11 April 2017


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A. Jones

Long time reader, first time commenter on this outstanding blog.

I had the occasion to hear McMaster speak publicly about a year ago or so at Newport, RI (NWC). To me, he came across as a very high energy salesman. If I recall correctly, much of his speech involved the need to add more and more resources and questioned as to why Americans might be tired of war. He essentially said that he himself wasn’t tired of it. This was also in front of an audience that was comprised not only of American military officers, but also of foreign officers from many different countries (and not just US allies either).

Reading his bio, I note that he had tactical success early in his career. I wonder if there is a deeper problem here at the general officer/flag officer level: Officers who are very good at the tactical level, decent at the operational level, but not competent at the strategic level. I recognize that there are obviously other massive political factors at play as well.

My two cents…


McMaster is a proteges of Petraeus. It is likely that Petraeus talks with Trump got him the job. Petreaus was in discussion as NSA but drew out when he learned that McMaster was probably in. (Better to stay in the shadows behind the man)



Petraeus is a convicted criminal. He is still serving probationary time. pl


I doubt just one person is to blame for the 180 shift of trump's policies. Enormous pressure is being placed on trump on all fronts and he has idiotically surrounded himself with neocons. Trump is probably doing what he does best, saving himself.

On the other hand, I thought the guy at "Veterans Today" was sorta wacky. He kept claiming trump was Netanyahu's poodle. Perhaps he was correct and trump just fooled us. Perhaps I and others were naive.


If McMaster and co. keep this up, I'm betting Tillerson might tender his resignation.


[...]to collapse the post-World War II, certainly the post-Cold War, security, economic, and political order in Europe, and replace that order with something that is more sympathetic to Russian interests.

He's, in other words, afraid Russia will take credit for the West collapsing just as the West took credit for the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Criminal behavior with conventional force as cover. Has he not heard of the CIA?

A. Jones

PL, assuming this website is screened by you, would you be able to remove the first part of my comment above? I can be contacted separately via my email address. Thank you.

Bill Herschel

Trump is looking around for someone to make him look good. He can't do it himself, because he has absolutely no personal resources except adjectives. He is Mr. Adjective, and the American public eats it up. Recall that GWB was fond of adjectives.

When AHCA caved, he was desperate. He looked really bad, and needed someone to make him look good. I expect him on the deck of an aircraft carrier soon. The important thing is that he doesn't have any beliefs... except looking good.

No President has ever had hair like this guy, and no President has been as desperate to look good.

Does he think about consequences? No. Does the U.S. stand a chance against Russia? No. World War III will be fought out by irreconcilable political groups in the U.S. It's already happening. Think Freedom Caucus.

robt willmann

This Syria and Russia affair is starting to get surreal.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis and U.S. Central Command Gen. Joseph Votel gave a press conference today. Mattis says that he personally reviewed the intelligence about Syria and that there is "no doubt that the Syrian regime is responsible for the decision to attack and for the attack itself".--


Well, then, if there is "no doubt" that there was a toxic gas attack and that Syria is responsible for it, the U.S. government should release all of the "intelligence" and evidence (if there is any), and scientific analysis, and exactly how the evidence was gathered and its chain of custody and its authenticity. Then we can check it and see if there is indeed, "no doubt".

Vladimir Putin makes a statement at the G7 meeting in Italy that he suspects there may be false flag attacks in Syria designed by the U.S. to try to lead to further military strikes--


Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks today after the G7 meeting and the language about Russia and Syria continues to be accusatory--



fyi - video of today's press briefing by the Defense Secretary and Centcom Commander https://www.dvidshub.net/video/518715/defense-secretary-and-centcom-commander-conduct-joint-briefing

Suggest people take the time to watch the entire briefing.

Irrespective of what anyone else in the Trump administration is saying either on or off, the Defense Secretary said among other things that the attack on April 4 was a Syrian operation. The US has no evidence that Russia or Iran were involved.

The Defense Secretary explained that with the continued usage of chemical weapons on the Syrian battlefield, culminating in an attack involving sarin gas on April 4, which the Syrians had said they had given up, the US felt compelled to act. With the missile attack the message was stop using chemical weapons and do not do it again.

The coalition military focus remains on destroying ISIS in Syria and then proceeding to stabilize the situation. The Pentagon clearly has no interest in getting further involved in the Syrian civil war, nor in forcibly removing Bashir al-Assad from power.

During the briefing it was made clear that the US military continues to have good contacts with the Russian military. Also, the Defense Secretary said that he did not see the situation with Russia spiraling out of control as it was not in their interest to do so.

I am paraphrasing what was said during the briefing. You are encouraged to watch the entire event for yourself.

Today's briefing should burst the balloon of those within and outside of the Trump administration seeking to push the US into a full fledged war in Syria, or a direct confrontation with Russia

Turning to the subject at hand, Fiona Hill was recently hired by the White House, presumably on the recommendation and at the request of General McMaster, as deputy assistant to the President and senior director for European and Russian Affairs.

Fiona Hill, Brookings scholar, to join National Security Council

Reading through her biography it is obvious that she has a rather dim view of Mr. Putin and his administration.

Brookings Institute is a major beneficiary of funding from the Emir of Qatar, who also supports the Muslim Brotherhood and a number of the more fanatical Sunni Salafist jihadist groups.

At the request of National Security Advisor General McMaster, Dina Powell changed roles on March 15 and is now serving as deputy national security adviser for strategy.

Prior to that she had been serving as the President's senior counselor for economic initiatives.

People can read her bio at this link http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/outlook/bios/dina_habib_powell_bio.pdf

The story is that Ms. Powell was initially recommended by Ivanka Trump and is connected to Hillary Clinton and the lobbying firm Teneo.


During the Campaign, Trump inferred that he wasn't "non-interventionist", that he was going to "take names" and "kick ass", with illusions of "taking the oil", and for things as trivial as the IRGC "dissing" the USN for rude gestures,

He just wasn't going to do the "R2P thing" or the "nation building" thing.


The "sarin" part is awfully had to believe given the pics that were made available. I believe Ms Powell was Ivanka Trump's advisor during the election campaign.


Nobody having attended courses about Nuclear, Chimical and Bacteriological weapons would agree that it was sarin gas.
Sorry, it's just BS.


You're joking right ? Princess Ivanka, the fashion queen, picked the "deputy national security advisor for strategy" ? My apologies to all those never-Trumpers out there.

ex-PFC Chuck

Willie, the comments by McMaster that you quote strongly suggest they were made by a person who had imbibed deeply of the neocon kool-ade and as you note is seemingly oblivious to Russian culture and history, both recent and going back centuries. About ten days ago the Russia-sympathetic blogger The Saker put up a post entitled “Searching for Russia” that did a good job of describing Putin’s relationship to and position in that history and I found it most informative and I recommend it highly.


His post earlier today on the cruise missile strike and its portents for the future is also very worthwhile.



With respect that is not what I wrote.

The decision to hire Ms. Powell as deputy national security advisor for strategy was made by National Security Advisor General McMaster.


aleksander, it is Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare school. I attended one and agree with your observation.


If the Trump administration wants Assad gone, then maybe they're considering a decapitation operation in Damascus.

Is that possible or is it too far-fetched?


Fyi, two open source reports that people may wish to read:

April 5 - Syria: Khan Sheikhoun Victims Show Symptoms Consistent with Exposure to Chemical Substances

"A number of victims of the April 4 attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun were brought to the hospital, located about 60 miles to the north, near the Turkish border. Eight people who were examined by MSF staff displayed symptoms consistent with exposure to an agent such as sarin gas or similar compounds, including constricted pupils, muscle spasms and involuntary defecation.

The MSF team provided drugs and antidotes to treat patients, and distributed protective clothing to medical staff in the hospital's emergency room.

MSF medical teams also visited other hospitals treating victims of the attack, and reported that they smelled of bleach, indicative of possible exposure to chlorine.

These reports strongly suggest that victims of the attack on Khan Sheikhoun were exposed to at least two different chemical agents."

The second is one published on April 6:

April 6 - Banned nerve agent sarin used in Syria chemical attack, Turkey says
The Turkish statement said the sarin conclusion had been based on autopsies on three victims.

The autopsies were performed on three victims of the attack who were taken to Turkey. It is unclear from the article when the individuals had passed, whether at the scene of the attack, or later.

According to the published report:

"The Turkish statement said the sarin conclusion had been based on autopsies on three victims performed at Turkey’s Adana Forensic Medicine Institution with the participation of representatives from the World Health Organization and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a group based in The Hague that monitors compliance with the global treaty that bans such munitions."


Putin is in Syria to block the Qatar/Saudi gas pipeline that we've been supporting for a number of years - thus the real reason for destabilizing Assad just like was done in Libya. If it went through and began supplying Europe, Putin would lose significant income from the gas he currently supplies to Europe. Per "The Prize" everything we do in that part of the world has been and is about oil (the petrodollar)and is working to plan (PNAC).


I am starting to think President Trump thinks like a property developer. They have no concept of developing. long term beneficial relationships with their customers. Their time horizon is the completion of the development and sale, then it s on to the next project. There is no concept of "long term ' strategy.

What is disturbing is that the will say and do anything to complete the deal but there is no follow through, reflection or re-engagement.

Putins strategy at the moment is designed to frustrate Trump the man - he won't meet him.

The stakes for Putin are high, if he folds, Russia becomes a vassal state like Europe, Britain, Australia, Japan, etc. That ultimately means the imposition of U.S. corporate culture and that U.S. corporations will "invade" Russia like they have done everywhere else


Anything is possible if the price is right.... Assad is very heavily involved in security and Intel matters, much more than is actually known.... the easiest way is an assassination attempt...


Even if Assad did it, which I doubt, where is the humanity in killing thousands or tens-of-thousands to take him out. And then you create a vacuum for the jihadis to fill and create havoc.

Trump said before taking office he would listen to the generals. Their solution to every problem is military. Have any of these gerals studied and absorbed humanities while in school? Has Trump ever read a book or taken courses in the humanities? We need people in charge with large world views you don't get by focusing solely on their career choices.

Peter AU

Decapitate government, military, and destroy some critical military infrastructure with missile attack. Dazed/confused military would be quickly overrun. Turk forces backing up moderate terrorists in north?
Perhaps a few Russians killed but Russian air and naval bases not targeted.
Quite thinkable after reading Rand Corporation's "Thinking The Unthinkable"


this was printed on Jan 11th, I thought I heard her name bandied about during the campaign:

"POLITICO reported last week that Powell has been informally advising Ivanka Trump on personnel and other issues for weeks. She is expected to provide a connection between the Trump White House — eyed with skepticism by many in the GOP establishment — and corporate America and Wall Street."

Source is "Politico". I think she's a Clintonista.

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