an operative word in our history of foreign interventions[2]. The terms ‘comparative advantage’ and ‘productive work’ are not to be found in economic references of Trump’s National Security Strategy[3]. It resembles more an Hatfield vs McCoy approach. Third party budget cost projections[4] show a much higher price tag than the $700 billion military budget, but even that falls woefully short for unaccounted and ongoing welfare costs of the many casualties in past and present wars, not to mention the $21 trillion accounting discrepancies[5]. I do think Trump means well in his own ‘special’ way, but it may lead to unfortunate consequences.

    ‘Left’ is a dubious term in the political spectrum, just as the term ‘liberalism’ has become. For myself, ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ have become the harmonious duet for the siren song that lulls humanists and heroes into steering toward the rocky and treacherous costs in the land of the giant government.

    I must say that the various CN articles and commentary I’ve read have been entertaining and intellectually stimulating, whether I happen to agree with them or not.

    [1] Overthrow | Stephen Kinzer | 2007
    [2] Foreign interventions by the United States | Wikipedia
    [3] The National Security Strategy Is Not a Strategy | Foreign Affairs | 2017
    [4] America’s $1.1 Trillion National Security Budget | POGO | 2017
    [5] Has Our Government Spent $21 Trillion Of Our Money Without Telling Us? | Forbes | 2017

    • December 26, 2017 at 11:28

      Of the top of my head, I believe the left-right division in politics began with the French revolution, when the parliament was seated royalists to the right, republicans to the left.
      From there it seems that the ‘right’ (conservatism, elitism) has come to label those in favor of maintaining the status quo, confinement of state functions to security and arbitration. While to the ‘left’ (liberalism, populism) sit those who favor rocking the boat, and expanding state functions to include construction and maintenance of public infrastructure, education, health care, and social development.
      IMO, there are NO ‘leftists’ or ‘rightists’ in American government, or in Europe for that matter. If May in the UK was a truly a right-wing conservative thinker, she would be working to reduce the regulations imposed upon her nation, especially those imposed upon her nation from afar. If Obama was in fact a ‘leftist, liberal’ he really failed … flat on his nose fail.

      • December 26, 2017 at 12:31

        C.T….thanks, I think you nailed it nicely, as i believe it is the “role”(not the size) of government that best determines the left/right divide in modern society(many libertarians argue that it is the size).

      • Bob Van Noy
        December 26, 2017 at 12:33

        Thank you Common Tater. I came to this essay this morning PST, after reading a weekend article at OffGuardian about Charles Darwin’s “A Christmas Carol” beautifully illustrated from the first edition. One illustration done by John Leech called “Capital And Labour” was New to me but impressed me deeply because it so adequately describes oligarchy. I will link the article below.
        I have thought, like you, that much of our contemporary experience can relate to the French Revolution and certainly it can. But so much of our contemporary grief stems from the class of corrupt bureaucrats, that it seems to me that they must be considered. Our System has failed the common man; we need a new illustrator to show us exactly how…

      • godenich
        December 26, 2017 at 13:49

        Interesting, I must investigate that further. I finally have the leisure time to broaden my knowledge. I’ve been thinking of the old French system in terms of the 3 estates, namely in order, the Clergy, the Aristocrats and the Peasants[1]. In the UK, I thought of Tories and Whigs(Conservatives) morphing into Tories, Labour and a few minor factions[2]. In the US, I think of our many starting parties ossifying into a duopoly of Republican and Democratic political machines, hence my mental image of the two wolves and the sheep discussing dinner.

        [1] Reflections on the French Revolution – Edmund Burke
        [2] Political parties in Britain – a short guide

        • December 26, 2017 at 16:20

          Thomas Paine wrote about Edmund Burke in his rebuttal ‘The Rights of Man’…
          “He has therefore mounted in the air like a balloon, to draw the eyes of the multitude from the ground they stand upon.”
          I think he calls him a bag of hot air meant to distract the masses. Thomas Paine gives some first hand accounts of both the American, and French revolutions. IMO, no American should graduate high school without proof of having read The Rights of Man.

          • godenich
            December 26, 2017 at 20:33

            Yes, Paine’s and also Burke’s works are must-reads. Paine misunderstood Burke’s conservative-liberal view of the American Revolution[1] when he approached him for support of the French Revolution. A bit of the financial causes of the American Revolution can be found from the interactions between Burke and Franklin as well as the examination before the House of Commons[2]. The founding fathers drew not their sole inspirations from Britain for a new form of government, but from various traditions including Rome and Greece.

            These books were written before the Reign of Terror which Burke had forewarned. After the entrance of Robespierre, Paine was locked up in a French jail for siding with the moderate Girondins and not supporting the radicalism of the Jacobins which led to anarchy, the Napoleonic Wars and the first ‘income tax’ in 1798. I believe the lessons learned from these episodes of history and earlier works of Etienne de la Boetie[3] helped to inform the minds of the 20th century peace movement leaders, Gandhi and MLK[4j].

            PS – I failed to prominently include the liberal democrats (Libdems) in my last post.

            [1] The Great Debate | Yuval Levin | 2013
            [2] Examination before the Committee of the Whole of the House of Commons, 13 February 1766
            [3] Discours de la servitude volontaire ou le Contr’un
            [4] Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King | Mary King | 1999

      • Babyl-on
        December 26, 2017 at 14:01

        I think you are on to something about the left/right view of politics. In my view, if there is to be a left/right there must be a center. Trump has deeply wounded the center and

        Turning and turning in the widening gyre
        The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
        Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
        Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…
        (William Butler Yates THE SECOND COMING)

        The language best used today are establishment Neo-feudal Imperialists vs insurgents. This insurgency is not a US phenomenon only but is “global” Catalonia for example. The multiletter bathroomers and the igno-deplorables (both creations of propaganda) are being put at each other’s throat by a common enemy.

        Just as an aside, I was in SDS years ago and we were wimps. The only “left” back then was the Black Panthers and the Weather Underground people like like Eldritch and Kathleen Cleaver, Bernadette Develan, Angela Davis and Malcolm X and others, they were the principled and legitimate opposition to the Empire.

        The first thing out of the mouth of a “leftist” is will, I’m a progressive and therefore – not, I am oppressed and so are you lets get together get out from under and then sort out our issues.

      • Frank
        December 27, 2017 at 07:04

        Indeed no more left or right, almost no real politics, simply spectacle. The present rulers? A globalist, centrist, unaccountable blob.

    • Jams O'Donnell
      December 27, 2017 at 04:47

      For a working analysis of what constitutes ‘left’ and ‘right’ see Political Compass –

    • Typingperson
      December 28, 2017 at 01:02

      At this point, liberalism = center right. Pro-war, pro-Wall Street, pro-corporations screwing the working class, middle class and poor. While reviling said working, middle class and poor for voting Trump–or, more likely, not voting at all.

      All the liberals who hate Trump on my FB–well, they’ve got theirs. Every last one of those pearl clutchers.

      One school friend in particular is quite notable. Her father, Indian, has worked as an engineer for Aramco, the Saudi oil company, his entire career. Paid for her to go to private boarding school, then Ivy League college and law school in USA with no debt. She married an American with a trust fund from Louisiana oil wells. Their two children attend a $30k private school in Palo Alto.

      She is a major anti-Trump and anti-Russia outraged, self-righteous shitposter. Lots of condemnation for all the so-called racist, intolerant, mouth-breathers who voted for this fascist threat to democracy and USA. Cause they’re ignorant, racist haters. She”s a proud liberal. Bastion of tolerance and enlightenment. Educated and smart–and proud of it.

      I confronted her on voting for Hillary on FB. Her: Yes, of course I loved Bernie–but must stop Trump!!!!

      “Think of my Muslim children!”

      An actual quote. Her Muslim children, both Americans, sons of two very wealthy lawyers, attending expensive private school in Palo Alto.


      Liberals these days are center-right at best. OK with USA wars, free passes to Wall Street exploitation of American people, Obama”s drone assasinations. They think Obama is great. Bunch of ignorant, mouth-breathers: What separates them from Trump voters is they are rich and entitled.

      Similarly right-wing in quite salient ways. But cool with gay folk and abortion.

  24. Babyl-on
    December 26, 2017 at 09:29

    “While nuclear deterrence strategies cannot prevent all conflict, they are essential to prevent nuclear attack, non-nuclear strategic attacks, and large-scale conventional aggression,” the NSS said.
    “Non-nuclear strategic attacks” represents a new category of threat that US nuclear weapons could be used to counter, and points towards likely changes in the Nuclear Posture Review expected in the next few weeks.
    In September, the deputy assistant secretary of defence, Rob Soofer, included “cyber-attacks against US infrastructure” in the category of non-nuclear strategic threats.
    These quotes are from a Guardian article I’ll link below.
    This National Security Strategy while approved by Trump surly written by the Imperial powers of the deep state does a trick seldom noticed. It describes conditions already present to justify nuclear war.
    We “know” that Russia in engaged in a massive cyber/info war with the US and “Western Democracy” we “know” of collusion between Russia and the Trump team and the hacking of election machines and democratic instructions. Could these acts now justify nuclear war – apparently so.
    North Korea is “known” to have hacked the SWIFT system and stolen hundreds of millions of dollars, perpetrated the Sony hack as an act of vengeance and is also responsible for the Wannacry ransomware attack. Any one of these could now justify nuclear war.
    Still, it is hardly anything new, these documents have a history of describing already existing conditions so that nuclear war can be justified at any time. And that the rest of the world is clear about that.
    “While nuclear deterrence strategies cannot prevent all conflict, they are essential to prevent nuclear attack, non-nuclear strategic attacks, and large-scale conventional aggression,” the NSS said.
    “Non-nuclear strategic attacks” represents a new category of threat that US nuclear weapons could be used to counter, and points towards likely changes in the Nuclear Posture Review expected in the next few weeks.
    In September, the deputy assistant secretary of defence, Rob Soofer, included “cyber-attacks against US infrastructure” in the category of non-nuclear strategic threats.
    These quotes are from a Guardian article I’ll link below.
    This National Security Strategy while approved by Trump surly written by the Imperial powers of the deep state does a trick seldom noticed. It describes conditions already present to justify nuclear war.
    We “know” that Russia in engaged in a massive cyber/info war with the US and “Western Democracy” we “know” of collusion between Russia and the Trump team and the hacking of election machines and democratic instructions. Could these acts now justify nuclear war – apparently so.
    North Korea is “known” to have hacked the SWIFT system and stolen hundreds of millions of dollars, perpetrated the Sony hack as an act of vengeance and is also responsible for the Wannacry ransomware attack. Any one of these could now justify nuclear war.
    Still, it is hardly anything new, these documents have a history of describing already existing conditions so that nuclear war can be justified at any time. And that the rest of the world is clear about that

  25. Zachary Smith
    December 25, 2017 at 23:47

    In the case of the Pacific Pivot, we are ringing China with military bases, strike aircraft and naval ships that would demolish anything that China has, despite the fact that they have expanded their military forces over the last couple decades. A modern conventional war with China would last a week at the outside.

    I don’t understand this statement. Surely Mr. Hoh doesn’t believe all of China’s war-making potential could be destroyed in a week. If he is predicting that nation would “go nuclear” at that time, it might become believable.

    China is a very large nation, and nearly as large as the US. Subtract Michigan, and I believe they’d almost match us. I doubt if the US conventional weapons inventory would do more than seriously irritate them. That view might be in error, but I’d need to see a great deal of evidence.

    • Realist
      December 26, 2017 at 04:40

      The names, faces, platitudes and promises may change from time to time, but the policies never do. Might we not draw certain inferences from that fact as to who really runs this country? Will any president ever be sworn in with an iota of credibility ever again? Things have gone far beyond Dubya’s quip about “fool me once…” etc.

    • mike k
      December 26, 2017 at 08:36

      I agree with you Zach, China is not likely to be the pushover that Mr. Hoh imagines; it is neither as weak in war fighting capacity as he surmises, nor is the US military as strong as he imagines. There is also the matter of whether Russia would stand by and watch China be demolished, knowing that it would be next to go if that happened. Trump shares in a common delusion of the US military’s invincibility. Our actual record shows otherwise.

    • Sam F
      December 27, 2017 at 18:48

      It appears that the goal is more to make China feel threatened enough to make “scary” responses for the US bully-boys to use for warmongering propaganda. Threats can cause the rise of a class of warmongering tyrants who would not otherwise be tolerated. Without foreign monsters the US warmonger demagogues cannot demand power and accuse their moral superiors of disloyalty.

      The US certainly would not win a conventional war with China, which as I recall has several times the conventional forces and beat the US in Korea long ago. Neither could win a nuclear war. But I think that China would respond maturely to US provocation, well understanding that our warmonger tyrants change every few years, cannot stay focused on one activity, and don’t really want a vast war anyway. The US has shown that it is a severely retarded adolescent with aggression problems requiring special treatment during tantrums.

  26. Joe Tedesky
    December 25, 2017 at 23:34

    I have a whole lot of respect for Matthew Hoh, for when he resigned from his post in Afghanistan, as I recall Hoh questioned the lack of a clear mission.

    I also refer people to watch the Michael Hastings inspired movie starring Brad Pitt, the ‘War Machine’. This movie portrays the continuing war efforts being put forth by the Afghanistan, as a losing deal which only serves for further promotion of it’s generals who have served there.

    I agree that Trump comes off like a ‘loose canon’, and he appears like a ‘tinpot dictator’ for the lack of a better description. Only good thing is with Trump there is no false impressions, for what you see in him is what you get. I hate how Trump sees America’s superiority only through the eyes of America using its over used military to bring the world to it’s knees. This is regretful, but there again Trump is a continual part of a longline of warmongers to have reigned their warring havoc from the Oval Office, so what else is new?

    I enjoyed reading what Matthew Hoh had to say, thank you Dennis Bernstein for another great interview.

    • Gregory Herr
      December 25, 2017 at 23:52

      Chalk it up to coincidence Joe…but this afternoon I listened to the entire interview on Flashpoints, a podcast a recently subscribed to. Then CN posted this and I thought well here’s an article I’ve already heard!

      KPFA – Flashpoints: Flashpoints – December 25, 2017

      • Gregory Herr
        December 26, 2017 at 00:23

        This link might work better:

      • Joe Tedesky
        December 26, 2017 at 02:20

        Thanks Gregory you just added a deeper dimension to the Dennis Bernstein interviews. Joe

  27. Abe
    December 25, 2017 at 22:10

    “The new 55-page “America First” National Security Strategy (NSS), drafted over the course of 2017, defines Russia and China as ‘revisionist’ powers, ‘rivals’, and for all practical purposes strategic competitors of the United States.

    “The NSS stops short of defining Russia and China as enemies, allowing for an ‘attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries’. Still, Beijing qualified it as ‘reckless’ and ‘irrational.’ The Kremlin noted its ‘imperialist character’ and ‘disregard for a multipolar world’. Iran, predictably, is described by the NSS as ‘the world’s most significant state sponsor of terrorism.’

    “Russia, China and Iran happen to be the three key movers and shakers in the ongoing geopolitical and geoeconomic process of Eurasia integration. […]

    “A key feature of the geoconomic heart of the world moving from the West to Asia is that by the start of the next decade the petro-yuan and trade bypassing the US dollar will be certified facts on the ground across Eurasia.

    “The NSS for its part promises to preserve ‘peace through strength’. As Washington currently deploys no less than 291,000 troops in 183 countries and has sent Special Ops to no less than 149 nations in 2017 alone, it’s hard to argue the US is at ‘peace’ – especially when the NSS seeks to channel even more resources to the industrial-military complex.

    “‘Revisionist’ Russia-China have committed an unpardonable sin; they have concluded that pumping the US military budget by buying US bonds that allow the US Treasury to finance a multi-trillion dollar deficit without raising interest rates is an unsustainable proposition for the Global South. Their ‘threat’ – under the framework of the BRICS as well as the SCO, which includes prospective members Iran and Turkey – is to increasingly settle bilateral and multilateral trade bypassing the US dollar.

    “It ain’t over till the fat (golden) lady sings. When the beginning of the end of the petrodollar system – established by Kissinger in tandem with the House of Saud way back in 1974 – becomes a fact on the ground, all eyes will be focused on the NSS counterpunch.”

    The Petro-Yuan Bombshell
    By Pepe Escobar

    • Joe Tedesky
      December 25, 2017 at 23:55

      This world hegemony project of the U.S., is driving the U.S. broke. Besides spending every available nickel along with every unavailable dollar the U.S. confronts itself with so much of a huge military, that the Pentagon has no idea of how many troops it has in anyone country, at any one specific time. Add to the 13 billion dollar aircraft carrier America employs the U.S. Navy is deeply concerned that one Chinese ‘Dong Feng 21’ missile may be all it will take to sink a unwanted aggressive aircraft carrier if it comes to that.

      This madness with war needs to end, and end quickly. The U.S. has some of the best soft diplomacy a country could wish to have to gain international friendship, so why not use it?

      • Skip Scott
        December 27, 2017 at 11:07


        I was thinking the same thing about the aircraft carriers. With today’s missile technologies, they’re 13 billion dollar sitting ducks. I wish we could end the war madness, but with drones it seems we’ve just abstracted it some more. Kids with joysticks killing people thousands of miles away makes war a lot easier for the sheeple here to stomach than it was during the Vietnam era. And today’s MSM have learned to never show pictures of the casualties. As long as the PNACer’s run the show, global hegemony will be the only game plan.

        • Joe Tedesky
          December 27, 2017 at 22:54

          Skip I think the ‘Project for a New American Century’ had loss it’s shelf life a longtime ago. All of these U.S. instigated problem spots, like Ukraine, DPRK, and the Middle East, are only giving our U.S. adversaries more higher worldly status. While the U.S. saber rattles itself to the point of exhaustion the elusively resistant to war Russians, and Chinese, only become that much stronger. I’m hoping that if the U.S. is to get their comeuppance that it be done by a loss of worldwide respect, and not from a nuclear war.

    • Abe
      December 27, 2017 at 14:53

      The conceptual chiasmus of the 2016 US election reinforced the US signature phallocentric preoccupation with “hard” versus “soft” diplomacy.

      Hillary “We came, we saw, we sodomized” Clinton had to do it with a strap-on.

      Donald “Grab them by the pussy” Trump continues waging a relentless attack on Fourth-wave feminism with his “Make America Hard Again” meme.

      So far, however, the US has walked bigly and carried a soft stick.

      The Pentagon keeps desperately pounding budgetary Viagra and flogging its “signifier intended to designate as a whole the effects of the signifier” (see Jacques Lacan, Écrits), but remains insufficient for intervention.

      But hey, that’s what Saudi Arabia and Israel and Al Qaeda and ISIS are for.

      Other than Trump’s annoying Tomahawk Tweet and a few other pinpricks, good ol’ Uncle Sam can barely manage to get it up in the diplomacy department these days.

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