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H.R. McMaster

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H. R. McMaster - Wikipedia

Herbert Raymond "H. R." McMaster (born July 24, 1962) is a United States Army officer and currently the U.S. National Security Advisor. His immediate past military assignment was as Director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, and Deputy Commanding General, Futures of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.

McMaster's prior assignments include Commanding General, Ft. Benning Maneuver Center of Excellence, and Director of the Combined Joint Interagency Task Force-Shafafiyat at the International Security Assistance Force Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. He is known for his roles in the Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. McMaster authored the book Dereliction of Duty in 1997, which criticized the actions of high-ranking U.S. military leadership during the Vietnam War.

McMaster was born in Philadelphia on July 24, 1962.[1] He went to high school at Valley Forge Military Academy, graduating in 1980. He earned a commission as a second lieutenant upon graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1984. McMaster earned a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in American history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). His thesis was critical of American strategy in the Vietnam War, which was further detailed in his 1997 book Dereliction of Duty.[2]

Main article: Dereliction of Duty (1997 book)

Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam is a book written by McMaster that explores the military's role in the policies of the Vietnam War. The book was written as part of his Ph.D. dissertation at UNC. It harshly criticized high-ranking officers of that era, arguing that they inadequately challenged Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and President Lyndon Johnson on their Vietnam strategy. The book examines McNamara and Johnson's staff alongside the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other high-ranking military officers, and their failure to provide a successful plan of action either to pacify a Viet Cong insurgency or to decisively defeat the North Vietnamese army. McMaster also details why military actions intended to indicate "resolve" or to "communicate" ultimately failed when trying to accomplish sparsely detailed, confusing, and conflicting military objectives. The book was widely read in Pentagon circles and included in military reading lists.

His first assignment after commissioning was to the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, where he served in a variety of platoon and company level leadership assignments with 1st Battalion 66th Armor Regiment. In 1989, McMaster was assigned to the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Warner Barracks in Bamberg, Germany, where he served until 1992, including deployment to Operation Desert Storm.

During the Gulf War in 1991 he was a captain commanding Eagle Troop of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment at the Battle of 73 Easting.[3] During that battle, though significantly outnumbered and encountering the enemy by surprise as McMaster's lead tank crested a dip in the terrain, the nine tanks of his company destroyed twenty-eight Iraqi Republican Guard tanks without loss in twenty-three minutes.[4]

McMaster was awarded the Silver Star. The battle features in several books about Desert Storm and is widely referred to in US Army training exercises. It also receives coverage in Tom Clancy's 1994 popular non-fiction book Armored Cav.[5] McMaster served as a military history professor at West Point from 1994 to 1996, teaching among other things the battles in which he fought. He graduated from the United States Army Command and General Staff College in 1999.[6]

From 1999 to 2002, McMaster commanded 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, and then took a series of staff positions at U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM), including planning and operations roles in Iraq.

In his next job, as lieutenant colonel and later colonel, McMaster worked on the staff of USCENTCOM as executive officer to Deputy Commander Lieutenant General John Abizaid. When Abizaid received four-star rank and became Central Command's head, McMaster served as Director, Commander's Advisory Group (CAG), described as the command's brain trust.

In 2003 McMaster completed an Army War College research fellowship at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

In 2004, he was assigned to command the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (3rd ACR). Shortly after McMaster took command the regiment deployed for its second tour in Iraq and was assigned the mission of securing the city of Tal Afar. That mission culminated in September with Operation Restoring Rights and the defeat of the city's insurgent strongholds. President Bush praised this success, and the PBS show Frontline broadcast a documentary in February 2006 featuring interviews with McMaster. CBS' 60 Minutes produced a similar segment in July,[7] and the operation was the subject of an article in the April 10, 2006, issue of The New Yorker.

Author Tim Harford has written that the pioneering tactics employed by 3rd ACR led to the first success in overcoming the Iraqi insurgency. Prior to 2005, tactics included staying out of dangerous urban areas except on patrols, with US forces returning to their bases each night. These patrols had little success in turning back the insurgency because local Iraqis who feared retaliation would very rarely assist in identifying them to US forces. McMaster deployed his soldiers into Tal Afar on a permanent basis, and once the local population grew confident that they weren't going to withdraw nightly, the citizens began providing information on the insurgents, enabling US forces to target and defeat them.[5][8]

McMaster passed command of the 3rd ACR on June 29, 2006, and joined the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, as a Senior Research Associate with a mandate described as "conduct[ing] research to identify opportunities for improved multi-national cooperation and political-military integration in the areas of counterinsurgency, counter-terrorism, and state building", and to devise "better tactics to battle terrorism."[9]

From August 2007 to August 2008 McMaster was part of an "elite team of officers advising US commander" General David Petraeus on counterinsurgency operations while Petraeus directed revision of the Army's Counterinsurgency Field Manual during his command of the Combined Arms Center.[10] Petraeus and most of his team were stationed in Fort Leavenworth at the time but McMaster collaborated remotely, according to senior team member John Nagl.[5][8]

McMaster was passed over for promotion to Brigadier General in 2006 and 2007, despite his reputation as one of "the most celebrated soldiers of the Iraq War."[11] Though the Army's rationale for whether a given officer is selected or not selected is not made public, McMaster's initial non-selection attracted media attention.[12][13][14] However, in late 2007, Secretary of the Army Pete Geren requested General David Petraeus to return from Iraq to take charge of the promotion board as a way to ensure that the best performers in combat received every consideration for advancement, resulting in McMaster's selection along with other Colonels who had been identified as innovative thinkers.[5][15] The demographics for this board's candidates showed that the predominant Year Group of colonels selected for promotion was 1982, [16] and McMaster was the second officer of his 1984 West Point class promoted to the general officer ranks.[17]

In August 2008, McMaster assumed duties as Director, Concept Development and Experimentation (later renamed Concept Development and Learning), in the Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC) at Fort Monroe, Virginia, part of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. In this position McMaster was involved in preparing doctrine to guide the Army over the next ten to twenty years. He was promoted on June 29, 2009.[18] In July 2010 he was selected to be the J-5, Deputy to the Commander for Planning, at ISAF (International Security Assistance Forces) Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan.

McMaster was nominated for Major General on January 23, 2012, and selected to be the commander of the Army's Maneuver Center of Excellence at Ft. Benning.[19] In February 2014, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel nominated McMaster for Lieutenant General and in July 2014, McMaster pinned on his third star when he began his duties as Deputy Commanding General of the Training and Doctrine Command and Director of TRADOC's Army Capabilities Integration Center.[20]

Army Chief of Staff General Martin Dempsey remarked in 2011 that McMaster was "probably our best Brigadier General."[21] McMaster made Time's list of the 100 most influential people in the world in April 2014. He was hailed as "the architect of the future U.S. Army" in the accompanying piece written by retired Lt. Gen. Dave Barno, who commanded U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005. "Major General Herbert Raymond McMaster might be the 21st century Army's pre-eminent warrior-thinker," Barno wrote, commenting on McMaster's "impressive command and unconventional exploits in the second Iraq war."[22] Barno also stated, "Recently tapped for his third star, H.R. is also the rarest of soldiers—one who has repeatedly bucked the system and survived to join its senior ranks."[23] In 2014, retired Army Gen. Jack Keane, a former Army vice chief, commented "It is heartening to see the Army reward such an extraordinary general officer who is a thought leader and innovator while also demonstrating sheer brilliance as a wartime brigade commander."[24]

National Security Advisor Role in Trump Administration

On February 20, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump named McMaster to serve as his National Security Advisor following the resignation of Michael T. Flynn on February 13.[25][26] McMaster "intends to remain on active duty while he serves as national security adviser."[27] Senator John McCain, the Armed Services Committee chairman, commented "I have had the honor of knowing [McMaster] for many years, and he is a man of genuine intellect, character, and ability."[28]

Because McMaster intended to remain on active duty, his official assumption of the National Security Advisor's duties and responsibilities required a United States Senate vote; lieutenant generals and generals require Senate confirmation of their rank and assignments.[29] On March 6, 2017, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 23–2 to recommend to the full Senate that McMaster be confirmed for reappointment at his lieutenant general rank during his service as the National Security Advisor.[30] The committee recommendation was referred to the Senate on March 7, and the full Senate confirmed McMaster by a vote of 86–10 on March 15, 2017.[31]

On May 15, 2017, McMaster denied anonymously sourced reports, first reported in The Washington Post earlier that day, that Trump had disclosed classified information to Russian officials, and said that the report was "false" and that "I was in the room. It didn't happen."[32] Shortly after Trump went on record stating that "I have the absolute right to do facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety" bringing to attention the severity of these issues. In this discussion he asked Russia to "greatly step up the fight against ISIS and terrorism".[33]

 


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[Jun 08, 2019] McMaster and 'Nuclear Blackmail' The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Even more depressing, McMaster is author of the excellent book, "Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam". Now he's retailing lies of his own in pursuit of another war. ..."
"... The "Foundation for the Defense of Democracies" subsists on donations intended to advance the foreign policy agendas of countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia. Those are the kind of "democracies" they want America to "defend" ..."
Jun 08, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Daniel DePetris follows up on McMaster's crazy North Korea comments :

McMaster then proceeds to mount a hypothetical -- nuclear blackmail. "This regime could say [if U.S. forces] don't go off the Korean Peninsula, we're going to threaten the use of nuclear weapons," the retired general explained. And yet this, too, is riddled with nonsense, the biggest objection being that making such an ultimatum would court the very military confrontation with the United States he wants to avoid.

When McMaster was in the Trump administration, he floated many of the same arguments about why attacking North Korea should be an option. Those arguments didn't make any sense when he made them as National Security Advisor, and they haven't improved now that he has migrated to the inaccurately named Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). McMaster's latest statements confirm that his preventive war talk wasn't just empty rhetoric on his part when he worked for Trump. He was apparently deadly serious about entertaining a U.S. attack on North Korea, and he continues to talk about it as though it were a reasonable and legitimate policy option. The reporting that he and others in the administration had a "messianic fervor" about this seems to have been right.

It can't be stressed enough that launching an attack on North Korea would an outrageous act of aggression. It would put the U.S. in clear violation of the U.N. Charter and make our government an illegal aggressor just like North Korea was in 1950. McMaster was and still is promoting the idea that the U.S. should be willing to commit a massive crime against another country. Unfortunately, talk of preventive war against certain states is not just tolerated in Washington, but it is actively encouraged and embraced by many other hard-liners, including the current National Security Advisor, who is also in favor of launching an attack on North Korea. These hard-liners dismiss the possibility of deterring these states so that they can have an excuse to attack, but invariably the behavior they cite as evidence that a state can't be deterred is proof that they desire self-preservation and regime security above all else.

Hard-liners also like to warn about "nuclear blackmail" from other states, but they can't ever produce an example of a nuclear weapons state that has successfully engaged in such blackmail to extract concessions from others. It makes even less sense when we consider what would happen to the blackmailing state if it followed through on the threat. Threatening to launch a nuclear first strike to gain concessions from other governments wouldn't get that government what it wants, and carrying out the threat would result in the state's certain annihilation. There is no upside to engaging in "nuclear blackmail" and a huge downside. If "nuclear blackmail" worked, there would likely have been a lot more blackmail attempts by nuclear weapons state over the last seventy-four years, and more states would want to acquire nuclear weapons for this purpose. In reality, just about the only use that nuclear weapons have is to deter attacks from others, and that is pretty clearly why North Korea built their nuclear arsenal. Threatening them with attack just confirms them in their view that they have to retain them, and actually attacking them would be the only thing that is likely to prompt them to use them.


Corwin , says: June 5, 2019 at 2:05 pm

There's a scene in the movie Dr. Strangelove where all the powerful men were sitting in the war room discussing the possible state of the world after the nuclear attack. They start by lamenting the deaths of tens of millions of Americans, and that they might be the only leaders left to rebuild America. They then worked their way to moving to a bunker to make sure they were safe, then bringing in women who could help repopulate the country, and then making sure the women were beautiful and that there would be enough to get started on having lots of children right away. So in less than 2 minutes, they go from the end of civilization to having a harem for each of them. When powerful people can see a disaster as a chance to gain even more power, they will take it regardless of the consequences to anyone else. That's who they are.
Fran Macadam , says: June 5, 2019 at 3:30 pm
I must have missed when our own official policy renounced nuclear first strike. As far as I know, it's still "one of the options on the table." And now with the latest "low yield nuke" deployments in the pipeline, it gives the illusion that nuclear war can be a winning option to defend the heartland or expand the empire's overseas power.
Alan Vanneman , says: June 5, 2019 at 3:58 pm
Even more depressing, McMaster is author of the excellent book, "Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam". Now he's retailing lies of his own in pursuit of another war.
Basic Training , says: June 5, 2019 at 4:50 pm
"the inaccurately named Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD)"

That name is a sick joke. The "Foundation for the Defense of Democracies" subsists on donations intended to advance the foreign policy agendas of countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia. Those are the kind of "democracies" they want America to "defend".

Taras 77 , says: June 5, 2019 at 5:07 pm
McMaster has literally gone off the edge since he was named as the head of a group over at the FDD group of warmongers -- they literally on a daily basis call for more war, attacks on Iran, and NK -- more tragically, they have access and influence with Bolton and Pompeo.
Sick beyond belief but that is where their money comes into play.

https://spectator.us/mcmaster-disaster/

Tony , says: June 6, 2019 at 8:38 am
The 'nuclear blackmail' argument is totally bogus. The United States had some 32,000 nuclear weapons when it was defeated in Indochina.

The Soviet Union also had many nuclear weapons when it left Afghanistan.

rayray , says: June 6, 2019 at 11:33 am
@Corwin

Loved that. Kubrick, George, and Southern just nailed it. I'm waiting for a writer brilliant and angry enough to do the same for today.

[Mar 25, 2018] Basically McMaster started clearing out the Israel Zios in the department ...including several who violate security rules on top secret info

Mar 24, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

catherine -> Barbara Ann ... , 24 March 2018 at 04:32 PM

Thanks for link. What they are talking about is the ZOA report on why McMaster should be fired
Here is the full..and very long report.

https://zoa.org/2017/08/10371905-zoa-nscs-mcmaster-reassign-him-to-area-not-dealing-with-israel-or-iran/

Basically McMaster started clearing out the Israel Zios in the department ...including several who violate security rules on top secret info. The report list person after person McMaster canned and the ZOA is furious all their inside boys were turned out.

Very cleverly the report is presented to Trump as McMaster firing all the 'Pro Trumpers" because McMasters is ''anti Trump''.

So the ZOA are now Trump Loyalist..lol...just pledge your loyalty to Trump and he'll follow you like a puppy.

I am beginning to wonder though if there is a small but growing number of upper rank military that are trying to weed out the bomb Iran Zionist.

[Mar 23, 2018] Inglorious end of career of neocon McMaster

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... President Trump congratulated Vladimir Putin to his reelection as president of the Russian Federation. It was a matter of simply courtesy to do so. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (aka the National Security Advisor), three star general McMaster, had advised him to not congratulate Putin. (McMaster now claims differently .) That was bad advice. But it became even worse when McMaster, or someone in his shop, promptly leaked this to the press. The usual Republican nutters like John McCain grumbled and Trump was furious. ..."
Mar 23, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

President Trump congratulated Vladimir Putin to his reelection as president of the Russian Federation. It was a matter of simply courtesy to do so. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (aka the National Security Advisor), three star general McMaster, had advised him to not congratulate Putin. (McMaster now claims differently .) That was bad advice. But it became even worse when McMaster, or someone in his shop, promptly leaked this to the press. The usual Republican nutters like John McCain grumbled and Trump was furious.

Trump decided to fire McMaster the very next day. He had it coming. Both the White House Chief of Staff Kelly as well as the Secretary of Defense Mattis wanted McMaster out. Unfortunately for them Trump chose a replacement that they did not want and will find difficult to live with.

[Mar 23, 2018] Let's get over the McMaster ouster. The fact is that he was completely unqualified to be the National Security advisor. McMaster was uneducated in history and international politics.

Mar 23, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Bacon , Mar 22, 2018 9:20:29 PM | 45

Let's get over the McMaster ouster. The fact is that he was completely unqualified to be the National Security advisor. McMaster was uneducated in history and international politics. McMaster (1) was excellent as an army unit leader and (2) obtained a PhD with a thesis that claimed that the US lost in Vietnam because generals weren't listened to, which is complete BS.
Now we may not like Bolton, but at least he's qualified. Does the NSA have the authority to start a war? No. The simple fact is that in the most likely war scenarios, Korea and Iran, the US has bases, ships etc. within easy reach of prospective enemies. Forward basing, it's called. The Pentagon knows this very well. They hate it when bases are destroyed and ships are sunk.
Currently the US is crowing about an evacuation exercise in Korea -- with a hundred people, when there are tens of thousands of Americans in South Korea endangered by any war.
So let's cheer up.
Jackrabbit , Mar 22, 2018 9:45:06 PM | 49
Don Bacon

As I understand it, Mc Master's thesis was worse than 'generals weren't listened to", it was that Generals knew what it would take to win but were reluctant to press their case.

I think McMaster's view gets watered-down and sugar-coated into: "Generals should provide true info to civilian authority" when it seems to me that the message he conveys to Generals is simply this: be stubborn; insist on full and unconditional support of civilian authority for any military action. We see this attitude reflected in "The Powell Doctrine" and now Trump's hand's-off approach to the military.

I see this as civilian authority (the President) essentially handing the keys to the Generals once any military action is authorized.

Don Bacon , Mar 22, 2018 9:57:49 PM | 55
@jr 49
Vietnam, a US attempt at nation-building within a nation (stupid), was a lost cause to begin with and so what generals "knew" was irrelevant.
Harry Truman got it right.
A couple of President Harry Truman quotes: "It's the fellows who go to West Point and are trained to think they're gods in uniform that I plan to take apart". . ."I didn't fire him [General MacArthur] because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that's not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three quarters of them would be in jail."

Now currently generals aren't any smarter, they are still dumb SOBs who rise up by sucking up, but at least they are smart enough to realize that forward basing dooms any offensive attacks against countries that have the capability to counter-attack against US bases and ships. That would be North Korea and Iran, for starters. Bolton's ascendance won't change that simple truth, so the sky isn't falling.

Grieved , Mar 22, 2018 10:18:19 PM | 60
@45 Don Bacon

Yes, agreed, let's please cheer up. We live in a age of miracles, when Russia and China see fit to ally, and preserve, or create, world stability.

Trump has always been surrounded by completely vile people, and none of this has stopped Russia from laying down the gauntlet. Bolton is as much a nothing, I suggest, as Boris Johnson across the ocean. Neither of them holds power. The west doesn't hold power any longer. It's been checkmated at every turn - by Russia militarily and China economically.

Power is the ability to force things to your will, and it's backed up by a gun or it fails in the end. Trump's button may be big but it's old and maybe rusted and the odds are good it doesn't even work very well, especially against next generation jamming and hypersonic speeds.

So the west can bluster and parade its theater all it wants, it means nothing as the caravans all move on into the future. And even the theater is getting found out in advance now, with chemical-weapon caches and plans rendered visible before they can act.

As for the bluster, it only works on domestic populations, who have no power and thus cannot affect reality, and whose governments have no power and thus cannot use a mandate to war even if given one by their populations, gulled by propaganda. It's a useless, circular mechanism whose paradigm has ended, is defunct.

I find it encouraging beyond words to watch the real power on the ground in this Eurasian Century, as the west declines. And I'll quote just one last time, because I love the potency of this equation: "Power. The one quality of the human condition that you can't fake."

[Mar 22, 2018] Trump's National Security Chief Calls Russian Interference 'Incontrovertible'

Mar 22, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

MUNICH -- Just hours after the Justice Department indicted 13 Russians in what it charged was a broad conspiracy to alter the 2016 election, President Trump's national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, accused Moscow of engaging in a campaign of "disinformation, subversion and espionage" that he said Washington would continue to expose.

The evidence of a Russian effort to interfere in the election "is now incontrovertible," General McMaster said at the Munich Security Conference, an annual meeting of European and American diplomats and security experts, including several senior Russian officials. On Friday, just hours before the indictment, the top White House official for cyberissues accused Russia of "the most destructive cyberattack in human history," against Ukraine last summer.

Taken together, the statements appeared to mark a major turn in the administration's willingness to directly confront the government of President Vladimir V. Putin. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo also attended the Munich conference, and while they did not speak publicly, in private meetings with others here they reiterated similar statements.

The comments highlighted a sharp division inside the administration about how to talk about the Russian covert efforts, with only Mr. Trump and a few of his close advisers holding back from acknowledging the Russian role or talking about a larger strategy to deter future attacks.

The indictment characterized the cyberattacks and social media fraud as part of a larger effort by Russia to undermine the United States. A senior administration official called the effort to confront Russia "a significant point of contention" within the administration.

After the indictment on Friday Mr. Trump declared in a Twitter post that "the results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong -- no collusion!" He made no mention of Russia as a "revisionist power," the description used in his own National Security Strategy, or of the elaborate $1.2 million-a-month effort that the indictment indicated Russia's Internet Research Agency spent in an effort to discredit the election system and ultimately to support his candidacy.

Vice President Mike Pence, speaking this past week in Washington, misstated American intelligence conclusions about the election hacking, arguing "it is the universal conclusion of our intelligence communities that none of those efforts had any effect on the outcome of the 2016 election." The intelligence chiefs have said they have not, and cannot, reach such a conclusion.

Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, cited Mr. Pence's comments during the session here Saturday to make the case that Russia did nothing wrong. "So until we see the facts, everything else is just blabber," he said.

The man who served as the Russian ambassador to the United States during the period covered by the indictments, Sergey I. Kislyak, picked up on a favorite theme of Mr. Trump's: questioning the credibility of the F.B.I. and intelligence agency assessments.

"I have seen so many indictments and accusations against Russians," Mr. Kislyak said on Saturday afternoon. "I am not sure I can trust American law enforcement to be the most truthful source against Russians." He added, "The allegations being mounted against us are simply fantasies."

Mr. Kislyak, who has been caught up in the investigation because of meetings with Trump campaign officials during his time as ambassador, went on to cite a study, which he said he was keeping in his briefcase, that proved the "main source of computer attacks in the world is not Russia. It is the United States."

[Mar 16, 2018] H.R. McMaster Gives The Kremlin a Double Bird Salute

Notable quotes:
"... "We believe that Russia was responsible for this attack, and we call on the Russian government to answer all questions related to this incident, and to provide full information to the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons]. No nation -- Russia, China, or anybody else, any other nation -- should be using chemical weapons and nerve agents," McMaster said, following what critics have called a belated Wednesday statement casting blame on Moscow for the attack on Skripal. ..."
Mar 16, 2018 | www.thedailybeast.com

If H.R. McMaster is on his way out of the White House, he's going out with two middle fingers raised and pointed in the direction of the Kremlin.

"Russia is also complicit in [Syrian dictator Bashar] Assad's atrocities," McMaster, President Trump's national security adviser, said Thursday during an appearance at a discussion of the Syrian civil war held at the U.S. Holocaust memorial museum.

His voice raised, McMaster used harsher and more moralistic language than his boss does in characterizing Russia's geopolitical influence, and unequivocally blamed the Kremlin for "the abhorrent nerve agent attack" on a former double agent, Sergei Skripal , and proposed "serious political and economic consequences" for Russian aggression.

"We believe that Russia was responsible for this attack, and we call on the Russian government to answer all questions related to this incident, and to provide full information to the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons]. No nation -- Russia, China, or anybody else, any other nation -- should be using chemical weapons and nerve agents," McMaster said, following what critics have called a belated Wednesday statement casting blame on Moscow for the attack on Skripal.

McMaster's brief remarks, lasting under 20 minutes, came as the Army three-star general is the subject of furious speculation that Trump will soon fire him and install hardliner ex-ambassador John Bolton atop the National Security Council. His capstone achievement thus far has been a Russia-and-China-centric security strategy that has been conspicuously out of step with Trump's rhetoric and actions toward both countries.

"Russia has done nothing to encourage Assad to ensure delivery of humanitarian aid, to respect ceasefires and de-escalation agreements or to comply with U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254's call for a U.N.-monitored political process," McMaster said.

Those remarks suggested that Trump got suckered during his 2017 rounds of personal diplomacy with Vladimir Putin. In November, Trump and Putin issued a joint statement firmly pledging support for what is known as the 2254 Process -- though critics considered it a cover for Moscow to continue ensuring support for its client, Assad -- that "took note" of Assad's "recent commitment to the Geneva process and constitutional reform and elections as called for under UNSCR 2254."

And that followed July's acquiescence from Trump and just-ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signing onto a Russia-driven process centered around achieving ceasefires that McMaster said Russia was not respecting.

[Mar 02, 2018] McMaster may be on his way out

Notable quotes:
"... According to MSNBC, H.R.McMaster may be on his way out , orchestrated by CoS Kelly and Sec Def. Mattis ..."
Mar 02, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The Beaver , 01 March 2018 at 05:21 PM

According to MSNBC, H.R.McMaster may be on his way out , orchestrated by CoS Kelly and Sec Def. Mattis

[Feb 23, 2018] The Knives Are Out for Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster

So one year ago McMaster was under attack and survived. Note that this was the time of appointment of the Special Prosecutor which changed the dynamics, probably preserving his scalp. This time might be different.
Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
May 09, 2017 | foreignpolicy.com

The Afghanistan strategy McMaster is pushing, with the support of Defense Secretary James Mattis, would send roughly 3,000-5,000 U.S. and NATO troops to Afghanistan, according to a separate source familiar with the internal deliberations. These troops would be sent to help bulk up the Afghan National Security Forces, which, after years of U.S. assistance, are still struggling against the Taliban, al Qaeda, and a small Islamic State presence in the country.

According to the Washington Post , the new strategy "would authorize the Pentagon, not the White House, to set troop numbers in Afghanistan and give the military far broader authority to use airstrikes to target Taliban militants." The hope is that by increasing pressure on the Taliban, it will force them to the negotiating table with more favorable terms for Kabul and Washington. Sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan follows a decision made last year by then-President Barack Obama, who announced in July that 8,400 U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan through January 2017 because of the "precarious" security situation there, undoing his previous plan to draw down to 5,500 by the time he left office.

The Post reported that "those opposed to the plan have begun to refer derisively to the strategy as 'McMaster's War,'" and this particular criticism is repeated in a handful of negative stories about McMaster that have already cropped up this week. For those plugged into the dicey world of Trump administration power plays, this slur has the hallmarks of a hit job by Bannon's team. (It's worth noting that the same people who oppose McMaster are no fans of Mattis's moderating influence on the president, but he's seen as politically untouchable for now.)

[Feb 22, 2018] McMaster, Kelly On Their Way Out Zero Hedge

Feb 22, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

In January, McMaster quashed rumors of his departure, telling reporters "I have a job and it is my intention to go as long and hard as I can in service of the President of the nation," adding that it was "a tremendous honor to do this job every day."

Trump's first National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned shortly after taking office amid a controversy over whether he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.

On Thursday, the Pentagon directed all inquiries about McMaster to the White House. "General McMaster works for President Trump. Any decision with regards to staff, the White House will make those determinations," said chief spokesperson Dana White. Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Tuesday that Trump "still has confidence in General McMaster."

A Source within the White House, leaking to CNN, reports that Trump can't stand McMaster's demeanor during briefings - and that the President considers his National Security Advisor to be "gruff and condescending."

He prefers the briefing style of someone like CIA Director Mike Pompeo or Defense Secretary James Mattis, who patiently answer his questions, regardless of the premise. McMaster, meanwhile, is the person who delivers the news that Trump doesn't want to hear on a daily basis, according to the senior Republican source.

The issue is not political but mostly stylistic, as McMaster and Mattis tend to discuss information before it is presented to the President, the same source added. - CNN

Kelly and McMaster both declined to comment, however Reuters' sources were quick to add that "tensions could blow over, at least for now, as have previous episodes of discord between the president and other top officials who have fallen out of favor."

4

LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:18 Permalink

So much for the "military is behind Trump" meme. Kudos to Trump for telling this guy where he can shove it after repeating Deep State propaganda.

Sir Edge -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:18 Permalink

Finally... 'Dereliction Of Duty' comes home to roost...


Edgey...

J S Bach -> Sir Edge Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:21 Permalink

McSinister is the essence of Goldfinger in the old James Bond fiction. One couldn't envision a more stereotypical "worm-tonguesque" villain in charge of our armed forces and acting presidential "advisor".

GUS100CORRINA -> Normalcy Bias Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:57 Permalink

McMaster Finally Out? Pentagon Paving Way For Return To Military: Report

My response: Looks like the POTUS is prepping for the Return of General Flynn.

McMaster has some very suspicious associations and has been referenced in Q-ANON posts. He was an "OBOZO" plant.

Also, it appears that "OBOZO's" LEGAL problems are growing by the day.

"OBOZO" maybe the first POTUS in US history to be charged with TREASON. Also, KERRY is in a DEEP PILE OF SHIT as well. He directed the US State Department to provide 9 million dollars to her charity. This is ladies and gentlemen of ZH is BULLSHIT!!!!!!

CORRUPTION and CRIME as far as the EYE can see for the last four POTUS office holders. It make me ashamed of my nation at times.

May GOD bless, guide and protect President TRUMP and the TRUMP administration as they "DRAIN THE SWAMP".

Chupacabra-322 -> Luc X. Ifer Thu, 02/22/2018 - 21:21 Permalink

Flynn blew the whistle on Pure Evil War Criminal Treasonous Seditious Psychopath Obama, the CIA & State Dept. arming, funding & training terror organizations.

The Criminal Deep State has had it for him ever since.

gatorengineer -> J S Bach Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:52 Permalink

Member of the council on foreign relations... Nough said? Trump sure likes Obama stooges for some reason

directaction -> gatorengineer Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:54 Permalink

Trump is refusing to start new wars.

That's annoying the deep state rats inside the military.

I sure wish Trump would stop all of Obama's wars, too.

gatorengineer -> directaction Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:58 Permalink

Boy you sure get a different news feed than I do.... Mine says we have heavy ground presence in Syria (didnt under Obowel), are on the verge of war with the NORKs after the Olympics, and our CIA has been stirring the shit pot in Iran....

Does your news coverage come before of after the episodes of My little pony?

The only difference between Trump and Hillary is Hillary has better hair. Follow what Trump actually does and not what he Tweets, HUGE difference. WE ARENT WINNING.

loveyajimbo -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:30 Permalink

McMaster is a Deep State maggot... but who on Trump's team is not??? Too many MIC Generals all begging for moar war for profit...

Sessions is the biggest maggot... he has overseen the total breakdown of the rule of law in America and should be tarred and feathered.

Navymugsy -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:40 Permalink

The military is an arm of the deep state. Congratulations West Point, Annapolis, etc.

squilmi -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:51 Permalink

McMaster was NEVER with Trump. The military in general is.

New_Meat -> nmewn Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:31 Permalink

SecDef knows him (from in the sandbox) and might want/need him to fill a CinC slot. The pussified O crowd cut off the balls of many of the flag ranks and they need to be purged (Regan did that and brought in/up Starry and Papa Bear and Vuono and Art C-ski and the other knuckle draggers).

POTUS might be getting his foreign policy situation sorted out. McMaster hasn't ever been a smooth team player within the Army structure--that would also endear him to Jim, but not suit him to a staff/advisor role.

We can always blame it on Global Climate Change and the Rooskies--cover all the bases.

lurker since 2012 Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:26 Permalink

Fuck yea put him in Nork country. Fat boy and Monster McMaster can face off in the octagon.

Previous post regarding McMaster...

lurker since 2012 Tue, 02/20/2018 - 17:27 Permalink

Monster McMaster opening greeting to the Munich security conference, "I know OUR good friend John McCain can't be here, as unfortunately he can't, but he brings you good wishes"....Then he proceeded to outline Russian Election bullshit. Cyber bot farm meddling invading Georgia BLA BLA BLA. This is why war is plausible, McMaster is Military SWAMP.

Brazen Heist Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:37 Permalink

Oh boy, some oversized ego tripping....the sheer hubris of it all....fuckers cannot see or admit to the gross amount of meddling they have done to the world, and yet react like little bitches when allegations are merely cooked up.

I cannot believe that this is the lowly state of American political discourse in 2018 AD.

Just another Rome, only with a much bigger budget for bullshit and weaponry.

Dickguzinya Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:50 Permalink

Fire him. Forget the fourth star. He is undeserving. Another scumbag trying to upend President Trump's agenda/objectives. The scumbag conveniently doesn't mention that the Russian Hacking didn't have an impact on the election. This untrustworthy piece of shit never should have been brought into the fold. And don't even think about allowing him back into the military. Fuck off you turncoat.

Green2Delta Thu, 02/22/2018 - 21:06 Permalink

This guy was the commanding officer of 3rd ACR while I was in. Only time I saw him in Iraq was when he flew down to tell us how sorry he was, or something like that, after we lost 1/3 of our platoon. The rest of the time he was in northern Iraq where it was safe. While those of us unlucky enough to be in 3rd Squadron were stuck down on the south side of Baghdad. If you read his bio they make it out like he personally did all kinds of Rambo shit. I guess that's they way it is for officers. Those guys will slit your throat for the next shiny thing to stick on their uniform.

Even back then my buddy SSG Judy, just talked to him an hour ago, told me McMaster was being groomed for bigger roles. He definitely nailed that one.

NoWayJose Thu, 02/22/2018 - 22:35 Permalink

These two and Mad Dog keep whispering "Evil Russia" at Trump and demanding US troops keep poking a stick at the bear - meanwhile Trump knows there is no collusion. How does that square up?

[Jan 31, 2018] Chief lunatic McMaster will levitate with enthusiasm for more war.

Notable quotes:
"... General Flynn had warned Trump during the campaign before election and afterward that CIA briefers were lying to him. Flynn took over briefing Trump himself and that ended when they got Flynn out. ..."
Jan 31, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Red Ryder | Jan 29, 2018 2:49:34 PM | 4

In the WH it will be NSC adviser and chief lunatic McMaster. He will levitate with enthusiasm for more war.

The briefings Trump gets are packed with lies and he has grown to trust them.

The entire foreign policy is so different from his stated goals and intentions that it is clear he is fed fairy tales of success and bogus estimates of what the US can accomplish.

Last weeks Voltairnet.org piece by Thierry Meyssan indicated that Trump did not know what his planners were doing.

"The president Trump had not been informed of the plan Votel-McGurk. The secretary of Defense, James Mattis, confirmed to his men the instructions of the White House against the jihadists. However Votel and McGurk are still in place." -- Thierry Meyssan

General Flynn had warned Trump during the campaign before election and afterward that CIA briefers were lying to him. Flynn took over briefing Trump himself and that ended when they got Flynn out.

We have a President misled who is told bogus results based on biased input data and reports.

Meyssan has been crazy in love with Trump for a year, so for him to report this shows he knows things are being setup for Trump to be trapped in Syria.

harrylaw , Jan 29, 2018 3:40:40 PM | 6
The Neocons have the perfect candidate to implement those mad cap schemes...
John Bolton Remains Leading Candidate to Replace H. R. McMaster http://nationalinterest.org/feature/john-bolton-remains-leading-candidate-replace-h-r-mcmaster-24232?page=2

[Aug 28, 2017] The Knives Are Out for Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster by Kate Brannen

May 09, 2017 | foreignpolicy.com

Donald Trump's second national security advisor, want him out. This week, they've made their campaign against him public, leaking to reporters details about the rocky relationship he has with his boss and trying to paint him as someone hellbent on overseas nation-building projects that are doomed to fail. The timing isn't accidental. The effort to damage McMaster comes as the Trump administration decides what its policy should be in Afghanistan, a debate that's pitting McMaster against Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist.

"McMaster is pushing this Afghanistan policy through. I think some people are giving him the rope to get it through, hoping he hangs himself with it," one senior intelligence official said. The Afghanistan strategy McMaster is pushing, with the support of Defense Secretary James Mattis, would send roughly 3,000-5,000 U.S. and NATO troops to Afghanistan, according to a separate source familiar with the internal deliberations. These troops would be sent to help bulk up the Afghan National Security Forces, which, after years of U.S. assistance, are still struggling against the Taliban, al Qaeda, and a small Islamic State presence in the country.

According to the Washington Post , the new strategy "would authorize the Pentagon, not the White House, to set troop numbers in Afghanistan and give the military far broader authority to use airstrikes to target Taliban militants." The hope is that by increasing pressure on the Taliban, it will force them to the negotiating table with more favorable terms for Kabul and Washington. Sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan follows a decision made last year by then-President Barack Obama, who announced in July that 8,400 U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan through January 2017 because of the "precarious" security situation there, undoing his previous plan to draw down to 5,500 by the time he left office.

[Aug 28, 2017] Let's Call "Trump's Generals" What They Are A Military Junta

Aug 27, 2017 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Trump is fond of boasting about "his" generals. But over the short course of his presidency's first months, the possession and control have reversed themselves. Mattis, McMaster, and Kelly have banished all opposition and now pour the neo-con agenda straight into Trump's ear.

By Whitney Webb

August 27, 2017 " Information Clearing House " - WASHINGTON – The U.S., long known for its meddling in the affairs of other nations, also has a long and sordid history of supporting military juntas abroad, many of which it forced into power through bloody coups or behind-the-scenes power grabs. From Greece in the 1960s to Argentina in the 1980s to the current al-Sisi-led junta in Egypt , Washington has actively and repeatedly supported such undemocratic regimes despite casting itself as the world's greatest promoter of "democracy."

Finally in 2017, karma appears to have come back to roost, as the current presidential administration has now effectively morphed into what is, by definition , a military junta. Though the military-industrial complex has long directed U.S. foreign policy, in the administration of President Donald Trump a group of military officers has gathered unprecedented power and, for all intents and purposes, rules the country.

Three generals at the center of power

In a recent article in The Washington Post , titled "Military Leaders Consolidate Power In Trump Administration," Post reporters Robert Costa and Philip Rucker noted that "At the core of Trump's circle is a seasoned trio of generals with experience as battlefield commanders: White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and national security adviser H.R. McMaster. The three men have carefully cultivated personal relationships with the president and gained his trust."

"This is the only time in modern presidential history when we've had a small number of people from the uniformed world hold this much influence over the chief executive," John E. McLaughlin, a former acting director of the CIA who served in seven administrations, told the Post . "They are right now playing an extraordinary role."

This role, however, appears to reach beyond "extraordinary". Although Trump is fond of calling them "my generals," they now, Costa and Rucker report, "manage Trump's hour-by-hour interactions and whisper in his ear – and those whispers, as with the decision this week to expand U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, often become policy." Another Washington Post article, published last Tuesday, led with the headline "The Generals Have Trump Surrounded."

Also notable is the fact that this trio of generals has overseen the firing of more independent, "outsider" voices, notably Derek Harvey and Steve Bannon. Bannon, in particular, was a thorn in the side of the generals, in light primarily of his staunch opposition to the American "empire project" and new wars abroad. Bannon had opposed Trump's strike against Syria, troop surges in Iraq, and the dropped hint of a "military option" to deal with the crisis in Venezuela. The New York Times referred to McMaster as Bannon's "nemesis in the West Wing," precisely due to McMaster's commitment to American empire building.

With Bannon's relatively recent departure, the tone of the Trump administration – now unequivocally ruled by "the generals" – has changed significantly -- as illustrated by Trump's decision to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan, a measure both Bannon and Trump himself once opposed.

In addition, last Thursday, Politico published a report detailing the control exercised by Kelly over the president, as he personally vets "everything" that comes across Trump's desk. Politico referenced two memos that laid out a system "designed to ensure that the president won't see any external policy documents, internal policy memos, agency reports and even news articles that haven't been vetted."

The Hill further noted that Kelly is also "keeping a tight leash" on who gets to meet directly with the President in the Oval Office, which is now strictly appointment-only and also dependent upon Kelly's approval.

[Aug 25, 2017] Influential GOP Donor Sheldon Adelson Supports Campaign to Oust McMaster report

Notable quotes:
"... Powerful Republican "megadonor" Sheldon Adelson has privately told an ally that he supports a campaign against National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster that depicts him as anti-Israel and seeks to remove him from the White House, according to a new report. ..."
Aug 25, 2017 | www.breitbart.com
Powerful Republican "megadonor" Sheldon Adelson has privately told an ally that he supports a campaign against National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster that depicts him as anti-Israel and seeks to remove him from the White House, according to a new report.

Adelson wrote in an email to Mort Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America who is running the campaign: "Now that I have talked to somebody with personal experience with McMaster, I support your efforts," according to Axios.

The support from Adelson -- arguably the most influential donor in Republican politics -- comes after his spokesman said he had nothing to do with ZOA's campaign against McMaster and was "perfectly comfortable" with the job he was doing.

... ... ...

A White House source tried to downplay the email, telling Axios that the Israel team -- which included "noted right winger Ambassador Friedman" – feels that McMaster is "remarkably pro-Israel and he just had a meeting with senior Israeli officials where he won plaudits from them for understanding their unique security needs."

Adelson's email is a blow to McMaster, who is under heavy criticism for ousting political opponents inside the National Security Council who wanted to implement the president's "America First" foreign policy agenda.

[Aug 24, 2017] Kelly, Mattic and McMaster complete the militarization of the executive branch

"I think Trump may have so deeply surrounded (embedded may be the better word) himself primarily to protect himself from the intelligence community. JFK was not a one off in my opinion and probably not in Trump's mind."
Aug 24, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
48

"...At the core of Trump's circle is a seasoned trio of generals with experience as battlefield commanders: White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and national security adviser H.R. McMaster...."

These three basically complete the militarization of the executive branch and the Political Elites. They've all pushed for or have been intimately involved in wars in which the US has lost or never been able to 'win'. This is Trump's best and the brightest


Kelly: In 2002, Kelly again served with the 1st Marine Division, this time as the assistant division commander. Much of Kelly's two-year assignment was spent deployed in Iraq. In March 2003, while in Iraq, Kelly was promoted to brigadier general..... later, he served as the commanding general of the Multi-National Force West in Iraq from February 2008 to February 2009....

Mattis: During the initial planning for the War in Afghanistan, Mattis led Task Force 58 in operations in the southern part of the country; In May 2004, Mattis ordered the 3:00 a.m. bombing of a suspected enemy safe house near the Syrian border, which later came to be known as the Mukaradeeb wedding party massacre, and which resulted in the deaths of 42 civilians; Mattis played key roles in combat operations in Fallujah, including negotiation with the insurgent command inside the city during Operation Vigilant Resolve in April 2004, as well as participation in planning of the subsequent Operation Phantom Fury in November; responsible for American military operations in the Middle East, Northeast Africa, and Central Asia, from August 11, 2010, to March 22, 2013; etc etc

In other words, Mattis is responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the destruction of Fallujah.....

H.R. McMaster: Director of the Combined Joint Interagency Task Force-Shafafiyat at the International Security Assistance Force Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan... He is known for his roles in the Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. From August 2007 to August 2008 McMaster was part of an "elite team of officers advising US commander" General David Petraeus on counterinsurgency operations (perhaps known as how to kill Iraqis who resisted the US invasion and occupation)

Carol Davidek-Waller | Aug 24, 2017 3:13:23 PM | 30

What you are saying is that General Jack D Ripper is now president and Dr. Strangelove is Trump's top security advisor?

[Aug 23, 2017] The Mini-Skirt Deception How McMaster Got His Afghan 'Surge' - Antiwar.com Original

Aug 23, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

The Mini-Skirt Deception: How McMaster Got His Afghan 'Surge'

A photo of Soviet era Afghanistan won Trump over

by Justin Raimondo Posted on August 23, 2017 August 22, 2017 According to reports , Gen. H. R. McMaster convinced President Trump to give up his longstanding opposition to the Afghan war by showing him this photograph, below, of Afghan women in what the media are describing as "miniskirts." As the Washington Post put it:

"One of the ways McMaster tried to persuade Trump to recommit to the effort was by convincing him that Afghanistan was not a hopeless place. He presented Trump with a black-and-white snapshot from 1972 of Afghan women in miniskirts walking through Kabul, to show him that Western norms had existed there before and could return."

The irony is that, in 1972, when this photo was taken on the grounds of Kabul University, Afghanistan was firmly in the orbit of the Soviet Union, as it had been since 1953, when Prime Minister Mohammed Daoud Khan rose to power and instituted a series of progressive reforms, including equal rights for women. The next year, Khan deposed King Mohammed Zahir Shah, and Soviet aid poured in, alongside the Red Army.

More irony: it was the United States, alongside Washington's then-ally Osama bin Laden, that overthrew the communist regime, and conducted a guerrilla war against the Afghan government and their Soviet sponsors. The last Soviet troops left in 1989 -- and there were no more miniskirts to be seen anywhere in Afghanistan.

Gen. McMaster knows all this: our President does not. Does McMaster think he can bring communism back to Afghanistan? I jest, but with serious intent. Because the commies attempted what our President has vowed not to do in Afghanistan: they sought to create a nation out of a collection of mountain-guarded valleys, isolated bastions untouched by time or the vaunted ambitions of their many would-be conquerors.

Here is Trump , trying to justify the prolongation of the longest war in our history:

"I am here to talk about tonight, that nearly 16 years after September 11 attacks, after the extraordinary sacrifice of blood and treasure, the American people are weary of war without victory.

"Nowhere is this more evident than with the war in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history – 17 years. I share the American people's frustration. I also share their frustration over a foreign policy that has spent too much time, energy, money, and most importantly, lives trying to rebuild countries in our own image instead of pursuing our security interests above all other considerations."

How to reconcile this abjuration of hubris with that photo of mini-skirted Afghan women? It can't be done, but then again Trump is all about contradictions:

"Shortly after my inauguration, I directed Secretary of Defense Mattis and my national security team to undertake a comprehensive review of all strategic options in Afghanistan and South Asia.

"My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts. But all my life, I have heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the oval office. In other words, when you are president of the United States."

Has such a confession of betrayal ever been uttered by a public figure? For years he told us Afghanistan was a waste of lives and treasure, and that we had to get out. And now he's flip-flopped because McMaster showed him a photo of Afghan women in mini-skirts! Oh, how easy it was – too easy!

"So I studied Afghanistan in great detail and from every conceivable angle," he claims. Really? Did he study it enough to realize that no one has ever conquered Afghanistan? Did he contemplate the storied history of that unforgiving land, which caused even Alexander the Great to turn back? Did he study the provenance and context of that photograph, in which Afghan women dared to show their knees?

Of course not!

"After many meetings over many months," Trump continued,

"[W]e held our final meeting last Friday at Camp David with my cabinet and generals to complete our strategy. I arrived at three fundamental conclusions about America's core interests in Afghanistan.

"First, our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives. The men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory. They deserve the tools they need and the trust they have earned to fight and to win."

What is the moral meaning of this? That lives wasted in a futile crusade must be matched by yet more sacrifices on the altar of the war god? We are told that Trump met with five enlisted soldiers before making his decision to go along with the generals' war plan: I'd like to know what they said. The White House won't tell us.

From this moral inversion Trump descends into an inversion of the facts:

"Second, the consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable. 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from Afghanistan because that country by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists. A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al Qaeda, would instantly fill, just as happened before September 11."

The 9/11 terrorist attacks were planned and directed from Hamburg, Germany , and right here in the United States – indeed, not too far from Mar-a-Lago -- not Afghanistan. This "safe haven" argument is so tattered and overused that it comes apart under the most cursory inspection. And what are we to make of someone who describes ending a 16-year war as "a hasty withdrawal"?

We are then treated to the myth of "victory denied in Iraq," which attributes the rise of ISIS to US withdrawal from Iraq – when it reality ISIS was created by our "ally" Saudi Arabia and the Arab sheikhs of the Gulf states who have funded and encouraged their co-co-religionists in the Sunni-versus-Shi'ite civil war that has sundered the Muslim world. And of course there would be no ISIS if not for the invasion of Iraq – but even Trump knows this quite well.

Drifting off into vague threats against Pakistan, Trump reiterates his determination to solve "big and intricate problems." But how? How will it be different, this time?

"As a result of our comprehensive review, American strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia will change dramatically in the following ways: A core pillar of our new strategy is a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions. I've said it many times, how counterproductive it is for the United States to announce in advance the dates we intend to begin or end military operations.

"We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities. Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on. America's enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out."

A child could see through this rodomontade. Because unless we intend to stay in Afghanistan forever, what is to prevent the Taliban from simply waiting us out? We have to leave sometime. So what is the purpose of this vow of silence? It is simply to keep the truth from the American people. We won't know how many troops are in Afghanistan, nor will we know when more are sent in: it's all to be conducted under the radar, so that Trump's voters – who took seriously his tirades against foreign wars – won't know the extent to which he has betrayed his mandate, and them.

The absurdities accumulate like refuse during a garbage strike:

"We are not nation building again. We are killing terrorists." Yet Gen. McMaster, a disciple of Gen. David Petraeus and his " COINdistas ," are the original nation-builders – aside from the Soviets, that is, from whom they cadged their "strategy."

"We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars, at the same time they are housing the same terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change. And that will change immediately." No it won't. Remember when Sen. Rand Paul tried to end US aid to Pakistan? It didn't happen then and it won't happen now.

"As the prime minister of Afghanistan has promised, we are going to participate in economic development to help defray the cost of this war to us." So Afghanistan is going to pay for this war, just like Mexico is going to pay for the Great Wall of Texas! In your dreams, Mr. President.

"Our commitment is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank check." The history of the past 16 years refutes this, as does the content of the President's peroration. Of course we're giving them a blank check: that's because the Afghan government only has such resources as we give to it. And since Trump is refusing to say when or even if we're leaving, then our commitment is indeed potentially unlimited. Does he imagine our Afghan puppets, who are happily stealing us blind, don't know this?

I can't bear to go on cataloging the lies, the contradictions, the flip-flops – it pains me to even think about it, much less write about it. The "America First" foreign policy Trump promised during the campaign is just a memory, and his baffled supporters are left to contemplate the most brazen betrayal in modern American political history.

Yet there are some benefits, here, for anti-interventionists to reap, which may not be readily apparent. Because Trump's supporters, who took seriously his anti-interventionist rhetoric, are now wondering what hit them. They had to go through this experience: betrayal can be enlightening. And we here at Antiwar.com are ready, willing, and able to enlighten them. That is, after all, what we're about.

On step forward, two steps back – this is how progress, however agonizingly slow, is made.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE TO MY READERS

Take heart: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Trump's brazen reversal on Afghanistan and the triumph of the generals is provoking a movement in the opposite direction – the anti-interventionist movement is growing and getting more visible. Many of Trump's supporters are in open rebellion , and we here at Antiwar.com are getting more visibility: check out this Washington Post piece which reads like it was taken from our front page.

We're making progress – but we can't do it without your help. We need your tax-deductible donations to keep Antiwar.com going. Donate today!

Read more by Justin Raimondo The Revolution Betrayed – August 20th, 2017 'Russia-gate' Hoax About To Be Exposed? – August 17th, 2017 Which Way for the Trump Administration? – August 15th, 2017 Don't Say We Didn't Warn You – August 13th, 2017 What Are We To Believe? – August 10th, 2017

[Aug 20, 2017] McMaster solidifies power at NSC -- and supports Iran deal, sees Israel as occupier by Philip Weiss

Aug 05, 2017 | mondoweiss.net

Last night President Trump issued a statement affirming his support for National Security adviser H.R. McMaster in the face of a storm of criticism from rightwing outlets. The statement is a sign that Trump and his new chief of staff are taking the realist side of the debate inside his administration over foreign policy.

So while Trump claims to be doing everything he can to trash the Iran deal, the good news is that his foreign policy team is for it. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson clearly advocated for the deal at a press briefing earlier this week, while suggesting that he could differ with the president on how effective it's been.

I think there are a lot of alternative means with which we use the agreement to advance our policies and the relationship with Iran.

Tillerson is one of the "adults" who are thought to be able to rein in Trump's worst tendencies on Iran, as Paul Pillar wrote :

Reportedly the adults, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, last month urged a resistant Trump to recognize reality and certify that Iran was complying with the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action].

Further comfort comes from the fact that three days ago, General McMaster fired Ezra Cohen-Watnick , an enigmatic thirtyish intelligence aide who was vehemently opposed to the Iran deal, leading to calls to get rid of McMaster. Like Tillerson, McMaster is plainly a realist. And he is thought to have job security because his predecessor, General Mike Flynn, lasted barely three weeks and went out with a splash. The Atlantic says McMaster is cleaning house at the NSC; two weeks ago he got rid of an ideologue who spread anti-Muslim conspiracies.

Supporters of Israel are upset by the personnel changes. The Israeli-American hothead Caroline Glick writes at her Facebook page that McMaster is "deeply hostile" to Israel as an occupying power.

The Israel angle on McMaster's purge of Trump loyalists from the National Security Council is that all of these people are pro-Israel and oppose the Iran nuclear deal, positions that Trump holds.

McMaster in contrast is deeply hostile to Israel and to Trump. According to senior officials aware of his behavior, he constantly refers to Israel as the occupying power and insists falsely and constantly that a country named Palestine existed where Israel is located until 1948 when it was destroyed by the Jews.

McMaster "has chosen to eliminate the pro-Israel voices at the National Security Council," according to Jordan Schachtel at the Conservative Review, who cited interviews with White House officials who are trying to undermine the general:

McMaster not only shuns Israel, he is also historically challenged on Arab-Israeli affairs, according to the sources.

"McMaster constantly refers to the existence of a Palestinian state before 1947," a senior West Wing official tells CR (there was never an independent Palestinian state), adding that McMaster describes Israel as an "illegitimate," "occupying power."

The NSC chief expressed great reluctance to work with Israel on counterterror efforts, as he shut down a joint U.S.-Israel project to counter the terrorist group Hezbollah's efforts to expand Iran's worldwide influence.

One of the main indictments of McMaster by neoconservatives (right-wing Israel supporters who favor regime change) is that he restrained the president on his tour of occupied territories in May ( as Allison Deger reported at the time ). In this White House briefing, McMaster refused to say that the western wall in occupied East Jerusalem is part of Israel.

[Aug 20, 2017] Mr. Bannon's disdain for General McMaster also accelerated his demise

Notable quotes:
"... The war veteran has never quite clicked with the president, but other West Wing staff members recoiled at a series of smears against General McMaster by internet allies of Mr. Bannon. ..."
Aug 20, 2017 | www.msn.com

Mr. Bannon's disdain for General McMaster also accelerated his demise. The war veteran has never quite clicked with the president, but other West Wing staff members recoiled at a series of smears against General McMaster by internet allies of Mr. Bannon.

The strategist denied involvement, but he also did not speak out against them.

By the time Charlottesville erupted, Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump had a powerful ally in Mr. Kelly, who shared their belief that Mr. Trump's first statement blaming "many sides" for the deadly violence needed to be amended.

Mr. Bannon vigorously objected. He told Mr. Kelly that if Mr. Trump delivered a second, more contrite statement it would do him no good, with either the public or the Washington press corps, which he denigrated as a "Pretorian guard" protecting the Democrats' consensus that Mr. Trump is a race-baiting demagogue. Mr. Trump could grovel, beg for forgiveness, even get down on his knees; it would never work, Mr. Bannon maintained.

"They're going to say two things: It's too late and it's not enough," Mr. Bannon told Mr. Kelly.

[Aug 20, 2017] Breitbart Goes After Ivanka And McMaster

Aug 20, 2017 | dailycaller.com

The first earlier in the day was " Report: Powerful GOP Donor Sheldon Adelson Supports Campaign to Oust McMaster ." This article detailed how major Republican donor Sheldon Adelson reportedly is supporting a campaign against McMaster that claims the national security adviser is anti-Israel.

Later in the day, the lead story on the site was " McMaster Of Disguise: Nat'l Security Adviser Endorsed Book That Advocates Quran-Kissing Apology Ceremonies ." This piece from frequent McMaster critic Aaron Klein said that McMaster endorsed a book that "calls on the U.S. military to respond to any 'desecrations' of the Quran by service members with an apology ceremony, and advocates kissing a new copy of the Quran before presenting the Islamic text to the local Muslim public."

The article went on to say that McMaster has "troubling views" on Islamic terrorism.

The site also published two articles Sunday critical of Ivanka. One of them is an aggregate of a Daily Mail report that claimed Ivanka helped push Bannon out of the White House. Shortly after the story was published, the article received an update that said a White House senior aide stated the Daily Mail report is "totally false."

Breitbart also wrote a piece that highlighted six times Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner's displeasure with President Trump had been leaked to the media.

Bannon said in interviews after his departure from the White House that he will use Breitbart to fight for the president's agenda.

"In many ways, I think I can be more effective fighting from the outside for the agenda President Trump ran on," Bannon told The New York Times . "And anyone who stands in our way, we will go to war with."

[Aug 20, 2017] Breitbart goes after McMaster

Aug 20, 2017 | thehill.com

Breitbart News, the media outlet helmed by President Trump's former chief strategist Stephen Bannon, published an article on Sunday casting national security adviser H.R. McMaster as soft on Islamist extremism and terrorism.

The former chief strategist's exit from the White House on Friday immediately raised questions about the future of Bannon's relationship with Trump, as well as how Breitbart would cover the administration with Bannon at the helm again.

In an interview last week on NBC's "Meet the Press," McMaster repeatedly dodged questions about whether he could work with Bannon, saying simply that he is "ready to work with anybody who will help advance the president's agenda and advance the security, prosperity of the American people."

"I get to work together with a broad range of talented people, and it is a privilege every day to enable the national security team," McMaster told the show's host Chuck Todd.

[Aug 20, 2017] The Bannon - McMaster war can be very easily explained

Aug 20, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

somebody | Aug 20, 2017 5:49:52 AM | 98

The Bannon - McMaster war can be very easily explained

McMaster made sure the US remains in the Iran deal

This is not what Sheldon Adelson or the Mercers paid for. This is not what right wing Israelis want.

Stability is not what the Mercers thrive on .

Hedge fund insiders say that quant funds, whose trading profits typically depend on volatility, have been hurt by what has been a surprisingly steady market environment in the second quarter, most notably in June, when the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX � which reflects investors� views of expected stock market volatility � gained between 10 percent and 12 percent, half of its 52-week highs. The Republicans� failure to pass a health care bill, a steady drumbeat of news about the Russia-Trump investigation, and nuclear missile tests of North Korea did little to jar investor confidence in the stock market. The S&P 500 gained 0.6 percent during the month, putting it up 9.3 percent this year

Grieved | Aug 19, 2017 10:06:59 PM | 86

@58 karlof1

Thanks for the Escobar link. The story makes great sense. It's good to know about Mercer and to see that Trump and Bannon are tight. Oddly, it did seem that with all the jackals circling around Trump's neck, in this one case, Bannon is more use outside the tent pissing in than inside pissing out. And Breitbart has now received a massive profile lift, it'll become a national player in the narrative, one would expect.

By the way, I was pondering lately this whole aspect of a grass roots movement. Funny you should bring it up. The only question here about the US is, will the people actually get a voice in this society? If the electoral system keeps bringing liars and betraying promises, then it's time to Occupy the Ballot and have new movements. This is happening I think, with Trump actually being one of the precursor litmus tests.

~~

As for the generals, what does a ruler need except the people and the army? Trump has them both. It makes him harder to take down with all those generals around. Of course, Caesar will have to accord with his praetorian guard or the guard will get a new Caesar. But the US is a banana republic now, this is how it's done - and I'm serious about this, these are real dynamics I think.

Surely the generals will end up being more conservative in action than in rhetoric? And if they get a little giddy and actually send their soldiers out into the real world, they'll quickly receive more of those globally public humiliations that are lowering the empire to the ground so effectively. What can go wrong, that couldn't always go wrong anyway, regardless of who's in charge, or thinks they're in charge?

V. Arnold | Aug 19, 2017 8:50:03 PM | 80
somebody | Aug 19, 2017 10:01:52 AM | 24

Trump would not have been elected without Robert Mercer. Robert Mercer is the billionaire behind Cambridge Analytica, Breitbart and Steve Bannon.

Who financed Adolf Hitler?

Bingo! Finally, some one got the Mercers; both the father and the daughter.
http://therealnews.com/t2/story:19811:The-Real-Story-of-How-Bannon-and-Trump-Got-to-The-White-House

smuks | Aug 20, 2017 8:45:55 AM | 101
@psychohistorian 85

We express things differently, but think very much alike.

The water and sewage system is a good example, but you could take any basic utility/ basic human need: Everyone needs it, but there's no need for 'growth' and little if any room for efficiency gains. So the only ways to profit as a private investor are to overcharge users or to pay miserable wages and let the infrastructure rot.

Private enterprise and competition can work miracles when an economic sector is rapidly developing, expanding and advancing technologically. Governments should encourage this, so I don't think they're (purely) socialistic. But once the sector is 'grown-up' and enters a more or less 'steady state', there's neither room nor justification for profits. It becomes more important to provide high-quality services to everyone(!) while using as little natural resources as possible - and for this, a democratic form of organization is much more fitting than a private profit-driven one (which strives to maximize throughput).

I'm cautiously optimistic. My impression is that more and more people realize that in our time, 'democracy', 'equal rights' and 'sustainability' more important than 'profits' and 'growth'...don't you think?

nb...'posit' - I just learned a new word, thanks!

@somebody 98

Thanks for pointing out the uncertainty and 'volatility'/ VIX bit. I agree it's what speculative investors like hedge funds need and thrive on - so it's what they try to promote by all means (cf. certain websites).
Especially now that we are saying goodbye to the 'growth' phase of the economy and entering a 'steady state' (s.ab.), financial market volatility is increasingly the only thing to reap (relevant) profits from. It's a fight between the pro-stability and the 'profit at all cost' factions - luckily, the former is winning.

[Aug 18, 2017] Banish Bannon Trump weighs his options as top aides feud Defend Democracy Press

Aug 18, 2017 | www.defenddemocracy.press

For months, U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser and his chief strategist have battled for influence behind the scenes, and their feud may force another shake-up at the White House.

The dispute between Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster and political strategist Stephen Bannon has reached a level of animosity that is destabilizing Trump's team of top advisers just as the administration tries to regain lost momentum, three senior officials said.

Under pressure from moderate Republicans to fire Bannon, Trump declined to publicly back him on Tuesday, although he left his options open. "We'll see what happens with Mr. Bannon," he told reporters at Trump Tower in New York.

Read more at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-bannon-analysis-idUSKCN1AV2MZ

[Aug 18, 2017] Alt-Right and Ultra-Zionist Alliance against National Security Advisor McMaster

Notable quotes:
"... He was then moved quickly to contain the influence of chief strategist Steve Bannon, who McMaster removed from the National Security Council. If you recall, he was appointed to contain other Trump loyalists such as Michael Flynn, as well. ..."
"... Recently, a campaign accusing him of being anti-Israel has been waged with the support of billionaire Sheldon Adelson by a coalition of alt-right nationalists that includes Steve Bannon ..."
Aug 18, 2017 | therealnews.com

Remember Lieutenant-General Herbert Raymond McMaster? He was appointed as President Trump's national security adviser back in February. He was then moved quickly to contain the influence of chief strategist Steve Bannon, who McMaster removed from the National Security Council. If you recall, he was appointed to contain other Trump loyalists such as Michael Flynn, as well.

Recently, a campaign accusing him of being anti-Israel has been waged with the support of billionaire Sheldon Adelson by a coalition of alt-right nationalists that includes Steve Bannon and extreme right-wing Zionists such as the president of the Zionist Organization of America, Morton Klein, as well as by Israeli journalist Caroline Glick from the Jerusalem Post. President Trump, in response to all of this, called McMaster "a good man, very pro-Israel," and Israeli officials have also come forward calling McMaster a friend of Israel.

On to talk about these connections and tensions is Shir Hever. Shir is a Real News correspondent in Heidelberg, Germany. Of course, he covers Israel and Palestine for us extensively. I thank you so much for joining us, Shir.

SHIR HEVER: Thanks for having me, Sharmini.

SHARMINI PERIES: Shir, President Trump is now six months into his office as president. He initially has appointed his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to take up the Israel file, but there are these allegations flying against General McMaster. Explain to us what's going on. Why are these individuals like Sheldon Adelson even concerned about how Trump is responding in terms of Israel and Israel policy?

SHIR HEVER: I think there's very little that General McMaster can actually do about Israel or against Israel. It really doesn't matter much. The only issue that has come up was the Iran nuclear deal, and I think this is going to be a decision taken directly by President Trump and not by McMaster. Also, what exactly is the Israel interest regarding the Iran nuclear deal? It is not so clear. Obviously, Prime Minister Netanyahu has a certain opinion, but other Israeli politicians have other opinions.

I think this is really a symbolic issue. There are people in the alt-right and also the extreme Zionism who are using this old worn-out accusation that somebody is anti-Israel in order to get their own people into the National Security Council, in order to exert influence on the Trump administration. This coalition between extreme right nationalists, white nationalists in the United States, and Jewish Zionists, which traditionally were on opposing sides, are now working together because of this very strange rise of this alt-right.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right. Now, give us a greater sense of the connection or the tensions between these alt-right organizations and McMaster and Bannon. Map this for us.

SHIR HEVER: Yeah. I've been looking through these accusations that Caroline Glick, deputy editor of the Jerusalem Post, and Steve Bannon himself, and also Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America. What problem do they have with McMaster? They make very vague things about some statements that he made, but they couldn't put them in context. He said that Israel is an occupying power. Of course, Israel is an occupying power, but they couldn't place that statement. The only thing that their criticism boils down to is they say McMaster is a remnant of the Obama administration. He continues the Obama policies, and therefore he's not loyal to Trump.

I think this is the crux of the matter, because actually, for people like Caroline Glick and I think also for Sheldon Adelson, their relation to Trump borders on religious. They consider Trump to be some kind of messiah or savior that will allow Israel once and for all to annex the occupied territory, expand its borders, and then the land will be redeemed. They talk about this in religious terminology.

Here's the problem. Trump has been president for six months now, and Israel did not annex the territory. It did not expand its borders. In fact, it has gone from one crisis to the next, and the Israeli government is not able to cement its power over the Palestinians. Palestinian resistance is not tied down. They're looking for an explanation. The explanation is that something is not pure in the Trump administration, and they're pointing the finger at McMaster saying, "Because of people like him who are sabotaging Trump's own policies from the inside, then this is preventing the Trump administration from reaching its full potential."

SHARMINI PERIES: Right. Obviously, Netanyahu and the Israeli government doesn't agree with this assessment. In fact, they have come out supporting McMaster as being a good supporter of Israel. How does this play out here?

SHIR HEVER: Absolutely. Prime Minister Netanyahu is doing real politics. He knows that there's nothing that President Trump can do that will actually make Israel suddenly conquer more territory. That's not the point. Netanyahu is trying to balance a very complicated system with pressure from different points, and he is a populist, and he's only in power because of his populism. Now, his administration is under threat because of corruption allegations, so this is a problem for him. When people expect that the Trump administration will free his hands to do whatever he wants, Netanyahu suddenly has a problem because he needs to come up with a new excuse. Why doesn't he annex all the occupied territory?

Of course, for him, it's not a good time to get into a fight with the Trump administration. He wants to create the impression that things are happening under the surface, that he is in the know, that his friends are involved in this, but I think the fact that Sheldon Adelson, the big financial supporter of Netanyahu, is now switching to support extreme right groups that have nothing to do with the interests of the Israeli current administration, but are actually trying to push the Israeli administration to move further to the extreme right and to annex territory, that puts Netanyahu in trouble. I think it also spells some clouds over the warm relationship between Netanyahu and Adelson.

SHARMINI PERIES: Coming back to this side of things here in the United States, in light of the events of Charlottesville, Shir, showing a direct link between the alt-right and hardcore racists and neo-Nazis, why would extreme right-wing Zionist Jewish organizations and individuals like Glick and Klein agree to cooperate with the alt-right in this way?

SHIR HEVER: I think people on the left tend to forget that, just like the left considers itself to be a kind of universalist movement, and that leftists around the world should have solidarity with each other, the right also has a kind of solidarity, especially the extreme right. Extreme right movements in different countries consider the extreme right in other countries to be their allies. One of the things we saw in Charlottesville is that some of these neo-Nazi groups and white nationalist groups are big supporters of Bashar Al-Assad in Syria, because they see him as the kind of strong leader they would like to see in the United States as well.

For people who see Donald Trump talking about America first, then they're saying, "Okay, that's exactly the kind of administration we want to see in Israel, somebody taking about Israel first." For Caroline Gluck or for a Morton Klein, they are willing to accept a very heavy load of racism and even anti-semitism against Jews from the Trump administration and from its supporters in exchange for being allowed to copy that same kind of racism and that same kind of right-wing policy towards their minorities. Just like the American administration has its minorities, Muslims, Mexicans which are being targeted, Israel also has its minorities, Palestinians and asylum-seekers, and they want those people to be targeted in the same harsh language and the same harsh policies, so that we can [inaudible] a great compromise.

I have to say, the events in Charlottesville had a profound impact on Israeli public opinion. In fact, there are a lot of Israelis who are very concerned about this kind of coalition. They are saying, "No, there's not that much that we're willing to take in order to keep the relations with the Trump administration on good footing." Because of that, the president of Israel, President Rivlin, and also the education minister Naftali Bennett issued statements condemning white nationalists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. I think Naftali Bennett, who is the head of the Jewish Nationalist Party in Israel, and he's actually of the same political camp as Caroline Glick, as Morton Klein, when he makes that statement, that shows that even he thinks that they have gone too far.

SHARMINI PERIES: Interesting analysis, Shir. I thank you so much for joining us today. I guess the situation in Charlottesville is evolving, and it would be interesting to continue to keep an eye on what's developing here against what's happening in Israel as well. Thank you so much.

SHIR HEVER: Thank you, Sharmini.

SHARMINI PERIES: Thank you for joining us here on the Real News Network.

Jibaro 4 hours ago

Confusing, at least to me, in any case I believe that the Zionists learned a lot from the Nazis and there is very little difference between the two groups. I would say that the main difference lies in the fact that the Zionists are sneakier and know how to play with popular opinion. That's why it doesn't surprise me that they are making a common cause with the white supremacists groups.

The only surprise here is that they are doing it openly now. They have become brave and have decided to take the backlash. Perhaps they are doing so because they know they have the support of Trump.

Divide and conquer. Soon we will be fighting on our own streets against each other. It will be the death of the US...

Donatella 10 hours ago

"For Caroline Gluck or for a Morton Klein, they are willing to accept a very heavy load of racism and even anti-semitism against Jews from the Trump administration and from its supporters in exchange for being allowed to copy that same kind of racism and that same kind of right-wing policy towards their minorities."

I have great respect for Shir Hever, he has great insight into Israel society and politics. However, his statement that Klein and Glick (and maybe Adelson) want to be "allowed" to copy Trump's supporter's racism and right-wing policies towards minorities in Israel is beyond hilarious. Minorities in Israel have been and continue to be subjected to racist and supremacist policies (much worse than anything Trump supporters can even imagine) by the Zionists since the theft of Palestinian's land in 1948. The Israelis are not just pursuing racist policies but as Israeli historian Ilan Pappe said, they are committing slow motion genocide against the Palestinians.

[Aug 17, 2017] Grown-ups Versus Ideologues The Media Narrative of the White House May Be All Wrong

Notable quotes:
"... McMaster's was spewing nonsense. The same was said about the Soviet Union and China when they became nuclear weapons states. North Korea just became one . Conventional deterrence of both sides has worked with North Korea for decades. Nuclear deterrence with North Korea will work just as well as it did with the Soviet and Chinese communists. If North Korea were really not deterrable the U.S. should have nuked it yesterday to minimize the overall risk and damage. It is the McMaster position that is ideological and not rational or "grown up" at all. ..."
"... Compare that to Steve Bannon's take on the issue: ..."
"... "There's no military solution [to North Korea's nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about, there's no military solution here, they got us." ..."
"... But looking at things now, rather than a spoilt paranoid kid, perhaps someone trained from an early age for leadership, and perhaps rather than being paranoid (Russia/China), perhaps a leader that finds it more important to create a deterrence against the US. Third generation at war with the US and his seen his father was fucked over when trying to make a deal with the US. NK's nuke and missile tech have come a long way in the few short years Kim Jong Un has been in power. ..."
"... "Deterrence is a strategy intended to dissuade an adversary from taking an action not yet started, or to prevent them from doing something that another state desires." ..."
"... Classic deterrence strategy IS working for NK perfectly. ..."
"... All one has to do to know what Bannon's position on Iran is to read Breitbart on any given day. Unless we are supposed to believe that Bannon's opinions are not reflected by the website he ran for four years. Bannon is for war against Islam in general, there is nothing "realist" about his foreign policy. ..."
"... @12... "Bannon is a fascist" I'm not so sure. Mussolini defined fascism as being an alliance of corporate and state powers... but Bannon (and most of his followers) have no trust in the corporate sector as they [the corporate sector] are to a large degree Globalists - they used the US and then threw it aside in pursuit of profit elsewhere. For that, he would even call them traitors. So you could call him a Nationalist. ..."
"... Bannon makes sense. That must be why many want him gone especially the neocons. As to North Korea, the US should have admitted "facts on the ground" long ago and worked to sign the official end of the war and work to get the two Koreas talking and working together. ..."
Aug 17, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Democrats and the media love the Pentagon generals in the White House. They are the "grown ups":

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., had words of praise for Donald Trump's new pick for national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster -- calling the respected military officer a "certified, card-carrying grown-up,"

According to the main-stream narrative the "grown ups" are opposed by " ideologues " around Trump's senior advisor Steve Bannon. Bannon is even infectious, according to Jeet Heer, as he is Turning Trump Into an Ethno-Nationalist Ideologue . A recent short interview with Bannon dispels that narrative.

Who is really the sane person on, say, North Korea?

The "grown-up" General McMaster, Trump's National Security Advisor, is not one of them. He claims North Korea is not deterrable from doing something insane.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But your predecessor Susan Rice wrote this week that the U.S. could tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea the same way we tolerated nuclear weapons in the Soviet Union far more during the Cold War. Is she right?

MCMASTER: No, she's not right. And I think the reason she's not right is that the classical deterrence theory, how does that apply to a regime like the regime in North Korea? A regime that engages in unspeakable brutality against its own people? A regime that poses a continuous threat to the its neighbors in the region and now may pose a threat, direct threat, to the United States with weapons of mass destruction?

McMaster's was spewing nonsense. The same was said about the Soviet Union and China when they became nuclear weapons states. North Korea just became one . Conventional deterrence of both sides has worked with North Korea for decades. Nuclear deterrence with North Korea will work just as well as it did with the Soviet and Chinese communists. If North Korea were really not deterrable the U.S. should have nuked it yesterday to minimize the overall risk and damage. It is the McMaster position that is ideological and not rational or "grown up" at all.

Compare that to Steve Bannon's take on the issue:

"There's no military solution [to North Korea's nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about, there's no military solution here, they got us."

It was indeed the Democratic People's Republic of Korea which "got" the United States and stopped the U.S. escalation game. It is wrong to think that North Korea "backed off" in the recent upheaval about a missile test targeted next to Guam. It was the U.S. that pulled back from threatening behavior.

Since the end of May the U.S. military trained extensively for decapitation and "preemptive" strikes on North Korea:

Two senior military officials -- and two senior retired officers -- told NBC News that key to the plan would be a B-1B heavy bomber attack originating from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.
...
Of the 11 B-1 practice runs since the end of May, four have also involved practice bombing at military ranges in South Korea and Australia.

In response to the B-1B flights North Korea published plans to launch a missile salvo next to the U.S. island of Guam from where those planes started. The announcement included a hidden offer to stop the test if the U.S. would refrain from further B-1B flights. A deal was made during secret negotiations . Since then no more B-1B flights took place and North Korea suspended its Guam test plans. McMaster lost and the sane people, including Steve Bannon, won.

But what about Bannon's "ethno-nationalist" ideology? Isn't he responsible for the right-wing nutters of Charlottesville conflict? Isn't he one of them?

He dismissed the far right as irrelevant and sidestepped his own role in cultivating it: "Ethno-nationalism!it's losers. It's a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more."

"These guys are a collection of clowns," he added.

Bannon sees China as an economic enemy and wants to escalate an economic conflict with it. He is said to be against the nuclear deal with Iran. The generals in Trump's cabinet are all anti-Iran hawks. As Bannon now turns out to be a realist on North Korea, I am not sure what real position on Iran is.

Domestically Bannon is pulling the Democrats into the very trap I had several times warned against:

"The Democrats," he said, "the longer they talk about identity politics, I got 'em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats."

This worked well during the presidential election and might continue to work for Trump. As long as the Democrats do not come up with, and fight for, sane economic polices they will continue to lose elections. The people are not interested in LGBT access to this or that bathroom. They are interested in universal healthcare, in personal and economic security. They are unlikely to get such under Bannon and Trump. But, unlike the Democrats, the current White House crew at least claim to have plans to achieve it.

Posted by b on August 16, 2017 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

Peter AU 1 | Aug 17, 2017 1:05:52 AM | 1

A couple of very interesting links from the last thread were the one to the Bannon article, and also the link to the Carter/NK article.

Kim Jong Un, 3rd generation like his father and grandfather leader of NK. From what I have read this is a cultural thing t hat predates communism and the Japanese occupation prior. Many pictures of Kim show an overweight youngster amongst gaunt hungry looking generals. Gave the impression of a spoilt kid simply handed power. Not going to the May 9 parade in Russia when invited also gave the impression he was paranoid.

But looking at things now, rather than a spoilt paranoid kid, perhaps someone trained from an early age for leadership, and perhaps rather than being paranoid (Russia/China), perhaps a leader that finds it more important to create a deterrence against the US. Third generation at war with the US and his seen his father was fucked over when trying to make a deal with the US. NK's nuke and missile tech have come a long way in the few short years Kim Jong Un has been in power.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Kim Jong Un and Trump have a meet one day.

The link to the Carter article http://www.fox5atlanta.com/national-news/273096065-story

ben | Aug 17, 2017 1:22:28 AM | 2
b said: "The people are not interested in LGBT access to this or that bathroom. They are interested in universal healthcare, in personal and economic security. They are unlikely to get such under Bannon and Trump. But, unlike the Democrats, the current White House crew at least claim to have plans to achieve it."

With that statement b, you nailed it..

V. Arnold | Aug 17, 2017 1:32:51 AM | 3
"There's no military solution [to North Korea's nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about, there's no military solution here, they got us."

Doesn't that at least show Bannon as the adult in the room?
I would say so.

psychohistorian | Aug 17, 2017 1:53:13 AM | 4
So lets start parsing this economic nationalism that Bannon is making happen with Trump.

Economic nationalism is a term used to describe policies which are guided by the idea of protecting domestic consumption, labor and capital formation, even if this requires the imposition of tariffs and other restrictions on the movement of labour, goods and capital. It is in opposition to Globalisation in many cases, or at least on questions the unrestricted good of Free trade. It would include such doctrines as Protectionism, Import substitution, Mercantilism and planned economies.

Examples of economic nationalism include Japan's use of MITI to "pick winners and losers", Malaysia's imposition of currency controls in the wake of the 1997 currency crisis, China's controlled exchange of the Yuan, Argentina's economic policy of tariffs and devaluation in the wake of the 2001 financial crisis and the United States' use of tariffs to protect domestic steel production.

Think about what a trade war with China would do. It would crash the world economy as China tried to cash in on it US Treasury holdings with the US likely defaulting......just one possible scenario.

At least now, IMO, the battle for a multi-polar (finance) world is out in the open.....let the side taking by nations begin. I hope Bannon is wrong about the timing of potential global power shifting and the US loses its empire status.

psychohistorian | Aug 17, 2017 2:19:03 AM | 5
I thought that maybe Bannon was being a bit too forthright in his recent comments and perhaps he has just painted a big bullseye on his back for the racist clowns he has used to aim at. Check this out: Bannons colleagues disturbed by interview with left wing publication
Copeland | Aug 17, 2017 2:30:36 AM | 6
Bannon thinks the bombast on display between the Kim and Trump has been "a sideshow". The real show, on the other hand, has nothing to do with the dramatic sparring between the two leaders. The Mother Of All Policies, according to Bannon, is an all-bets-on trade war with China, whose endgame admits to only one outcome,--that is to say-- that only one hegemon will remain standing at the end of this struggle.

There can be only one King-of-the-Hill. But where is the Greek Chorus?--the prophetic warning that goes by the name of necessity?-- that tries to ward off hubris? "One must never subscribe to absurdities" (it was Camus who aptly said that).

V. Arnold | Aug 17, 2017 2:39:11 AM | 7
psychohistorian | Aug 17, 2017 2:19:03 AM | 5

I had read this before; interesting to say the least.
Truth be told, I'd never heard of Bannon prior to Trumps election and still know little about him.
Politics aside Bannon seems a straight shooter; I certainly can't argue his statement re: what would happen if we attacked NK. His statement is echo'd by many long before today.
I do plan to start paying attention from this point forward.
Oh, and I did read that Trump is afraid of Bannon, but don't remember the reason stated.

Realist | Aug 17, 2017 3:18:01 AM | 8
Here is Bannon's latest:

Bannon dismissed the far-right as irrelevant:

"Ethno-nationalism!it's losers. It's a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more."

"These guys are a collection of clowns," he added.

Bannon is no friend of White Nationalists.

somebody | Aug 17, 2017 4:49:34 AM | 12
No, whoever planned that "United Right" rally walked Trump into the trap.

As Trump was incapable to disassociate himself clearly from people who protest against the take down of a statue of General Lee. Trump now owns the race issue.

Steve Bannon is a fascist . That does not mean he is stupid.

The generals are clearly dangerous. They have the power to walk everybody to world war III. Trump has pledged to spend even more on the US military, the military already has the highest spending world wide. The generals don't want to admit that they cannot solve anythings by military power.

Trump going off script in that press conference into a stream of consciousness was bad. He reminded everybody of their rambling demented great-grandfather. He tried to get the discussion to economic issues, he did not succeed.

Veterans Today is a dubious source, but this here sounds genuine Washington behind the mirrors

In stepped more lies and garbage, this time more fake than the other, with chaos theory and psychological warfare organizations drowning in capabilities from the overfunded phony war on terror and too much time on their hands now lending their useless talents toward disinforming the general public.

The result has been a divided US where "alternative facts" fabricated for a vulnerable demographic now competes with the "mainstream" now termed, and I believe rightly so, "fake news" to support different versions of a fictional narrative that resembles reality only in the most rarified and oblique manner.
...

America has left itself open to dictatorship. It long since gave up its ability to govern itself, perhaps it was the central bank, the Federal Reserve in 1913 or more recent erosions of individual power such as the Citizens United Supreme Court decision of 2005. Whatever milestone one chooses, the remains of democratic institutions in the US are now difficult to find.

What we are left with is what increasingly seems to be factions, mistakenly defined as "right" or "far right" jockeying for control over America's military, and with that, control over the planet itself.

You see, whoever controls the American military controls the world, unless a power bloc appears that can challenge, well, challenge what? If the Pentagon controls America's military and the Pentagon is controlled by a cabal of religious extremists as many claim or corporate lackeys as most believe, then where does the world stand?

Then again, if Trump and his own Republican congress are at war over impeachment, and I assure you, little else is discussed in Washington, two sides of the same coin, servants of different masters, has all oversite of the newfound military power over American policy disappeared?

To this, we reluctantly say "yes."

Clueless Joe | Aug 17, 2017 5:24:06 AM | 13
Bannon can be perfectly mature, adult and realist on some points and be totally blinded by biases on others - him wanting total economic war against China is proof enough. So I don't rule out that he has a blind spot over Iran and wants to get rid of the regime. I mean, even Trump is realist and adult in a few issues, yet is an oblivious fool on others.

Kind of hard to find someone who's always adult and realist, actually. You can only hope to pick someone who's more realist than most people. Or build a positronic robot and vote for him.

somebody | Aug 17, 2017 6:16:13 AM | 14
There is something to that interview by Steve Bannon with a left wing website .
More puzzling is the fact that Bannon would phone a writer and editor of a progressive publication (the cover lines on whose first two issues after Trump's election were "Resisting Trump" and "Containing Trump") and assume that a possible convergence of views on China trade might somehow paper over the political and moral chasm on white nationalism.

The question of whether the phone call was on or off the record never came up. This is also puzzling, since Steve Bannon is not exactly Bambi when it comes to dealing with the press. He's probably the most media-savvy person in America.

I asked Bannon about the connection between his program of economic nationalism and the ugly white nationalism epitomized by the racist violence in Charlottesville and Trump's reluctance to condemn it. Bannon, after all, was the architect of the strategy of using Breitbart to heat up white nationalism and then rely on the radical right as Trump's base.

He dismissed the far right as irrelevant and sidestepped his own role in cultivating it: "Ethno-nationalism!it's losers. It's a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more."

Explanation a) He wants to explain the climbdown of his boss on North Korea.
Not really helpful to Trump.

b) He wants to save his reputation as the association with the KKK and White Suprematists has become toxic.

Checking on what Breitbart is doing - splitting the Republican Party

A trade war with China would mean prices in the US would become very expensive. It is a fool's strategy.

In other news Iran is threatening to leave the nuclear agreement, and Latin America unites against the US threatening Venezuela with war.

The generals are completely useless.

fairleft | Aug 17, 2017 6:35:17 AM | 15
I think Bannon is an authentic economic nationalist, and one that Trump feels is good counsel on those matters. If this is so, then Bannon cannot be trying to provoke a trade war with China, since that would be an economic catastrophe for the US (and China and the rest of the world). I'm hoping he's playing bad cop and eventually Trump will play good cop in negotiations for more investment by China in the US and other goodies in exchange for 'well, not much' from the US. Similar to what the US dragged out of Japan in the 80s nd 90s.
c | Aug 17, 2017 6:51:35 AM | 16
psychohistorian a
c | Aug 17, 2017 6:59:32 AM | 17
psychohistorian at 4: 'as China tried to cash in on it US Treasury holdings with the US likely defaulting...'

as a sovereign currency issuer of that size the usa can not run out of dollars
to default on their obligations would be a voluntary mistake the federal reserve will avoid
meanwhile the chinese are investing in africa and other countries securing their position in the world

V. Arnold | Aug 17, 2017 7:43:30 AM | 18
c | Aug 17, 2017 6:59:32 AM | 17
as a sovereign currency issuer of that size the usa can not run out of dollars
to default on their obligations would be a voluntary mistake the federal reserve will avoid
meanwhile the chinese are investing in africa and other countries securing their position in the world

Very good; and I agree with your POV; the usa can not run out of dollars.
And therein lies its power; a very dangerous situation that I do not think the world is equipped to deal with in toto...

steven t johnson | Aug 17, 2017 8:18:55 AM | 19
Every political swindler today starts off by pretending Trump won the election instead of the Electoral College, including Steve Bannon. It is the Republican Party, not Trump and his Trumpery who holds majorities in the House, the Senate and the nation's statehouses. Anybody who wants to think that "economic nationalism" will crush the Democrats has forgotten that Trump lost the popular vote on this ticket.

It appears that as a purely nominal Republican, an owner in a hostile takeover, Trump has no qualms about trashing the system. Practically speaking, this is the very opposite of draining the swamp, which requires effective leadership.

Just Sayin' | Aug 17, 2017 8:51:55 AM | 20
Kim Jong Un, 3rd generation like his father and grandfather leader of NK. From what I have read this is a cultural thing that predates communism and the Japanese occupation prior.

But looking at things now, rather than a spoilt paranoid kid, perhaps someone trained from an early age for leadership, and perhaps rather than being paranoid (Russia/China), perhaps a leader that finds it more important to create a deterrence against the US.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 17, 2017 1:05:52 AM | 1

OR, looked at another way:

Perhaps the gurning wunderkind Kim's ascent to the North Korean Throne was completely predictable and was predicted a long time ago, and plans were set in motion to ensure that he was co-opted as a kid, and now works with the US to help counter the rising Chinese power.

Perhaps the alleged face-off Trump, Kim and the western MSM treated the world to over the past while, was merely nothing but a pre-scripted choreographic display, a piece of theater agreed upon beforehand by all participants except China

I wouldn't be surprised to see Kim Jong Un and Trump have a meet one day.

I wouldn't be surprised if Kim Jong Un and Trump actually play for the same side.

Just Sayin' | Aug 17, 2017 8:59:31 AM | 21
Every political swindler today starts off by pretending Trump won the election instead of the Electoral College, i

Posted by: steven t johnson | Aug 17, 2017 8:18:55 AM | 19

Actually as far as I can tell the real political swindlers are the ones who refuse to acknowledge that a US Presidential election is, (and has been for nearly whole time the US has been in existence, which is more than 200 years for those who have problems keeping track of such simple matters) decided NOT by the popular vote but by the results of the Electoral College voting.

Anybody who wants to think that "economic nationalism" will crush the Democrats has forgotten that Trump lost the popular vote on this ticket.

Again, just to repeat the actual reality regarding US Presidential elections: They are decided on the basis of Electoral Collage voting and NOT on the basis of the popular vote, as political swindlers would now like everyone to believe.

Thegenius | Aug 17, 2017 9:08:56 AM | 22
Economics PhDs are resisting the only thing that can actully cause higher inflation rate: trade war
somebody | Aug 17, 2017 9:45:00 AM | 23
19

He is doubling down now defending General Lee statues as beautiful. He is doing the same strategy as he did in his duel with Hillary Clinton when everybody thought he was insane, playing to his core Republican base to make sure Republicans have to stay in line or face a primary challenge.

Breitbart is doing the same threatening "Republican traitors".

The problem with this strategy is that Trump won because Hillary Clinton was so unpopular, because their pollsters outsmarted Nate Silver and Co. and possibly because she was a woman.

But Republicans who have to pretend they are religious right wing nuts in the primaries, then have to appeal to independents to win the actual election.

So they cannot go against Trump but cannot defend him. They are paralysed.

That what it comes down to. That the main aim of the president of the United States is to paralyze the party he hijacked.


somebody | Aug 17, 2017 9:58:52 AM | 24
add to 23

Breitbart has gone full culture wars. It is comical, have a look.

john | Aug 17, 2017 10:26:02 AM | 25
Just Sayin' says:

They are decided on the basis of Electoral Collage voting and NOT on the basis of the popular vote, as political swindlers would now like everyone to believe

indeed, though, speaking of political swindlers, there's mucho evidence that Trump may have won the popular vote as well.

likklemore | Aug 17, 2017 10:32:06 AM | 26
Posted by: steven t johnson | Aug 17, 2017 8:18:55 AM | 19

Every political swindler today starts off by pretending Trump won the election instead of the Electoral College, including Steve Bannon. It is the Republican Party, not Trump and his Trumpery who holds majorities in the House, the Senate and the nation's statehouses. Anybody who wants to think that "economic nationalism" will crush the Democrats has forgotten that Trump lost the popular vote on this ticket.

Have you read the Constitution of the USA? The Electoral College elects the President by the rank and file voters electing the Electors to the College on November election day. That's how the system works.

Ask Al Gore; he won the popular vote.

Oh and btw, the Hillary won the popular 2016 vote meme. Take a look at Detroit, MI heavy Democrats' precints - more votes than voters - and the millions of illegal aliens' vote in California who voted after the invite of Obama.

WJ | Aug 17, 2017 10:50:13 AM | 27
Trump won the election. Period. End of story. Done. Finished. Get over it and get on with your life. He didn't compete to win the popular vote. He competed and campaigned to win the election. Advice to Democrats - nominate a candidate beside a senile old neocon woman who is corrupt to her ugly core, and then maybe you can beat a former reality show star.
Just Sayin' | Aug 17, 2017 10:56:25 AM | 29
The problem with this strategy is that Trump won because Hillary Clinton was so unpopular, because their pollsters outsmarted Nate Silver and Co. and possibly because she was a woman.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 17, 2017 9:45:00 AM | 23

Nope - first part of the sentence is correct but the rest of is just you, as usual, repeating crap you found on the Internet and then repeating it here pretending it is profound and that you actually understand what you are talking about, which you clearly don't as evidenced by the fact that you then go on to reference Nate Silver whose fame was never anything but media created hype with little or nothing to back it up.

Silver's feet of clay were evident long before the latest Prez election. It became obvious that his alleged electoral statistical prowess rested as much on luck as anything else. Lucky in prediction when it came to the 2008 election but by 2010 things started to go wrong but the media ignored his feet of clay and kept hyping him as a stats genius.

By the time 2016 rolled round Silver was exposed for the lucky fraud he is.

The real truth of Hillarys inability to win lies not in her being female as you and many others disingenuously (at best) try to claim, but simply lies in the fact that she is a thoroughly unpleasant person with a complete lack of charisma and a massive sense of entitlement.

Blacks and others, minorities generally and independents, who came out in droves for the Obama elections simply refused to go and vote for her.

The Republican vote however changed very little - pretty much the exact same demographic voted republican as voted for Romney.

Trump won partly because of Clintons massive hubris in refusing to campaign in several key states. Cambridge analytical were not required to give him the win, no matter what you read, without analysing it, elsewhere on the web and are now repeating here in an effort to pretend you know what you are talking about.

CA probably helped somewhat but it unlikely that they were central to the win. Clintons hubris and her complete lack of charisma, ensured low black/minority/independent for her in key states, especially those where she had refused to even bother to campaign, which was enough to seal the win for Trump

You simply repeating crap you heard on the net and pretending that if you say it in an authoritative fashion it will magically become true, just ends up making you look completely clueless, as usual. (or dishonest)

Just Sayin' | Aug 17, 2017 11:01:18 AM | 30
@ Everybody who bought into the MSM Steve Bannon promoted white supremacy and through Breitbart. Suggested you read his world view expressed in remarks at Human Dignity Institute, Vatican Conference 2014

Posted by: likklemore | Aug 17, 2017 10:51:54 AM | 28

Anyone with any intelligence would be wise to treat with great caution anything Bannon claims in public interviews about himself or his alleged political beliefs,

RUKidding | Aug 17, 2017 11:21:24 AM | 32
US politics is a great big clusterfeck - worse than ever, which is hard to believe. Bannon's big liar. He did heaps to create this very situation with the White Supremacists. Of course the Democrats are worse than useless. All they're doing is presenting themselves as "We're not Trump" and whining about Putin. All of them are clowns. Every last one. Including the so-called "Generals." Worthless.
Pnyx | Aug 17, 2017 11:27:14 AM | 33
"Since then no more B-1B flights took place and North Korea suspended its Guam test plans."
but: "Yesterday (...) two US B-1 strategic bombers, operating with Japanese fighter jets, conducted exercises to the southwest of the Korean Peninsula." says WSWS. ?
james | Aug 17, 2017 12:32:00 PM | 37
@2 ben.. i agree!

everything about the usa today is divisive... i can't imagine the usa being happy if this didn't continue until it's demise..the 2 party system hasn't worked out very well as i see it.. failed experiment basically.. oh well..

anoymous | Aug 17, 2017 12:51:38 PM | 39
@19

If I remember correctly, wasn't it both the President Elect and the Republican Congressmen who won clear majorities in nearly 80 percent of congressional districts? Presuming an issue like the gerrymandering of districts wasn't significant, that's a far more legitimate victory than an extra million Democrats voting in California (determining the future of national policy). I'm not a fan of the Republicans, but denying the short term efficiency of 'populist rhetoric' isn't helping the left win any substantial electoral victories in the future.

Morongobill | Aug 17, 2017 1:03:36 PM | 40
Good Lord. Can't people read anymore? The election is all about the EC. Keep talking and running for the popular vote, and Trump will keep winning the Electoral College. You either want to win or you don't. I hope you keep preaching the popular vote personally.
Just Sayin' | Aug 17, 2017 1:06:52 PM | 41
@ Just Sayin' 30

I won't give you a pass. Your bias and lack of intelligence is on great display.


No pass for little ol me? Aw shucks, I'm heart broken.

The fact that you think Bannon&Trump are going to do anything about Wall Street and the Banking System in general is quite amusing.

Perhaps you could list a few of Bannon&Trumps anti Wall Street achievements or initiatives since Trump took office?

It should by now be clear to anyone paying attention that while both Bannon & Trump certainly TALK a lot, they seem to actually do very little.

So, do please tell us: what have they actually done?

Just Sayin' | Aug 17, 2017 1:15:57 PM | 42
@2 ben.. i agree!

everything about the usa today is divisive...

Posted by: james | Aug 17, 2017 12:32:00 PM | 37

As the CIA might say: "Mission Accomplished!!"

Keep the proles spilt in their little "identity groups", their micro-tribes, and continue building the Kleoptocracy/Prison/Military State while the dumbed down demos are busy hunting micro-aggressions/fighting gender & race wars etc etc

During the last 5 Prez Election cycles the population spilt on utterly retarded lines such as Gay-marriage, Gender-free toilets etc. All this while the US fought or financed numerous very expensive wars in the Middle East ukraine etc, resulting hundreds of thousands of lives lost.

anoymous | Aug 17, 2017 1:16:15 PM | 43
@26

The 2008 elections had one of the highest ever voter turnout rates for the Democrats and the 2016 elections had one of the lowest ever. The turnout rates (abysmal if ever compared to voter turnout rates in Germany and Japan) easily explain the initial victory and the eventual defeat, not 'Detroit fraud' or 'the millions of illegals' voting in your head. Racial gerrymandering against black voters in the Southern States is a far more real issue.

ben | Aug 17, 2017 1:33:55 PM | 44
somwbody @ 12: Good link thanks..Interesting read about "The Forth Turning"

psycho @ 5: good link also..

WJ @ 27 said:" Advice to Democrats - nominate a candidate beside a senile old neocon woman who is corrupt to her ugly core, and then maybe you can beat a former reality show star."

Yep, so-called "Russian hacking" wasn't the problem, HRC was the problem...

ben | Aug 17, 2017 1:40:34 PM | 45
Just Sayin' @ 41 said:"It should by now be clear to anyone paying attention that while both Bannon & Trump certainly TALK a lot, they seem to actually do very little."

Kinda' waitin' myself to see all those "accomplishments"....

anoymous | Aug 17, 2017 2:01:34 PM | 46
@40

I'll assume this was directed to me.

I understand and respect your point, but I was responding to the initial comment's implicit argument on public opinion: "a common argument is the lower-middle-to-upper-middle-class social base of the Republicans is less receptive to the short term effects of Protectionist policy and this would reduce political morale, as well as grassroots and voting organization. However, the Democrats 'won the popular vote.' So, it's 'obvious' in saying the classless definition of 'the American people' oppose this Republican policy, and naturally, the social base of the Republican Party isn't especially relevant to consider when organizing voters and grassroots movements for a renewed Democratic Party."

To be fair, I think like the early Unionist and Communist circles, and presume public opinion translates to expressions of grassroots politics between conflicting classes (more so than it actually happens in American class society).

Mina | Aug 17, 2017 2:32:30 PM | 47
From Syria with love

https://arabic.rt.com/liveevent/894352-%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%AA%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%AD-%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%B6-%D8%AF%D9%85%D8%B4%D9%82-%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D9%8A-5-%D8%B3%D9%86%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%BA%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%A8/

Sad Canuck | Aug 17, 2017 2:52:38 PM | 48
If one proceeds on the assumption that politics in the United States closely follows themes, scripts and production values pioneered by WWF, then all becomes clear. It's simply pro-wrestling on a global scale with nuclear weapons and trillions of dollars in prize money.
james | Aug 17, 2017 2:58:51 PM | 49
@42 just sayin'.. yes to all you say - it is quite sad actually.. not sure of the way out at this point, short of complete rebellion in the streets which looks like a longs ways off at this point..
Just Sayin' | Aug 17, 2017 3:12:27 PM | 50
not sure of the way out at this point, short of complete rebellion in the streets which looks like a longs ways off at this point..

Posted by: james | Aug 17, 2017 2:58:51 PM | 49

Most of the younger generation seem to be much to busy, obsessing over non-existent things like "Micro-agressions" or "hetero-normative cis-gender oppression", to pay attention to, let alone acknowledge, the enormous global macro-aggressions their own country is engaged in on a world-wide scale.

Thirdeye | Aug 17, 2017 3:24:12 PM | 52
But, unlike the Democrats, the current White House crew at least claim to have plans to achieve it.
Is there a "don't" missing from that sentence?

I must disagree that DPRK nuclear missiles are a qualitatively similar threat to those possessed by the Soviet Union and China. DPRK's guiding Suche ideology is a literal cult that goes far beyond the cult-of-personality that held sway over the Soviet Union and China when Stalin and Mao ruled. And by the time the Soviets developed delivery capabilities Stalin was dead and his cult was done. By the time the Chinese developed delivery capabilities Mao was declining into figurehead status and Zhou Enlai, who as commander of the PLA realized how weak China really was militarily, had no illusions about what would happen in a military confrontation with the US. But DPRK is still ruled by a cult that believes the Kims are ordained with supernatural powers that allowed them to drive the Japanese off the peninsula then fight off an American "invasion." They truly don't mention the role of the Soviets and the Chinese in saving their bacon. In terms of face-saving, the Kims have set the bar pretty high for themselves by fostering their cult. Their legitimacy would be threatened if their statecraft as rational actors undermined their Suche cult.

DPRK have been rogue actors against ROK and Japan out of sheer spitefulness, fully exploiting the umbrella provided by the Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Assistance with China. They have done extraterritorial kidnappings and murders not for perceived strategic reasons but merely to intimidate. DPRK has pointedly refused to enter talks for a formal peace between them and the ROK. Those kinds of motives do not bespeak of someone who can be trusted with nukes.

Charles R | Aug 17, 2017 3:39:13 PM | 53
Posted by: RUKidding | Aug 17, 2017 12:23:40 PM
Bannon is someone whom I hold quite responsible for contributing to the rise of White Supremacy in the USA, which I consider a clear and present danger. Bannon's dismissive hand waving yesterday is meant to dissemble. Guess some are willing to buy what he was selling yesterday. Not me.

What are your reasons for believing this about Bannon? What counts as contributing, and how did you come to your decision?

It's not that I don't believe you. It's rather important to establish in what way his words (whether the ones you found or the recent ones in American Prospect ) are lies or misdirection, so that I, and anyone interested, can evaluate this for ourselves and come to similar or different conclusions.

stonebird | Aug 17, 2017 3:40:47 PM | 54
I don't think Bannon wants a "trade" war with China but he is right that there is an economic war going on. The "silk roads" and the various new organisations that the Chinese-Russians have set up, (Major Banks, "Swift" equivalent, Glossnass satellites, card payment systems, industrial independence, and food self-sufficiency etc), plus the use of currencies other than the dollar - are all examples of a break-away from a US-EU domination.

However, they have not suddenly introduced everything at once to "bring the US house down". Why? One possible reason could be that they are expecting the US to collapse anyway. Another is that viable alternatives also take time to set up.

b has mentioned the "grown ups" v the Idealogues". The impact of the military on the economic war seems to be underestimated. How much longer can the US afford the more than trillion dollars per year of the "visible" arms? This does not include hidden costs ("Intelligence agencies and pork). Nor does it include costs borne by other countries. ie. Italy has about 80 US bases (the most in the EU) and about 77 nuclear warheads on its soil. Italy PAYS for those bases, and even that does not include infrastucture (roads, increased airport capacity, sewage, water mains, etc) which are paid for by the Italians themselves. Other countries will have similar systems. Some like Kuwait are "paying" back the amounts spent on arms for example.
The total cost is astronomical.

A brief reminder the USSR collapsed because of massive overspending on arms and military projects - leaving the rest of the economy in the lurch. Presumably the Chinese and Russians are expecting the same thing to happen again.

(Aside - yes, you can print dollars as a sovereign state, but printing roubles didn't help the soviets either)
So McMasters and the others are in fact just spoilt brats who think that the good times are forever.
----
One example of the new "bluff-calling" cheaper method of economic warfare (*NK is the another) were the recent NATO/US manoeuvres in Georgia (country) on the anniversary of the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia. The number of troops and means involved would have been enough to carry out a "surprise" attack this time too. The Russians - sent in Putin, who declared that the Russians supported S.Ossetia and were ready to deal with any threat - exactly as they did "last" time. Cost? One plane trip.

(*The NK threat by the US would have seen about 40'000 men from S. Korea and Japan sent against about 700'000 motivated local troops and massive artillery arrays. It was a non-starter, even with nukes)

Tom in AZ | Aug 17, 2017 4:03:19 PM | 55
thirdeye @52

You are forgetting to mention the main sticking point to talks is our refusal to halt our annual̶d̶e̶f̶e̶n̶s̶i̶v̶e̶ ̶d̶r̶i̶l̶l̶s̶ invasion practice before they will come to the table. At least from what I read.

Thirdeye | Aug 17, 2017 4:04:22 PM | 56
54

Even with China's international financial position growing more robust with SWIFT independence, AIDB, the New Silk Road and such, they still have an interest in the Dollar-based western financial system as long as they can make money off of it. They are not going to shoot themselves in the foot by deliberately causing it to collapse. They might even prop it up in a crisis, but I suspect they would drive a hard bargain.

@Madderhatter67 | Aug 17, 2017 4:09:49 PM | 57
Thirdeye says, "But DPRK is still ruled by a cult that believes the Kims are ordained with supernatural powers." What is American Exceptionalism?


MCMASTER: Says classic deterrence strategy won't work with NK.

"Deterrence is a strategy intended to dissuade an adversary from taking an action not yet started, or to prevent them from doing something that another state desires."

Classic deterrence strategy IS working for NK perfectly.

RUKidding | Aug 17, 2017 4:31:17 PM | 60
@53 Charles R: fair enough question.

What I base my analysis of Bannon is his leadership at Bretibart which may or may not be continuing right now. Just read Breitbart if you think Bannon isn't fully behind the White Supremacists rising up right now.

somebody | Aug 17, 2017 5:26:37 PM | 64
35
Steve Bannon is a fascist.

exhibit A
Steve Bannon Allies with Catholic Theo-Fascism Against Pope Francis

exhibit B
Steve Bannon shares a fascist's obsession with cleansing, apocalyptic war. And now he's in the White House

exhibit C
Generation Zero - Bannons Film using the theory of the fourth turning

The idea that people (a people) have to suffer a big war in order to cleanse themselves from moral depravity is fascism pure and simple as who should force people to do this but a dictator.

Greg M | Aug 17, 2017 6:15:08 PM | 67
All one has to do to know what Bannon's position on Iran is to read Breitbart on any given day. Unless we are supposed to believe that Bannon's opinions are not reflected by the website he ran for four years. Bannon is for war against Islam in general, there is nothing "realist" about his foreign policy.
Thirdeye | Aug 17, 2017 6:15:20 PM | 68
55 Tom in AZ

That's a different issue from entering talks for a formal peace with with ROK. DPRK has been refusing that for years. Did you ever consider that DPRK's constant saber rattling against ROK was what lent impetus to US exercises in the region in the first place? The US knows that China would not tolerate a US invasion of DPRK. Why take the risk of invading across great defensive terrain when you can simply destroy?

57 Madhatter67

Thirdeye says, "But DPRK is still ruled by a cult that believes the Kims are ordained with supernatural powers." What is American Exceptionalism?

That's a dumb analogy and a pathetic attempt at deflection. Criticize American Exceptionalism all you want, but don't compare it to a supernaturalist cult. That's just stupid.

DPRK has a history of doing whatever they think they can get away with, exploiting their treaty with China. If their delusional Suche ideology leads them to miscalculate or paints them into a corner trying to prop it up, it could lead to war.

If there's any bright spot in the whole picture it's China's chilly stance towards DPRK after recent events. The excesses of DPRK's ruling cult have occurred largely because they figured China had their back. But China's regional interests have changed dramatically over the past 30 years. ROK is no longer a competitive threat to China and is economically more important to China than DPRK ever was. DPRK's military power is of much less benefit to China than it was in the past. It might even be considered a liability.

61 Stonebird

It wouldn't be cash, it would be be assets and/or the means of controlling them. Big Chinese money is already coming into the west coast of the US and Canada. Oh well, we fucked things up here; maybe the Chinese will do a better job.

Greg M | Aug 17, 2017 6:20:48 PM | 69
@10, this article was written while Bannon was heading Breitbart, bragging about being "conceived in Israel." http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2015/11/17/breitbart-news-network-born-in-the-usa-conceived-in-israel/

Bannon is against the nuclear deal, and is one of the top people in the administration arguing for Trump to move the Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Bannon has been cited as promoting Sheldon Adelson's Israel policy in meetings with Trump. http://www.timesofisrael.com/pro-abbas-lauder-hawkish-adelson-battling-to-influence-trump-on-mideast/ If anything Bannon/Breitbart push an even harder line on Israel than most politicians and media do.

blues | Aug 17, 2017 6:27:33 PM | 70
First of all, I will now declare that I am 99% confused! So please let me review the 1% that comes through my little keyhole. What has been said?

/~~~~~~~~~~
<< = Just Sayin' | Aug 17, 2017 11:01:18 AM | 30

Anyone with any intelligence would be wise to treat with great caution anything Bannon claims in public interviews about himself or his alleged political beliefs,
\~~~~~~~~~~

Well sure! The guy's a political operative -- One does not get to be a political operative by being some kind of a Dudly Do-Right. Damn.

/~~~~~~~~~~
<< = les7 | Aug 17, 2017 12:27:02 PM | 35

@12... "Bannon is a fascist" I'm not so sure. Mussolini defined fascism as being an alliance of corporate and state powers... but Bannon (and most of his followers) have no trust in the corporate sector as they [the corporate sector] are to a large degree Globalists - they used the US and then threw it aside in pursuit of profit elsewhere. For that, he would even call them traitors. So you could call him a Nationalist.
\~~~~~~~~~~

Well since we can't believe anything from Bannon... And aside from that I am sick of hearing Mussolini's definition of fascism -- After all, he was a psycho-villain -- so why believe it?!

UNTIL WE HAVE STRATEGIC HEDGE SIMPLE SCORE VOTING WE WILL BE SADDLED WITH THE TWO-PARTY "SYSTEM" (really only one party). Who cares if we really have no choice whatsoever. We are held hostage to the false alternatives of the vast legion of the election methods cognoscenti.

See my simple solution soon at Global Mutiny!

Greg M | Aug 17, 2017 6:30:54 PM | 71
@31, "except for the Zion-flavored warmongering." I don't know about you but completely disqualifies him in my view.
Greg M | Aug 17, 2017 6:34:43 PM | 72
@35, please refer to post 69. If Bannon was not a Zionist, he would not have ran a site which brags of being conceived in Israel and which pushes a harder line on Israel than almost any other, and he would not be promoting Adelson's Israel policy within the administration.
Curtis | Aug 17, 2017 7:03:10 PM | 73
Bannon makes sense. That must be why many want him gone especially the neocons. As to North Korea, the US should have admitted "facts on the ground" long ago and worked to sign the official end of the war and work to get the two Koreas talking and working together.
anoymous | Aug 17, 2017 7:41:46 PM | 74
"That's a different issue from entering talks for a formal peace with with ROK. DPRK has been refusing that for years."

I doubt any substantial transcripts from early talks will ever be released, so whoever had diplomats offering the 'fairest' compromises for terms of an early framework (resulting in a later settlement) cannot be known (regarding specifics).

If I remember correctly, there has been at least three Chinese-sponsored peace conferences (on Korea) since 2007, where the general position of the U.S. was: North Korea had to freeze total nuclear production, accept existing and additional (U.N.) verification missions, and dismantle all warheads PRIOR to the signing of any peace treaty. How is demanding unconditional surrender not intransigence? Are we going to just pretend the United States hadn't sponsored military coups in Venezuela and Honduras and hadn't invaded Iraq and Libya (in a similar time frame)?

During peace talks, any terms are argued, refused, and eventually compromised (usually over years and sometimes over decades). Why presume the United States and South Korea had the fairest offers and general settlements in a handful of conferences (especially when we have no transcripts)?

"Did you ever consider that DPRK's constant saber rattling against ROK was what lent impetus to US exercises in the region in the first place?"

You're presuming your case and not giving specific information on what you might know.

Personally, I don't know who 'started it' (I would guess Japan 'started it' by forcing through the Protectorate Treaty of 1905, or the United States 'started it' by forcing through the Amity and Commerce Treaty of 1858), but if North Korea isn't testing missiles near Guam and the United States isn't flying specific planes over South Korea, a compromise WAS made this last week, and more can be made to ensure peace.

Why do any Americans oppose this?

[Aug 09, 2017] Trump adviser fired over memo warning of globalist-Islamist 'deep state'

Aug 08, 2017 | www.wnd.com
Rich Higgins

Rich Higgins

But the fired adviser, Rich Higgans, is only the latest chip to fall in an ongoing "purge" of "America-first" stalwarts from the National Security Council.

The idea that an alliance of Obama holdovers consisting of globalists and Islamists are working inside the government as part of a "deep state" effort to destroy the Trump presidency has been a common theme put forth by outside analysts trying to explain the intrigue behind Trump's first six months in the White House.

But the idea apparently was not confined to outsiders. Higgins, a high-level official inside the president's National Security Council, sent a memo up the chain of command in May, warning of just such a plot. Higgins' memo caught the eye of McMaster and cost him his job.

According to a report Wednesday by the Atlantic , McMaster removed Higgins from his post as director of strategic planning on July 21 after reading the memo, which was considered too "conspiratorial."

The memo alleged that leftists, globalists, Islamists and "deep state" actors are engaged in "political warfare" against Trump. It states:

"Through the campaign, candidate Trump tapped into a deep vein of concern among many citizens that America is at risk and slipping away. Globalists and Islamists recognize that for their visions to succeed, America, both as an ideal and as a national and political identity, must be destroyed."

The memo described the insurrection against Trump as "Maoist" in nature.

"In Maoist insurgencies, the formation of a counter-state is essential to seizing state power," the memo reads. "Functioning as a hostile complete state acting within an existing state, it has an alternate infrastructure. Political warfare operates as one of the activities of the 'counter-state.'

"Because the left is aligned with Islamist organizations at local, national, and international levels, recognition should be given to the fact that they seamlessly interoperate through coordinated synchronized interactive narratives. These attack narratives are pervasive, full spectrum, and institutionalized at all levels. They operate in social media, television, the 24-hour news cycle in all media and are entrenched at the upper levels of the bureaucracies."

Several sources told the Atlantic they believed the memo made its way to Trump's desk, but that has not been confirmed.

Higgins spent a little more than two months on the job before he was ousted. Prior to joining the government, Higgins hit on similar issues in his writings, asserting Islam is in an alliance with secular, Marxist-oriented global elites in an effort to destroy America.

"National Security officials are prohibited from developing a factual understanding of Islamic threat doctrines, preferring instead to depend upon 5th column Muslim Brotherhood cultural advisors," he wrote in a September 2016 op-ed for the Washington Times .

The exit of Higgins and another official within the NSC apparatus, Senior Director for the Middle East Derek Harvey, could be an indication that the "deep state," if it exists, is gunning for its ultimate enemy within the White House – former Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon.

Bannon, the president's chief strategist, has already been removed, at McMaster's behest, from the daily briefings of the NSC.

McMaster recoils at 'list' of Obama holdovers

Like Higgins, Harvey is a Bannon ally. Harvey reportedly kept a list of Obama holdovers who were seeking to undermine the Trump agenda.

McMaster declined to fire any of the persons on the list and, in fact, made statements at a NSC town-hall meeting that "there is no such thing as a holdover." He said career federal staffers were among the most loyal public servants.

Yet, that would seem to conflict with comments made by Obama's own top domestic-policy adviser, Cecilia Muñoz, in April 2015. As reported by WND , Muñoz, speaking at a symposium of the White House Task Force on New Americans live-streamed over the Internet, said it was her top priority to "institutionalize" Obama's policies throughout all federal agencies so they would live on long after she and her boss left the White House.

In addition to the terminations of Harvey and Higgins, McMaster also purged from the NSC staff Tera Dahl, a former Breitbart writer and congressional aide to Michele Bachmann.

A fourth Trump conservative, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, has been fired from his position as senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council, according to a report by Conservative Review on Wednesday .

As for the future, continued volatility could be in the cards, depending on McMaster's ability to retain the president's confidence, said Philip Haney, a former DHS immigration officer who co-authored the whistleblower book " See Something, Say Nothing ."

"If you are Trump, you need to realize your people are being purged out of the agencies, one by one, and if there are no holdovers why is McMaster firing people?" Haney told WND.

"The people he's letting go are not Obama holdovers. He's keeping those designated as holdovers and purging the people who helped President Trump get elected. So if he's seeking unity, he seems to be replacing people who are loyal to Trump or prominently supportive of Trump.

"If you are (presidential deputy assistant) Sebastian Gorka and Steve Bannon, you've got to be pretty nervous right now."

More important than the faces of the people leaving or entering the administration is the future of American foreign policy as it relates to Islamic terrorism and its more subtle counterpart – civilizational jihad.

Higgins may have tipped his hand to what he believes a responsible national security policy would look like in his op-ed last fall in the Washington Times.

He wrote :

A strategic reassessment of the entire combating terrorism effort that is free from politically correct nonsense is long overdue. The "Islam has nothing to do with terrorism" narratives have effectively shut down the intelligence process for the war in any meaningful sense. Sure, we CT officers could look at organizations and people and places, some of which had Islamic names, but we could never dig into the political and ideological reasons the enemy was attacking us – which is supposed to be the first order of business in any strategic threat assessment.

He tried to provide a vivid picture to his higher ups of what he believed they were up against, and he was rewarded with a pink slip.

[Jul 31, 2017] How Romney Loyalists Hijacked Trumps Foreign Policy

Notable quotes:
"... This isn't merely a story of palace intrigue and revolving chairs in the corridors of power. Brave Americans in the uniform of their country will continue to be sent into far-off lands to intercede in internecine conflicts that have little if anything to do with U.S. national security. Many will return physically shattered or mentally maimed. Others will be returned to Andrews Air Force Base in flag-draped coffins, to be saluted by serial presidents of both parties, helpless to stop the needless carnage. ..."
"... Ron Maxwell wrote and directed the Civil War trilogy of movies: ..."
"... Great piece. Thank you, Mr. Maxwell. Reading this, I burn with anger -- then a sense of utter futility washes over me. I think history will show that the Trump era was the moment the American people realized that the Deep State is more powerful than the presidency. ..."
"... The rogues' gallery of neocons and apprentice neocons described above is really disturbing. We didn't vote for this. ..."
"... Re Nikki Haley, she's already an embarrassment, an ignorant neocon-dependent. She's dragging us down the same old road of anti-Russia hysterics and Middle East meddling. The best that can be said of her presence at the UN is that by putting her there Trump promoted one of his allies into the SC governor's mansion. I don't think he was under any illusions as to her foreign policy knowledge, competence, or commitment to an America First policy. But she's become a vector for neocons to reinfect government, and she needs to be removed. ..."
"... Neoconism and neoliberalism is like a super-bug infection. None of the anti-biotics are working. We have only one hope left. Rand Paul, the super anti-neocon/neoliberal. ..."
"... In this country we can talk about resenting elites all we want, but when it comes to making American foreign policy there still is an American foreign policy elite – and it's very powerful. Why has there been no debate? Actually, Michael Mandelbaum, an author with whom I seldom agree on anything, but in his book "The Frugal Superpower" he actually tells you why there's no debate in the foreign policy establishment. ..."
"... And to be part of the establishment you have to buy into it – to its ideology, to its beliefs system, and that is a very hard thing to break. And so before we all jump up and down and say, "Wow! Donald Trump won! NATO is going to be changed. Our commitments in East Asia are going to change. The Middle East may change!" We'd better take a deep breath and ask ourselves, and I think Will Ruger raised this point on the first panel, where is the counter-elite? ..."
"... Where is a Trumpian counter-elite that not only can take the senior positions in the cabinet like Defense Secretary and Secretary of State, but be the assistant secretaries, the deputy assistant secretaries, the NSC staffers. ..."
"... I think that elite doesn't exist right now, and that's a big problem, because the people who are going to be probably still in power are the people who do not agree with the kinds of foreign policy ideas that I think most of us in this room are sympathetic to. So, over time maybe that will change. ..."
"... The problem with the neocons is that their ambition vastly exceeds their ability. ..."
Jul 31, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Rex Tillerson, formidably accomplished in global business, was nevertheless as much a neophyte as his boss when it came to navigating the policy terrain of the D.C. swamp. As is well known, in building his team he relied on those two neocon avatars, Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice, who had originally promoted his own candidacy for secretary of state. But Rice had been a vocal part of the neocon Never Trump coalition. Her anti-Trump pronouncements included: "Donald Trump should not be president .He doesn't have the dignity and stature to be president." The Washington Post greeted her 2017 book, Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom , as "a repudiation of Trump's America First worldview."

Thus it wasn't surprising that Rice would introduce Elliott Abrams to Tillerson as an ideal candidate for State's No. 2 position. This would have placed a dyed-in-the-wool neocon hardliner at the very top of the State Department's hierarchy and given him the power to hire and fire all undersecretaries across the vast foreign policy empire. Rice, one of the architects of George W. Bush's failed policies of regime change and nation building, would have consolidated a direct line of influence into the highest reaches of the Trump foreign policy apparatus.

Not only was Abrams' entire career a refutation of Trump's America First foreign policy, but he had spent the previous eighteen months publicly bashing Trump in harsh terms. Cleverly, however, he had not signed either of the two Never Trump letters co-signed by most of the other neocon foreign policy elite. Abrams almost got the nod, except for a last-minute intervention by Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who was armed with every disparaging anti-Trump statement Abrams had made. Examples: "This is a question of character. He is not fit to sit in the chair of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln .his absolute unwillingness to learn anything about foreign policy .Hillary would be better on foreign policy. I'm not going to vote for Trump ."

But Abrams' rejection was the exception. As a high profile globalist-interventionist he could not easily hide his antipathy toward the Trump doctrine. Others, whose track records and private comments were more easily obscured, were waived in by gatekeepers whose mission it was (and remains) to populate State, DoD, and national security agencies with establishment and neocon cadres, not with proven Trump supporters and adherents to his foreign policy.

But how did the gatekeepers get in? Romney may have disappeared from the headlines, but he never left the sidelines. His chess pieces were already on the board, occupying key squares and prepared to move.

Once the president opened the door to RNC chairman Reince Priebus as his chief of staff, to Rex Tillerson at State, to James Mattis as defense secretary, and to H. R. McMaster at NSC, the neocons just walked in. While each of these political and military luminaries may publicly support the president's policies and in some instances may sincerely want to see them implemented, their entire careers have been spent within the establishment and neocon elite. They don't know any other world view or any other people.

Donald Trump ran on an America First foreign policy, repeatedly deriding George W. Bush for invading Iraq in 2003. He criticized Clinton and Obama for their military interventions in Libya and their support for regime change in Syria. He questioned the point of the endless Afghan war. He criticized the Beltway's hostile obsession with Russia while it ignored China's military buildup and economic threat to America.

Throughout the campaign Trump made abundantly clear his foreign policy ethos. If elected he would stop the policy of perpetual war, strengthen America's military, take care of U.S. veterans, focus particularly on annihilating the ISIS caliphate, protect the homeland from Islamist radicalism, and promote a carefully calibrated America First policy.

But, despite this clear record, according to Politico and other Beltway journals, the president has been entreated in numerous White House and Pentagon meetings to sign off on globalist foreign policy goals, including escalating commitments to the war in Afghanistan. These presentations, conducted by H.R. McMaster and others, were basically arguments to continue the global status quo; in other words, a foreign policy that Clinton would have embraced. Brian Hook and Nadia Schadlow were two of the lesser known policy wonks who participated in these meetings, determining vital issues of war and peace.

Brian Hook, head of State Department policy planning, is an astute operative and member in good standing of the neocon elite. He's also a onetime foreign policy adviser to Romney and remains in close touch with him. Hook was one of the founders, along with Eliot Cohen and Eric Edelman, of the anti-Trump John Hay Initiative. Hook organized one of the Never Trump letters during the campaign, and his views are well-known, in part through a May 2016 piece by Julia Hoffe in Politico Magazine. A passage: "My wife said, 'never,'" said Brian Hook, looking pained and slicing the air with a long, pale hand. .Even if you say you support him as the nominee," Hook says, "you go down the list of his positions and you see you disagree on every one."

One might wonder how a man such as Hook could become the director of policy planning and a senior adviser to Rex Tillerson, advising on all key foreign policy issues? The answer is: the Romney network.

Consider also the case of Margaret Peterlin, assigned as a Sherpa during the transition to guide Tillerson through the confirmation process. Another experienced Beltway insider, Peterlin promptly made herself indispensable to Tillerson and blocked anyone who wanted access to him, no matter how senior. Peterlin then brought Brian Hook onboard, a buddy from their Romney days, to serve as the brains for foreign policy while she was serving as the Gorgon-eyed chief of staff.

According to rumor, the two are now blocking White House personnel picks, particularly Trump loyalists, from appointments at State. At the same time, they are bringing aboard neocons such as Kurt Volker, executive director of the McCain Institute and notorious Russia hawk, and Wess Mitchell, president of the neocon Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). As special representative for Ukraine negotiations, Volker is making proclamations to inflame the conflict and further entangle the United States.

Meanwhile, Mitchell, another Romney alumnus and a Brian Hook buddy from the John Hay Initiative, has been nominated as assistant secretary of state for European and Erurasian affairs. Brace yourself for an unnecessary Cold War with Russia, if not a hot one. While Americans may not really care whether ethnic Russians or ethnic Ukrainians dominate the Donbass, these guys do.

Then there's Nadia Schadlow, another prominent operative with impeccable neocon credentials. She was the senior program officer at the Smith Richardson Foundation, where her main job was to underwrite the neocon project by offering grants to the many think tanks in their network. For the better part of a decade she pursued a PhD under the tutelage of Eliot Cohen, who has pronounced himself a "Never Trumper" and has questioned the president's mental health. Cohen, along with H.R. McMaster, provided editorial guidance to Schadlow for her book extolling nation-building and how we can do more of it.

Relationships beget jobs, which is how Schadlow became deputy assistant to the president, with the task, given by her boss H.R. McMaster, of writing the administration's National Security Strategy. Thus do we have a neocon stalwart who wrote the book on nation building now writing President Trump's national security strategy.

How, we might ask, did these Never Trump activists get into such high positions in the Trump administration? And what was their agenda at such important meetings with the President if not to thwart his America First agenda? Put another way, how did Trump get saddled with nearly Mitt Romney's entire foreign policy staff? After all, the American people did not elect Mitt Romney when they had the chance.

Trump is a smart guy. So is Barack Obama. But even Obama, Nobel Peace Prize in hand, could not prevent the inexorable slide to violent regime change in Libya, which resulted in a semi-failed state, tens of thousands killed, and a foothold for Al Queda and other radical Islamists in the Maghreb. He also could not prevent the arming of Islamist rebels in Syria after he had the CIA provide lethal arms strictly to "moderate rebels." Unable or unwilling to disengage from Afghanistan, Obama acquiesced in a series of Pentagon strategies with fluctuating troop levels before bequeathing to his successor an open ended, unresolved war.

Rumors floating through official Washington suggest the neocons now want to replace Tillerson at State with Trump critic and Neocon darling Nikki Haley, currently pursuing a one-person bellicose foreign policy from her exalted post at the United Nations. Not surprisingly, Haley and Romney go way back. As a firm neocon partisan, she endorsed his presidential bid in 2011 .

As UN ambassador, Haley has articulated a nearly incoherent jumble of statements that seem more in line with her own neocon worldview than with Trump's America First policies. Some samples:

"I think that, you know, Russia is full of themselves. They've always been full of themselves. But that's – its more of a faηade that they try and show as opposed to anything else."

"What we are is serious. And you see us in action, so its not in personas. Its in actions and its what we do."

"The United States calls for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Crimea. Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the peninsula to Ukraine."

One must ask: Is Ambassador Haley speaking on behalf of the Trump administration when she says it is official U.S. policy that Russia, having annexed Crimea, must return it to Ukraine? Is the Russo-American geopolitical relationship to be held hostage indefinitely because in 2014 the people of Crimea voted for their political reintegration into Russia, which they had been part of since 1776?

Since there is as much chance of Russia ceding Crimea back to Ukraine as there is of the United States ceding Texas back to Mexico, does this mean there is no possibility of any meaningful cooperation with Russia on anything else? Not even in fighting the common ominous threat from Islamist radicalism? Has Haley committed the American people to this dead-end policy on her own or in consultation with the President?

On July 14, the Washington Examiner wrote that "Haley's remarks set the tone for Trump's reversal from the less interventionist, 'America First' foreign policy he campaigned on." Little wonder, then, that in a little-noticed victory lap of her own, coinciding with the release of her book, Condoleezza Rice acknowledged the near complete takeover of Trump's foreign policy team. "The current national security team is terrific," she said. She even gave Trump her anointed blessing following their recent White House meeting, during which the septuagenarian schoolboy received the schoolmarm's pat on the head: " He was engaging," she said. "I found him on top of his brief .asking really good questions." That's a far cry from her campaign-season comment about Trump that he "doesn't have the dignity and stature to be president."

American foreign policy seems to be on auto-pilot, immune to elections and impervious to the will of the people. It is perpetuated by an entrenched contingent of neocon and establishment zealots and bureaucratic drones in both the public and private sector, whose careers, livelihoods, and very raison d'etre depend on an unchallenged policy of military confrontation with the prestige, power, and cash flow it generates. Those who play the game by establishment rules are waived in. Those who would challenge the status quo are kept out. This is the so-called Deep State, thwarting the will of President Trump and the people who voted for him.

This isn't merely a story of palace intrigue and revolving chairs in the corridors of power. Brave Americans in the uniform of their country will continue to be sent into far-off lands to intercede in internecine conflicts that have little if anything to do with U.S. national security. Many will return physically shattered or mentally maimed. Others will be returned to Andrews Air Force Base in flag-draped coffins, to be saluted by serial presidents of both parties, helpless to stop the needless carnage.

Ron Maxwell wrote and directed the Civil War trilogy of movies: Gettysburg, Gods and Generals, Copperhead.

Andrew , says: July 30, 2017 at 11:04 pm

This is all very convincing, but the point remains: Trump won and is the one responsible for allowing all these neocons through the door. Had Pat Buchanan won the nomination and the Presidency back in the nineties, does anyone believe he would make the same blunders, and not be equipped to find the right traditional conservatives instead of the establishment DC neocons that try and swamp every GOP Administration now since Reagan? Trump is simply too naive and doesn't have any feel for the political ideologies of all of these people, being not much of a political animal himself. And replacing Priebus with General Kelly isn't likely to change all that. He should be talking to Ann Coulter and Buchanan as unofficial advisers or something.
Fran Macadam , says: July 31, 2017 at 12:36 am
Globalism is the twenty-first century euphemism for old fashioned imperialism, now on Wall Street propelled nuclear steroids.
KaneV , says: July 31, 2017 at 1:15 am
Good God how shallow is the Trump foreign policy bench that the American Con has a director writing in its defense?
reelectclaydavis , says: July 31, 2017 at 4:43 am
Interesting argument, though you ignore other factors besides the conspiratorial-sounding "Romney network" that account for American interventionist neo-conservatives finding their way back into power: 1) that they are by far the largest group of people available to staff the government because of a) the dominance of aggressive liberal internationalism over more restrained realism in graduate schools which educate these foreign policy specialists; b) an inherent bias of these specialists not to admit that America cannot influence world events (that would be like a social worker who didn't believe s/he could usually mediate conflicts). Also, 2) Trump's alleged non-interventionist beliefs are less well-formed than you imply, you just project on him what you wish to see; a) you ignore his comments about taking the oil of other countries, an idea the neo-conservatives had as a way to pay for operations in Iraq; and b) Beliefs closer to Trump's core: that others not paying their fair share and that America is being taken advantage of, are not incompatible with the American interventions you oppose.
polistra , says: July 31, 2017 at 8:13 am
You can't hijack an executive's policy unless the executive is either hopelessly weak or a faker. Doesn't matter which.

The only good part is that the fake image of a somewhat less warlike "Trump", stirred up by the media to destroy Trump, is actually DOING what a real non-interventionist Trump would have done. EU is breaking away from US control, just as a real antiwar Trump would have ordered it to do.

Dan Stewart , says: July 31, 2017 at 8:23 am
Great piece. Thank you, Mr. Maxwell. Reading this, I burn with anger -- then a sense of utter futility washes over me. I think history will show that the Trump era was the moment the American people realized that the Deep State is more powerful than the presidency.
For Virginia , says: July 31, 2017 at 8:23 am
It's good to see Ron Maxwell published in these pages. I watch Gettysburg at least once a year. And don't think Virginians aren't grateful for Maxwell's role in helping put paid to Eric Cantor's political career.

The rogues' gallery of neocons and apprentice neocons described above is really disturbing. We didn't vote for this. And we don't want it.

Re Nikki Haley, she's already an embarrassment, an ignorant neocon-dependent. She's dragging us down the same old road of anti-Russia hysterics and Middle East meddling. The best that can be said of her presence at the UN is that by putting her there Trump promoted one of his allies into the SC governor's mansion. I don't think he was under any illusions as to her foreign policy knowledge, competence, or commitment to an America First policy. But she's become a vector for neocons to reinfect government, and she needs to be removed.

Johann , says: July 31, 2017 at 8:27 am
Neoconism and neoliberalism is like a super-bug infection. None of the anti-biotics are working. We have only one hope left. Rand Paul, the super anti-neocon/neoliberal.
SDS , says: July 31, 2017 at 8:46 am
"Trump is a smart guy" ..
??
If so; why does he not see this happening all around him? Except for his pompous, ignorant, hands-off method of governing, that is . The Emperor has no clothes but doesn't seem to know, nor care that he doesn't
Kurt Gayle , says: July 31, 2017 at 9:03 am
Christopher Layne, Robert M. Gates Chair in National Security, Texas A&M at the American Conservative Conference "Foreign Policy in America's Interest" (Nov 15 2016) said:

"In this country we can talk about resenting elites all we want, but when it comes to making American foreign policy there still is an American foreign policy elite – and it's very powerful. Why has there been no debate? Actually, Michael Mandelbaum, an author with whom I seldom agree on anything, but in his book "The Frugal Superpower" he actually tells you why there's no debate in the foreign policy establishment.

You see, debate is – basically goes from here to there [Dr. Layne puts his two index fingers close together in front of his face], like from the 45-yard-line to the 45-yard-line. And why does it stop there? Because people who try to go down towards the goal line have their union cards taken away. They're kicked out of the establishment. They're not listened to. They're disrespected.

And to be part of the establishment you have to buy into it – to its ideology, to its beliefs system, and that is a very hard thing to break. And so before we all jump up and down and say, "Wow! Donald Trump won! NATO is going to be changed. Our commitments in East Asia are going to change. The Middle East may change!" We'd better take a deep breath and ask ourselves, and I think Will Ruger raised this point on the first panel, where is the counter-elite?

Where is a Trumpian counter-elite that not only can take the senior positions in the cabinet like Defense Secretary and Secretary of State, but be the assistant secretaries, the deputy assistant secretaries, the NSC staffers.

I think that elite doesn't exist right now, and that's a big problem, because the people who are going to be probably still in power are the people who do not agree with the kinds of foreign policy ideas that I think most of us in this room are sympathetic to. So, over time maybe that will change.

Over time maybe a counter-elite will emerge. But in the short term I see very little prospect for all the big changes that most of us are hoping to see, and so for me the challenge that we face is really to find ways to develop this counter-elite than can staff an administration in the future, that has at least what we think are the views that Donald Trump holds."

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/watch-foreign-policy-in-americas-interest/

We're in a new period – a period of learning for President Trump and for those in the administration who back his anti-establishment foreign policy view. And while it is true that (as Chris Layne said) "in the short term I see very little prospect for all the big changes that most of us are hoping to see," as we move into the medium and long term, many of us are hopeful that these big Trumpian foreign policy changes can begin to be made.

Kevin , says: July 31, 2017 at 10:13 am
Shorter Ron Maxwell: good tsar, evil advisors --
Bill Smith , says: July 31, 2017 at 10:24 am
This article is sharply contradicted by an earlier and more informed article in Conservative Review, an outlet with a considerably larger audience than American Conservative. You might want to read that as a corrective to this one. You can find it here: https://www.conservativereview.com/articles/trump-nat-sec-strategy-to-translate-maga-into-foreign-policy

Money quote:

A senior administration official familiar with the work of Nadia Schadlow, a national security expert brought on to help draft the National Security Strategy, tells CR that she will attempt to produce an NSS as "iconoclastic as our new commander in chief," adding, "the era of milquetoast boilerplate is over."

Henri James , says: July 31, 2017 at 10:44 am
I do love that in all of these scenarios, Trump is just some innocent moon-eyed man child who can't possibly be expected to think on his own.
Charlie , says: July 31, 2017 at 11:27 am
The problem with the neocons is that their ambition vastly exceeds their ability. Neocons developed their minds in the Cold war dealing with a western power, the USSR. The problem is that once one enters the Middle East and Asia one is dealing with languages and cultures of which they [knew] next to nothing. How many speak Arabic, Farsi, Turkish and Urdu such that they understand every nuance of what is said and unsaid?

When dealing with the arabs and many in Afghanistan everything is personnel and this can go back 5 generations and includes hundreds if not thousands of people.

Trump has the common sense not to become involved in that he does not understand.

David Skerry , says: July 31, 2017 at 11:51 am
They come back in boxes while those who sent them to their deaths remain in the bags of the "America Second" group which highjacked our Congress. It's no longer "God Bless America"; it's "God Help America."

[Jul 07, 2017] US, Russia Agree on Ceasefire in Southwestern Syria by Jason Ditz

Notable quotes:
"... While this is not the first US-Russia ceasefire brokered in Syria, it's the first in quite some time, as recent Syrian ceasefires have been brokered mostly by Russia, Turkey, and Iran, with the US insisting that the deals don't apply to their ongoing military operations. ..."
"... Putin and Trump agree to cease fire in Southern Syria. This means that Putin has surrendered the central principle of his Syria policy - territorial integrity of Syria. The carve up continues. Will some ostensible federal arrangement in Ukraine be the quid pro quo? ..."
"... I think it's better to say that the Syrian government and whatever counts as opposition in Daraa have come to an agreement, which means an end to the fighting in the Southwest - and that is in place since a few days already. ..."
"... This agreement between 'Putin' and 'Trump' only means that Russia will guarantee that the US doesn't do any dirty tricks when the Jordan-Syria reopens for business ..."
"... As Cockburn says, anything Trump comes out with is meaningless. he'll say the opposite tomorrow. However engage in a major war in Syria, particularly if against the Russians, that's another matter. His electoral base wouldn't tolerate it, if it were likely to lead to American deaths. ..."
Jul 07, 2017 | news.antiwar.com
Tillerson: US Still Insists on Ouster of Assad

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has announced that the United States and Russia have agreed on a ceasefire in southwestern Syria, aiming to halt all fighting in the area, and according to US officials allowing the rebels to shift their focus to fighting against ISIS.

Details are still scant on this, and it's not clear how far east the ceasefire is intended to extend. US officials say the entire goal is to stop attacks against the rebels, while Russia clearly wants the US to stop attacking pro-government forces in the region. There has also been mention of humanitarian aid being allowed in, but past ceasefires have almost uniformly failed at that goal.

The ceasefire is to begin at noon on Sunday, and is open-ended. Tillerson said it could be a first step which, if successful, would be spread to other parts of the country. He also, however, added that the US still insists upon Syrian President Assad and his entire family being removed from any positions of power in Syria.

While this is not the first US-Russia ceasefire brokered in Syria, it's the first in quite some time, as recent Syrian ceasefires have been brokered mostly by Russia, Turkey, and Iran, with the US insisting that the deals don't apply to their ongoing military operations.

paul | Jul 7, 2017 2:08:20 PM | 1

Putin and Trump agree to cease fire in Southern Syria. This means that Putin has surrendered the central principle of his Syria policy - territorial integrity of Syria. The carve up continues. Will some ostensible federal arrangement in Ukraine be the quid pro quo?

Jeff | Jul 7, 2017 2:22:18 PM | 2

@1

I think it's better to say that the Syrian government and whatever counts as opposition in Daraa have come to an agreement, which means an end to the fighting in the Southwest - and that is in place since a few days already.

This agreement between 'Putin' and 'Trump' only means that Russia will guarantee that the US doesn't do any dirty tricks when the Jordan-Syria reopens for business

karlof1 | Jul 7, 2017 2:51:58 PM | 6

Jeff @2--

Yes, you have a good handle on what's transpired. Negotiations for reconciliation have carried on since the last quarter of 2016, and it was becoming clear that a positive resolution was soon to occur.

As for G-20 action, much has occurred, including the BRICS heads-of-state sideline meeting, from which a communique was issued, http://en.kremlin.ru/supplement/5221 which echoes Putin's address, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/55001

Only the most basic of info's been released about the Putin/Trump meet; I expect more to be available later, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/55006

Putin also met with South Korean President Moon, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/55005

Hopefully, b will gain lots of onsite info and share it with us. Otherwise, it's a Friday, and news is slow.

Temporarily Sane | Jul 7, 2017 3:07:09 PM | 9
Patrick Cockburn, in his most recent article for the Independent, quotes a former US State Department official who said that: "[W]e don't have a policy in Syria, everybody in the Middle East knows that whatever is said by the Pentagon, State Department or National Security Council lacks authority because whatever assurances they give may be contradicted within the hour by a presidential tweet or by one of the factions in the White House."

Cockburn adds: "the ex-official lamented that it was like living in an arbitrary and unpredictable dictatorship."

While this may very well be true as far as operational details are concerned, it is apparent that "regime change" (orchestrating a coup d'etat) is the overarching goal the US is pursuing, however haphazardly, in Syria with Iran next in line. When was the last time the US military got involved somewhere and then just packed up and went back home? Cockburn is missing an important detail and he is one of the few MSM journalists who is not acting as a propagandist for Western interests.

The media is extremely allergic to telling it like it is and I wonder if MSM journalists like Cockburn and Robert Fisk deliberately avoid mentioning certain things in order to safeguard their jobs? I find it hard to believe that Cockburn, in this case, is not aware that "regime change" was never really taken off the table. In the same article he goes on to mention US plans for Iran so it is almost certain he knows what is going on in Syria. It is actually a decent piece but readers who may not be aware of the state of affairs in Syria are getting an incomplete snapshot of the situation there. Is holding the US and its "coalition" to full account an MSM "red-line" that even the charmingly named "Independent" is unwilling to cross?

Laguerre | Jul 7, 2017 3:16:08 PM | 10

re 1
This means that Putin has surrendered the central principle of his Syria policy - territorial integrity of Syria. The carve up continues.
I rather doubt that interpretation.

The expression is "south-west Syria". That means the Israeli front. Maybe calming the shooting at Israel, in order to remove the need for Israeli reactions?

I don't actually know whether the Amman-Damascus road is open for traffic, but given that I saw recently that there are still busses from Damascus to Raqqa, dangerous as that may seem, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that busses are making the transit between Amman and Damascus, no doubt with innumerable stops for inspection by one militia or another.

These dangerous trips do occur. Just to give you a flavour, a Syrian I know, a Druze, had to go to Aleppo. They were stopped by Da'ish. As a Druze, instant death if discovered. He was taken before the Amir. Are you Sunni? yes. Then prove it by reciting the Surat al-Baqara (the longest chapter of the Qur'an). He didn't know it other than the beginning. He started, and then quickly figured out that they didn't know it either, so he continued reciting Quranic style rubbish, until the Amir got bored and fell asleep, At which point he was released. He described them as slitty-eyed thus Turkic.

Laguerre | Jul 7, 2017 3:41:13 PM | 17

re 9

As Cockburn says, anything Trump comes out with is meaningless. he'll say the opposite tomorrow. However engage in a major war in Syria, particularly if against the Russians, that's another matter. His electoral base wouldn't tolerate it, if it were likely to lead to American deaths.

[Jul 07, 2017] Tillerson Sanctions on Russia Will Remain Until Crimea Is Returned

"Until Crimea is returned" is a sign of neocon foreign policy
Jul 07, 2017 | news.antiwar.com

Assured Ukraine Sanctions Against Russia Won't Change

Jason Ditz Posted on April 24, 2017 Categories News Tags Crimea , Russia , Tillerson , Ukraine Hopes that the US sanctions against Russia would be quickly rolled back when President Trump was elected in November didn't pan out, and the latest comments from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggest that the administration has no intention of removing the sanctions at all.

Speaking with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko over the weekend, Tillerson reported told him that the US sanctions on Russia will remain wholly in place " until Russia returns control of the Crimean peninsula to Ukraine. " Needless to say, Russia isn't going to do that.

Crimea was an autonomous oblast within Ukraine until 2014, when they held a referendum and seceded. After that secession, they sought and gained accession into the Russian Federation, which the US doesn't recognize. US officials have repeatedly presented this as Russia "invading Crimea" or "taking Crimea by force," though the peninsula's ethnic Russian majority was able to effectively secede outright without anything nearly so dramatic happening.

Nobody seriously expects Russia to "give back" Crimea, even if there was a mechanism by which they could conceivably do so, which there isn't. Conditioning sanctions relief on that is tantamount to announcing the sanctions as a permanent feature of US policy, a stance which will likely suit the many Russia hawks in Congress and across Western Europe quite well.

[Jul 07, 2017] Is Rex Tillerson a realist in Washington by Alexander Mercouris

How can a realist bear Nikki Haley and demand return of Crimea ? Only neocon can...
Notable quotes:
"... Specifically Tillerson turned neocon foreign policy orthodoxy on its head by arguing that a foreign policy based on promoting US 'values' carried the risk of obstructing US national security and economic interests: ..."
"... In some circumstances, if you condition our national security efforts on someone adopting our values, we probably can't achieve our national security goals. It really creates obstacles to our ability to advance our national security interests, our economic interests. ..."
"... At this point an essential qualification is needed. When US politicians and diplomats talk of a foreign policy based on 'values' they do not mean a foreign policy constructed exclusively around the 'values' Tillerson referred to: "freedom, human dignity, and the treatment of people the world over." People in Saudi Arabia or in the occupied Palestinian territories are not the object of US sympathy despite being denied all these things. ..."
"... Rather when US politicians and diplomats talk of a foreign policy based on 'values' they mean one where the US seeks to use these 'values' as leverage to increase its geopolitical influence as part of an ideological mission to entrench its global position. This is the foreign policy that Tillerson appears to be repudiating ..."
"... On Russia, Tillerson said ''there's almost no trust'' between the world's greatest nuclear powers, but that the administration was trying to rebuild trust by looking at one issue at a time. First up is Syria, as Washington and Moscow see if they can get a cease-fire that can hold. ..."
Jul 07, 2017 | www.sott.net

In first address to State Department and before meeting Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov US Secretary of State Tillerson repudiates neocon ideas and supports a 'realist' foreign policy.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, delivering his first address to the staff of the State Department, has set out a vision of US foreign policy which if different would be radically different from anything seen over the last few decades.

Specifically Tillerson turned neocon foreign policy orthodoxy on its head by arguing that a foreign policy based on promoting US 'values' carried the risk of obstructing US national security and economic interests:

In some circumstances, if you condition our national security efforts on someone adopting our values, we probably can't achieve our national security goals. It really creates obstacles to our ability to advance our national security interests, our economic interests.
At this point an essential qualification is needed. When US politicians and diplomats talk of a foreign policy based on 'values' they do not mean a foreign policy constructed exclusively around the 'values' Tillerson referred to: "freedom, human dignity, and the treatment of people the world over." People in Saudi Arabia or in the occupied Palestinian territories are not the object of US sympathy despite being denied all these things.

Rather when US politicians and diplomats talk of a foreign policy based on 'values' they mean one where the US seeks to use these 'values' as leverage to increase its geopolitical influence as part of an ideological mission to entrench its global position. This is the foreign policy that Tillerson appears to be repudiating . Interestingly, in the same speech he is reported to have spoken about the need to work for better relations with Russia, the country that the neocons have cast as the US's primary ideological and geopolitical adversary:

On Russia, Tillerson said ''there's almost no trust'' between the world's greatest nuclear powers, but that the administration was trying to rebuild trust by looking at one issue at a time. First up is Syria, as Washington and Moscow see if they can get a cease-fire that can hold.
It need hardly be said that within Official Washington these ideas are heresy and it is far from certain whether most of the other officials in the Trump administration share them.

The President has however spoken similarly in the past and it seems that for the moment Tillerson has his support.

TIllerson is due to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov shortly , when he presumably continue to try to put his foreign policy line into action. It will be interesting to see how far he can succeed.

[Jul 02, 2017] Nikki Haley Wants Everyone to Know That She Finally Learned How to Read

Notable quotes:
"... didn't even know how to read? ..."
"... The Scorpion and the Frog ..."
Jul 02, 2017 | russia-insider.com

Nikki Haley is hooked on phonics - and bombing Iran

RI Staff 63 Haley presents book report to UN Security Council

Nikki Haley is widely considered to be the greatest diplomat to have ever lived. But did you know that up until just a few days ago, Nikki Haley didn't even know how to read?

Washington's rookie UN ambassador to the United Nations has been checkmating Russia for months, but last week she finally found the time to finish her first children's story, The Scorpion and the Frog , which tells the tale of two animal companions who are drone-bombed by the US military while attending a wedding in Afghanistan.

As you can probably imagine, Nikki is very proud of her accomplishment and wants to let everyone know that she read a story about animals and really, really enjoyed it.

But recently she's been yapping about frogs and scorpions at totally inappropriate times.

Nikki Haley literally can't stop talking about this dumb pop-up book that she read.

Even when she recites her daily prayers to Moloch at the Security Council, frog tales inevitable get added into the mix:

me title=

But as RT pointed out : "While the allusion might seem novel, it was actually used before in an op-ed by Chaim Shacham for the Miami Herald in 2015, titled 'Iran nuclear pact: Tale of the scorpion and the frog.'"

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https://lockerdome.com/lad/9533801169000550?pubid=ld-1806-5338&pubo=http%3A%2F%2Frussia-insider.com&width=731

That'll do, Nikki. That'll do.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/Wvh5fFeRX5Q?wmode=transparent&jqoemcache=yraHB

advertisement

[Jun 30, 2017] White House Encouraged After Elephants Abstain From Climbing Trees

Notable quotes:
"... There are plenty of reasons why the U.S. would want to accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons but zero sane reasons for the Syrian government to use such. Russia and Syria have long insisted on sending chemical weapon inspectors to the airbase the Trump administration claims is at the center of its "chemical" fairy tale. The U.S. has held the inspectors back. The claims make thereby zero sense to any objective observer. ..."
"... UN peacekeepers are often an instrument of U.S. foreign policy. By cutting them down the U.S. and Haley are limiting their own political options. The White House "warning", which had to be defused within a day, has a similar effect. People will become less inclined to believe any U.S. claims or to follow up on U.S. demands. Both statements have limited future policy options. ..."
"... So Sayeth Nimrata Randhawa Haley, she who was paid US$110,000 a year as a fundraiser for Lexington Medical Center back in 2008, at a time when the average salary of her peers doing similar work for non-profit organisations of similar size and with similar budgets as her employer was just over US$44,000. Moreover Haley expected to be paid US$125,000 for the work. http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/latest-news/article16614233.html ..."
"... Something about the way Nikki Haley handled her parents' company Exotica International's finances while she was accountant there is also very fishy, not least the fact that she consistently filed her own tax returns and those of the parents' business late. ..."
"... "I will never apologize for the United States - I don't care what the facts are... I'm not an apologize-for-America kind of guy." Statement as Vice-president, during a presidential campaign function (2 Aug 1988), commenting on the Navy warship USS Vincennes having shot down Iran Air Flight 655 in a commercial air corridor on July 3, killing 290 civilians, as quoted in "Perspectives", the quote of the week section of Newsweek (15 August 1988[1]) p. 15; also quoted in "Rally Round the Flag, Boys" by Michael Kingsley in TIME magazine (12 September 1988). Newsweek cites this phrase as said about the downing of the Iranian airliner to the group of the Republican ethnic leaders ... ..."
"... psychopaths - or the criminally, terminally inattentive - have no regrets. they leave regrets to the rest of the world for their psychopathic / acts of depraved indifference. ..."
"... Adolf Hitler is my conscience - last words of Nazi governer general - Poland ww2 ..."
"... The utter contempt for the public and its level of intelligence is astounding. ..."
"... There are two views that make limited military force seem like a good idea: one is the perceived invincibility of the U.S. military within Versailles and the other is the perception of Russia as the land of Yakov Smirnov. Trump doesn't want a major war. I'll agree, and outside of McCains of the world, no one does. This doesn't mean Trump and his circle aren't under the impression they can skip the back nine and paunch a few cruise missiles to win a limited war. ..."
"... Nikki Hailey wants a few scalps for her future Presidential run just like Hillary with Gaddafi or how Rummy lame Ted the absence of targets in Afghanistan he could run on CNN. ..."
"... Noted lunatic, Fareed Zakaria pronounced Trump as officially the President when he launched cruise missiles against Syria. Thugs look for victims when they need to establish their power. ..."
"... Nikki Haley is one of many "leaders" that were created using Newt Gingrich's "Republican in an Can" kits. These kits were tweaked and perfected by Karl Rove. It is required of the candidate to be completely malleable and to contain no original thoughts. The only skill requirement is that the candidate must be capable of memorizing canned sound bites and patriotic slogans which are to be repeated and used as answers to any and all questions. The candidate must never, ever waver from these sound bites. When they do, they get in trouble. Nikki Haley is a standout, Marco Rubio is another prime example. ..."
"... Yes, I realize that Haley is nominally a "diplomat", so you already covered that territory. But it struck me that the requirements you list apply more generally. As I recently commented elsewhere: beginning a few years ago, watching news videos of Putin helped me see through the Western propaganda profile characterizing Vladimir Putin as a ruthless, utterly self-serving reptilian dictator and ex-KGB thug. I was also impressed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Both men comport themselves like authentic, sober professionals, albeit that they still labor under the misapprehension that the West has retained an appreciation of, and (potential) competence in, the indispensable art of diplomacy. ..."
"... The collective Western political mind, possibly due to capitalism-induced dementia, has lost its capacity for understanding and practicing diplomacy. When one abandons an art, it's like abandoning an industry: over time, the basic knowledge and understanding of the craft is lost. ..."
Jun 29, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trump administration officials are walking back the White House announcement of its plans to fake another "chemical weapon attack" in Syria.

There are plenty of reasons why the U.S. would want to accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons but zero sane reasons for the Syrian government to use such. Russia and Syria have long insisted on sending chemical weapon inspectors to the airbase the Trump administration claims is at the center of its "chemical" fairy tale. The U.S. has held the inspectors back. The claims make thereby zero sense to any objective observer.

The walk back, as well as the statement itself, may not be serious at all. This White House seems unpredictable and the U.S. military, the intelligence services and the White House itself have no common view or policy. One day they claim the U.S. will leave Syria after ISIS is defeated, the next day they announce new bases and eternal support for the Syrian Kurds.

The way the White House statement came out, without knowledge of the relevant agencies and little involvement of the agency principals, was not cynical but just dumb . It sounds like the idea was dropped by Natanyahoo to his schoolboy Jared Kushner who then convinced his father in law to issue the crazy statement. Now officials are send out with the worst argument ever to claim that the White House "warning" made sense.

"The elephants did not climb up the trees. Warning them off was successful," they say. "The trees were saved!"

" It appears that they took the warning seriously," Mattis said. "They didn't do it," he told reporters flying with him to Brussels for a meeting of NATO defense ministers.

He offered no evidence other than the fact that an attack had not taken place.

---
" I can tell you that due to the president's actions, we did not see an incident," [U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki] Haley told the House Foreign Affairs Committee during a hearing Tuesday.[..]
[...]
"I would like to think that the president saved many innocent men, women and children," Haley continued.

Haley "would like to think" a lot of stuff - unfortunately she is not capable of such. A bit later she issued an egocentric tweet about UN peacekeeping that will surely increase U.S. political standing in the world (not):

I can even agree with Haley that UN peacekeeping has gotten way out of hand. To have UN mandated troops spreading Cholera in Haiti and raping their way through various countries does not help anyone. But the way to end this is to stop handing out mandates for such missions. To (re-)mandate undertrained/underpaid peacekeeping forces in the UN Security Council while cutting the budget for them is irresponsible. It will corrupt the troops and their behavior even more.

UN peacekeepers are often an instrument of U.S. foreign policy. By cutting them down the U.S. and Haley are limiting their own political options. The White House "warning", which had to be defused within a day, has a similar effect. People will become less inclined to believe any U.S. claims or to follow up on U.S. demands. Both statements have limited future policy options.

Will the Trump administration come to regret such moves?

Ghostship | Jun 29, 2017 7:08:52 AM | 12
Jen | Jun 29, 2017 7:46:08 AM | 13 "Just 5 months into our time here, we've cut over half a billion $$$ from the UN peacekeeping budget & we're only getting started."

So Sayeth Nimrata Randhawa Haley, she who was paid US$110,000 a year as a fundraiser for Lexington Medical Center back in 2008, at a time when the average salary of her peers doing similar work for non-profit organisations of similar size and with similar budgets as her employer was just over US$44,000. Moreover Haley expected to be paid US$125,000 for the work. http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/latest-news/article16614233.html

Something about the way Nikki Haley handled her parents' company Exotica International's finances while she was accountant there is also very fishy, not least the fact that she consistently filed her own tax returns and those of the parents' business late.

https://fredericacade.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/nikki-haley-was-accountant-and-according-to-south-carolina-data-would-suggest-the-family-business-closed-in-2010-reinstatement-in-2011-and-closure-in-2013-involved-paying-back-money-still-owed/

jfl | Jun 29, 2017 4:21:52 AM | 3
b, 'Will the Trump administration come to regret such moves?'

i think this runs along the lines of george xli ...

"I will never apologize for the United States - I don't care what the facts are... I'm not an apologize-for-America kind of guy." Statement as Vice-president, during a presidential campaign function (2 Aug 1988), commenting on the Navy warship USS Vincennes having shot down Iran Air Flight 655 in a commercial air corridor on July 3, killing 290 civilians, as quoted in "Perspectives", the quote of the week section of Newsweek (15 August 1988[1]) p. 15; also quoted in "Rally Round the Flag, Boys" by Michael Kingsley in TIME magazine (12 September 1988). Newsweek cites this phrase as said about the downing of the Iranian airliner to the group of the Republican ethnic leaders ...
... psychopaths - or the criminally, terminally inattentive - have no regrets. they leave regrets to the rest of the world for their psychopathic / acts of depraved indifference.
ashley albanese | Jun 29, 2017 5:15:07 AM | 7
jfl 4

Adolf Hitler is my conscience - last words of Nazi governer general - Poland ww2 .

AtaBrit | Jun 29, 2017 8:27:05 AM | 18
@harrylaw 14

The utter contempt for the public and its level of intelligence is astounding.

Laguerre | Jun 29, 2017 9:04:47 AM | 20
What I said at the end of the last thread seems to me still the probable explanation of what happened, and why there's walking back:
The White House warning to Asad was a sort of official version of a Trump 3 am tweet, wasn't it? He heard about (I won't say read, as it's unlikely) Hersh's article, and got in a rage. He'll show 'em, he's serious. And had Spicer put out the warning, rather than tweeting it - to show he's really, really, serious, and not someone who just tweets at 3 in the morning in a rage.
There never was a serious plan (difficult as though that would be for many commenters here to accept). It was just a blast of rage from Trump. I doubt if Trump wants serious war, even if there are forces trying to push him into it.
Willy2 | Jun 29, 2017 9:06:54 AM | 21
I regard Mrs. Nikki Haley to be a sock puppet of the Trump administration and was chosen because she has no spine/backbone.
- Judging by her previous statements she isn't "the brighest bulb in the chandalier". But that's what the current administration was looking for, right ?
NotTimothyGeithner | Jun 29, 2017 9:42:30 AM | 23
@20 "Home by Christmas" is the problem.

There are two views that make limited military force seem like a good idea: one is the perceived invincibility of the U.S. military within Versailles and the other is the perception of Russia as the land of Yakov Smirnov. Trump doesn't want a major war. I'll agree, and outside of McCains of the world, no one does. This doesn't mean Trump and his circle aren't under the impression they can skip the back nine and paunch a few cruise missiles to win a limited war.

Nikki Hailey wants a few scalps for her future Presidential run just like Hillary with Gaddafi or how Rummy lame Ted the absence of targets in Afghanistan he could run on CNN.

Noted lunatic, Fareed Zakaria pronounced Trump as officially the President when he launched cruise missiles against Syria. Thugs look for victims when they need to establish their power.

Peter AU | Jun 29, 2017 9:42:42 AM | 24
Not a word from either Trump or Tillerson on this bullshit. Looks like Trump has just thrown it out there for whatever reason and left the lackeys to deal with the fallout.
fastfreddy | Jun 29, 2017 10:18:10 AM | 27
Nikki Haley is one of many "leaders" that were created using Newt Gingrich's "Republican in an Can" kits. These kits were tweaked and perfected by Karl Rove. It is required of the candidate to be completely malleable and to contain no original thoughts. The only skill requirement is that the candidate must be capable of memorizing canned sound bites and patriotic slogans which are to be repeated and used as answers to any and all questions. The candidate must never, ever waver from these sound bites. When they do, they get in trouble. Nikki Haley is a standout, Marco Rubio is another prime example.
jfl | Jun 29, 2017 2:02:39 PM | 51

Ort | Jun 29, 2017 2:04:53 PM | 52
@ fastfreddy | 27

Well-stated and worth repeating:

Nikki Haley is one of many "leaders" that were created using Newt Gingrich's "Republican in an Can" kits. These kits were tweaked and perfected by Karl Rove.

It is required of the candidate to be completely malleable and to contain no original thoughts. The only skill requirement is that the candidate must be capable of memorizing canned sound bites and patriotic slogans which are to be repeated and used as answers to any and all questions. The candidate must never, ever waver from these sound bites. When they do, they get in trouble.
______________________________________

I also think it's worth adding that in this century-- especially after 9/11/2001-- the US, and even Western Europe has "created" leaders and official spokespersons using "Statesman in a Can" and "Diplomat in a Can" kits.

Yes, I realize that Haley is nominally a "diplomat", so you already covered that territory. But it struck me that the requirements you list apply more generally. As I recently commented elsewhere: beginning a few years ago, watching news videos of Putin helped me see through the Western propaganda profile characterizing Vladimir Putin as a ruthless, utterly self-serving reptilian dictator and ex-KGB thug. I was also impressed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Both men comport themselves like authentic, sober professionals, albeit that they still labor under the misapprehension that the West has retained an appreciation of, and (potential) competence in, the indispensable art of diplomacy.

The collective Western political mind, possibly due to capitalism-induced dementia, has lost its capacity for understanding and practicing diplomacy. When one abandons an art, it's like abandoning an industry: over time, the basic knowledge and understanding of the craft is lost.

It's a bipartisan, or transnational, degeneracy. Whether it's the supposedly "eloquent", "intellectual" Obama and John Kerry, or Trump and Tillerson, (or Macron et al) the Western team looks, sounds, and acts like a troupe of life-sized animatronic puppets programmed to spew tendentious talking points du jour.
______________________________________

The "Statesman/Diplomat in a Can" kit fits right in with my "animatronic puppets" idea; instead of reasonably honest professional diplomats and statesmen, the West prefers talking-point spewing, hollow narcissists.

MadMax2 | Jun 30, 2017 6:28:18 AM | 65
For sure Nikki Haley is mildly retarded, placing her in the 'above average yank' percentile band.

[Apr 18, 2017] NSC has been filled with McMaster loyalists aka Neocon preemptive strikers

Apr 18, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

XXX

Ok, dunno the official Naked Capitalism stance on Mike Cernovich. So if all links to him are verboten, no probs . (from April 8)

Given that above link citing a McMaster aide, throwing out this Cernovich article on his observation on how the NSC has been filled w/McMaster loyalists (aka Neocon/preemptive-strikers) versus the Flynn/Bannon camp (aka pragmatic-realists).

https://medium.com/@Cernovich/h-r-mcmaster-manipulating-intelligence-reports-to-trump-wants-150-000-ground-soldiers-in-syria-83346c433e99

"Petraeus' influence in the NSC remains strong.

McMaster was called Petraeus' golden child by some commenters, noting the strong influence Petraeus had over McMaster. Petraeus was considered for the position of NSA, but withdrew his name from consideration once McMaster's name was included on the short-list. McMaster's appointment allowed Petraeus to maintain control over the NSC without bringing his considerable baggage to the position ."

fresno dan , April 17, 2017 at 9:33 am

oho
April 17, 2017 at 9:00 am

oho, I used to look at a lot of right wing stuff and be very skeptical of it. Than my skepticism of "mainstream" has gone up to be equivalent to my skepticism of the right wing stuff.
You just have to read the stuff and decide for yourself if it is credible AND relevant. I have found very few "reporters" really are even trying to be objective. I carry no water for Trump or for Obama – its a very lonely place other than at NC .

EXAMPLE: Napolitano of Fox is suspended because of the article about Obama admin using foreign intelligence sources.

Now the mediamatters article I link below is critical of Napolitano. I link to it specifically to distinguish between facts in an article and spin. In my view the article is trying to "spin" (or emphasize – I'm really not trying to "spin" my comment) the story as to it being about discredited "wiretapping" and that foreign surveillance was specifically ORDERED by the Obama admin – now, I AGREE that is a very, very important point that Obama did not order specifically foreign searches (at least that we know of now) and that as far as that is concerned, the mediamatters point appears CORRECT.

But in my view, it is NOT THE ONLY POINT. The real point to me is that surveillance on US citizens can occur without a warrant when it happens overseas, that this is happening constantly, and apparently this information can come back to the US, again, apparently without any safegrards***. I leave it to people's own sense of skepticism if this arrangement is ever used to circumvent getting a warrant on a US citizen (HECK, I leave it to people's skepticism if the FISA court is nothing but a circumlocution of the US constitution)
The FACT is that there are FACTS out there, and certain people have FACTS they want to emphasize, and other FACTS they want to de-emphasize ..

https://mediamatters.org/research/2017/04/14/pro-trump-outlets-and-fake-news-purveyors-misinterpret-new-reports-vindicate-foxs-napolitano/216031

***does anyone know when the British have surveillance of US citizens and they send it to the US, what procedures or constraints on those conversations are???

dontknowitall , April 17, 2017 at 12:17 pm

I believe the controlling law is section 702 of the Patriot Act and Executive Order 16333. To be sure you should check out Emptywheel's website because she has done a thorough analysis of all of this and it is all archived in her website.

a different chris , April 17, 2017 at 9:35 am

Petraeus for President 2024! Seriously, you know it's coming. :p

Pat , April 17, 2017 at 10:51 am

Unfortunately you are probably right. And a certain portion of the so-called liberal intelligentsia aka Clinton wing I am exposed to, loves them some General Petraeus. Scary, I know.

Susan the other , April 17, 2017 at 11:41 am

Chernovich is considered by NC to be a very reliable source, I think. And his analysis of McMaster's push for more troops is accurate. I didn't like the article because I felt it failed to account for the difference in Mattis and McMaster in any coherent way. And Trump just gave the Pentagon the ability to make its best decisions and follow through on them. (this was reported after Chernovich's article). Amazing really. But that puts Mattis in charge and he would rather work with the other interests fighting in Syria than unilaterally. McMaster, it was implied by Chernovich, was all for sending 150,000 troops in to finish the job. So there is a huge leeway of possibilities according to Chernovich. Maybe the military is softening up the public to accept what seems to be an attitude of having had enough and wanting to just go in and take care of business. They all seem to agree on that.

Susan the other , April 17, 2017 at 11:54 am

Also today's link from Reuters re McMaster getting down to business with Russia. McMaster wants to have the tough talks to sort it all out. Because "Syria's government has got to go." OK, and McMaster thought Tillerson's trip to Moscow and his meeting with Lavrov was a good start because relations are so bad right now that there's "nowhere to go but up." I think my compass is pointing to an agreement with the Russians to remove Assad. But they will never say it. If I were Assad, I'd want to get out – Syria is rubble, there's not much left to govern; even if his enemies would leave him alone. They're all just positioning themselves for the best deal they can get. And the threat of 150K troops on the ground is saying loud and clear that we will be the ones to decide the new direction for Syria. To my thinking.

tgs , April 17, 2017 at 1:07 pm

You may be right. But that will be the end of Syria. The country is still filled with foreign backed jihadis who really want to establish an islamic state. The US may think it can take someone currently residing in France or the US and install them. But there is no one available with any popular support that I know of. Things almost definitely will get worse for Syria – the carnage will continue.

And Putin must realize that those insisting that Assad must go also want Putin out as well. Surely, he sees that he has to draw a line somewhere.

Susan the other , April 17, 2017 at 2:06 pm

maybe, but I've come to suspect that we like and want Putin there, but we don't want Russian nationalists to know it it's so convoluted you can almost read anything into it so the best way to grok it is to imagine the most useful and beneficial solutions. Which are few.

Mark P. , April 17, 2017 at 3:00 pm

In 2017 Putin has become the reliable constant in international affairs, especially next to the idiots who've been doing U.S. foreign policy.

People will miss him when he's gone.

Olga , April 17, 2017 at 4:43 pm

IMHO, you could not be more wrong. Russians went into Syria in Sept. 2015 – after notifying the whole world via a UN speech. The decision must have taken months to complete. What makes you think that after all the work and effort this took, Russians would suddenly reverse course? If they were to give up on Assad so quickly, why go in in the first place? Remember – they have a VERY LONG-TERM VIEW (just like the Chinese). The problem with demonising Assad (and anyone, for that matter) is that the US public ends up with a totally unrealistic view of the subject at hand (and not just a negative one). Just like with Putin – the story is not just about one man. There is a large power structure connected to each man. Neither one makes decisions in a vacuum. Russians and Iranians understand that if they give up on a unified Syria- which is what Assad represents – they would be next (Chechnya war, anyone?). One must assess these things from the perspective of the other – not from what the US would like.

anonymous , April 17, 2017 at 9:32 pm

Isn't the greater Damascus area relatively unscathed? Granted other vast areas are in ruins

Christopher Fay , April 17, 2017 at 6:32 pm

The army is scattered to the four winds. Can McMaster render up 150,000 soldiers? 150 k means 450,000. one third in the field, one third recovering, and one third on stand by according to the Shinseki ratio.

[Apr 18, 2017] NSC has been filled w/McMaster loyalists aka Neocon/preemptive-strikers versus the Flynn/Bannon camp aka pragmatic-realists

Notable quotes:
"... Given that above link citing a McMaster aide, throwing out this Cernovich article on his observation on how the NSC has been filled w/McMaster loyalists (aka Neocon/preemptive-strikers) versus the Flynn/Bannon camp (aka pragmatic-realists). ..."
"... "Petraeus' influence in the NSC remains strong. McMaster was called Petraeus' golden child by some commenters, noting the strong influence Petraeus had over McMaster. Petraeus was considered for the position of NSA, but withdrew his name from consideration once McMaster's name was included on the short-list. McMaster's appointment allowed Petraeus to maintain control over the NSC without bringing his considerable baggage to the position . ..."
"... maybe, but I've come to suspect that we like and want Putin there, but we don't want Russian nationalists to know it. It's so convoluted you can almost read anything into it so the best way to grok it is to imagine the most useful and beneficial solutions. Which are few. ..."
"... In 2017 Putin has become the reliable constant in international affairs, especially next to the idiots who've been doing U.S. foreign policy. People will miss him when he's gone. ..."
"... The problem with demonising Assad (and anyone, for that matter) is that the US public ends up with a totally unrealistic view of the subject at hand (and not just a negative one). Just like with Putin – the story is not just about one man. ..."
"... The army is scattered to the four winds. Can McMaster render up 150,000 soldiers? 150k means 450,000. one third in the field, one third recovering, and one third on stand by according to the Shinseki ratio. ..."
Apr 18, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Ok, dunno the official Naked Capitalism stance on Mike Cernovich. So if all links to him are verboten, no probs . (from April 8)

Given that above link citing a McMaster aide, throwing out this Cernovich article on his observation on how the NSC has been filled w/McMaster loyalists (aka Neocon/preemptive-strikers) versus the Flynn/Bannon camp (aka pragmatic-realists).

https://medium.com/@Cernovich/h-r-mcmaster-manipulating-intelligence-reports-to-trump-wants-150-000-ground-soldiers-in-syria-83346c433e99

"Petraeus' influence in the NSC remains strong. McMaster was called Petraeus' golden child by some commenters, noting the strong influence Petraeus had over McMaster. Petraeus was considered for the position of NSA, but withdrew his name from consideration once McMaster's name was included on the short-list. McMaster's appointment allowed Petraeus to maintain control over the NSC without bringing his considerable baggage to the position ."

fresno dan , April 17, 2017 at 9:33 am

@oho April 17, 2017 at 9:00 am

oho, I used to look at a lot of right wing stuff and be very skeptical of it. Than my skepticism of "mainstream" has gone up to be equivalent to my skepticism of the right wing stuff.
You just have to read the stuff and decide for yourself if it is credible AND relevant. I have found very few "reporters" really are even trying to be objective. I carry no water for Trump or for Obama – its a very lonely place other than at NC .

EXAMPLE: Napolitano of Fox is suspended because of the article about Obama admin using foreign intelligence sources.

Now the mediamatters article I link below is critical of Napolitano. I link to it specifically to distinguish between facts in an article and spin. In my view the article is trying to "spin" (or emphasize – I'm really not trying to "spin" my comment) the story as to it being about discredited "wiretapping" and that foreign surveillance was specifically ORDERED by the Obama admin – now, I AGREE that is a very, very important point that Obama did not order specifically foreign searches (at least that we know of now) and that as far as that is concerned, the mediamatters point appears CORRECT.

But in my view, it is NOT THE ONLY POINT. The real point to me is that surveillance on US citizens can occur without a warrant when it happens overseas, that this is happening constantly, and apparently this information can come back to the US, again, apparently without any safegrards***. I leave it to people's own sense of skepticism if this arrangement is ever used to circumvent getting a warrant on a US citizen (HECK, I leave it to people's skepticism if the FISA court is nothing but a circumlocution of the US constitution)
The FACT is that there are FACTS out there, and certain people have FACTS they want to emphasize, and other FACTS they want to de-emphasize ..

https://mediamatters.org/research/2017/04/14/pro-trump-outlets-and-fake-news-purveyors-misinterpret-new-reports-vindicate-foxs-napolitano/216031

***does anyone know when the British have surveillance of US citizens and they send it to the US, what procedures or constraints on those conversations are???

dontknowitall , April 17, 2017 at 12:17 pm

I believe the controlling law is section 702 of the Patriot Act and Executive Order 16333. To be sure you should check out Emptywheel's website because she has done a thorough analysis of all of this and it is all archived in her website.

a different chris , April 17, 2017 at 9:35 am

Petraeus for President 2024! Seriously, you know it's coming. :p

Pat , April 17, 2017 at 10:51 am

Unfortunately you are probably right. And a certain portion of the so-called liberal intelligentsia aka Clinton wing I am exposed to, loves them some General Petraeus. Scary, I know.

Susan the other , April 17, 2017 at 11:41 am

Chernovich is considered by NC to be a very reliable source, I think. And his analysis of McMaster's push for more troops is accurate. I didn't like the article because I felt it failed to account for the difference in Mattis and McMaster in any coherent way. And Trump just gave the Pentagon the ability to make its best decisions and follow through on them. (this was reported after Chernovich's article). Amazing really. But that puts Mattis in charge and he would rather work with the other interests fighting in Syria than unilaterally. McMaster, it was implied by Chernovich, was all for sending 150,000 troops in to finish the job. So there is a huge leeway of possibilities according to Chernovich. Maybe the military is softening up the public to accept what seems to be an attitude of having had enough and wanting to just go in and take care of business. They all seem to agree on that.

Susan the other , April 17, 2017 at 11:54 am

Also today's link from Reuters re McMaster getting down to business with Russia. McMaster wants to have the tough talks to sort it all out. Because "Syria's government has got to go." OK, and McMaster thought Tillerson's trip to Moscow and his meeting with Lavrov was a good start because relations are so bad right now that there's "nowhere to go but up." I think my compass is pointing to an agreement with the Russians to remove Assad. But they will never say it. If I were Assad, I'd want to get out – Syria is rubble, there's not much left to govern; even if his enemies would leave him alone. They're all just positioning themselves for the best deal they can get. And the threat of 150K troops on the ground is saying loud and clear that we will be the ones to decide the new direction for Syria. To my thinking.

tgs , April 17, 2017 at 1:07 pm

You may be right. But that will be the end of Syria. The country is still filled with foreign backed jihadis who really want to establish an islamic state. The US may think it can take someone currently residing in France or the US and install them. But there is no one available with any popular support that I know of. Things almost definitely will get worse for Syria – the carnage will continue.

And Putin must realize that those insisting that Assad must go also want Putin out as well. Surely, he sees that he has to draw a line somewhere.

Susan the other , April 17, 2017 at 2:06 pm

maybe, but I've come to suspect that we like and want Putin there, but we don't want Russian nationalists to know it. It's so convoluted you can almost read anything into it so the best way to grok it is to imagine the most useful and beneficial solutions. Which are few.

Mark P. , April 17, 2017 at 3:00 pm

In 2017 Putin has become the reliable constant in international affairs, especially next to the idiots who've been doing U.S. foreign policy. People will miss him when he's gone.

Olga , April 17, 2017 at 4:43 pm

IMHO, you could not be more wrong. Russians went into Syria in Sept. 2015 – after notifying the whole world via a UN speech. The decision must have taken months to complete.

What makes you think that after all the work and effort this took, Russians would suddenly reverse course? If they were to give up on Assad so quickly, why go in in the first place? Remember – they have a VERY LONG-TERM VIEW (just like the Chinese).

The problem with demonising Assad (and anyone, for that matter) is that the US public ends up with a totally unrealistic view of the subject at hand (and not just a negative one). Just like with Putin – the story is not just about one man. There is a large power structure connected to each man. Neither one makes decisions in a vacuum. Russians and Iranians understand that if they give up on a unified Syria- which is what Assad represents – they would be next (Chechnya war, anyone?). One must assess these things from the perspective of the other – not from what the US would like.

anonymous , April 17, 2017 at 9:32 pm

Isn't the greater Damascus area relatively unscathed? Granted other vast areas are in ruins

Christopher Fay , April 17, 2017 at 6:32 pm

The army is scattered to the four winds. Can McMaster render up 150,000 soldiers? 150k means 450,000. one third in the field, one third recovering, and one third on stand by according to the Shinseki ratio.

[Apr 15, 2017] 3-31-17 Arnaldo Claudio on National Security Advisor Gen. H.R. McMasters human rights violations of Iraqis in 2005

Apr 15, 2017 | www.libertarianinstitute.org

Arnaldo Claudio, a retired senior US Military Police officer, discusses his 2005 investigation of human rights abuses of detainees in Tal Afar, in a camp commanded by then-Colonel H.R. McMaster, whom Claudio threatened to arrest. According to Claudio, detainees were kept in overcrowded conditions, handcuffed, deprived of food and water, and soiled by their own urine and feces. A so-called "good behavior program" was implemented by McMaster, that held detainees indefinitely (beyond a rule requiring release after 2 weeks) unless they provided "actionable intelligence."

[Apr 07, 2017] Syria The Toxic Meltdown

Notable quotes:
"... Donald Trump – and/or the alphabet soup of US intelligence agencies, with no detailed investigation – are convinced that the Russian Ministry of Defense is simply lying. ..."
"... Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov, stressing "fully objective and verified" information, identified a Syrian Air Force strike launched against a "moderate rebel" warehouse east of the town of Khan Sheikhoun used to both produce and store shells containing toxic gas. ..."
"... Konashenkov added the same chemicals had been used by "rebels" in Aleppo late last year, according to samples collected by Russian military experts. ..."
"... And Western public opinion conveniently forgot that before Barack Obama's theoretically trespassed red line on chemical weapons, a secret US intelligence report had made it clear that Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria, had mastered the sarin gas-making cycle and was capable of producing it in quantity. ..."
"... So those toxic weapons that "disappeared" – en masse - from Gaddafi's arsenals in 2011 ended up upgrading al-Qaeda in Syria (not the Islamic Stare/Daesh), re-baptized Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and widely described across the Beltway as "moderate rebels". ..."
"... Trump's ambassador to the UN, Heritage Foundation asset Nikki Haley, predictably went ballistic, monopolizing the whole Western news cycle. Lost in oblivion, also predictably, was Russia's deputy UN ambassador Vladimir Safronkov shattering to bits the West's "obsession with regime change" in Syria, which is "what hinders this Security Council." ..."
"... Idlib Chemical Attack: West Blames Assad Even Before Probe Launched Safronkov stressed the chemical attack in Idlib was based on "falsified reports from the White Helmets", an organization that has been "discredited long ago". Indeed; but now the Helmets are Oscar winners , and this pop culture badge of honor renders them unassailable – not to mention immune to the effects of sarin gas. ..."
"... The dead "children of Syria" are now pawns in a much larger, perverse game. The US government may have killed a million men, women and children in Iraq – and there was no serious outcry among the "elites" across the NATO spectrum. A war criminal still at large admitted , on the record, that the snuffing out, directly and indirectly, of 500,000 Iraqi children was "justified." ..."
"... For his part, Nobel Peace Prize Barack Obama instrumentalized the House of Saud to fund – and weaponize - some 40 outfits "vetted" by the CIA in Syria. Several of these outfits had in fact already merged with, or were absorbed by, Jabhat al-Nusra, now Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. And they all engaged in their own massacres of civilians. ..."
"... The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik. ..."
Apr 07, 2017 | sputniknews.com
Syria: The Toxic Meltdown © AFP 2017/ Omar haj kadour Columnists 19:29 06.04.2017 Get short URL Pepe Escobar 6 3147 52 0

"These heinous acts by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated." Thus spoke the President of the United States.

Instant translation;

Donald Trump – and/or the alphabet soup of US intelligence agencies, with no detailed investigation – are convinced that the Russian Ministry of Defense is simply lying.

Using Chemical Weapons Against Civilians? Assad 'Would Never Make Such a Crazy Move' That's a pretty serious charge.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov, stressing "fully objective and verified" information, identified a Syrian Air Force strike launched against a "moderate rebel" warehouse east of the town of Khan Sheikhoun used to both produce and store shells containing toxic gas.

Konashenkov added the same chemicals had been used by "rebels" in Aleppo late last year, according to samples collected by Russian military experts.

Still, Trump felt compelled to telegraph what is now his own red line in Syria; "Militarily, I don't like to say when I'm going and what I'm doing. I'm not saying I won't do anything one way or another, but I certainly won't be telling you [the media]."

By his side at the White House lawn, the pathetic King Playstation of Jordan praised Trump's "realistic approach to the challenges in the region." This might pass as a Monty Python sketch. Unfortunately, it's reality.

What's at stake in Idlib

Washington 'Knows Damascus Has No Chemical Weapons', But Still Blames Assad Hysteria unleashed – once again -, Western public opinion conveniently forgot that declared chemical weapons held by Damascus had been destroyed way back in 2014 on board of a US maritime vessel, no less, under UN supervision.

And Western public opinion conveniently forgot that before Barack Obama's theoretically trespassed red line on chemical weapons, a secret US intelligence report had made it clear that Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria, had mastered the sarin gas-making cycle and was capable of producing it in quantity.

Not to mention that the Obama administration and its allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar had made a secret pact in 2012 to set up a sarin gas attack and blame Damascus, setting the scene for a Shock and Awe replay. Funding for the project came from the NATO-GCC connection coupled with a CIA-MI6 connection, a.k.a. rat line , of transferring all manner of weapons from Libya to Salafi-jihadis in Syria.

So those toxic weapons that "disappeared" – en masse - from Gaddafi's arsenals in 2011 ended up upgrading al-Qaeda in Syria (not the Islamic Stare/Daesh), re-baptized Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and widely described across the Beltway as "moderate rebels".

'Red Line' Revisited? What's Behind Trump Accusing Damascus of Reported Chemical Attack in Syria Cornered in Idlib province, these "rebels" are now the top target of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Russian Air Force. Damascus and Moscow, unlike Washington, are bent on smashing the whole Salafi-jihadi galaxy, not only Daesh. If the SAA continues to advance, and if these "rebels" lose Idlib, it's game over.

So the offensive by Damascus had to be smeared, no holds barred, in full view of global public opinion.

Yet it does not make any sense whatsoever that only two days before another international conference on Syria, and immediately after the White House was forced to admit that "the Syrian people should choose their destiny" and "Assad must go" is over and done with, Damascus should launch a counterproductive gas attack antagonizing the whole NATO universe.

This walks – and talks - more like the tsunami of lies that predated Shock and Awe on Iraq in 2003, and certainly walks and talks like the renewed turbo-charging of an "al-CIAda" campaign. Jabhat al-Nusra never ceased to be the CIA's babies in the preferred Syrian regime change scenario.

Your kids are not toxic enough

Trump's ambassador to the UN, Heritage Foundation asset Nikki Haley, predictably went ballistic, monopolizing the whole Western news cycle. Lost in oblivion, also predictably, was Russia's deputy UN ambassador Vladimir Safronkov shattering to bits the West's "obsession with regime change" in Syria, which is "what hinders this Security Council."

Idlib Chemical Attack: West Blames Assad Even Before Probe Launched Safronkov stressed the chemical attack in Idlib was based on "falsified reports from the White Helmets", an organization that has been "discredited long ago". Indeed; but now the Helmets are Oscar winners , and this pop culture badge of honor renders them unassailable – not to mention immune to the effects of sarin gas.

Whatever Trump and the Pentagon may eventually come up with an independent US intel analyst, averse to groupthink, is adamant; "Any air attack on Syria would require coordination with Russia, and Russia will not allow any air attack against Assad to take place. Russia has the defensive missiles there that can block the attack. This will be negotiated out. There will be no attack as an attack can precipitate a nuclear war."

The dead "children of Syria" are now pawns in a much larger, perverse game. The US government may have killed a million men, women and children in Iraq – and there was no serious outcry among the "elites" across the NATO spectrum. A war criminal still at large admitted , on the record, that the snuffing out, directly and indirectly, of 500,000 Iraqi children was "justified."

For his part, Nobel Peace Prize Barack Obama instrumentalized the House of Saud to fund – and weaponize - some 40 outfits "vetted" by the CIA in Syria. Several of these outfits had in fact already merged with, or were absorbed by, Jabhat al-Nusra, now Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. And they all engaged in their own massacres of civilians.

Meanwhile, the UK keeps merrily weaponizing the House of Saud in its quest to reduce Yemen to a vast famine wasteland pinpointed by "collateral damage" graveyards. The NATO spectrum is certainly not crying for those dead Yemeni children. They are not toxic enough.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

[Feb 20, 2017] Trump Chooses General McMaster as National Security Adviser

Feb 20, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs : , February 20, 2017 at 12:28 PM
Trump Chooses H.R. McMaster as National
Security Adviser https://nyti.ms/2lo3mNK
NYT - PETER BAKER - February 20, 2017

WASHINGTON - President Trump picked Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a widely respected military strategist, as his new national security adviser on Monday, calling him "a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience."

Mr. Trump made the announcement at his Mar-a-Lago getaway in Palm Beach, Fla., where he has been interviewing candidates to replace Michael T. Flynn, who was forced out after withholding information from Vice President Mike Pence about a call with Russia's ambassador.

The choice continued Mr. Trump's reliance on high-ranking military officers to advise him on national security. Mr. Flynn was a retired three-star general and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is a retired four-star general. His first choice to replace Mr. Flynn, who turned the job down, and two other finalists were current or former senior officers as well.

Shortly before announcing his appointment, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter: "Meeting with Generals at Mar-a-Lago in Florida. Very interesting!"

General McMaster is seen as one of the Army's leading intellectuals, first making a name for himself with a searing critique of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for their performance during the Vietnam War and later criticizing the way President George W. Bush's administration went to war in Iraq.

As a commander, he was credited with demonstrating how a different counterterrorism strategy could defeat insurgents in Iraq, providing the basis for the change in approach that Gen. David H. Petraeus adopted to shift momentum in a war that the United States was on the verge of losing.

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , February 20, 2017 at 01:38 PM
He is an armor guy with a Ranger tab!

Passed over for Brigadier twice but made it by the board run by Petraeus who looked for "combat leaders".

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Last modified: April, 26, 2019