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19 June 2019


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Barbara Ann

Thanks Patrick, Raimondo has it right I think. Neocons gotta neocon, so best chuck them some red meat in Venezuela to keep them busy where they can do less harm than elsewhere.

My comment above lacks a proper argument, so here is a first stab at a hypothesis re the real goal of the Maximum Pressure campaign:

As you write, Trump is consistent in his message that he wants to avoid/lessen foreign military adventures. Yes he struck Syria - but for the cameras only it seems. I also struggle to see how this arch manipulator of people can have been brainwashed by the very people he stood against. Pompeo and Bolton are more likely in the tent purely so Trump can control the direction in which they p*ss.

So why Trump's hard-on for Iran, as TTG describes it? Trump is not an ideologue. In fact it would be hard to find a man more lacking in ideologies, so Iran is an inconsistency. In this version of events Trump has realized (or been told) that to emasculate the current crop of neocons the AUMF is the key - and it surely is. A moribund Congress is never going to repeal the Forever Wars Charter so long as the neocons and their lobbyists fight for it. Tulsi-style peace-mongering won't do it, no, they need to be scared into action.

So is the Maximum Pressure campaign on Iran the mother of all long cons? Well don't tell me this hustler extraordinaire cannot conceive of such an idea. Let the modern day Cato the Elders have their Carthaginian campaign - up to a point. And that point is precisely the one where Congress comes under maximum pressure, when they finally wake up to what a 'rogue' president can do with AUMF; another Iraq, but worse.

Tests for this hypothesis would include signs of the pressure (threat of an imminent conflagration) remaining until the repeal bill passes the Senate. War then needs to be avoided, so once this goal has been achieved talks should start. The other test would be the “you’re fired” moments - Bolton and perhaps Pompeo being ejected from the tent once Trump has got what he wants out of them.

Far fetched, fraught with risk? You bet, but is it any less consistent than Trump having been done over by the neocons? Pomp may have been first in his class, but my money would be on the guy from the NYC real estate developer shark tank every time.



It has been a tradition of retirees and others upon arrival to say they paid for schools etc "back home" and then proceed to elected people just like the ones who ruined the places they came from. This group not only won't be going home but will be voting in the same old way. Enjoy.

BTW Puerto Rico has not declared bankruptcy nor are the numbers 1,000,000 nor anywhere close.


I don't buy it. Rather, by letting the neocons have free rein and by letting them control his access to information (John Bolton, I am looking at you), Trump has allowed himself to be boxed in to the point where he feels he has no choice but to make war.


I'm roughly the same situation.
I live in a high-tax (low service) state and additionally we have significant medical expenses which the tax law butchered as deductions.
I'm not happy, but it's still a hell of a lot better for my country to NOT have the Clinton crime family back in the WH.


"People get the government they deserve."


Agreed, but neither Bernie nor Tulsi will be the nominee. The power brokers in the globalist/Leftist coalition will not allow it. Bernie bears the scarlet letter of having opposed the anointed queen of the globalist establishment in 2016, for which they have not and never will forgive him. And Tulsi, as much as it disappoints me to say it, is a non-starter. She not sufficiently played the victimhood card (yet), and she has so far proven unwilling to brand half the country as irredeemable racists. Those two features are disqualifying in the Democratic electorate's estimation.

English Outsider

A cool look at some very puzzling events, your link. Was it that the PR missile strikes on Syria were ineffectual because someone (Trump?) didn't want to risk kicking the Russian tripwire? But it still remains puzzling, as was Trump going along with the Skripal affair.

Also puzzling, from your link above, is this ZH article -


I foolishly posted a query relating to this on a dead thread. The query arose from and is a comment on your previous article -


It's to do with the similarly puzzling US/European defence relationship. Briefly, there's talk about the EU becoming an independent military power. But it can't manage that for a decade or more. In the meantime it has to rely on the American defensive umbrella. This means being defended by an American ally whose services it is reliant on but which it is intending to dispense with as soon as is convenient. And Macron is reported to have emphasised to his electorate that independent does mean independent.

But how is this scenario regarded from the point of view of the American/Canadian component of NATO?

randal m sexton

So no reflections on his mental stability?

blue peacock


Iran will be the acid test.

Trump railed against the nuclear deal with Iran during the campaign. Yet he was the first major party nominee to campaign for the presidency criticizing the trillions spent on overseas wars with nothing to show for.

He's now surrounded himself with neocons on national security policy matters and his man about town son-in-law is supposedly an ardent zionist. Kushner is also pals with MbS who must be whispering in his ears about the evil Shiite theocracy. It has also long been Bibi's wet dream for the US to destroy Iran and Trump is publicly very supportive of him.

With the allegations from Pompeo about Iran mining tankers in the Gulf and now Iran taking down a very expensive high altitude naval drone with a missile strike, we'll see how this evolves. Maybe we get a replay of the North Korea theatre. From Rocket Man to Best Man.

What do you think? Will Iran go down with guns blazing if Trump orders a missile strike on an Iranian military or IRGC asset inside Iran? I don't see how Khamenei could retain domestic credibility and not respond to a direct US strike inside Iran. He must also know that any significant retaliation would lead ultimately to many Iranian cities in rubble.



I don't think he is unstable. As I have said many times here he is an example of the entrepreneurial narcissist personality.



presidents of the US. I think Wilson was a terrible president, much worse than trump. He yearned to meddle everywhere. T Roosevelt was just as bad, another meddler. I could go on.


NYT is reporting that the POTUS approved an attack on Iranian targets and then pulled back. Is he balking, mind-diddling or both?


Patrick Armstrong

AS I said: I'm mystified. TRump's instincts were greatly impeded by the Russia lies and he still hasn't fully exposed the conspiracy so he still can't act on "It's better to get along with Putin/whomever than not" policy.
But maybe, (maybe) (perhaps) we're getting to the point. Iran has effectively checkmated (I am completely convinced they will fight and never forget that they have spent the last 30 years thinking about how to sink carriers and deal with air attacks). Venezuela is descending far past mere farce. Syria is coming to an end.
Some reading

randal m sexton

Any reconsideration of his stability based on recent events?


In the meantime it has to rely on the American defensive umbrella.

Switzerland did quite well with its not so impressive defense capabilities over the centuries. Don't you think. Never needed the Americans to protect them. ;)



His willingness to cancel the strikes in mid-execution is evidence to me of a principled stability.



You are right! At last! The US should abandon Europe to its fate.

English Outsider

Very stout characters, the Swiss, and as you intimate they really do know how to use their armed forces to defend their independence. Respect. We, and you in Germany perhaps, could learn a great number of lessons from them when it comes to that. But right now the only lesson we in the UK seem to be learning from them on the military side of things is how to equip and maintain a navy.

Patrick Armstrong

Can we imagine a test of the hypothesis:
if Trump in the next while -- how long? but not very long -- says I was misled by my wicked advisors (B, P and whatshername at the CIA) whom I have now fired,
then we can agree that Raimondo read the tea leaves.

But the problem is that if he doesn't (and still doesn't go to war -- bombs that is) then we remain dangling.

(PS I agree with some commentators that as far as Tehran is concerned, the war is already on.)

Barbara Ann


Yes this is a problem, as far as testing the hypothesis is concerned. If DJT really is operating on this plane e.g. he is going to bring the troops home and get the Dems to vote for it (as they just have re AUMF) we will see correlation between his stated interests and events on the ground, but with no attributable causation. That would break the spell, the conned must not know they have been so treated.


Yes, there may be another Armada on the shores of Albion one of these days.

English Outsider

Grateful for the hint. But the assessment over here is that Angie's not got that in mind. Yet.

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