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28 June 2017

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James Doleman

Glad to see the change of heart.

turcopolier

James Doleman
there is no "change of heart." I was never a supporter of Trump. I am a supporter of the constitutional order. pl

ex-PFC Chuck

A related piece about Trumpist Middle East policy by Mark Perry that was put up at AmCon yesterday entitled, "Tillerson and Mattis Cleaning Up Kushner’s Middle East Mess." It focuses on the Saudi-Qtari clusterf**k, which it attributes to Kushner's whispers in his father-in-law's ear. Same song, different verse.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/tillerson-and-mattis-cleaning-up-kushners-middle-east-mess/

aleksandar

I disagree with a " seemingly heroic and photogenic general " about General Dunford.I know people having worked under his command in Afghanistan. They have always said to me that he is a true soldier and a good one.
We are on the verge of WW3.

Greco

I do fear an escalation is planned, but I don't know to what extent I'd attribute this to President Trump being impulsive. This narrative that he is mercurial and acts on total impulse is something worth reconsidering.

For example, the cruise missile attack back in early April against Syria was largely attributed to Trump's alleged impulsiveness; however, there was a rationale as to why Trump launched it based on three primary reasons.

Firstly, a noose was being tied around his neck over the false Russia collusion narrative. He had to find a way to distance himself from the appearance of appeasing Russia or of being a Russian puppet. By striking the air base, he got much of that monkey off his back. Also, imagine if Trump had failed to do anything. The media would have responded much the same they did against Obama in 2013 and probably worse in Trump's case. They would have claimed that he looked the other way at the atrocity Assad, and by extension Russia and Iran, had committed because he was "compromised." Instead, he enjoyed new found broad support among the establishment for his action.

Secondly, he was led to believe, based on the intelligence presented to him (not on cable news), that Syria had chemical weapons stockpiled at that base, which violated the agreement Obama had reached with Putin in 2013. Was Assad himself keeping chemical weapons on hand (even if he had no intention to use them)? Was Assad/Putin not aware of possible chemical weapons stored at the base because of treasonous/incompetent elements? I find such possibilities unlikely, but this in itself may very well serve as the fig leaf for justifying the attack (i.e., the intelligence showed they had the weapons).

Lastly, there is a plan that was green lighted before 9/11, largely signaled by GHWB after the fall of the SU, to strengthen the US's primacy in the world at time where the was a vacuum. Since that time, we have seen a resurgent Russia, a unified Europe, and a rising China. This agenda coincides with interests groups looking to protect and enhance Israel's/Saudi Arabia's regional superiority in the face of an ambitious Iran. For all of this to be achieved, a series of regime changes were initiated. Syria was one of the dominoes slated to fall. Now, however, they'll need to settle with forcing Assad's hand, along with the axis he is tied to, to give way to at least some of the tenets of that agenda. However, a regime change in Syria would permit a greater fruition of that agenda. Trump himself has been compromised, not by Russians, but by these groups looking to achieve this agenda. He has, to a certain extent, been co-opted by it. Ultimately, his hand was forced and he appears to be sympathetic to it in many respects.

This, to the best of my understanding, were the grounds for Trump's order to attack the Shayrat air base under the pretext of what was by any measure a false flag chemical attack. He did not act on mere impulse.

kao_hsien_chih

I tend to think that there is much value to paying attention to what Trump says, even if they cannot be trusted as anything approaching "the truth."

At the risk of raising wrong connotations (and I insist that I am not invoking the demeaning connotation associated with the term), I think Trump is an outstanding "used car salesman." He is an outstanding salesman because he know what makes people tick and he can say what a lot of people believe about the world and want to hear and can communicate with utter effectiveness. He is like a used car salesman because (and his half year in the White House has only added to this suspicion) that he does not really have much by means of useful goods to sell.

What Trump says, I think, should be taken as an indicator of what "a lot of important people," as Trump sees them, think and want to hear, a sign of how Trump sees the balance of his audiences shifting. How "serious" he is about them, how much he wants to shape the policy around what he says, who knows? That's where the used car metaphor comes in--occasionally, you may get a gem, but it doesn't seem like there is a lot there most of the time.

turcopolier

All

I am familiar with the sequence of events and the lack of evidence that preceded Specer's midnight announcement. Trump was acting altogether on impulse following his dinner with Modi. pl

turcopolier

aleksandr

I wasn't specifically thinking of Dunford but he compares poorly with Dempsey. pl

Sam Peralta

Col. Lang

How influential do you think Kushner is relative to McMaster & Mattis? It seems he is in charge of ME policy, and he looks to be running interference in the WH for the Likudniks and the delusional Saudi crown prince.

In viewing the Oliver Stone interviews of Putin, I came away that Putin believes that there cannot be much policy changes, as the Borg tentacles are deep in the bureaucracy.

Bill Herschel

How could anyone say change of heart? Mr. Doleman needs to read more carefully.

With regard to what the military does, I strongly suggest reading all the Flashman books by George MacDonald Fraser. They are really extraordinarily well-written, well-researched, and sane... and incredibly funny in places.

They are also controversial. They are about as politically incorrect as it is possible to imagine, and among your acquaintances you may not be able to admit reading them and certainly not enjoying them. Too bad.

They also provide a psychological refuge in a time of horror. Colonel Lang's post is not exactly optimistic.

sid_finster

I agree that Trump is capricious, uninformed and undisciplined. He also is a. easily manipulated, b. stubborn, and c. has his hand on the button.

Yes, you read correctly. If he were a garden variety New York real estate developer, most of us could safely ignore him.

However, because he does have his hand on the button and is allowed a certain amount of authority, we should pay great attention to what he tweets, just as Roman citizens would be well advised to have watched Nero's or Domitian's twitter feeds.

Babak Makkinejad

I think it will be more interesting to contemplate the world after a limited
& in-conclusive non-nuclear war between the United States and the Russian Federation.

What would the secondary and tertiary consequences of such a war be?

Babak Makkinejad

Regime change in Syria, in my opinion, was never a possibility; regime destruction was.

That is, a centralized legitimate authority replacing the Syrian Arab Republic was never in the cards but rather the fragmentation of Syria into religious enclaves protected by the respective militias.

Overtime, one of those enclaves would start growing and reconstitute Syria, with foreign aide thrown in.

Babak Makkinejad

All:

Iranian reaction to US Government's insinuations regarding chemical weapons attack in Syria:

http://217.218.67.231/Detail/2017/06/28/526786/Iran-Syria-US-chemical-attack

Fred

Col.,

"... international observer groups be stationed at ALL SAF airbases to ascertain exactly what ordnance is uploaded for combat operations. ..."

That sounds like a very sound idea. Sadly for the Syrians they and the Russians haven't recaptured Idlib Provence yet and thus still face destruction by US intervention via yet another manufactured "red line"+false flag event.

Greco

I think you're right in this instance, and his dinner with Modi is reminiscent of Trump's dinner with Xi at Mar-a-Lago; however, I would be careful if insinuating that most if not all of Trump's actions are given completely to gut instincts or impulse as is sometimes claimed.

There is a caricature of the president which depicts him as a mad dog, similar in manner to third world dictators, much like how Saddam Hussein was depicted. Saddam may have been a brutal dictator, but he was also a strong man who wanted Iraq to be modern, prosperous, and relatively secular. The same can be said of Ghaddafi. The public came to believe they were cartoon villains who were so eccentric and blind with rage that they threatened to destroy the planet. The same exact script is being played against Trump (e.g., he can't be trusted with the nuclear codes).

Trump can be driven to impulse, but impulse alone doesn't drive Trump.

Gene O

it is all 'wag-the-dog'!

I knew before voting for him that he was a bozo. My bad. I thought a vote for Trump would protect the 2nd Amendment. But now I worry that may be in jeopardy from him if his daughter cries too loudly in the event of another elementary school shooting like Sandy Hook.

Lee A. Arnold

Not just foreign policy and military. Trump has no idea what he is doing in economic policy and domestic policy either. He is ceding long-term economic and technological leadership to China.

wisedupearly

Having sold a few cars in my life (my own) I take umbrage at being associated in any way with Trump. :)
But if we are to discuss what type of salesman best matches his persona we must first recognize the fact that he never, IMHO, attempts to improve the audience. Instead of advancing rationality, understanding and compassion, he inflames passion, prejudice, and pique. We have seen quite a few such salesmen. Most are selling a fatal philosophy but Trump is selling just himself.

wisedupearly

"Lastly, there is a plan that was green lighted before 9/11, largely signaled by GHWB after the fall of the SU, to strengthen the US's primacy in the world at time where the was a vacuum."
I take a different view based on the understanding that the King who tries to force compliance by declaring "I am the King" is actually not.
My take is
""Lastly, there was a plan, green lighted after the failure of Reaganism, to divert attention from the failure by engaging in external conflicts."
The changes in your subsequent sentence, resurgent Russia etc., flow logically from the loss of our primacy.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

Great Post. I am smiling and frightened at the same time. I can’t get the picture of President Trump hanging on the wall at the VA Hospital out of my mind. Of all the pictures of the VA’s hierarchy, he is the only one showing emotion; glaring anger. Sy Hersch and corporate media portray him as incompetent nincompoop. Yet, he slam dunked Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz face down on the floor and is worth three billion dollars. That takes skill.

This feels like 2003 all over again. We can only pray that he is smart enough to realize a war with Iran is crazy.

David Habakkuk

All,

Re General Dunford and General Dempsey.

A problem may be that people who can do well in a subordinate command do not have the qualities to run things at the top.

The editor of the evening paper in Liverpool, when I was a trainee, had, I was told, been a very successful news editor. It is a job which requires, not simply news sense, but an ability to handle people – to know when to crack the whip, and when to make people feel loved and wanted.

I owe a great deal to him, and remember him with affection. But he was patently out of his depth as editor. He lacked the requisite intellectual grasp, and everyone knew it, including him.

To be an effective CJCS, particularly in difficult times, and working to Presidents who do not have any serious grasp of military affairs, or indeed willingness to be taught about them, requires a combination of diverse skills.

It is, for one thing, necessary fully to appreciate the basic Clausewitzian principle about the subordination of military considerations to political. But this, in turn, means that one needs to combine a strong grasp of military technicalities with a broad understanding of non-military considerations.

One also, quite clearly, needs to be politically ‘savvy’ – to be able to be Machiavellian, without degenerating into becoming a corrupt intriguer.

One has got used to having high hopes of people, and getting disappointed.

But from what I saw of General Dempsey, he seemed to me to a rather remarkable figure.

Of course, if there are very powerful forces who are determined to pursue political agendas which will not survive rational scrutiny, they will want a CJCS who does not possess the qualities needed to do the job successfully.

The Beaver

All:

A good resumé of what have been discussed on SST since 2012,amd in particular since the R+6 started making inroad:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/dispatch-from-the-middle-east-u-s-buildup-all-about-iran/

By the time U.S. troops exited Iraq in late 2011, the Syrian conflict was already under way, fully armed, financed, and supported by several NATO states and their Persian Gulf allies.

“When those borders are re-opened,” says Asadollahi, “this will be the first time Iran will have a land route to Syria and Palestine” – though others point out that the Iranians have always found ways to transport goods undetected.

“Our army is now almost at the border and Iraqis are at their border – and we are not going to stop,” insists Shaaban.

mikee

"He is ceding long-term economic and technological leadership to China."

This has been going on for several decades.

Degringolade

Vietnam Vet:

I am with you on the picture of Trump on the wall of the VA. I work for the VA and I have to pass the damn thing every day.

What scared me the most is when he was thinking about appointing Sarah Palin as SecVA. Passing those two pictures every day, I wouldn't have ever stopped crying long enough to get any work done.

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