Mr Trump is a liar, a hypocrite and a fool
On April 6th, 2017, on the 100 year anniversary of America’s entry into World War I, Donald Trump launched airstrikes against the Syrian government; in retaliation for a gas attack supposedly perpetrated by Assad. There was no investigation, not even a hack job of a frame up like we had in 2003. The evidence we do have contradicts the official story, and the stakes are much higher this time around.
Then before the dust had even settled, Trump pivoted to Asia. Ratcheting up intimidation tactics, towards North Korea. Threatening regime change and practically begging the already insecure Kim Jong-un to do something stupid. And that’s the point. Provoke a response, and then play the victim.
Video below is an analysis of Trump’s World War 3. For full transcript, see below
The circus tent is coming down, but boy is he gonna give us a show in the meantime.
Trump isn’t just flirting with World War III, he’s inviting it. He wants everyone to know that he’s crazy enough to pull the trigger; thinks it’ll help him twist some arms, thinks he can force the big boys to negotiate.
But this isn’t isn’t a real estate deal, and that’s not an ace he’s got up his sleeve. Nobody wins a nuclear war.
If just 300 of Russia’s bombs were set off in the United States somewhere between 75 and 100 million people would die in the first half hour. Most of the infrastructure needed to support the population would be instantly destroyed: communication systems, hospitals, transport, power plants, etc… Those not killed by the initial blast would die slowly in the coming months from radiation poisoning, starvation, exposure, and disease.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Even a smaller nuclear conflict involving only 50 to 100 Hiroshima sized bombs would send 5 million tons of debris into the upper atmosphere causing global temperatures to plummet catastrophically, reducing rainfall worldwide for up to a decade, devastating agriculture, and triggering mass starvation on a global scale.
That is not a world you would want to raise children in.
The powers want to tip the game board, rewrite history and start again. They think you’re too stupid, too distracted, too easy to manipulated by emotional platitudes to examine the evidence.
It would be completely illogical for Assad to use chemical weapons at this stage of the conflict . They had nothing to gain from this and everything to lose. The Syrian army had the clear advantage at this stage with conventional means, Russia has their back, and that gave them an extremely strong position going into negotiations which were scheduled for the very next day (April 7th). Assad would have to be a total moron to do something like this (and he’s not).
Then there’s the fact Assad doesn’t actually have such weapons. According to the OPCW, the last of Syria’s chemical weapons were handed over for destruction in 2014. John Kerry confirmed this assessment.
“But Assad used chemical weapons before!”
Really? When? According to the U.N. investigation conducted on the gas attacks of 2013, as reported by the BBC, it was the Rebels that used Sarin, not Assad.
Obama backed down in 2013 because the U.S. backed rebels got caught, and we held them accountable. As a people we activated in 2013 against these airstrikes. We flooded the phone lines as congress approached the vote. We didn’t ask nicely. We made it clear that we knew their names and addresses and that we would hold them personally accountable for the consequences.
Funny thing: they cancelled the vote, Obama backed down, and humanity temporarily stepped away from the abyss.
Trump himself spoke out against the airstrikes in 2013. He demanded a formal declaration of war by congress “unconstitutional if not”. Pointed out just how stupid and destructive such a decision would be…
Mr Trump is a liar, a hypocrite and a fool. He has turned the U.S. military into Al Qaeda’s air force. He’s playing chicken with humanity’s future. He’s rolling dice with the inhabitability of the planet.
And this insanity is bipartisan! The Neoliberal, Neocon, corporate alliance has come out of the closet, in a disgusting show of war mongering solidarity.
These haircuts in suits don’t deserve your obedience. They don’t even deserve your respect. It’s not their power it’s yours.
If enough of you figure that out it’s game over. That’s why they pit you against each other provoking artificial group identities. Divide and conquer makes you easy to control.
The choices we make in the next few milliseconds of human history count. A lot.
Asymmetrical Response When the odds are stacked against us, and failure is not an option we must formulate an asymmetrical response.
We have to think outside the box, find creative ways to break the chain of obedience, and send a message in uncompromising terms: #StandDownMr.Trump Stand Down.
Trump’s Political Suicide Pushes China, Iran and Russia Closer
The first aspect to consider, following the US attack on Syria, is what Putin, Xi, and Rohani, leaders of the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, and Iran respectively, thought while American Tomahawks were hitting the Syrian air base of Shayrat.
The last three years of the Obama presidency highlighted two very different strategies being advanced simultaneously by the US and the nations opposing its imperialistic overreach, principally Russia, China and Iran. The latter have been seeking cooperation, while the US, with its big hammer, has characteristically been on the search for nails to hammer. Yet the management of international relations has always sought to maintain wide diplomatic channels, even putting in place precautions in the military arena, such as direct communication lines at the height of tensions of 2014 in Ukraine.
With the DPRK, Obama adopted an attitude of strategic patience rather than the posture being employed by Trump of military bullying. With Iran, Obama’s team negotiated a nuclear deal that included a lot of diplomacy between Moscow, Beijing and Washington. One could almost say that, with the exception of Ukraine and Syria, relations between Washington and major chancelleries in Eurasia had their ups and downs, but they rarely reached the levels of concern that were seen in the first days the Trump presidency.
Let us take Syria as an example. Obama resisted pressure to bomb the country following a false-flag chemical attack done by al Qaeda-type rebels. The media and intelligence accused Assad, but Obama saw through this and decided against further entanglement in the Syrian quagmire. Facing a similar situation, Trump instead decided to proceed and bomb a sovereign nation, creating a ripple effect whose ultimate results are at this stage difficult to discern.
Surely one of the first results has been the cancellation of any kind of cooperation between the US and Russia in Syria. This means that any nations operating against Islamist terrorism in Syria will be reluctant to grant further concessions to Washington. In recent weeks, Moscow and Damascus have preferred to hit Daesh and Nusra Front while inflicting relatively little damage to the Islamists in the country controlled by Washington and its allies, normally the FSA and its affiliates. This Russian posture was in deference to Kerry’s original request to Lavrov that a clear distinction be made between terrorists and so-called moderate rebels.
Moscow was aware from the beginning that there is no substantial differences between Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda, and other minor Daesh acronyms gathered around the FSA. All groups are armed and fighting against the legitimate Syrian government, making them legitimate targets, especially following America’s unilateral bombing of Syria.
The strategy of Damascus, Tehran and Moscow was aimed at finding a common understanding, from the diplomatic point of view, in order to bring Washington to the negotiating table. Concessions by both parties were necessary, and from the perspective of Russian forces, focusing on Nusra Front and Daesh was a good bargaining chip to use.
After Trump’s actions in Syria, all kinds of cooperation has been suspended, and it is anticipated that Damascus’s allies will specifically target US proxy forces in Syria as a response. The consequence will be that the US will have even less influence in Syria then before lobbing its 60-or-so missiles. In addition to this, Trump’s intention in the bombing should be seen as seeking to increase his negotiating position with Moscow on the question of Syria. What does not appear clear to the American president is that his actions may have the opposite effect. Putin is certainly not the type of person who lets others intimidate him or put him in a weak situation. If the intention of Trump was to create the ideal conditions for Tillerson and Lavrov to establish a cooperative relationship, perhaps it would be appropriate to ask what kind of understanding Trump has of international relations.
After this reckless action in Syria, Trump will have greater difficulty carrying out his plan to defeat Daesh, if this is still the plan. And so another election promise – the one to wipe Daesh off the map – is likely to be broken. This is not to mention that the SDF, the Kurdish forces, will from now on be viewed with more hostility by the Syrian and Russian forces, being ground troops who are undeclared by the US military.
Given the unpredictability of the US, Damascus cannot rule out the possibility that Washington’s final intent is to further the original plan of partitioning Syria as proposed by the Brookings Institute and embraced by the neocons and liberal-interventionist crowd. Moscow and Damascus cannot trust Washington, and this precludes many opportunities for Trump to pursue a foreign policy that aligns with his election promises.
President Xi during the Syrian bombing was at a diplomatic meeting with Trump and was told about the military action at the end of the meeting. It is likely that Trump wanted to send a message to the Chinese president and, indirectly, to Kim Jong-un, the leader of the DPRK. For the American president, this was all about a show of force, aimed at restoring the US role in the world and dictating the diplomatic conditions on which to agree for the resolution of various conflicts or areas of tension around the world. It is an approach that has almost entirely eliminated any possible cooperation with Beijing and Moscow.
Putin, Xi, and Rohani must leave behind any hopes for cooperation with Washington. It is important for them to send a strong message to Trump that the front opposing US imperialism is compact and ready to respond in the case of further provocations. Of course such a response need not necessarily be with military action but rather with all the alternatives available, such as with the areas of finance, the economy and diplomacy.
Until a few weeks ago, Moscow, Beijing and Tehran aimed at a resolution of problems with Washington in order to find a strategic balance in international relations. At this point in time, it should be clear that this strategy will not work. We are in a multipolar world that is synonymous with instability. The ideal conditions for a balance of political forces lie in a joint duopoly that recalls the situation that obtained during the Cold War. Even the unipolar moment guaranteed greater stability in a certain sense, given the unfortunate disproportion of force that the US enjoyed throughout the 1990s. What Trump finds hard to understand is that in a multipolar reality, the chances of clashes increase significantly.
Trump is meddling directly or indirectly in a lot of situations, ranging from Iran’s involvement in Syria, threatened by American partners such as Saudi Arabia; to the use of Russian forces in Syria; passing by the perennial crisis in Ukraine; and instability in the Caucasus and Central Asia. In China we have the autonomous region of Xinjiang, the South China Sea, and not to forget tensions with New Delhi as well as the explosive situation in the DPRK. If Trump is confident in being able to test the waters in each of these situations, even with the use of the military, to arrive at better negotiating positions, it is best that we all prepare for a nuclear winter.
The key issue for China, Russia and Iran must necessarily be to place emphasis on increasing cooperation in several areas, such as finance, the economy, the military, and politics. Up until a month ago, as a result of Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton, all three of these nations aspired for cooperation in the field of international relations with the US on equal terms. After what happened in Syria, they have fully understood that this opportunity is now threatened by a clear desire by Trump to risk everything in order to improve his negotiating position. This is the reckless attitude of an unprepared POTUS.
Only a strong unity of purpose, under the economic umbrella of a jettisoning of the dollar as a reserve currency, can change the situation dramatically. In addition to this, the US dollar must be excluded in trade deals between cooperating nations. Another important effort lies with stocking up as much gold as possible. With these methods, it will be possible to stand up to the US’s pressure without it leading to a military conflict. Organizations such as the BRICS, SCO, Eurasian Union and One Belt, One Road must necessarily take up the challenge thrown down by Trump with the launch of 59 missiles on Syria, and show what consequences Trump has brought on himself through his rash actions. Moscow, Tehran and Beijing have an impetus to finally overcome any lingering hesitation and to completely disengage from the western system. Instead of creating alternative ways to operate in the economic and financial sphere, they should try to replace the current one, making it irrelevant and inconvenient for other nations.
The primary objective for these three nations must be from now on to resolve every dispute between them and form an alliance that goes beyond the mere question of economic or financial convenience. The goal should be to create a cultural and social system that can represent an opportunity for other third countries vis-a-vis a predatory capitalism and a rampant imperialistic approach that Trump appears to have signed onto.
Trump’s actions ultimately worsened the US State of the World. The failure of the military operation involving the launch of the Tomahawks showed the US to be more of a paper tiger today than the unbeatable war machine it depicts itself to be. Decades of corruption at the highest levels of the military-industrial complex have finally started to affect the United State’s ability to wage war. It is an observation that is a taboo amongst the US and its allies, who need to maintain the illusion for deterrence, as well as to allow for the gravy train to continue to line the pockets of those who profit from this corrupt system. Reality shows us that in any real conflict, the United States vulnerability and lack of combat readiness shows.
In a situation like this, the strategy of Moscow and its allies is to produce weapons systems capable of inflicting considerable damage to the United States at low cost, given that Moscow cannot simply print more money and pour debt on the rest of the world in order to finance its wars. A great example of this can be seen with the anti-ship missiles Moscow possesses, which are capable of destroying American aircraft carriers, considered the backbone of the US war strategy. A missile that costs hundreds of thousand of euros can cause damage to an aircraft carrier worth tens of billions of dollars, inflicting a mortal blow to the credibility of American military posture.
If Trump will continue down this destructive path, such as with encouraging the entrance of Montenegro into NATO after an election campaign where he labelled the Atlantic alliance obsolete, he will only get the opposite effect to the one desired, which is to say worse negotiating positions with peer American competitors like Moscow and Beijing. Maybe it is time to wonder whether Trump is really keen on a de-escalation model of international relations, aimed at brokering deals from positions of strength, or whether his ultimate aim is simply to preserve America’s unipolar moment in any possible way, even with war. It is a perspective that should be discussed widely by nations such as Iran, Russia and China in order to find a perfect asymmetrical response through economic, financial, political and social means that avoid a direct conflict. The war between the American elites seems to have come to an end and the neoliberals and neocons seem to have won. Wars and chaos will continue, as with the last decades of US foreign policy. It is a sad prospect that the nations opposing Washington will have to deal with.
The Mother of Bombs Goes to Afghanistan
These are the times where magnitude and size matters. Bombs in number with much heft and presence are being sought to root out those non-state jihadists of the Prophet, destructively maiming and killing all before them in the name of the next heavily drawn out cause.
On Friday, United States armed forces busied themselves with dropping such a weapon of truly lethal size against a country that has had more bombs directed at it than worthy industrial incentives in half a century.
It seemed to rival the announcement of a birth, and it was, in fact, sanctified as the “Mother of All Bombs” known less romantically as the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast. (The only other conventional weapon of greater scale is the physically suggestive Massive Ordnance Penetrator, coming in at a busting 30,000 pounds.)
The use of this particular weapon was tediously familiar, reminding villagers on the ground in Nangarhar in eastern Afghanistan how their country has become fun and fodder for US air strikes since Trump came to power.
The new president, in turn, has built on the murderous momentum ushered in by the outgoing Obama presidency, which stepped up airstrikes in dramatic fashion with the departure of the majority of coalition troops two years ago. Afghanistan remains a vacuum repeatedly filled by failed missions and violent urges.
Bombs of enormous power, short of the nuclear variety, were deployed against an elusive Osama bin Laden in the aftermath of the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The issue then, as now, was his use of labyrinthine tunnel complexes. The weapons of choice then were 15,000 pound “daisy cutters” with a supposedly adept pulverising capability.
In the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Air Force Research Laboratory wished to add more punch to such weapons, designing a MOAB, ostensibly as a deterrent against the soon-to-be-deposed Saddam Hussein.
The 21,600 pound beast was used against a complex of tunnels supposedly designed by Islamic State, killing 36 militants. A subsequent report from Afghan authorities raised that number to almost a hundred, though their US counterparts were staying mum.
“The United States takes the fight against ISIS very seriously,” claimed the historically challenged White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, “and in order to defeat the group we must deny them operational space, which we did.”
General John W. Nicholson, US commander in Afghanistan, referenced the desperate tactics of the ISIS group as a justification for the weapon.
“As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defence.” He further explained that, “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K.”
In the meantime, WikiLeaks insisted on a dark irony to the whole story: those very same tunnels now being pulverised by mother bombs and what not were actually funded with resources from the Central Intelligence Agency.
WikiLeaks was hardly being controversial in mentioning it, citing a report from the New York Times by Mary Anne Weaver noting how the Tora Bora tunnel complex was envisaged and constructed during the war against the Soviet Union. “It’s miles of tunnels, bunkers and base camps, dug deeply into the steep rock walls, had been part of a CIA-financed complex built for the mujahedeen.”
There was a repeated sense that this entire episode was one for show, the usual bullyboy psychology power tends to encourage. For one, would the North Koreans take note of this phallocentric display of might? The regime in Pyongyang has been more erratic, and theatrical, of late, keeping up with the Trump administration’s own sense of thespian bluster.
Using such a weapon also carried various risks, not least of all the prospect of obliterating villagers in proximity of the oxygen hungry blast. In the optimistic and unconvincing overview given by Dawlat Waziri, Afghan ministry spokesman, the bomb had avoided causing mayhem to the civilian population.
“No civilian has been hurt and only the base, which Daesh use to launch attacks in other parts of the province, was destroyed.”
Where such a monstrosity fits into the legitimate canons of international law is hard to see. At worst, it has been destructive to sovereignty and the restrained use of force.
“Through its use of blunt military force on non-state actors in South and West Asia,” Arun Mohan Sukumar solemnly notes, “the US had systematically weakened the restraints that the United Nations imposes on all countries, big and small.”
Blanket justifications for such actions keep pivoting on UN Security Council Resolution 1373, deeming terrorism to be a “threat against international peace and security”, granting states the authority to target terrorism “by all means”. An unfortunate and unguarded choice of words.
The actual impact of the weapon in terms of overall strategy is also shrouded in vague Pentagon speak and speculation, the sort typical in this long, misnamed period called the “War on Terror”. It was, according to one spokesman, merely “projected… that the bomb has the ability to collapse the tunnels” upon combatants operating within them. Assessments would have to follow, and these would not necessarily be conclusive.
What a wonderful sense of purpose for this Easter: a massacre, another sovereign violation and an entire compromise of values in the name of military bravado. All of this merely adds to the fact that Afghanistan has become a military test site for the United States, one where belligerent big boys may test their murderous toys with minimal restraint.
Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge and lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org