When the Pentagon junta culminated a months-long purge by expelling Bannon and Gorka, that was it for the nationalists on matters of national security, the military, and foreign policy. Trump is now isolated in those domains regarding his America-first vision.
In a surprise move, junta member General Kelly has now pounced on Peter Navarro, who has nothing to do with national security, but instead has his own policy shop on trade. Aside from Trump himself, he is the one leading the charge to re-negotiate NAFTA for the benefit of American workers.
Navarro has not been fired yet, though he no longer operates his own shop -- Kelly has demoted him by making him answer to former Goldman Sachs President Globalist Gary Cohn, the chief economic advisor to the President.
The Pentagon and the Wall Street banks are the two most powerful oligarchic factions, and both face existential threats from the America-first movement. The Pentagon controls the Republican Party, and Wall Street the Democrat Party. Since the GOP sits in the White House, the Pentagon got the first crack at their nationalist enemies -- those who are anti-globalist on national security, the military, etc.
But now that those threats have been purged, they are happy to help out their frenemy faction of Wall Street in taking out the threats coming from economic nationalists. They're able to unite around the common threat of "crazy" America-firsters.
And it's not as if General Kelly doesn't know the President's orders on trade: see this article that reproduces almost verbatim a scene where Trump is upset that his economic advisors won't bring him tariffs against China. He expresses his displeasure to Kelly, as though the Chief of Staff were there to carry out the President's vision rather than to sabotage it. Kelly repeats it back -- Yes sir, I understand, you want tariffs.
So what does General Kelly do to help the President get his tariffs? He all but sacks the guy who is the biggest trade hawk in the White House. The Pentagon brass are not only our enemies on matters of national security, but now also on the economy.
This may also explain why it has taken Deep State so long to get around to purging Stephen Miller. An earlier post showed that they are taking out the most dangerous threats first, and that means whoever has enough political capital and influence to realize their goals. That put General Flynn first in line -- he has plenty of connections around Washington, at high levels. Miller was formerly an aide for Jeff Sessions in the Senate -- relatively lower on the food chain.
But it's also because Miller has focused more on economic nationalism (trade policy, immigration's effect on wages and cost-of-living) than on our support for jihadist nations who attack us like Saudi Arabia, or on getting along with Russia. That put him in line behind the security nationalists. But with Navarro's head on the chopping block, Miller's turn will be coming up.
What implication does this have for the NAFTA re-negotiation and other trade matters? Back when the trade team first released their guidelines and principles, I pointed out how little attention manufacturing and re-industrialization was getting. Rather, the goals were to scoop up even more goodies for agriculture and finance, who had already made out like bandits on the original deal.
Reminder: NAFTA gutted our manufacturing while boosting agriculture, and vice versa in Mexico -- they got our factories, we drove their farms out of business.
The whole point of Trump's tirades against NAFTA was that manufacturing uniquely makes working and middle-class people more prosperous, and that farming does not ("All we send Japan is beef"). He's correct. Agriculture made the average person poorer, shorter, and sicker. It was not until the Industrial Revolution completed itself that average people gained back their stature, health, and now had immense wealth on top of it. That also narrowed the inequality gap that had grown so wide under agriculture.
Simply put, if the NAFTA re-negotiations do not move our economy in the direction of re-industrialization, they will be a failure for the economic nationalists. We will never have a prosperous middle and working class by toiling in the Nebraska corn fields, and very few of us will be able to start our own farm-to-table boutique bistro to make a good living off of the foodie trend.
It's either manufacturing or poverty.
Just as we saw the globalists hijack the foreign policy, military, and national security domain, we may very soon see them hijack the trade and economic domain as well. We never thought we'd hear Trump join the "Assad must go" crowd, party with the Saudis, or send more troops to Afghanistan. If Navarro and Miller are purged or at best neutered by demotion, we may start hearing Trump say that the new NAFTA deal is not going to bring back many manufacturing jobs, but the wins are gonna be yuge for the farms.
"Folks, so what if we narrow the trade deficit through boosting beef exports rather than bringing back factories?" That'll go over real well in the Rust Belt that put him over the top.
As in the case of the globalist expansionist military, we know Trump won't believe a word of what they make him say. But what choice will he have when all of his potential teammates have been kicked off the field?
At this point, we can safely say that the nationalists have lost the first major game against Team Globalism, which came in two rounds -- the national security round, and now the economic round. But that doesn't mean that it's a one-off game. There will be future matches to even the score.
It looks like there will be one major battle every year in the ongoing war over globalism or America-first. The nationalists decisively won the battle of 2016, first in the primaries and then against all odds in the general election. Only the head-in-the-sand Panglossians can look at the first year of the Trump administration and believe that the nationalists have had the upper hand. Still, that could change in 2018 as campaign season heats up again, when the nationalists will have greater momentum from the general public.
To win in the future, we must be clear and honest about the present. Where are we being successfully attacked, by whom (individuals but more importantly groups and institutions), and who do we send and what do we have them do to repel the attack and then launch successful incursions of our own again?
Fortunately, a larger and larger share, perhaps even a majority of Trump voters have come around to this overall view of the state of affairs. No serious person any longer views Trump as a dictator, as omnipotent, as imposing his will, etc.
Totally mainstream figures like Hannity, Tucker, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, not to mention Breitbart / Infowars / Etc., have long ago woken up from the fan-fiction mindset, once the reality of the counter-revolution smacked us in the face. And therefore, so have their massive audiences, else they would be getting tuned out.
Fan-fiction and hagiography not only don't appeal to many Trump voters anymore (only a fringe was ever as hardcore as the meme warriors), that approach doesn't motivate them into action against the saboteurs of the America-first agenda.
It bodes well for the upcoming battle of 2018 that such a large chunk of Trump voters is thinking "Why the hell won't those bastards just let Trump do the job he was elected to do?"