Trump does not have the loyalty of the Republican Congressional Establishment. They are not marching in lockstep to overthrow Obamacare just because he said so. Getting their cooperation – however temporary – would be one target.
Trump is not taken seriously by the USA’s foreign policy establishment, which damages his standing with other countries’ diplomats. Getting a reputation as a player on the international stage would be a second target.
Trump does have a large number of emotional, unintelligent followers who love him simply because he is a charismatic autocrat. They are likely to applaud if Trump orders a missile strike on anyone or anything. Getting their applause is just icing on the cake.
I think Trump believes himself to be playing 4-D chess. He might turn out to be wrong, but I don’t think this was a blunder. I think Trump has been waiting for a chance to get publicity for his “charismatic autocrat” pose. (Is he really an autocrat? I doubt it. But he enjoys spectacles such as professional wrestling, and his pose as an autocrat might be similar to a professional wrestling pose.)
Trump expected to get a lot of short-term benefits by launching a few missiles and killing a few Syrian gas station attendants.
1) He expected to get cooperation from Republicans – and possibly even from Democrats.
2) He expected to get applause from his personal fanbase of hooting autocrat-lovers.
3) He expected to get favorable mass media coverage from CNN and the like.
4) He expected to get cooperation from the military-industrial profiteers who sell missiles and such.
Possibly he also hoped for long-term benefits, including
A) Deterrence of North Korea;
B) Establishment of a declared war to ease consolidation of state power;
C) Long-term job creation in weapons factories;
D) Increased military manpower from volunteers.
Some former Trump voters are losing their composure, and some cynics are sneering at them. I won’t try to excuse Trump’s action, I’ll just point out that whatever Hillary would have done in his place would have been worse.
Washington’s military attack on Syria is unambigiously a war crime. It occurred without any UN authorization or even the fake cover of a “coalition of the willing.” Washington’s attack on Syria occurred in advance of an investigation of the alleged event that Washington is trying to use as its justification. Indeed, Washington’s story of Syrian use of chemical weapons is totally implausible.
Below are two theories from outside sources.
Theory One: Launch 59 missiles at the Syrian monkey to scare the North Korean chicken
(ANTIMEDIA) The whole world is trying to make sense of America’s reckless decision to launch air strikes against the Syrian government. The strikes against Syria came in light of the fact that they were ordered by a president who infamously wondered on Twitter in 2013:
“What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict?”
He also astutely noted that “Obama needs congressional approval.”
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It is hard to make sense of the recent series of events. Essentially, the mainstream media’s narrative is that just days after the U.S. announced it was seriously considering leaving Assad alone, Assad decided to commit political suicide by conducting a chemical weapons attack against civilians, one that would have certainly drawn international condemnation and a possible war with the American military. Why would he do that?
Something doesn’t add up.
It’s difficult to put the pieces together at such an early stage of these recent developments, but there are at least two things worth highlighting here.
First, Russia has condemned the assault as an act of aggression and has stated this may ultimately destroy Russia-U.S. ties. Russia has also suspended an agreement reached in 2015 that ensured U.S. and Russian aircraft would not collide with each other in Syrian airspace.
The Trump administration distinguished itself quite significantly from the Clinton campaign in 2016 by pushing for closer ties with Russia and stating that in Syria, the focus would be on ISIS — not Assad. According to leaks within the intelligence community, this was the job of Trump’s national security advisor Michael Flynn, who was in the process of offering Russia a deal regarding the lifting of sanctions. Once these leaks ousted Flynn from the government, he was replaced by General H.R. McMaster, a staunch cold warrior.
Since his appointment, McMaster has been incredibly busy. He reportedly ousted Stephen Bannon from the Trump administration just days ago. Most importantly, however, McMaster was the one who actually briefed Trump on the military proposal to strike Syria.
Let that sink in for a moment. Would Flynn have made these same proposals to directly attack a Russian ally?
The second thing worth highlighting is that the missile strike in Syria came moments after Trump met with China’s president, Xi Jinping. Trump has been embroiled in a war of words with China and, in particular, China’s close ally North Korea. Trump just recently threatened that if China did not keep a lid on North Korea, the U.S. would act unilaterally.
In that context, Trump’s decision to strike Syria may not have been just about Syria. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, only 23 of the 59 missiles launched actually struck their target in what Russia perceived as an inefficient and “poor” strike. Since the attack occurred, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also stated that U.S. policy remains unchanged, highlighting the fact that this may have been a one-time strike.
If that is the case, the strike may have been intended to do minimal damage, as its sole purpose was to send a shocking warning to China and Russia that they will act militarily against their closest allies. In light of this, it would not be too much of a stretch to speculate that it was also a possible test to see how these two nuclear powers would respond in turn.
The Trump administration, a team of warmongers who have been infatuated with a war against Iran, may have learned a valuable lesson regarding Russia’s ability to directly defend its allies in the region against the American military. Although this particular strike may have been a one-time event, determining how adept Russia is at responding may ultimately shape what is to come next. As Iran continues to remain a direct threat to U.S. interests in the Middle East, it’s also possible Trump may be considering expanding these strikes in the near future with a goal of directly targeting Syria and Iran.
Either way, this recent American strike on a sovereign nation in direct contravention of international law is likely to pave the way for some frightening developments in the very near future.
Theory Two: Build Domestic Political Cohesion By a NeoCon War of Choice
Before the alleged gas attack in Syria’s Idlib Province could be independently confirmed, the Trump administration took the Syrian opposition at their word and blamed the Syrian government for the attack.
In a scenario eerily reminiscent of 2013, the United States government, along with several other pro-intervention governments that have been funding and arming rebel and terror groups like the Al Nusra Front, have called for action to be taken against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, despite the fact that it has been internationally recognized for years that the Syrian government has no chemical weapons.
On Wednesday, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, stated that the U.S. would be “compelled” to take action against Assad if the UN fails to do so, which is a near-certainty given the veto power of both China and Russia on the UN security council. However, Haley didn’t stop there, going on to blame both Russia and Iran for the Idlib attack, as well as stating “the truth is that Russia, Iran and [Syrian President Bashar] Assad have no interest in peace.”
Trump and others in his administration have offered similar rhetoric, with Trump stating the following at a Wednesday press conference: “my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much. What happened yesterday is unacceptable to me,” adding that “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.” Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News that “all options are all on the table,” including unilateral military action in Syria targeting the Assad regime. Those “hints” turned to reality early Friday morning when the U.S. launched 59 tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase allegedly connecting to the Idlib gas attack on Tuesday.
Following the launch of airstrikes against the Assad regime, it has become clear that it is the Trump administration that has no interest in peace, perhaps out of necessity. As has been noted by political scientists and analysts for decades, the U.S. is a permanent war economy, entirely dependent on military and defense spending in order to generate economic growth. As Belgian political scientist Kris Roman told Sputnik in 2015: “the whole economy of [the U.S.]is built on the military theme — to maintain its economic growth, the United States needs a war every 4 years, otherwise the economic growth slows down, it’s not a secret.”
With economic warning signs everywhere and growth slowing down substantially, Trump has no choice but to involve the U.S. in another war in order to “make America great again.” As Eric Peters, CIO of the prominent hedge fund One River Asset Management, said in mid-March, the odds of Trump succeeding in his domestic agenda is “zero in the absence of starting a new war.”
The state of the U.S. economy is growing increasingly worse, as economic calamity already appears to be unfolding in ways unseen since the 2008 financial crisis. The bond market is crashing, the U.S. retail sector is collapsing and subprime auto loan losses are at their highest level since the last crisis. The last is particularly troubling, as these subprime auto loans, like the subprime mortgages of 2008, were bundled together and sold to investors as “securities,” meaning banks are in nearly the same position as they were in 2008 – except now they are much, much larger. Combine this with record low labor force participation, record national debt and slow economic growth and things begin to look increasingly bleak.
Though the economic outlook has been dim for sometime, the stock market has consistently been a bright spot since the last crash, largely thanks to central bank policies that were enacted after 2008. While stocks soared after Trump’s election, the so-called “Trump rally” took a nose dive on March 21, culminating in the year’s worst day for stocks so far. The market still has yet to recover, with stocks continuing to perform poorly overall – sparking worry from investors and even big time bankers as investors pulled 14.5 billion dollars from U.S. stocks in a week.
Things only became worse after the most recent Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, where the Federal Reserve announced it was focused on deflating what “some members” of the FOMC had called a stock bubble, additionally warning that stock prices are overinflated. The bubble has been known for years, as Federal Reserve money printing, particularly “quantitative easing,” has pumped up stock prices and resulted in one of the longest bull markets in history – one that will end as soon as the bubble bursts.
The negative response of the financial sector was immediate. On Tuesday, Jamie Dimon – CEO of JP Morgan and Chase bank – said “something is wrong” with the U.S. economy in his annual letter to shareholders. A day later, Mark Cudmore, Bloomberg’s former FX trader, stated that “it’s now a matter of when, not if, markets break down into a proper bout of risk aversion. As for timing, we’re debating the hour rather than the week.”
With things so close to breaking down, Trump needs to act quickly to boost economic growth, lest the massive bubble the Federal Reserve has created since the 2008 crisis finally explodes and the entire economy careens out of control. Considering the U.S.’ dependence on war for economic growth, it is therefore convenient that Trump and his administration are already instigating a new war against not just Syria, but also Iran, Russia and whoever else they choose to target.
Trump will have to choose between making the U.S. economy “great again” or giving up his anti-interventionist campaign promises due to the permanent war economy – he cannot have both. But the actions he and his administration have taken so far indicate that the choice has already been made.