Part 1. THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK—THE DONALD’S IRANIAN FOLLY AND THE DEMISE OF AMERICA FIRST
The Donald’s action to ash-can the Iranian nuclear deal was not merely a one-off mistake. It actually proved that the War Party has been in charge of actual policy all along. After this purely neocon inspired attack on Iran, in fact, there was nothing much left of America First except the Donald’s occasional Twitter screeds against the Forever Wars.
That’s because Trump’s reneging on a deal under which the Iranians agreed to give up a nuclear weapons program that even the U.S.intelligence community says they never had wasn’t due to the arrangement’s alleged flaws. Instead, they was merely a pretext used by the Empire Firsters who dominate the national security apparatus to reactivate their long-running campaign to demonize Iran and through unrelenting economic sanctions and political and military pressures forcibly impose regime change in Tehran.
Once again, therefore, a president who had campaigned for peace and a cessation of Washington’s endless foreign adventures had elected the path of war and a still deeper plunge into an incendiary middle eastern vortex of political and religious conflict that has absolutely nothing to do with the safety and security of the America people.
Imperial Aggression By Any Other Name
The truth is, picking a fight with Tehran was an exercise in unprovoked Imperial aggression. The Iranian regime has no means to attack America militarily and has never threatened to do so. Nor has it invaded any other country in the region where it was not invited by a sovereign government host.
Even Iran’s minor skirmishes with American forces in recent years have been owing to the happenstance of Washington’s far-flung imperial ventures and its unwelcome occupation of numerous nations in the region with which Iran’s Shiite regime is allied.
For example, Washington destroyed Saddam’s Sunni/secular government in Iraq and installed a Shiite regime in Baghdad, thereby leaving the Sunni lands of western Iraq in chaos. At length, ISIS coagulated from the wreckage of Washington pointless regime change war on Saddam and established its brutal caliphate on Iraq’s backdoor in the Syrian Euphrates Valley and in Mosul and the Anbar Province.
Only then did the Baghdad government invite its Shiite co-religionists from Iran to help excise the scourge of ISIS that had formed from the remnants of Saddam’s army and government and which soon threatened to foment uprisings and civil war in the great city of Baghdad itself.
Likewise, Washington and its allies sent thousands of Sunni jihadist warriors and billions of aid and supplies into Syria to topple its dully elected government. Only then did the Alawite (Shiite) Assad regime invite help from its confessional compatriots in Tehran.
And you can’t find any more ludicrous example of the cat calling the kettle black than the Donald’s claim that Iran is a terrorist state because it is aligned with the large Shiite population of Lebanon represented by Hezbollah.
For crying out loud. The War Party pretends Washington has turned much of the middle east into rubble and barbarism in order to spread democracy’s goodness to the people—whether they wanted it or not, and whether they were ready for it or not.
But Lebanon was already a serviceable democracy and Hezbollah and its allies—including certain Sunni factions—-are the largest party in its legislature and accordingly control the election of the speaker of parliament. Nor is that the consequence of some dastardly plot hatched by the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) in Tehran.
To the contrary, the current power arrangement in Beirut is chiseled into the nation’s constitution under which power is shared among 18 religious factions and it is stipulated that the President must always be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni and the speaker of the parliament a Shiite, as per this official portrait of its leaders in late 2019. Both president Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri make no secret of their alliance with Hezbollah and consider it a patriotic member of Lebanon’s polity.
Of course, that particular outcome of democracy the War Party couldn’t abide. But it fairly violates the English language itself to call Hezbollah’s prominence in Lebanese society and politics a product of state sponsored terrorism from Tehran.
In a similar vein, the Houthi tribes of Shiites have dominated much of northern and western Yemen for centuries. So when a Washington installed government in Sana’a was overthrown, the Houthi took power in northern Yemen—as had been the case during the long expanse from 1918-1990 before the two Yemen’s were finally unified.
But it is the Houthis who are the victims of aggression by the brutal Saudi bombing campaign that has left more than 100,000 civilians dead and the land plagued with famine, cholera, rubble and economic collapse.
There is no telling which faction in Yemen’s fratricidal civil war and invasion by Saudi Arabia is the more barbaric, but the modest aid provided by Iran to its Shiite kinsman in northern Yemen is absolutely not a case of state sponsored terrorism.
In a word, the Donald fell hook, line and sinker for the War Party’s lie and propaganda filled demonization of the Iranian regime. If there were ever a case where the America First doctrine of nonintervention applies in spades, Iran is it. Yet Donald Trump has become the most vicious ever aggressor against Tehran to occupy the Oval Office.
The truth is, America has no dog in the Shiite versus Sunni hunt, which has been going on for 1300 years in the region. And when it comes to spillover of those benighted forces into Europe or America, recent history is absolutely clear: 100% of all Islamic terrorist incidents in the US since they began in the 1990s were perpetrated or inspired by Sunni jihadists, not Iran or its Shiite allies and proxies in the region.
So we needs be direct. The aggression in the Persian Gulf region during the last three decades has originated in the Washington DC nest of neocon vipers and among Bibi Netanyahu’s proxies, collaborators and assigns who rule the roost in the Imperial City and among both political parties. And the motivating force has all along been the malign quest for regime change—first in Iraq, then in Syria and now Iran.
Needless to say, Washington instigated “regime change” tends to provoke a determined self-defense and a usually violent counter-reaction among the targeted changees. So the truth is, the so-called Shiite crescent is not an alliance of terrorists inflicting wanton violence on the region; it’s a league of regime-change resisters and armed combatants who have elected to say “no” to Washington’s imperial schemes for remaking the middle eastern maps.
Trump’s Assassination Of Soleimani—And Act Of Blithering Stupidity
In this context, during more than a half-century of Washington watching we have seen stupidity rise from one height to yet another. But nothing—just plain nothing—compares to the the blithering stupidity of the Donald’s Iran “policy”, culminating in the mindless assassination of its top military leader and hero of the so-called Islamic Revolution, Major General Qassem Soleimani.
To be sure, we don’t give a flying f*ck about the dead man himself. Like most generals of whatever army (including the US army), he was a cold-blooded, professional killer.
And in this day and age of urban and irregular warfare and drone-based annihilation delivered by remote joy-stick, generals tend to kill more civilians than combatants. The dead civilian victims in their millions of U.S. generals reaching back to the genocidal assault on the people of Vietnam during the 1960s surely attest to that truth.
Of course, we do not believe for a moment that the benighted, mullah-controlled Iranian regime is comprised of anything which resembles white hats. One of the great misfortunes of the last four decades is that the long-suffering people of Iran have not been able to throw-off the cultural and religious shackles imposed by this theocratic regime or escape the economic backwardness and incompetence of what is essentially rule by authoritarian clerics.
But that’s exactly the crime of Washington’s neocon-inspired hostility and threats to the Iranian regime. It merely rekindles Iranian nationalism and causes the public to rally to the support of the regime, as is so evident at the current moment. So the fact is, in the eyes of the Iranian people the IRGC and Soleimani had plausible claims to having been valiant defenders of the nation.
After all, even the outright belligerents Soleimani did battle with over the decades were not exactly alms-bearing devotees of Mother Theresa.
In the original instance, of course, Soleimani earned his chops on the battlefield contending with the chemical weapons-dropping air force of Saddam Hussein during the 1980s. And Saddam was the invader whose chemical bombs achieved especially deadly accuracy against often barely armed teenage Iranian soldiers owing to spotting and targeting assistance rendered by the U.S. air force—a Washington assisted depredation that a whole generation of Iranians know all about, even if present day Washington feints ignorance.
Then after Bush the Younger visited uninvited and unrequested Shock & Awe upon Baghdad and much of the Iraqi countryside, it transpired that the nation’s majority Shiite population didn’t cotton much to being “liberated” by Washington.
Indeed, the more radical elements of the Iraqi Shiite community in Sadr City and other towns of central and south Iraq took up arms during 2003-2011 against what they perceived to be the American “occupiers” because, well, it was their country.
Needless to say, their Shiite kinsman in Iran were more than ready to give aid and comfort to the Iraqi Shiite in their struggle against what by then was perceived as Iran’s own mortal enemy. In fact, a full year before Bush the Younger launched the utter folly of the second gulf war in March 2003, his demented neocon advisors and speechwriters, led by the criminally-minded David Frum, had concocted a bogeyman called the Axis of Evil, which included Iran and marked it as next in line for Shock & Awe.
But the idea that the Iraqi people and especially its majority Shiite population would have been dancing in the streets to welcome the US military save for the insidious interference of Iran is just baseless War Party propaganda.
Stated differently, Washington sent 158,000 lethally armed fighters into a country that had never threatened America’s homeland security or harbored its enemies, and had no capacity to do so in any event. But contrary to the glib assurances of Rumsfeld, Cheney and the rest of the neocon jackals around Bush, these U.S. fighters soon came to be widely viewed as “invaders”, not liberators, and met resistance from a wide variety of Iraqi elements including remnants of Saddam’s government and military, radicalized Sunni jihadists and a motley array of Shiite politicians, clerics and militias.
Foremost among the latter was the Sadr clan which emerged as the tribune of the the dispossessed Shiite communities in the south and Baghdad. This clan rose to prominence after Bush the Elder urged the Shiite to rise up against Saddam after the 1991 Gulf War, and then left them dangling in the wind.
From this horror and brutality emerged Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, the founder of the Sadrist movement that today, under the leadership of his son Muqtada, constitutes Iraq’s most powerful political movement. After the collapse of the Baathist regime in 2003, the Sadrist movement formally established its own militia, known as the Jaysh al-Mahdi, or the Mahdi Army. At one point the Mahdi Army numbered more than 60,000 fighters, and especially as Iraq degenerated into total sectarian chaos after 2005, it became a deadly thorn in the side of U.S. forces occupying a country where they were distinctly unwelcome.
But the Mahdi Army was homegrown; it was Arab, not Persian; and it was fighting for its own homes and communities, not the Iranians, the Quds or Soleimani. In fact, the Sadrists strongly opposed the Iranian influence among other Shiite dissident groups including the brutal Badr Brigade.
As it happened, the overwhelming share of the 603 US servicemen the Pentagon claims to have been killed by Iranian proxies were actually victims of the Mahdi Army uprisings during 2003-2007. These attacks were led by the above mentioned Iraqi nationalist firebrand and son of the movements founder, Muqtada al-Sadr.
In fact, however, the surge in U.S. deaths at that time was the direct result of subsequently disgraced General David Petraeus’ infamous “surge” campaign. Among others, it targeted al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army in the hope of weakening it. Beginning in late April 2007, the U.S. launched dozens of military operations aimed solely at capturing or killing Mahdi Army officers, causing the Mahdi Army to strongly resist those raids and impose mounting casualties on U.S. troops.
So amidst the fog of two decades of DOD and neocon propaganda, this is how Iran and Soleimani got tagged over and over with the “killing Americans” charge, as if they were attacking innocent bystanders in lower Manhattan on 9/11!
Shiite Fighters: The Real Force That Defeated ISIS
On the other hand, what the Iranian Quds forces had actually accomplished in Iraq and Syria has been virtually expunged from the mainstream narrative. To wit, they had been the veritable tip of the spear in the eradication of the Islamic State.
Indeed, in Iraq it was the wobbly Iraqi national army that Washington stood up at a cost of billions, which turned tail and ran when ISIS emerged in Anbar province in 2014. So doing, they left behind thousands of US armored vehicles, mobile artillery and even tanks, as well as massive troves of guns and ammo, which enabled the Islamic State to briefly thrive and subjugate several million people across the Euphrates Valley.
It was also Washington that trained, equipped, armed and funded the so-called anti-Assad rebels in Syria, which so weakened and distracted Damascus that that the Islamic State was briefly able to fill the power vacuum and impose its barbaric rule on the citizens of Raqqa and its environs. And again, it did so in large part with weaponry captured from or sold to ISIS by the so-called moderate rebels.
By contrast, the panic and unraveling in Iraq during 2014-2015 was stopped and reversed when the Iranians at the invitation of Baghdad’s Shiite government helped organize and mobilize the Iraqi Shiite militias, which eventually chased ISIS out of Mosul and Anbar.
Likewise, outside of the northern border areas liberated by the Syrian Kurds, it was the Shiite alliance of Assad, Hezbollah and the Iranian Quds forces that rid Syria of the ISIS plague.
Yes, the U.S. air force literally incinerated two great cities temporarily occupied by the Islamic State—Mosul and Raqqa. But it was the Shiite fighters who were literally fighting for their lives, homes and hearth who cleared that land of a barbaric infestation that had been spawned and enabled by the very Washington neocon, who were dripping red in tooth and claw all along.
So we revert to the Donald’s crowning act of utter stupidity. On the one hand, it is now evident that the reason Soleimani was in Baghdad was to deliver an official response from Tehran to a recent Saudi de-escalation offer. And that’s by the word of the very prime minister that Washington stood up in the rump state of Iraq and who joined a majority of the Iraqi parliament in demanding that Iraq’s putative American liberators—after expending trillions in treasure and blood—leave the country forthwith:
Before the vote Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi told the parliament that he was scheduled to meet with Soleimani a day after his arrival to receive a letter from Iran to Iraq in response to a de-escalation offer Saudi Arabia had made. The U.S. assassinated Soleimani before the letter could be delivered by him. Abdul-Mahdi also said that Trump had asked him to mediate between the U.S. and Iran. Did he do that to trap Soleimani? It is no wonder then that Abdul-Mahdi is fuming.
At the same time, the positive trends that were in motion in the region just days before—-ISIS gone, Syria closing in on the remaining jihadists, Saudi Arabia and Iran tentatively exploring a more peaceful modus vivendi, the Yemen genocide winding to a close—may well literally go up in smoke.
As the always sagacious Pat Buchanan observed at the time:
What a difference a presidential decision can make.
Two months ago, crowds were in the streets of Iraq protesting Iran’s dominance of their politics. Crowds were in the streets of Iran cursing that regime for squandering the nation’s resources on imperial adventures in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen. Things were going America’s way.
Now it is the Americans who are the targets of protests.
Over three days, crowds numbering in the hundreds of thousands and even millions have packed Iraqi and Iranian streets and squares to pay tribute to Soleimani and to curse the Americans who killed him.
We have long believed that there is nothing stupider in Washington than the neocon policy mafia. And we refer especially to its chief villain, John Bolton, who Trump unaccountably hired as his national security adviser. They have wrecked such unspeakable havoc on the middle east, as well as upon American servicemen and taxpayers who have been marched time and again into the jaws of their folly, that thy amount to war criminals in every sense of the word.
But, with the Soleimani assassination, the Donald single-handedly gave even neocon stupidity a run for the money.
No, Donald, The Iranian Nuke Agreement Was Not The Worst Deal In History
It should be evident to all except blind partisans of Orange Man that the Donald knows little and studies less. Instead, he just declares things to be so, whether true or not; and more often than not to be the fruit of “bad deals” made by his predecessors.
But when it comes to Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, the Donald’s whopper is just plain risible. He called it the very worst deal in history, including England’s infamous surrender at Munich.
Of course, that’s absolutely irrelevant because Iran is not remotely comparable to Nazi Germany. In fact, Iran is a nearly bankrupt country that has no capability whatsoever to threaten the security and safety of the citizens of Spokane WA, Peoria IL or anywhere else in the US A.
Its $450 billion GDP is the size of Indiana’s, its 68,000 man military is only slightly larger than the national guard of Texas and its $17 billion defense budget amounts to just 2.2% of US defense spending. Moreover, Iran is a land of severe mountains and daunting swamps that are not all that conducive to rapid economic progress and advanced industrialization. It has no blue water navy, no missiles with more than a few hundred miles of range, and, most significantly, has had no nuclear weapons program for more than a decade.
And unlike Hitler at Munich who got most of what he wanted, the Iranians at Lausanne (where the Obama deal was negotiated) gave up almost all of what they had. That is, they made huge concessions on nearly every issue that makes a difference including the number of permitted centrifuges at Natanz, the status of the Fordow and Arak facilities, the disposition of their enriched uranium stockpiles, the intrusiveness and scope of the inspections regime and on the matter of Iran’s so-called “breakout” capacity.
While every signatory of the non-proliferation treaty has the right to civilian enrichment, Iran had agreed to reduce the number of centrifuges by 70% from 20,000 to 6,000 and actually did so after the deal took effect. Moreover, it effective enrichment capacity had been reduced by significantly more because the remaining Natanz centrifuges consisted exclusively of its most rudimentary, outdated equipment—first-generation IR-1 knockoffs of 1970s European models.
Not only was Iran not allowed to build or develop newer models, but even those remaining were permitted to enrich uranium to a limit of only 3.75% purity. That is to say, to the generation of fissile material for power plants that is not remotely capable of reaching bomb grade concentrations of 90%.
Equally importantly, the agreement eliminated enrichment activity entirely at Fordow—-Iran’s only truly advanced, hardened site that could withstand an onslaught of Israeli or US bunker busters. Instead, Fordow became a small time underground science lab devoted to medical isotope research and crawling with international inspectors. In effectively decommissioning Fordow and thereby eliminating any capacity to cheat—–what Iran got in return was at best a fig leave of salve for its national pride.
The disposition of the heavy water reactor at Arak is even more dispositive. For years, the War Party had falsely waved the bloody shirt of “plutonium” because the civilian nuclear reactor being built there was of Canadian “heavy water” design rather than GE or Westinghouse “light water” model; and, accordingly, when finished it would have generated plutonium as a waste product rather than conventional spent nuclear fuel rods.
In truth, the Iranians couldn’t have bombed a beehive with the Arak plutonium because you need a reprocessing plant to convert it into bomb grade material. Needless to say, Iran had no such plant, no plan to build one, and no prospect for getting the requisite technology and equipment.
But even that bogeyman was dispatched by the nuke deal. The latter required Iran to destroy or export the heavy water reactor core of its existing plant and replace it with a core that cannot produce material which can be reprocessed into weapons grade plutonium. All of these requirements were subject to rigorous international inspection and, in fact, were complied with before Trump cancelled the deal.
As to its already existing enriched uranium stock piles, including some 20% medical-grade material, 97% of this material was to be disposed of, and that requirement was complied with, too. Iran ended up with only 300 kilograms of its 10,000 kilogram stockpile—an amount that could be readily stored in the Donald’s wine cellar at Mar-o-Lago.
The deal’s real clincher, however, had been Iran’s agreement to what amounted to a 20-year cradle-to-grave inspection regime encompassing the entire nuclear fuel chain. International inspectors were allowed to visit Iran’s uranium mines and milling and fuel preparation operations, its enrichment equipment manufacturing and fabrication plants and the storage facilities for its centrifuge rotors and bellows production.
Beyond that, Iran had also agreed to and had complied with a robust program of inspections to prevent smuggling of materials into the country to illicit sites outside of the framework facilities. That encompassed imports of nuclear fuel cycle equipment and materials, including so-called “dual use” items which are essentially civilian imports that could be repurposed to nuclear uses, even peaceful domestic power generation.
In short, not even a Houdini could have secretly broken-out of the box contained in the agreement and then confronted the world with some kind of fait accompli threat to use the bomb.
To do so would have required diversion of thousands of tons of domestically produced or imported uranium and the illicit milling and upgrading of such material at secret fuel preparation plants. It would also have involved the secret construction of new, hidden enrichment operations of such massive scale that they could house more than 10,000 new centrifuges and the building of these massive spinning arrays from components smuggled into the country and transported to remote enrichment operations undetected by the massive complex of spy satellites overhead and covert US and Israeli intelligence agency operatives on the ground in Iran.
Finally, it would have required the activation from scratch of a weaponization program which has been dormant according to the US National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) for more than a decade. And then, that the Iranian regime—–after cobbling together one or two bombs without testing them or their launch vehicles—would nevertheless have been willing to threaten to use them sight unseen.
In short, enough already!
You need to be a raging, certifiable, paranoid boob to believe that the Iranians could have broken out of this control box based on a secret new capacity to enrich the requisite fissile material and make a bomb. And you also needed to believe that Iran is run by absolutely irrational, suicidal madmen.
After all, even if they managed to defy the immensely prohibitive constraints described above and get one or a even a few nuclear bombs, what in the world would they do with them?
Drop them on Tel Aviv? That would absolutely insure Israel’s navy and air force would unleash its 200 nukes and thereby incinerate the entire industrial base and major population centers of Iran.
At the end of the day, the idea that deterrence would fail even if a future Iranian regime were to defy all the odds, and also defy the fatwa against nuclear weapons issued by their own Supreme Leader, amounts to one of the most preposterous Big Lies ever concocted.
The truth is, there never was a plausible or rational basis for the Donald’s bombastic claim that the Obama nuke deal was fatally flawed—other than by way of the total taint theory embedded in the axis-of-evil narrative. So in cancelling the deal, what Trump really did was embrace the immense tissue of unwarranted demonization of Iran that the Empire Firsters had fabricated over the course of three decades.
The Big Lie That The Iranians Were Developing Nuclear Weapons
What obliterates that false picture more decisively than anything else is that Iran had no nuclear weapons program, anyway. Period.
All the hysteria about the mullahs getting the bomb was based on the wholly theoretically supposition that they wanted civilian enrichment only as a stepping stone to the bomb. Yet the entirety of the US intelligence complex and America’s most dangerous war monger of recent times, George W. Bush himself, both say it isn’t so.
The blinding truth of that proposition first came in the National Intelligence Estimates of 2007, which conclusion has been re-validated by the US intelligence agencies ever since.
These NIEs represent a consensus of all 17 US intelligence agencies on salient issues each year, and on the matter of Iran’s nuclear weapons program they could not have been more unequivocal:
“We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program…..
Moreover, the documentary proof of that was thoroughly investigated by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) after the 2105 deal, which then re-validated that the Iranian weapons program was indeed disbanded in 2003.
Likewise, there is the matter of “Dubya’s” memoirs. Near the end of his term in office, George W. Bush was under immense pressure to authorize a bombing campaign against Iran’s civilian nuclear facilities. But once the 2007 NIEs came out, even the “mission accomplished” President in the bomber jacket was caught up short, as he confessed in his memoir, Decision Points.
Most revealingly, he complained bitterly that the NIE “tied my hands on the military side” and called its findings “eye-popping.”
Spelling out how the 2007 NIE had kept the US bombers at their bases, Bush concluded with this kicker:
“But after the NIE, how could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons program?”
Well, yes, even if Dubya couldn’t, the neocons never stopped trying until they found their mark in Donald Trump. They even got him lathered up about Iran’s intermediate and medium range missile program—a defense capacity that was not prohibited by the Obama agreement, and which missiles can’t reach either the US or most of Europe in any event.
For anyone who bothers to look at a military map of the Persian Gulf, of course, it is damn obvious why they Iranians have perused what is actually a modest and technologically inferior intermediate and medium range missile force. To wit, they are surrounded by the prodigious fire power of the US 5th Fleet and upwards of 65,000 lethally armed US forces in locations that ring the region.
And that’s to say nothing of the fact that over the years Washington has armed its far wealthier Sunni rival across the Persian Gulf with upwards of $250 billion of America’s most advanced warplanes, attack helicopters, missiles, drones and sundry other accoutrements of war.
In short, the Donald has essentially deep-sixed the substance of America First, even as he continues to lip sync the words. His embrace of the pack of lies and distortions that led to the cancellation of the nuke deal, the assassination of Soleimani and sharp escalation of military tensions with Iran are only remotely plausible in the context of a greater underlying aim: Namely, to find enemies and territories around the planet to police, occupy or otherwise hegemonize, thereby keeping the Warfare State in business, its $800 billion budget funded, and the Imperial City’s vast beehive of national security think-tanks, contractors, NGOs, lobbyists and racketeers in clover.
How The Deep State Deep-Sixed America First
The invincible grip on power of the above—the Deep State for short-hand purposes—has now been proven after nearly four years of Trump’s feckless attempts to reign-in the empire.. And that’s a full-on tragedy because the Donald’s inchoate notion of America First was an incipient challenge to its power—the only one since the end of the cold war.
To be sure, Donald Trump never had a coherent or articulated notion of America First. But before he fell captive to the permanent national security apparatus upon entering the Oval Office, his impulses were in the right direction. Yet in virtually every case, his desire to change policy direction was thwarted and often outright sabotaged by not only the permanent bureaucracy, but also his highest ranking appointees, as well.
Once again, the failure to make meaningful headway on any of the matters reprised below is still one more case of not fit for purpose. The Donald simply did not even have the focus, facts or resolve to force the government he notionally commanded to respond to commands he essentially never gave.
Take the case of rapprochement with Russia—the single most important thing that anyone elected in 2016 should have attempted to accomplish after Obama Administration’s disastrous handling of the Russia file owing to its infiltration by anti-Russian neocons like Victoria Nuland.
Perhaps like renegade Sarah Palin before him, for example, candidate Trump could see Russia from his airy on the 68th floor of Trump Tower and recognize that it is no threat whatsoever to America’s security.
That is, from his perch on Fifth Avenue the Donald could gaze upon metro New York’s $1.6 trillion of GDP, which was greater than the entirety of Russia’s economy ($1.5 trillion GDP); and whether he knew the precise numbers or not, his impulse toward rapprochement with Putin was spot on.
Four years later, of course, Washington’s relationship with Russia is as bad as ever because the Donald punted whenever the rubber meet the road, such as after the Helsinki Summit.
Likewise, whether he had gotten George Bush’s folly in Iraq right on day one or not—Trump had been loud and clear in his consistent denunciation of Washington’s disastrous Iraq invasion years before Hillary sprouted her dawkish feathers. Alas, American forces are still there—-even though no one in that beleaguered remnant of a country wants them there.
Nor was the Donald any less correct when he averred that NATO was obsolete. After all, the GDP of the EU-29 is 10X larger than Russia’s, and their combined military spending is 4X greater.
Indeed, if you were not a prisoner of Imperial Washington’s twisted group think, which candidate Trump definitely wasn’t, you could not possibly have believed that Russia’s supremely rational leader—Cool Hand Vlad—-intended to militarily assault his European neighbors. To the contrary, he actually wished to supply their markets with energy and industrial materials and goods, not occupy their cities—something that anyone except the demented, self-serving bureaucrats of NATO can easily understand.
Still, NATO is going strong, its defense budgets have been unnecessarily increased owing to the Donald’s back-asswards approach to solving the NATO problem, and US troop levels in Germany and elsewhere are as high as ever before, and actually being provocatively and unnecessarily moved closer to the Russian border.
The same unfortunate default occurred with respect to Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia et. al., as well. Candidate Trump seemed to understand they weren’t cold war “dominoes” because even New York real estate speculators knew that the Soviet Union slithered off the pages of history 29 years ago.
He also apparently could see that absent a cold war nexus, these misbegotten lands didn’t threaten America directly, either, because they don’t have two dimes to rub together economically or militarily. Whether they affiliate with the Saudi-Sunni axis or the Iran-Shiite crescent, in fact, makes not one damn bit of difference for the safety and security of American citizens.
Yet what has the Donald accomplished as Commander-in-Chief. Why every time he announces another target for complete withdrawal of American forces from their 19-year impalement in the godforsaken expanses of the Hindu Kush, for instance, he gets rebuked and countermanded by one of his generals.
The Pitiful Case of The Donald’s Wanderlust On The Korean Peninsula
At the end of the day, the Donald’s total whiff on the Korean question—despite immense, earnest and sometimes courageous efforts—tells you all you need to know. Korea proves that Trump isn’t fit for purpose because he had full power and intent to make a deal with Kim Jong-un, but allowed himself to be sabotaged to the two American fat guys at each elbow—John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.
Like in the other cases, the saga starts with candidate Trump, who also rightly questioned why we are still funding 29,000 US troops on the Korean Peninsula when the war there ended 67 years ago.
The truth is, it is a war that never should have been fought in the first place because the now open Soviet archives show both Stalin and Mao were against it. US national security was never at stake.
Rather than a domino, it originated purely as a civil war between the communist/nationalists under Kim II-sung, who had fought the Japanese occupiers to the death, and a puppet government in the South under Syngman Rhee.
The latter was an aristocratic dandy who moved to the US in 1904 and spent most of the next 40 years hob-knobbing in Washington. So doing, he promoted endless schemes to install himself in power back in Korea, which finally happened when Japan’s 35-year long occupation was ended in August 1945.
At length, the two Korean political rivals got into a war that the north would have handily won—and might well have turned itself into a cheap labor based export platform just as did Mao’s heirs on the mainland. It might even have become a darling of Wall Street—just as the Red Suzerains of Beijing are today.
That is to say, there was exactly nothing at stake in June 1950—- until the rabid cold warriors in Washington persuaded Truman to intervene.
So doing, the US military launched the most destructive and vicious bombing campaign in history under the blood-thirsty top Air Force general, Curtis LeMay. By the 1953 armistice, North Korea had become a bombed-out wasteland with hardly a city or town not reduced to rubble and with millions of civilians dead or starving.
But it was not merely a pointless war and waste of American blood and treasure; it also became forever embraced by the people of the north as the patriotic war of resistance that paved the way for seven decades of the brutal Kim family dictatorship and a life of poverty and misery for its 25 million people, who could otherwise be working in Apple factories and Hyundai auto plants today.
Needless to say, Imperial Washington has no regard for honest history—only its own self-serving narrative and imperative need for enemies and missions to justify nearly $800 billion per year for the machinery of war and empire. In the case of North Korea, in fact, its imperial pretensions and penchant for “regime change” under the neocons in recent decades, unleashed a veritable monster.
That is, a drive by the Kim family to obtain nuclear weapons, thereby hoping to avoid Saddam’s fate at the end of a rope or Khadafy’s bloody demise with a shive up his rectum.
In that regard, the Donald had even been blessed with a bit of historic serendipity. Kim Jong-un had staged so many nuclear bomb tests culminating in a huge (for N. Korea) 160 kiloton explosion three years ago that the Fat Boy of Pyongyang had literally destroyed the mountains which housed his Punggye-ri test site.
As on authoritative study warned, if North Korea were to use the same area for another test it could cause an “environmental catastrophe.”
“North Korea’s past tests have altered the tectonic stress in the region to the extent that previously inactive tectonic faults in the region have reached their state of critical failure. Any further disturbance from a future test could generate earthquakes that may be damaging by their own force or crack the nuclear test sites of the past or the present”.
So Kim Jong-un was motivated to make lemonade out of lemons, and to make virtue out of necessity by ostentatiously shuttering the no longer useable site and inviting the world to witness its entombment.
In turn, that was exactly the opening that the Donald needed, and for a while he made the most of it with his globe-trotting courtship of Kim. At long last the the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula became a real possibility, as did the possibility of reversing the mistake of June 1950, and getting American forces off the peninsula once and for all.
Yet even with all this going for him, the Donald whiffed completely. When he tried to explore a drastic reduction, if not complete removal, of US troops as part of comprehensive deal with Kim Jong-un, the Deep State has came down on him with all fours.
For instance, here is what former “peace” candidate Barack Obama’s leading advisor on the topic had this to say:
Kelly E. Magsamen, a top Asia policy official at the Pentagon during the Obama administration, said, “U.S. presence in South Korea is a sacrosanct part of our alliance.”
The only thing is, that was a mild statement of the matter compare to where John Bolton and his hard core neocons were coming from. They simply sabotaged the staff level talks after the Kim/Trump summits and that was the end of it.
In fact, the only real thing the Donald accomplished was to smoke out the fact that down in the military-industrial-surveillance complex of the Imperial City, Washington’s entire global empire is apparently sacrosanct. And that includes the single most ridiculous feature of today’s global geo-strategic alignment.
Namely, the risible fact that in the year 2020 Washington still has military bases in the defeated powers of World War II. Yet neither Japan nor Germany have any mortal military enemies and both are utterly dependent on the trade custom of the US for their high standard of living.
So the Deep State now owns the Donald. America First is not even a slogan. It’s inoperative, Nixon-style.
And most certainly, the Donald has now crushed his own oft-repeated intent to withdraw American forces from the middle east and get out of the regime change business—the heart of the platform upon which he campaigned in 2016.
Indeed, because he has foolishly resumed the neocon war on Iran, he has been hemmed in at every turn, even unable to get a token level of forces out of Syria because they are supposedly needed there to keep the Iranians in check.
Then again, whose country is it? The US still has upwards of 65,000 US military personnel in the immediate Persian Gulf region and tens of thousands of more contractors, proxies and mercenaries spread through a litany of other countries in the region because they are there to, well, contain the Iranians.
So in joy-sticking Soleimani while lounging in his plush digs at Mar-a-Lago, the Donald was not avenging the innocent casualties of Iranian aggression—Americans or otherwise. He was just jamming another regime-change stick into the hornets nest of anti-Americanism in the region that Washington’s bloody interventions have spawned over the decades.
Sometimes a picture does tell a thousand words, and this one from Soleimani’s funeral procession in Tehran surely makes a mockery of Secretary Pompeo’s idiotic claim that the middle east is now safer than ever before. If there was ever a case that this neocon knucklehead should be immediately dispatched to his hog and corn farm back in Kansas, this is surely it.
Indeed, it is no wonder at all that America First ended up a complete mockery and dead letter. Surrounding himself, unaccountably, with an endless retinue of empire-seeking neocons and militarists like Pompeo, Bolton, Haspel, Coats, Mattis and countless more, the Donald proved in spades that he is not fit for purpose.