Last night’s attack on Damascus was chilling. No question. It dredged up the worst possible scenarios from our sub-conscious and for a few hours made them real. Now that the dust has settled, and we see what’s occurred (and what hasn’t) it’s time to draw some conclusions.
First thing’s first. I reiterate what I said earlier in the week. Trump is finished. Read my article carefully, then overlay two things I didn’t talk about. One, Trump is impulsive and easily manipulated. Two, Trump is ultimately a coward and an appeaser, just like The Saker pegged him to be after bombing Al-Shairat last year.
All bullies are cowards. That’s why they bully.
Because of these personal defects, he gave his resignation speech last night. Be it later this year when he’s impeached/forced to resign for a war crime or in January 2021 after losing to a baked potato, the anti-interventionist crowd who elected him will remember this for a long time.
I want to remind you of what happened last year with Al-Shairat. Trump bombed it while having dinner with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping. A light show of sound and fury which ultimately did very little damage. But, it did not signify nothing.
It signified that Trump is out of his depth in foreign policy.
A few months later Seymour Hersh, one of the few journalists left in the U.S., published his expose of what actually happened which led to the decision to bomb Syria. It was at this point I realized Trump wasn’t fit to conduct foreign policy. Trump wanted to go to war fully and was talked out of it by his military advisers, namely Gen. James Mattis.
Mattis of Grave Import
Mattis gave Trump the option he took. A big light show which the Russians allowed to occur so Trump could get some relief from his detractors and satisfy himself that he did something in response to what he perceived to be a morally reprehensible act.
No 4-d chess. No back door coordination with the Russians. Just a man with a deep sense of morality that needed to feel powerful.
Now fast forward to last night. Same story. Different circumstances since now Trump is even more isolated, more paranoid, more betrayed at every level by his political opposition. Do you think he hired John Bolton because he’s become more nuanced in his foreign policy approach?
If you do, then you aren’t just an idiot. You are an heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots.
Sometimes when we do this type of analysis we forget about the men we are actually dealing with versus who we are personally. It’s easy to overlay our own abilities onto a public figure and think that if we can see this, he has to be able to.
But, that’s the wrong approach. Trump is what he is. And re-reading Hersh’s account from last year reminded me of what we’re dealing with here.
They were dealing with a man they considered to be not unkind and not stupid, but his limitations when it came to national security decisions were severe. “Everyone close to him knows his proclivity for acting precipitously when he does not know the facts,” the adviser said. “He doesn’t read anything and has no real historical knowledge. He wants verbal briefings and photographs. He’s a risk-taker. He can accept the consequences of a bad decision in the business world; he will just lose money. But in our world, lives will be lost and there will be long-term damage to our national security if he guesses wrong. He was told we did not have evidence of Syrian involvement and yet Trump says: ‘Do it.”’
His refusal to act against his domestic enemies who are obviously guilty put him in the position he’s in now, having to trust the word of the worst people in U.S. policy-making, the John Bolton wing of the establishment.
To survive last year, Trump made a deal with them. The military would be in charge of foreign policy. Trump would get to play president working on domestic issues. But, during that time things got even worse.
Yes, he got some major domestic wins. He outlasted his opposition long enough to reveal the depths of their depravity and mendacity. But, all that time the center of the foreign policy establishment in Washington closed in on him. And the siren’s call of moralistic intervention to stop Iran and/or Russia was consistently impressed on him.
The Big Show
So, here we are again. Trump’s enemies know how to get him triggered to do something stupid and against his good instincts. Then compound this by telling him the Russians are the problem. They are lying. They’ve betrayed him too.
He has a near obsession with being the anti-Obama. It defines so many of his actions.
It’s why he’s willing to tweet out a complete reversal of what he advocated for in 2013, for Obama not to bomb Syria. He was right then. But, as president, he’s defined Obama as his shadow, everything he’s not. And with good reason, Obama is likely behind much of the opposition he’s dealing with every day.
These things build up over time. They paralyze a man as self-absorbed as Trump. He’s no angel, but he was the best option we had in 2016. Our options were Hillary Clinton or him. We chose Trump.
But, make no mistake, we still elected DONALD TRUMP.
And that leads me to where we are now.
Yesterday I wrote that I thought Mattis and Trump were trying to run out the Neoconservatives clock on bombing Syria. I was half-right. Trump had already gone fully over to the neocons approach and Mattis talked him out of it.
Bolton pushed for a broader attack hard and Mattis put the kibosh on it because he’s the adult in the room.
If not, the Neocons would finally have the war they’ve been salivating for these past forty plus years. But, things have changed.
Russian anti-missile systems are too strong for us to deal with. It would take the kind of saturation bombing reserved only for Defcon 1 scenarios to attack Syria with the intention of ‘winning.’
The Syrians claim to have shot down 70% of the incoming missiles using old Russian anti-missile batteries, S-200’s, Buks, etc. Even if they are exaggerating and only shot down half of the missiles. It only makes the next steps clearer. Russia will sell Assad S-300’s now.
Only Winning Matters
Looking at the results of the attack last night I fully believe it was another ‘Goldilocks Option’ from Mattis like last year. While we may not have informed the Russians the attack was coming, France may have. Moreover, France may have backed out of actually firing missiles at all.
If this was a serious attack on Damascus, which I don’t believe, then Syrians wouldn’t be dancing in the streets for having survived the U.S.’s impotent chest-thumping.
They would be mourning their dead.
We didn’t hit any Iranian, Russian or Hezbollah installations. The Israelis will be incensed. In fact, this was a no-winner outcome. Everyone was weakened by this to some degree in the short term, except the target of the attack itself, Bashar al-Assad.
Assad will now move on to the next victory in the campaign to re-form Syria. While Mattis just gave the rebels carte blanche to stage another chemical weapons attack in Dara’a, which is the next likely area to be cleansed of ‘rebels.’
But, that’s where Mattis is smarter than Trump. He knows that even if one of Assad’s commanders went off the reservation and used chlorine gas here, something I give a 5 to 10% probability of, it’s not worth World War III over. He knows that horrible things happen in war. And that leaders and civilian populations cannot be held accountable for the deficits of one man or small cadre of men.
There’s no real option for us to go deeper into Syria, despite what the Israeli lobby and the Neocons in the U.S. want. This attack didn’t help them. By doing this Mattis continues to let Trump blow off steam, make his points and hasten the day that we can actually get out of the Middle East.
Meanwhile Trump just ensured that he has no bargaining power in North Korea, is aligned with the criminal U.K. government in illegally bombing a sovereign nation in violation of all international law and pushed Russia, Iran and China into a closer alliance.
His opponents will hang him with this strike. Even if he was coerced into this against his will, it signals to the world he isn’t in control of anything and has no real power. So much for the Art of the Deal.
Up until now, much of Trump’s successes have come from his allies supporting him by leaking damaging material domestically or covering for his mistakes internationally. They did this because they believed him to be sincere in wanting to devolve the U.S. empire and bring rationality back to international politics.
And I still believe he is.
But, with his unwillingness to evolve and become better they aren’t going to let him get his wins anymore. There’s no upside for Putin to let Trump take the credit for purging Syria of ISIS or brokering peace with North Korea anymore.
Trump is hopeless on the international stage. Another false flag, another impotent light show. He’s not Orange Jesus, he’s a deeply flawed, if well-intentioned man. And it’s time we stopped the cult of personality and begin the hard work of Draining the Swamp.
That’s why he’s done. And that’s why we’re not out of the woods yet. For now, we can let out a breath but this isn’t over.
The neocons will push for Trump to fire Mattis next. If that happens, duck.
Zionists, including the specially deluded, and stupidest, amongst the real Christians, do love this kind of stuff from Trump.
Only want more. And more. And more.
They are pretty well all that is left of his “base.”
And have him by the knackers.
It goes beyond the “deep state.”
He is done.
Bye bye, baby.
Reblogged this on Today,s Thought.
Not sure I agree with you.
Trump has engaged in a limited, one-off military strike which appeases the “war party” within Washington whilst making clear that this is no regime change politics at work.
Whether or not Assad actually gassed his own people matters less then the perception. The truth is that the narrative that Assad gassed his own people is overwhelming and if Trump had challenged that narrative, he would have been destroyed within Washington and lost lost all remaining credibility with his main support base, the Pentagon.
I think you are over-reacting to a very limited strike and that Scott Adams has it much better (a guy who forecast Trump’s victory in the Summer 2015). President Trump is in the early days of a likely 8 year term and a degree of compromise and realpolitik is required to navigate the swamp.
Bottom line, Trump is mastering politics, is keeping the base happy and with a booming economy is likely to keep the House and Senate in November. After that, he can crack on with his America First strategy in foreign policy and trade with renewed focus.
This is something both myself, in my blog FI and John Greer, have discussed in detail (and both of us predicted a Trump victory in January 2016).
I disagree. Sy Hersh had him pegged last year. There comes a point where you have to stand up to the situation and not invite even more insanity.
I am VERY familiary with Scott Adams. And, he’s a very astute observer… but he’s also completely clueless on foreign policy.
I am not over-reacting here. Trump simply isn’t that nuanced a thinker. Nor is he a good actor. His body language and demeanor suggest he’s beaten and we are far closer to his capitulation than many want to believe.
I’d like to be wrong here, but I don’t think I am. I was right about Al-Shairat last year and only Trump’s military advisors saved him from losing everything last year.
His enemies have him trapped on this. The MAGA crowd is splitting down the center. The GOP is abandoning him while the Neocons are now braying for more. What’s he going to to now that he’s given them this over an obvious false flag?
He’s trapped. Trap was set and he stepped into it. All the other stuff doesn’t matter. They will tear him apart now.
The reason Trump has the posture of a defeated man is because in America the people on the right tend to bicker amongst each other competing as individuals and this has left him isolated while neocons and leftists behave as groups and work as groups supporting each other. Basically people on the right have placed all responsibility upon the shoulders of one man while the left tends to disperse responsibility to everyone which is why the left and neocons are outcompeting the right or have been.
I had to stop listening to most right wing talk radio because all they do is call the younger generation special snowflakes and complain about people on welfare. If their mission is to alienate the younger generation then they may have accomplished that, I am not sure who they expect to fill the ranks of conservatives if they alienate the youth. There is something to be said for the importance of emotional intelligence because establishing tribal solidarity is important to victory. Isolated individuals competing is not a recipe for success as far as I can tell.
Patrick, I appreciate your perspective, but Trump was winning right up until this weekend. I was firmly on his side… go back and read through my work. I wasn’t really second guessing him on a lot of things.
But, I don’t think that’s fully fair, he’s been out there campaigning and getting the strong feedback from the people that he’s been on the right track… but something shifted this weekend that I think is irreversible. And it’s a shame. Whatever it is I think it broke him. And it’s not our bickering that did it.
The Deep State is vast and powerful. There’s no shame in not being able to stand up to it. It takes a rare individual to get as far as he has. To be honest, I never thought he’d get this far.
But, it’s hard to argue with what we’ve witnessed over the past week.
Basically Trump is one man alone while his rivals support each other. He has to deal with groups who are unified speaking against him while he exists as an individual isolated alone and he also has to deal with people on his base turning against him if he veers from their ideological purity, I am not saying his blunders should be applauded but it is important to criticize him in a way that is not cruel and many of his base have been very cruel recently because of his Syrian blunder. Not saying this blog has been cruel in its critique of him.
He’s pulled of more cons on these people than has ever been done with thanks to people he openly criticizes daily. He plays them. People around him are playing roles. A lot of good cop/ bad cop, a lot of playing like they are dragging feet, a whole lot of seat shuffling(people that stay too long are apt to be attacked by the opposition successfully).
He knows what he’s doing and he’s being coached by the best poker players in the world.
I disagree… but I’m happy to be wrong here.
I served as an officer under Mattis when he was a Lt. Col. He’s the real deal. If the NeoCons attack him, they lose. I was rabidly against either of these cruise missle attacks, but in the end Mattis made the right call. NeoCons neutered until 2020.
To this day, I would follow Mattis into hell.
Thanks for telling us this. We need to hear these things because the MAGA crowd on Twitter do not get this.
I agree with this. I have felt that Trump, Mattis and a circle of supporters are giving the neocons enough rope to hang themselves. They deliberately half ass this missile strike and look who comes out of the woodwork. I hope that is what’s happening anyway.
I hope so too, but I’m not convinced of it and I won’t go to the mat with Trump on it. Those that think this is all some big plan are falling victim to the fallacy I described in the article… that’s what they’d do.
Trump may not be that nuanced and it is the support of the people around him that allows him to survive his mistakes and short-comings.
I hope I’m wrong and it’s all been an elaborate stage play.
You make many good points. However I disagree that Trump is done. It all depends on the Democrats. The one thing about warmongering neoliberals and neoconservatives is that they play democrats and republicans with the only goal of continuing the war economy and proxy wars / police actions for our so called allies.
-Democrats are still anti-male, anti-white (ethno-European), anti-husband, anti-father, anti-marriage, anti-family, anti-Christian and freedom of religion, anti-freedom of assembly and anti-freedom of speech (particularly on college campus’s), pro-abortion, anti-2nd amendment, open borders (California is in a sanctuary / tax / crime revolt tired of tax their insolvent state redirecting funds from infrastructure to immigration). IN ESSENCE THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS STILL THE PARTY OF LA, SF AND NYC ELITIST LEFTIST SNOBS LOOKING DOWN AT DEPLORABLES MAKING UP EVERYONE BUT THEM.
-Democrats are still pursuing tax increases and more regulation more socialism more societal special privileges for minorities even as Trump has made great strides in reopening the public discussion that people deserve compensation because of merit not intersectional minority class groups.
-Democrats are still defending public school unions and Title IX even as Trump is paving the way for school vouchers, school choice and charter schools.
-There is no one to replace Trump on either the left or the right. They may have surrounded him, blackmailed him, threatened him and his family, etc. They may have stopped defending him BUT WHAT PEOPLE WANT HASNT CHANGED…WHAT PEOPLE VOTED FOR HASNT CHANGED AND PEOPLE ARENT GOING TO ABANDON TRUMP UNLESS SOMEONE CAN GIVE THEM MORE OF WHAT THEY WANT AND CONVINCE THEM THEY CAN BUCK THE DEEP STATE BETTER THAN TRUMP.
Trump is done because on every major foreign policy decision he has caved to the conventional, politically-safe response. Because of that and he NEED to be liked by people he respects he will continue this behavior until he’s run out of office on a rail.
Do not discount that the raid on Cohen’s office dredged up stuff he didn’t want getting out there and used to destroy him in the court of public opinion which is where impeachment plays out… not in the courts.
So, he has to go along with this Deep State shit or he’s impeached by his own party.
I was quite surprised by the absence of YOUTUBE raw-meat BOOM-BAM-BUST or even more unusual – lack of any “White Helmet” videos during our national tax weekend air-show over Syria – bringing NEW meaning to the phrase “bigger-bang for the buck!”
So, I concluded that the whole production was a sham, although my long-term DC friends were all a ‘twitter’ [pun intended] about finally giving “Hitler VI” what he deserved and “Watergating” the Prez’s personal attorney – so ‘Congress Critter Maxie’ can ignite the bonfire of impeachment!
Yes, yes the Prez looks BAD to we who use our heads for something more than a place for our hats – yet even the ultimate American cranium – Dr. E. Michael Jones appreciated the Kabuki of the moment w/o resorting to post-postmortems on the Trump Presidency:
U S Attack on Syria was Political Theater
Good point about Russian Techno-Military superiority, which more than likely stayed Trumps hand more than anything else!
Remember, the inevitable Wall Street train wreck will certainly force Americans NOT to give a ‘flying-fuck at a rolling dough-nut’ about virtually anything overseas – but whatever home-grown reality they can salvage – and that is a very good thing! As JFK mused during the Cuban Missile Crisis “There are limits to power.” and it appears Donald John Trump knows and lives this philosophy.
Carry on until you are carrion!
Here’s hoping you’re right… but knowing that we attempted to knock out the Syrian Air Force tells me this strike wasn’t just theatre. It was a very definite strategic move to cripple Assad to prep for an attack on Iran. And it didn’t work.
That is a good thing. But, let’s not give Trump credit he’s not due. Putin may yet pull his orange ass out of the fire.
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