April 29, 2017

Who can conduct talks for US, if Deep State has no mouthpiece in Trump?

In the aftermath of the airstrikes on Syria, which contradicted Trump's own vociferous views in an identical context from 2013, world leaders did not know how to react -- was this apparent contradiction a one-time fluke, or was it part of a broader reversal of Trump's long-held views on foreign policy?

Now they have a clear answer, with the administration pushing regime change in Syria as non-negotiable (compared to one week before when Tillerson, Haley, and Spicer said "no regime change"), burning bridges with Russia (compared to "getting along with Russia"), and fixating on North Korea (despite the topic never coming up during the primary or general election campaign).

Right after the airstrike, I said this is not Trump acting voluntarily, given his lengthy history exhorting our presidents not to do things like this, and his unwavering big-picture goals to get along with Russia, not get involved in so-called humanitarian interventions or nation-building ("regime change"), and so on.

Rather, he was having his arm twisted by the military faction of the Deep State, mainly the Pentagon. It does not have to involve literal arm-twisting, or threatening force directly against him. All they need to say is:

"Look, we've had this big-picture plan for a long time, and nothing has changed out there in the world to make us change the big picture, certainly not you getting elected. What does someone outside the government or military know about geopolitics and war? Russia is our #1 enemy in the world, Iran is our #1 enemy in the Middle East, and Syria is allied with both of them. That means we're going to fuck around with Syria, whether that conflicts with your pro-Russian, anti-regime change agenda or not. You can either get on board with us, and make up some BS about being 'flexible' in order to save face in public -- or you can publicly speak out against our vision, while we go ahead and run with it anyway. Do you feel like starting off your presidency with the image of someone who doesn't even have authority over the military that you are nominally the Commander-in-Chief of?"

Faced with that choice, of course Trump has to go along and publicly support the failed vision that he has been savaging for over a decade.

Now things get interesting. At least one world leader is 100% wise to the situation between the anti-interventionist President and the suicidally interventionist Deep State. As it happens, he's one of the key figures in the war that future historians will probably describe as leading up to WWIII -- Assad from Syria. In a recent interview, he lays out the situation in crystal-clear detail:

Telesur: How do you assess the current policy of Donald Trump in the world, and in Syria in particular?

Bashar al-Assad: The American President has no policies. There are policies drawn by the American institutions which control the American regime which are the intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, the big arms and oil companies, and financial institutions, in addition to some other lobbies which influence American decision-making. The American President merely implements these policies, and the evidence is that when Trump tried to move on a different track, during and after his election campaign, he couldn’t. He came under a ferocious attack. As we have seen in the past few weeks, he changed his rhetoric completely and subjected himself to the terms of the deep American state, or the deep American regime. That’s why it is unrealistic and a complete waste of time to make an assessment of the American President’s foreign policy, for he might say something; but he ultimately does what these institutions dictate to him. This is not new. This has been ongoing American policy for decades.

First, Assad believes that Trump's anti-interventionist stance is totally sincere. What explains the reversal is the strength of the Deep State that Trump is opposed to, on the matter of interventionism -- they literally control the armed forces, so how exactly is Trump going to tell them "no"?

If Assad just wanted to score cheap points, he could have said that Trump was just a phony or con artist on the campaign trail, or that he was a mush-headed flip-flopper. We hear these moronic comments about Trump's personality all the time from cynical idiots in the West, but they are wrong (otherwise he would have flip-flopped on TPP, Supreme Court nominee, etc., where the military is not involved). It's encouraging to know that at least Assad does not blame Trump personally, but rather our Deep State.

He also doesn't put the blame on hamburger-eating Americans chanting "USA!" and waving flags. He knows that Trump won because those American people are sick of interventionism. Again, contrast with the cynical idiots in the West, who want to blame "Fox News watchers" along with "temperamental Trump".

Presumably, Assad has discussed his assessment of the situation with Putin or other high-ranking Russians, and perhaps with other world leaders in Iran, China, etc. They were all confused after the airstrike, and have been trying to figure out objectively what the truth is, in order to best prepare for the future. Who knows how many other leaders share Assad's correct assessment of "Trump vs. Deep State"? But it's at least being discussed as a serious hypothesis.

Note that it is irrelevant what you the reader believe explains Trump's apparent reversal. We are not major players in this game, while Assad and other leaders are. It's their perceptions that matter.

Now here's the problem: if Assad believes that it's the Deep State that is thinking up plans, executing them, and coming up with responses, why would he want to interact with Trump? He explicitly says that Trump might say something contrary to the will of Deep State, making his words not only meaningless but in the opposite direction of what will truly happen. When Trump says "no to regime change," it's guaranteed that the official Deep State plan is "yes to regime change".

The same applies to the chief diplomat, Secretary of State Tillerson, who also went on record saying that there would be no regime change, and Assad's fate would be left up to the Syrian people -- only to be saying the exact opposite just one week later. The same applies to UN Ambassador Haley, a major go-between for the international community, as well as Press Secretary Spicer, the official voice of the White House.

But still, Assad, Putin, etc. would like to communicate with the American side in the conflict. Discussing goals, deconfliction, entering into negotiations, and so on. However, they have no one to interact with on the American side, since all of the official figures cannot be relied upon to speak on behalf of the Deep State. Not Trump, Tillerson, or Haley.

Sure, Trump or Tillerson could read statements on behalf of Deep State -- but not engage in a back-and-forth conversation across the conference table. They would have to keep taking a break to check in with Deep State. The other side would say, "Why don't you just send a Deep State representative instead?" But agreeing to that would make Trump lose face, unless he could frame it as the representative having more extensive knowledge and experience in this one particular area -- not as that rep being the duly selected voice of Deep State.

Normally, this is not a problem because the President is in fact a voice for Deep State, because he has no real priorities of his own, and is just hungry for power, or else he is a true believer in the goals of Deep State. Now that the President has taken a principled stand against the status quo of the foreign policy Establishment, his counterparts in other countries will always have to ask, "Is that Trump speaking, or is that Deep State speaking? We only want to hear from those who wield true military authority."

There is one possible Cabinet member who can speak on behalf of Deep State, because he was not part of the coordinated message saying "no more regime change in Syria", and therefore does not have a record of changing his message 180 degrees within one week. That effort came at the end of March, and included the Secretary of State, UN Ambassador, and Press Secretary, not to mention Trump saying this back to 2013.

But who else is missing from that list, someone who is centrally involved in foreign policy and war? The Secretary of Defense, one of "the Generals" who is much more a member of Deep State than outsiders like Trump or Tillerson.

In fact, Mattis did hold a joint press conference in London with his British counterpart, also at the end of March. He was pointedly asked about the administration's policy on regime change in Syria, and was it different from that of Obama, who was pro-change? Mattis dodges that question, which is better than saying "I know the President wants to end the plan for regime change, but the Pentagon does not share that view." Still, it's striking that he was silent, when the other major international relations figures were public and unequivocal about ending the regime change policy toward Syria.

(Vice-President Pence also refrained from joining the "no regime change" effort in late March, but undertaking major foreign negotiations would seem to go beyond his office.)

Trump has just given Mattis more latitude in determining the number of Americans to deploy in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, etc. Perhaps he will soon be delegating Mattis as the official representative for the American Deep State in any future discussions or negotiations. Either that, or the diplomatic channels could be shut down entirely with no reliable voice on the American side.

On the one hand, Trump could publicly lose his reputation for authority; on the other hand, there could be an end to discussions between the two sides in an increasingly hot war. I don't pretend to know which choice is better for the American national interest, off the top of my head, but that's where we are now.

April 26, 2017

US incapable of imposing its will since WWII: Asia and Latin America

First we gave a new argument against interventionism, namely that for awhile we have been incapable of imposing our will and enjoying some kind of spoils of war, whether they are material or geopolitical -- not just kicking some ass and destroying some buildings. Then we reviewed the history of our successful use of force, from the early settler days through WWII.

That long phase of using force to expand our sphere of influence ended after we subdued Japan with atomic bombs. Let's look at the record by region. We'll save the Middle East and North Africa for a follow-up post, since it's more recent and well known, and more topical to current foreign policy debates. This post is still more of a history.

East Asia

The first hint of our decline came with the Korean War of the early 1950s. Our main geopolitical goal was to make the Korean peninsula a bulwark against the rising Communist government in mainland China, along with Japan that we had already conquered and occupied. While we did manage to get half of Korea into our sphere of influence, we lost the other half to China's sphere, and the stalemate remains unresolved to this day, with the South and North still at war.

Today we are even less capable of imposing our will on the Korean peninsula for our own material or strategic benefit, compared to the government of Truman and Eisenhower's day. Withdraw our troops, however gradually, and knock off our provocative military exercises on the border in the meantime, and we won't have a Korean military problem at all. The countries in the region might -- fine, let them worry about it themselves (and during that unstable period, their manufacturing might suffer and have to be re-located back to the good ol' USA).

Worse still was the Vietnam War of the 1960s and early '70s, meant to incorporate it into our sphere and keep it out of the Chinese Communist sphere, where it did in fact end up. That was an even greater disaster than Korea, since in Indochina we didn't even get half of what we'd come for, and we spent far more time, blood, and treasure. And with such "best and brightest" minds guiding the plans, this was the first real wake-up call that we could no longer impose our will and gobble up another territory to enjoy the spoils of. At first, the elites just assumed it was a horrible fluke -- you never win 'em all, let's try harder in the next match. But the pattern was becoming clearer.

South Asia

We have tried to impose our will only on Afghanistan, leaving the larger nations of India and Pakistan alone. This began in the 1980s when we began using the Mujahideen as proxies against the Soviet Union, and although the Soviets did eventually leave, it was not the United States that would take over the region. Instead it was the jihadists themselves, with the Taliban being backed by regional power Pakistan rather than doing the bidding of their American patrons of the Reagan years. After 15 years of occupation and war, we still cannot beat back the Taliban insurgency, who control more territory over time. We have managed, however, to distract the jihadists well enough for mineral extraction companies of our rival China to swoop in and dig out tons of mineral wealth in Afghanistan.


After Korea, the next rude awakening for the WWII generation was the loss of Cuba, which we had earlier incorporated after the Spanish-American War during our period of successful interventions. But as our capability to impose our will weakened during the 1950s, Cuba revolted and joined the Soviet sphere of influence instead. We did try to quickly intervene to crush the revolution and impose our puppet again (Bay of Pigs Invasion, 1961), but it failed, and even after decades of crushing economic sanctions against the Castro government, we never did recover it into our sphere.

A "Second Cuba" could have taken hold in the Dominican Republic in 1965 when a civil war broke out between factions loyal to the old American-installed dictator and socialists / reformists. The US invaded directly and put down the revolt, with another American puppet taking the presidency in '66. That success proved brief, however, and by 1978 the DR would be governed mostly by the two parties that came out of the socialist / reformist side of the Civil War, rather than American puppets.

This makes you wonder, even if the US had re-installed Batista or another puppet in Cuba, would that have lasted forever? Probably not, judging from similar cases. Maybe he would've coasted through the '60s, but there would probably have been another revolt or an election that would have brought a watered-down socialist into power, lasting through today.

In Haiti, we invaded in 1994 to re-instate the winner of the election who had been sent into exile by a coup (not engineered by the CIA). The coup leaders stepped down once they saw our armed forces on the way, and it was bloodless. However, what was the point? The elected president, Aristide, was not our puppet or anti-Communist (he came from a liberation theology background). He was not going to send material spoils of war flowing up north to America for getting him back in office. It was just a publicity stunt so that Clinton could show he was on board with the neo-con project of using the US military to spread or uphold democracy abroad.

We did invade Grenada successfully in 1983, but we didn't get any spoils from this pointless little island, whether material or geopolitical. It was a PR morale boost coming two days after the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut.

Central America

This region had come firmly under our control during the so-called Banana Wars of the turn of the 20th century through the 1930s. However, a major test of our dominance there arose during the 1980s. During the Reagan years, civil wars erupted throughout Central America, where peasant guerrillas revolted against the military strongmen who represented the landed interests.

We supported the military governments and their paramilitary squads -- funds, arms, training, and diplomatic and propaganda cover. Although we may not have invaded directly, these groups were proxy forces of ours. We wound up on the losing side, however, and these countries have become generic third-world socialist countries that would presumably have fallen under the Soviet sphere if it had been several decades earlier. Not in our sphere, at any rate.

In El Salvador, we backed the military government that lost to the guerrilla movement. The upshot of the peace accords in 1992 was to de-militarize the government, leaving it impotent to implement the will of Uncle Sam, and to empower the guerrilla interests into a disarmed political party. Although the landed interests party initially enjoyed power, that began to weaken by the 2000s, and as of 2009 the party of the former guerrillas (FMLN) controls the presidency, the majority of the legislature, and the majority of mayoralties.

In Guatemala, we staged a coup in 1954 against the elected reformist president (Arbenz), largely at the behest of the United Fruit Company, who lobbied the government about Guatemala otherwise falling into the Soviet sphere of influence. Even after a successful coup, and decades of American puppet dictators, United Fruit became less and less profitable, ultimately getting rid of all of their Guatemalan holdings by 1972. There is little of geopolitical significance to Guatemala -- hence the term Banana Republics, rather than Bulwarks Against Communism -- so with the end of United Fruit, we lost most of what mattered there. Successfully keeping our puppets in place during the 1980s, and finding Right governments afterwards, is little consolation prize, with no bigger picture in mind.

In Nicaragua during the late 1970s, the Sandinistas overthrew our client regime (the Somoza family), and took control first as a military junta and then as the winners of an actual election. We supported the Contras (armed rebels made up of anyone against the Sandinistas). After a decade of war, both sides were disarmed, and a series of elections beginning in 1990 brought the Right parties into power. That anti-Sandinista coalition soon fragmented into splinter parties, and as of 2006 the Sandinistas have regained the presidency (in landslide victories), and a vast majority of the legislature. Seeing the Right victories of the '90s and early 2000s as a respite between Sandinista rule going back to the late '70s, Nicaragua has been outside our sphere of influence for some time and has become another third-world socialist state.

The clearest sign of our imperial decline in Latin America, though, is Panama -- there's a major canal there you might have heard of, one that we built when we had control over the country during our imperial ascent (early 1900s). In 1977, the US signed the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, by which we agreed to voluntarily give up control over the major maritime path between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. By 1999, the transfer of the canal to Panama became complete.

I know, you're thinking, "Panama... didn't we launch that successful invasion and toppling of Noriega?" In 1989, yes we did replace Noriega, who was a military dictator doing the US' bidding during most of the decade. He got too uppity and we replaced him with a Right candidate who ran in an election. However, that was still a loss because Noriega was not just a generic Right candidate -- he was a military dictator on the payroll of the CIA running drugs and arms to the other American client forces in the region. His replacement was no Noriega. Again, why did we use our military to depose a dictator rather than seize back full control over the Panama Canal, like a strong empire would have done?

South America

Even during our imperial heyday, South America was not within our sphere of influence like the Caribbean and Central America were. There were a series of socialist and similar revolts, and military counter-revolutions, beginning in the 1960s and '70s. We sided with the military, but it was more of lending a helping hand to fellow travelers since they were not our client states with American-installed puppets, who would not survive without our involvement, and whose armies were mere proxy forces of Uncle Sam. This includes Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia.

I mention these non-examples to show that some major cases you may have heard of about "CIA coups" -- like Pinochet in Chile -- were more of an endogenous process that we merely helped out, if the countries lay beyond our sphere of influence.


Since we have failed to impose our will on these countries for geopolitical strategic gain, have we at least gotten something out of them economically? As already discussed, the answer is "no".

What, then, do the economic trajectories of these countries spell for the fortunes of the American people?

During an expansionist imperial phase, newly acquired territories serve at best as plantations or other resource bins to be exploited. Sugar cane, bananas, coffee, and so on. That's how the British empire used its colonies -- have them do the lowest-level economic activity, and do the higher-level stuff yourself. The last thing you'd want to do is have conquered peoples and places acting as rivals to your homegrown high-level economy.

But that's exactly what we've done with the regions that used to be under our sphere of influence, especially in Latin America after NAFTA and related trade agreements. These "developing nations" are replacing our manufacturing, whether it's clothing or automobiles, rather than remaining banana and coffee plantations. Our sphere of influence in East Asia (Japan and South Korea) are killing us even more in replacing our high-level economic activity, rather than just sending us seaweed and rice.

The process over the past several decades looks more like decolonization than continued imposition of imperial will. Not only are we no longer pulling the geopolitical puppet strings in these countries, we have encouraged them to form their own domestic industrialization programs to take them beyond plantation economies. That's like India after the fall of the British Empire during the two World Wars, not India during the Victorian era.

April 24, 2017

Back when US could still impose its will: Founding through WWII

Let's follow up in detail on the post about the most convincing argument against interventionism being that we are no longer capable of imposing our will on other societies and enjoying the spoils of war. First, we'll look at the long phase of our successes in imposing our will, through WWII, and the next post will go into the long phase of our inability to impose our will.

All empires begin with a seeming invincibility -- gobbling up more and more territory, bringing more and more subjects under their rule, and enjoying more and more spoils of conquest, whether material or strategic / geopolitical. Nothing succeeds like success, drawing out one victory into an extended stage of expansion. We don't need to go into what makes some particular society start to grow into an empire, rather than some other society (see Peter Turchin).

In American history, this began almost right after we landed in the New World, as the Indian tribes attacked us and made us band together in collective self-defense. With that collective solidarity, we were then able to expand further and further at their expense -- the cohesive will destroy the fragmented. We then grew at the expense of our British homeland, then the French, then the Spanish, then the Mexican, and all along still against the various Indian tribes we encountered. That takes us up to the closing of the Frontier around 1890.

But even after that, we kept expanding and expanding, beginning with the Spanish-American War in 1898, which extended our sphere of influence into the Caribbean and the South Pacific, followed by a series of invasions and interventions throughout Central America and the Caribbean, most notably to secure the Panama Canal. Lasting from the turn of the 20th century through the 1930s, this stage has been referred to as the Banana Wars.

Our final event of successful intervention was subduing Japan during WWII, using the mother of all intervention tactics -- dropping nuclear bombs on two of their cities. That more or less rounded out our growing sphere in the Pacific, against the Chinese sphere.

What characterized these successful interventions, as compared to our inability afterward?

Whether or not we colonized the land with our own people, we added more territory and people to our sphere of influence (rather than them remaining truly independent or under another nation's sphere).

We left their material way of life more or less the same, so that our new territory could continue to provide us with spoils for the indefinite future. No use killing the goose that laid the golden egg, whether that's sugar, oil, or whatever else. More for us, less for them -- but not destroying their economy.

And we brought about stability as soon as possible after defeating them, in order to get those spoils flowing as quickly and as trouble-free as possible. The only difference was that now the stable order was presided over by a leader of our choosing, not of their own.

The spoils did not have to be a cash cow kind of thing, it could have been a strategic defense position against encroachments by other strong nations. Still, that required us to incorporate them into our sphere of influence, leave their livelihoods more or less alone, and maintain law-and-order. What good is a defense outpost that cannot support its inhabitants and that is subject to turmoil? That would hardly make a solid block against incursions.

Or it could be a relatively unchanged society that becomes a client state or strategic ally after we make them a geopolitical offer they can't refuse (like Japan).

A simple test is to see whether the territory we targeted ended up looking like and serving like just another state of the Union, even if the residents did not get citizenship. As we acquired more and more territory within what is now our current borders, we did not destroy the land or leave it in a backward state of chaos. At most we removed the inhabitants if we were colonizing the land, but did not wreck it otherwise -- we wanted that new land to support our way of life and possibly even feed further expansion.

Crucially, none of these places that we absorbed into our sphere of influence did so willingly, proving that (once upon a time) we were in fact capable of imposing our will by force. They did not ask us for incorporation, and we did not use mutually beneficial negotiations. We used force to defeat them and then took them over for our own benefit. They figured it was not worth it to revolt and get defeated all over again. If they did revolt against, say, our local puppet, we either suppressed the rebellion or installed someone else who was more to their liking, but still our puppet.

Next we will look into the history of failure in imposing our will in order to enjoy spoils, which began right after WWII, as we tried to incorporate the Korean peninsula into our sphere of influence (against the Chinese sphere), but only ended up getting half of it, and leaving the war in a stalemate that continues to today.

A better argument against interventionism: "We're incapable of imposing our will"

Now that the moldy Bush-era "Axis of Evil" framework has taken over the foreign policy agenda (against Trump's wishes, but in line with Deep State), it's worth taking a new approach against interventionism.

Interventionists portray the US as a force for the greater global good, whether they think of the role as more of a policeman or a guardian angel. Such a police-angel must be morally upright, or else it will deliberately punish the innocent and neglect the needy; it must be highly knowledgeable, or else it cannot know who deserves punishing and who deserves saving; and it must be capable and powerful enough to translate its intentions into results.

Usually the objections against this stance are that the US government is not so morally upstanding, choosing to reward wicked people while punishing good people. This is too subjective of an argument, and it never convinces anyone who was not already susceptible to the conclusion.

When we were empowering the Mujahideen in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union during the 1980s, who was relatively more wicked -- the jihadists or the Communists? That depends on where you're coming from in values, and there is too much disagreement to reach a consensus about whether we were morally in the right to choose the jihadist rather than the Communist side in that war.

Somewhat less subjective is the objection that we rarely know enough about the situation in order to make the right choice, even assuming we were morally pure. In foreign affairs, we are often in the dark about who represents what values and goals, who their allies are, who their enemies are, the histories and reputations of all involved, and so on and so forth. Let alone what can be taken at face-value and what is deceit. That makes it hard to know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. Intervening under such opacity? -- "Forget Jake, it's Chinatown."

This argument is also easy for the interventionists to dismiss, though, by saying that our intelligence agencies, consultants, academics, etc., collectively know "enough" to achieve our goals. The key is that it's subjective how much knowledge is "enough" knowledge for any particular case.

They may also argue that when it looks like we "didn't know" and picked the "wrong" side, maybe you're just objecting to which side we chose, for reasons of differing values (back to the first problem). That is, the CIA and others knew damn well who the Mujahideen were, and what they were all about, and our Deep State simply preferred their values and goals over the Communists -- not that they were blind, lazy, or duped by the jihadists.

I think the most compelling argument against interventionism, here and now, is the abysmal track record we've had since the end of WWII of actually proving capable of imposing our will on those who resist us, and then enjoying the spoils of war. We tend to destroy the places where we intervene, preventing us from enjoying any spoils at all. If we can't enjoy it, then nobody else can either.

After supporting the Mujahideen, did we enjoy the spoils of war in Afghanistan during the 1990s as the Soviet Union collapsed? No, and we still do not after direct invasion for over 15 years. The country is under greater control of our enemy, the Taliban. Our rival, China, is reaping the benefits of mineral extraction in the region. It is another case of being incapable of imposing our will to get spoils, whether material or geopolitical.

This is the least abstract or intellectual argument against interventionism -- avoiding discussions about competing moral worldviews, or decision-making under uncertainty -- but it is also the most straightforward, concrete, and difficult to argue against.

In the next post, I will look at the track record of our success, and then utter lack of success, beginning with the first settlers and going up to the present. That requires some detail, so it deserves a post of its own. In the meantime, don't object to the basic framework by arguing about specific cases -- do that after the next post is up discussing specific cases of success and failure.

Aside from being less of a subjective argument, this approach fits better into the current zeitgeist, where most Americans are exasperated at our continued interventions that never yield any benefits to us.

It's like Trump kept saying during the campaign -- "we don't win anymore". He was not saying we should try to cheer up and let loose on the battlefield, and then maybe we'll start winning the wars we're already in. He was saying we keep foolishly thinking that our military is an unquestionable magic wand, but it doesn't ever end up actually delivering the goods (spoils), so let's stop kidding ourselves about our omnipotence, and just declare victory and come home -- where we can actually produce some real results.

April 18, 2017

Violent Left and Deep State now indistinguishable

There's a lot to unpack from the Battle of Berkeley over the weekend, where an army of Trump supporters took over downtown libtard central against a gang of Antifa ("anti-fascist"). See here for a first-hand account and observations of how both sides behaved.

Now that Antifa has actually had to fight a real battle, rather than showing up unchallenged, we can start to fill in a lot of the gaps about who they are and what they're about. An earlier post drew attention to the fact that they are not fighting against the other side's "speech" but against their right to free "assembly". They want to prevent the other side from congregating, getting pumped up as a group, and potentially acting as a collective force toward their goals. Keeping them from congregating amounts to isolating and atomizing them, preventing them from doing much toward their goals.

* * *

After seeing how Antifa interacts with a real crowd on the other side, we see even more about what their role is -- a police force. They're not just any old group that wants to occupy a territory against some rival group, like fans of one sports team taking over a certain bar and not welcoming fans of rival teams. They want to keep a space clear of the other side in the same way that the police want to keep the streets free from criminals, and they are willing to use force in order to make that happen.

They don't merely shove the other side out of the space, they surround downed opponents and beat them down. They use weapons that are only for cruelty, humiliation, and torture, like the glass bottles and brass-knuckled gloves wielded by that dreadlocked bitch who got mowed down by a Trump supporter. And of course the ubiquitous pepper spray that the actual police use, only here to inflict pain rather than to simply disperse a crowd. They are not trying to "win" against another team, but to punish those who they see as the lowest of criminals.

It is not just random terrorizing like you see from gangs who randomly target victims just so everybody in the neighborhood understands who's boss. Antifa directs their violence only against those who they charge and convict of certain crimes, and their violence is a kind of norm enforcement.

At first glance, you might say it's a kind of vigilante justice, coming from private citizens rather than any branch of the government. And yet there is nothing organic about their banding together, in the way that concerned citizens do when there's a crime spree under way in their neighborhood. The members of Antifa do not live next to each other or have other organic social bonds, at least across the whole group that shows up.

Instead, it is more like a deputized posse that is recruited and organized by the state. Anybody who wants to enforce certain norms against certain people, show up to the sheriff's office and we'll deputize you to use force against the bad guys. Indeed, the actual Berkeley police were nowhere to be seen, proving that they had temporarily transferred their authority to the thugs of Antifa. It would look too bad for the official police if they were raining down blows on Trump supporters, so let's just give a little wink at Antifa and let them do the violent policing against political enemies of the Establishment.

And we'll look the other way if you guys want to punish the criminals before they've even committed an illegal act -- there may not be a law against supporting Trump or putting American over global interests, but it is still a violation of our norms, and that is no less of a crime against our norms just because there's no government law against it. Merely showing up on the pro-Trump side is proof of committing this crime of allegiance to the wrong group (America vs. the world), so no further bad acts need to be committed for you guys to punish them violently.

* * *

It is inaccurate to use the phrase "thought crime" since they don't care what you believe or think or say, which are individual activities that can be done in isolation and generally don't threaten change to how the world works. They're primarily against you belonging to a certain group and acting collectively to advance its interests, whether voting for Trump or showing up for one of his rallies. This is more of a social crime -- a crime of allegiance to the wrong group. Specifically, the bad guys are to be punished for disloyalty or treason against the globalist side.

Notice that the Violent Left is no longer raging against the Right -- it's anybody who wants American interests to come before those of foreign interests. That includes just about everybody in the middle, moderate, or Independent range of the spectrum. And in fact, the Trump army began by laying waste to the Right during the GOP primaries. Antifa is not fighting against the theocratic and Puritanical crusaders who followed Ted Cruz. And they are not fighting against people who are harassing abortion clinics, burning books or other media that corrupt the youth, or other stereotypical right-wing extremism.

In fact, if that kind of right-wing behavior got out of hand, the Trump army would turn out to dampen it down or put it out. These are the people who got sick of the GOP when it went too far in the right-wing direction during the '80s and '90s, and backed Ross Perot or grudgingly Bill Clinton. Compared to a typical group of conservatives or Right-wingers, the Trump brawlers are more likely to have tattoos, have permissive views toward pornography, and rarely or never attend church, all of which place them lower on being driven by concerns about purity, sanctity, and taboo.

So it makes more sense to call them Normalizers, who intervene en masse when the pendulum swings too far in either direction. It happens to be swinging too far to the left now, so they come off as right-wingers. But circa 1990, it was swinging too far to the right (Tipper Gore and the PMRC), and they came off more as left-wingers.

This also explains their fumbling for descriptions: in such a polarized climate as ours, anyone less puritanical than the Mormons is a permissive libertarian to be kicked out of the Right, and anyone less multicultural than La Raza is a bigoted conservative to be kicked out of the Left.

* * *

Portraying a group like Antifa as a deputized posse of the state could be more literal than figurative. The Deep State has always infiltrated and co-opted groups that began as anti-Establishment, to turn them around and serve the shadow government's own ends. This is even more likely for very old groups like Antifa and the KKK where the operatives have had plenty of time to do their work, as opposed to fresh new organic movements like the Bernie or the Trump movements.

Threats to the Establishment could come from the Left or the Right, requiring a two-pronged approach. In each prong, the idea is to inflame the emotions of extremists and turn them against the mainstream majority to punish them for questioning the Establishment. On the Right, people's emotions are inflamed more by apocalyptic religion (the Judaizer cults that flock to Ted Cruz), while on the Left their emotions are inflamed by apocalyptic violence (the guerrilla wannabes who join Antifa). Both of these emotionally volatile groups can then be turned against normal Americans to keep them demoralized, apathetic, and bowing out of the political arena.

The two-pronged strategy of the Deep State -- instigate Antifa thugs on the Left and inflame the Mormons on the Right -- came out into the open when CIA operative Evan McMullin tweeted the following about the Alt-Right:

He had already publicly tried to derail the Trump movement by duping the Mormons in Utah, where all of his energy and funding was focused. After stoking the emotions of the crazy Right, he tries to stoke the emotions of the crazy Left, complete with an emoji reminding them to "punch a Nazi".

The McMuffin campaign was an abject failure by every measure, and the rout of Antifa by the Trump army in Berkeley only confirms how disastrously the Deep State strategy is breaking down. Normal Americans have had enough with the abuse from the moralistic Right and the moralistic Left threatening them with ostracism, damnation, and beatdowns just for wanting a normal American society and not some theocratic or communistic dystopia.

The only open question is how desperately Deep State tries to salvage their campaign. They may be stretched too thin from their push to embroil America in a series of pointless wars abroad, and not have enough capital to mobilize the cults of the Left and Right against Americans back home. Or they may decide to give up on adding more nations to its sphere of influence abroad, in order to double down on punishments for Americans who betray the globalist government by pushing for America-first policies. Only time will tell.

April 17, 2017

On Korea, what is Trump's history of comments?

Now that North Korea is becoming the next big foreign policy focus, we should see what Trump has said on the matter over the years. Given the Deep State pressure that has led to a reversal on Syria (strikes, regime change), it's possible that they will go contrary to Trump's own true goals for Korea as well.

Here is every tweet he's ever written about Korea. Not much at all, just over 20 tweets before the election, compared to hundreds about Syria.

More shockingly, this is the only thing he said about them during the entire election season, indeed since 2014:

During the VP debate, his team tweeted again that she's weak on Korea.

His only reference to Korea was to talk about a broader pattern of Hillary and co. letting nuclear weapons pile up in hostile countries. Not so much an attack on the country itself, as on "our very stupid leaders" for letting them gain on us.

He fired off a series of tweets around April 2013, when the North had been threatening to shut down the Kaesong industrial park that is run by the North and South, amidst generic saber rattling against the South and the US, who were conducting their annual joint military drills that the North sees as a provocation so close to their border. Trump puts the blame on China, saying they don't eat without China's permission, and they ought to keep their client from insulting and threatening the US so flagrantly.

Nowhere does he discuss them as a serious threat to the American homeland, although he likely saw them as a threat to our tens of thousands of soldiers who are stationed in the South.

And in fact it is South Korea that Trump has always argued is the real threat to American greatness. We provide their national defense for around half of what it actually costs, and they are a major economic competitor, especially for manufacturing. In essence, we are paying for our own de-industrialization, and militarily protecting that off-shoring target to boot! Without Uncle Sam providing their defense, South Korea would not be able to massively subsidize their domestic industries and suck all of those manufacturing jobs out of America.

That's a far harsher tone than he takes with North Korea, for whom he chides China, and whose threat is annoying bluster rather than de-industrializing our economy and costing us a fortune to provide their defense. Why aren't they paying the full costs, plus a 20% mercenary fee? Or how about half of Samsung's profits (currently $7 billion)?

Deep State's goal for the Korean peninsula is to wipe out the North even if it risks destroying the South, just so it can cross off another nation that had eluded incorporation into the American sphere of influence during the Cold War. There is zero of strategic value there. If adding a defeated and worthless NK to the American sphere of influence requires us to hemorrhage money for SK's defense, and thereby also our continued de-industrialization and impoverishment of the American people -- well, it's worth it to the elites whose hyper-competitiveness pushes them to expand at any cost (to others).

And now that we know true-Trump's feelings about what our real priorities are in the Korean peninsula, we will be able to tell if he's able to pursue them or if Deep State continues to advance its agenda. True-Trump's goal is to get US soldiers out of SK, or collect an absolute fortune for us to remain, and to thereby also deal a blow to their industrial competitiveness, now that they'll have to pay for their own defense and less on subsidies to Samsung. Suddenly American manufacturing workers are looking a lot more attractive relative to South Koreans.

If Korean policy unfolds as though they're dusting off a copy of Bush's Axis of Evil speech, then we'll know that Trump still has not gotten enough of his men into key positions in the military and foreign policy machines.

April 16, 2017

Poll: Trump's base least supportive of Syria strike

In the wake of the airstrike on Syria, everyone took notice of how negatively Trump's most hardcore supporters reacted, whether they struggled to rationalize the airstrike after their initial gut rejection of it, or jumped off the Trump train entirely, or fell somewhere in between.

Generally speaking, those who are newer to voting Republican were the most initially turned off. Those who were content, perhaps eager, to vote for Romney last time or God forbid McCain before that, had an easier time rationalizing or outright cheering on the strike. It's just the kind of move that Romney or McCain or Bush would have done, and indeed these figures suddenly found respect for a man they'd been maligning for years.

It would be an electoral mistake to discount these new Republican voters, or even shove them out the door as fair-weather friends. If only partisan Republicans vote next time, Trump will get wiped out just as bad as McCain and Romney did.

The GOP and Trump in particular needs these new Republican voters, and a large part of his appeal to disillusioned Independents and Democrats was shaking up the Establishment status quo. He was keen to emphasize the change in priorities he sought for foreign policy -- Iraq War was a disaster, Assad's a bad guy but he's fighting ISIS so let him stay, let's get along with Russia, and why do we serve as South Korea's military for free while they steal all of our manufacturing plants?

Certainly we should not believe that every new Republican was pissing their pants like some of the alt right Twitter people, but that is simply the tail of a distribution that had shifted in the "less approving" direction. If 20-something red-hats are pissing their pants, it means that the average Trump fan had also moved in that direction of feeling let down, even if not so extreme.

YouGov conducted a poll after the airstrikes to gauge support across various demographic groups. Since all of the questions are variations on the same theme (interventionist vs. not), the pattern of responses is similar across the questions.

On the whole, the key demographic groups who put Trump over the top on Election Day are the most ambivalent or turned off by the strikes -- Independents compared to Republicans, lower income rather than higher income, and Midwest region compared to the South or Northeast (the West is also highly opposed, but West Coasters didn't vote for him).

The first question asks at the most general level, is your view that "It’s best for the future of our country to be active in world affairs," or "We should pay less attention to problems overseas and concentrate on problems here at home"? Independents chose the America-first answer 44-37, while Republicans were about split at 45-46. Those with family income under $50K chose America-first at 44-40, those with $50-100K at 45-42, and only those with more than $100K gave the globalist response at 51-37. Midwesterners were the most America-first at 48-42, Westerners 39-38, Southerners slightly pro-globalist at 44-42, and Northeasterners even more globalist at 43-37.

Look through the other questions if you want, but the same basic pattern shows up. Since they allow "Not sure" answers, look at the responses that go definitively against the Establishment consensus. For example, on the question of supporting the airstrikes, the somewhat/strongly oppose response is more common in the Midwest (34%) and West (38%), than in the South (31%) or the Northeast (28%).

So which demographics resonated the most with the strikes? Wealthy Republicans (or Democrats) from the Northeast, AKA the NeverTrumpers who will sabotage any of the America-first agenda, and will never vote for him in 2020. Middle-class Independents from the Midwest, i.e. the people who put him in the White House, are the most unsettled by the apparent abrupt shift from campaign promises.

Nobody appreciates that the culture wars are largely fought within the elite level, and that working-class people don't pay any mind to abortion, tranny bathrooms, white privilege, etc. They are focused on bread-and-butter issues because their basic needs are less secure. It's only those who don't have to worry about income, food, housing, and so on, who have the time and mindset to indulge in post-material concerns like gay marriage, tort reform, etc.

Foreign policy is almost an entirely elite obsession -- as the data show, most working-class people don't give a shit about the rest of the world (not that they wish it any specific harm), and want that money spent right here on things they can actually enjoy. Roads without potholes, universal healthcare, whatever.

Only the yuppies have all of that lower stuff covered on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and turn their minds more toward airy-fairy things like "America's greatness in the world," namely taking more and more of the world into an American sphere of influence.

Being managerial types, they diddle themselves as they vicariously imagine themselves as the Chief Executive over a sprawling geopolitical empire, and how many more mergers and acquisitions can be done by the end of the term. They're the ones who ejaculated when Trump launched missiles at Syria, who have resisted joining America Inc. and must be crushed in a hostile takeover if they will not voluntarily be added to our portfolio of client states.

Ditto for regional differences: the Establishment along the East Coast is obsessed with "America's standing in the world," while Midwesterners are too removed from the centers of power to care that much.

The reality is the exact opposite of the "bread and circus" narrative about why we're bombing some place again for no reason. It's not to give the proles something explodey to cheer about while they wave an American flag. It's a status upgrade for the courtier class, who imagines itself presiding over an even greater range of exotics looking up to them (the "people" we're going to "liberate" from the target of our bombing).

Trump will have to take a stronger stand against the Deep State forces that are pushing him to change his America-first foreign policy, if he wants to reassure his electoral base that the Syria strike was just a fluke. Not just promises to go to a smaller magnitude in the current direction, but a change in direction back toward true-Trump. The more that foreign policy comes to resemble George W. Bush: The Resurrection, the closer he comes to being a one-term President.

It's true that his base will value all of the seismic moves he is making on the economic front, from instantly killing the TPP to bringing back more plants. But unless there is rapid re-industrialization within four short years, those efforts may not be enough to offset the further and growing drain on our economy and on our entire society if the neocons continue to get their way on major foreign policy fronts.

It's also true that immigration was a yuge motivation for Trump's hardcore voters, but this was not so important in the Rust Belt, since it has remained relatively unscathed by mass immigration.

I'm not predicting a loss for Trump if the Deep State dictates foreign policy, but it comes into possibility, and he would definitely lose at least one of the Rust Belt states where it was close (MI, WI, or MN). And that would almost certainly mean no third consecutive term for whoever comes after Trump in 2024, although three in a row is hard for anyone to pull off. But now more than ever, we can't afford for Howard Dean or Corey Booker to take back the White House in eight years.

April 14, 2017

Why neocons limit focus to only "ISIS" rather than jihadists in general

Against Trump's repeated emphasis throughout the campaign of eradicating "radical Islamic terrorism," the neocon Deep Statists led by NatSec Advisor McMaster are trying to re-frame the battle to be against only "ISIS" or perhaps also "al-Qaeda".

More encompassing terms like (radical) Islamic terrorists, jihadists, Islamists, Salafis, Wahhabis, etc. are not to be used because they will insult "our Muslim allies in the region" -- namely the Saudis, Turks, et al. who spread Salafi ideology through radical mosques all over the world, and who bankroll jihadist violence, whether that be conquest in the Middle East or spectacle terrorism in the West a la 9/11.

It has been SOP since the 1980s that the US foreign policy Establishment will align with jihadists against a government that resists incorporation into the American sphere of influence -- in Palestine (Hamas over PLO), Afghanistan (Mujahadeen over Soviet clients), Iraq (topple Saddam), and Libya (topple Qaddafi).

The difficulty comes with these jihadists turning on their paymasters, in most spectacular form on 9/11. It needs to be emphasized that these are not foreigners who we have attacked and are settling scores with us. They are Frankenstein's monster turning on its creator -- ethnocentric zealots stabbing foreign supporters in the back.

It's no different from naive Europeans who "welcome refugees," only to get robbed, raped, and run over by them.

"You knew damn well I was a snake, before you took me in!"

Blowback makes it impossible for the Establishment to continue supporting the group responsible, yet they still want to carry on the general program of aligning with jihadists. So the propaganda ramps up attacks on the specific group who blew up the World Trade Center (al-Qaeda), or the specific group whose loyalists shot up the Bataclan nightclub (ISIS).

That leaves the whole rest of the ever-evolving roster of jihadist groups out of sight and out of mind, for the general public. It's best not to name them at all, but if so, with non-alarming qualifiers like the "opposition" or "rebel" or "Sunni militia" group al-Nusra. Since al-Nusra is simply al-Qaeda by a new-and-improved name, the Establishment and its propaganda outlets in the media can go on supporting jihadists while not taking flak from the public, who has only heard of ISIS and al-Qaeda in the context of jihadism.

And if al-Nusra becomes too infamous for killing or threatening Americans, they can always re-brand to Ahrar al-Sham, or Tahrir al-Sham, or any other damn name that is too hard to pronounce or remember for the American people.

That is why our foreign policy Establishment will only commit to fighting "ISIS" and "al-Qaeda" in Syria, while we openly provide money, weapons, and positive spin to their jihadist brothers with different names.

And that is why we will remain at an impasse with the Syrian / Russian / Iranian side who are winning the war against the jihadists -- they intend to neutralize all jihadist groups because jihadism is a threat to their nation's security and stability. The American Establishment only intends to neutralize ISIS and al-Qaeda for bringing such bad reputation to the cause of supporting jihadism against governments that do not want to be part of the American sphere of influence.

Doesn't jihadism threaten America's national security, though? It does to some extent, but the Establishment is willing to write off those losses, in order to scoop up more of the oil-rich and militarily strong nations of the Middle East into its sphere of influence. It's another way in which the elites concentrate the benefits of policy at the top and stick the middle and bottom of the pyramid with all of the costs.

There is likely a similar dynamic at work within, e.g., Saudi Arabia. Only the elites benefit from being part of the American sphere of influence -- their elites' jihadism is likely to antagonize the American people into seeking revenge against the entire country, where the bottom rungs of the ladder would serve as cannon fodder against an invasion by Uncle Sam.

The social mood is currently more nationalist in Syria, Russia, and Iran, although these moods rise and fall in long-term cycles.

The US looked to join this trend with the election of Trump -- getting along with Russia, airstrikes in Syria could start WWIII, cut deal with Iran rather than continue getting stabbed in back by Saudis, etc. In general, don't put the middle and lower layers of society at risk, or picking up the tab, just so the protected elites get to masturbate furiously over expanding America's sphere of influence.

That has been put on hold, but only because Trump has not cleared out the anti-American personnel in the branches of government that touch on the military and foreign policy. That interest group can push back more forcefully against its region of the swamp getting drained, since they are the instruments of the legitimate monopoly on violence that is the basis for the President's authority.

Over the eight years of the Trump administration, he and the relatively less neocon individuals will come to fill out more and more of the military Deep State with personnel committed to a realistic, up-to-date assessment of where the major threats lie, and where the major alliances ought to be made.

Achieving that requires us to speak in general terms about our enemies -- jihadism, Islamic terrorism, etc., and not just "ISIS" or "al-Qaeda". Otherwise the general public will keep thinking there's nothing so wrong with aligning ourselves with the Saudis, "Syrian rebels" like al-Nusra, and whatever the hell they change their brand to next week.

The key country to spread the word about is Saudi Arabia, not only for their central role, but because a good share of the American people already know that they're bad, that's where bin Laden came from, and that's who attacked us on 9/11, for which we still have not gotten revenge. Antipathy toward Saudi Arabia is also completely bipartisan (just as is support for them among the globalists).

Since the Saudis are on the opposite side from Russia, breaking ourselves free from them will also allow us to pursue crucial detente with the other nuclear superpower during a climate that is pre-WWI.

April 13, 2017

Shoot first, take opinion polls later

A comparison between opinion polls taken ahead of a potential airstrike on Syria for alleged chemical weapons use in 2013 with those taken in the aftermath of the recent airstrike on the same country with the same leader for the same purported reasons, shows the power of cognitive dissonance to make people rationalize outcomes that they preferred not to happen.

Rewind to 2013, back when Trump was firing off tweets against the airstrikes on a daily basis. Every poll showed overwhelming opposition to such strikes, even when the question was worded to state as a matter of fact that Assad had used chemical weapons on his own citizens (ABC / WP), and even when a separate question found 80% agreeing that Assad had used chemicals on his own people (CNN).

Majorities agreed with anti-globalist positions across a range of questions (Pew / USA Today), such as airstrikes will make things worse in the Middle East, we have no moral obligation to stop violence against civilians in another country, Syria poses no risk to us anyway, and we're not going to lose credibility just because we don't fire missiles.

Republicans were more opposed than were Democrats, compared to the opposite now -- kneejerk partisan reactions. But Trump campaigned during the primaries and general that we should not do what we just did, and he blew away his anti-Assad rivals. So it's not like Republicans had changed their position as of a few months ago.

The main difference between this strike and the potential strike in 2013 is that Obama tried to argue for it in the court of public opinion, and that campaign dragged on and on as he refrained from pulling the trigger. That allowed Americans' true feelings to crystallize, and it turned out they were against it. This time, the Deep State pulled the trigger as soon as they could, after some pro forma propaganda about the evil butcher gassing beautiful babies. That rapid-fire response gave Americans little time to evaluate the situation and let their anti-airstrike views crystallize again.

After the strikes had already been conducted, a good chunk of people who were against them will not want to feel like they were on the losing side of that decision, so they rationalize after the fact that they actually approve of them when a pollster calls them up. There's no point in crying over spilled milk.

We can tell that people didn't actually want these strikes because the typical "approve" response is that they were fine, but let's not do it again, and definitely do not send in a ground invasion. They're just trying to rationalize this specific act, and move on.

If they were so against Assad or his regime or his Russian patron, they would be tasting blood by now and be excited about future strikes against the evil dictator. That's how the neocons have reacted. But only a small minority of American citizens feel this way, probably the same people who were looking forward to strikes in 2013.

Jackson would nuke Saudis, not Syria -- "counter-puncher"

Because the airstrike on Syria was in the 180-degree opposite direction of Trump's message about Syria, Assad, the Middle East, and Russia -- from 2013 through early 2017 -- many of his fervent supporters were struck with cognitive dissonance. The normal human way to solve that is to rationalize, and Trump supporters like anyone's supporters are only human.

Some rationalizations deal only with this particular strike -- explaining how was it a good thing after all, and then leaving it there. They're only trying to compartmentalize this specific incident.

But now there's a more general rationalization, sensing that there may be more foreign policy moves that are not just imperfect or less-than-pure (small magnitude) but pointing totally away from his original message (opposite direction). If the Syrian strike becomes one example among many, then a more general rationalization will be needed to cover all these cases coherently, rather than each one on an ad hoc basis.

Cognitive dissonance goes away more easily when there's a single interwoven story to tell, because telling ourselves dozens of patchwork stories is too obvious to fool our mind, even when it is seeking relief from dissonance.

The one I've been seeing over the past several days, whether alt-right people on Twitter or a gay racist bodybuilding forum like MPC, is that Trump's foreign policy is "Jacksonian" a la our seventh President.

This idea seems to trace back to an article from mid-March in National Interest (realists more than neocons), which was making an argument for where things ought to go, not what their current state was. There were no real defining events a month ago, but there are now.

The basic tenets were building up a strong navy in order to defend abroad our people, our material interests, and our national honor. But then only when diplomacy was not possible, e.g. dealing with savage races in the South Seas, not dealing with the French.

That does sound very much like what Trump has advocated for all throughout the campaign and back to his potential presidential run in 2000.

So how does the Syrian airstrike measure up by Jackson's and Trump's standards?

It fails the most basic criterion of targeting someone who had done us wrong. Assad's regime has not attacked us or threatened to. Nor has his patron state of Russia, who was in the place that was struck. They have not run off with our money or our things, taken any of our territory, insulted us, or threatened to do any of these things.

On the contrary, Assad and Putin were under the impression that we'd be working with them against the jihadists in Syria, whether their branding is ISIS, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, etc. Those jihadists and their Gulf state patrons are the ones who have attacked us -- most spectacularly on 9/11, but also ISIS-inspired attacks from American residents. Assad and Putin wiping them out is protecting our people.

By the way, when are we going to launch cruise missiles or rain down nuclear bombs against Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, to avenge their attack on 9/11? Now that would have been Jacksonian. (Don't count on Deep State to favor this, they are anti-American.)

Attacking someone who has not even threatened to attack you, let alone who is helping your interests, is a flagrant violation of the culture of honor, which is founded on tit-for-tat reciprocity -- or being a counter-puncher, as Trump always emphasized.

Jackson certainly never behaved that way against foreign societies. He got us into no military interventions, with the minor exception of sending the navy to thump some savage pirates in the South Seas, who had murdered our people, stolen our treasure, and destroyed our ships.

His only other major foreign policy confrontation was collecting a debt from France, but this payment was owed to us because they had done us wrong by capturing our ships and sailors, and he solved it through diplomacy first, rather than use force right away. Nobody in the administration last week tried to figure out what the hell actually happened in the chemical incident, let alone apply initial diplomatic or financial pressures if in fact Assad were at fault.

Closer to home, Jackson kept us out of war regarding Texas and Mexico. He favored trying to buy it off from Mexico, but they didn't bite, and he denied the option of a military take-over. It wasn't until roughly ten years after Jackson, when James K. Polk took office, that Texas was annexed, admitted to the Union, and defended militarily during the Mexican-American War. Unlike Jackson, Polk was elected on an explicit expansionist platform, through war if necessary.

Jackson did not expand the territory of the Union by even an inch. His main avenue of advancing European colonization was driving the Indians out of American territory via the Trail of Tears.

These are not the actions of someone who goes around randomly screwing with people, least of all the enemy of one's enemies, in order to create a madman persona for frightening others. Jackson was a counter-puncher, just like the real Trump (not the one whose arm was twisted by Deep State into striking Syria).

Many people now are confusing Nixon's madman approach derived from ghetto thugs and warlords, with Jackson's honor-based approach derived from reciprocity. This re-imagining of Jackson's legacy is what allows people to relieve their cognitive dissonance over Trump's Syria strike -- it's what Jackson would have done.

In fact, the airstrike on Syria comes from the stunt-pulling mindset of sociopathic Deep State agents, not the righteous indignation of a counter-puncher like Trump. We will have to wait and see how much pressure Deep State can exert over foreign policy, but for now we have a simple way to judge where the balance of power lies.

The more we pre-emptively attack those who have not done our people wrong -- and who have even helped our people's interests -- rather than applying diplomatic, financial, and finally military pressure in retaliation only, the more we can conclude that foreign policy will be the one domain where Trump's true goals may become subverted, and point in the opposite direction.

The legitimate monopoly on violence that the Deep State has access to, is not wielded by other interest groups like the Chamber of Commerce, immigrants' rights groups, judiciary branch, etc., so it will be full-steam ahead in all other domains. But we should stay objective about foreign policy and not fool ourselves into believing that Jackson or true-Trump are nothing more than a couple of wurlstah gangbangers or mafia kingpins unpredictably knocking people around just so everybody knows who's boss.

Instead, it's time to purge the infection of ghetto norms from mainstream American culture.

April 10, 2017

How to decide if "It's 4D chess, chill out" vs. "As it appears, start worrying"

There's lots of confusion among Trump supporters about what the meaning is of the administration's greater moves toward regime change and potential confrontation with Russia. Do we conclude that it's all part of a 4D chess strategy, perhaps involving other players like Putin, and there's nothing to get so worried about? Or do we conclude that it's the straightforward scenario of heightened conflict in the M.E. and/or Russia?

I've already explained why I think Trump truly has not changed his views deep-down -- he has been too consistent and vocal on them from at least 2013 through the early part of this year, on regime change in Syria. Rather, he's being maneuvered into that position by the military faction of the Deep State, who can credibly threaten to weaken their military support for his authority, at which point he cannot effectively govern.

(This is unlike his economic and domestic agendas, where our enemies have nothing to threaten us with.)

Still, it's a hypothesis, and so is the opposite view. How do we decide which case to believe in?

Beliefs are not important in the real world, it is how we behave that matters. So do we behave as though it's a 4D chess strategy, or as though it's as things appear?

This choice boils down to what are the consequences for choosing to behave as though one scenario or the other were true, weighted by how likely they are to be true.

The straightforward scenario should receive a higher probability of being true -- the whole point of calling something 4D chess or counter-intuitive is that it's less likely to be true, given what we observe.

In the case of Syria and Russia, this should be even lower in likelihood, assuming not only counter-intuitive moves by Trump / US but perhaps also by Putin / Russia, whereby these esoteric moves are acting in harmony when these two sides do not have identical goals, and even divergent goals.

What are the consequences if it's just 4D chess? Nothing much comes of it, no major changes, certainly not ones that negatively impact the American people. We breathe a sigh of relief.

The counter-argument is that the 4D chess move pulls off a victory for the ages, with all our foes vanquished and the American people reaping benefits for generations to come. Obviously that is wishful thinking, and even the "don't worry" crowd are downplaying the upside of the 4D chess view -- at most, we avert serious catastrophe, and the Syrian civil war winds down peacefully for the American side.

What are the consequences if it's as things appear, and we're heading toward armed conflict against Russia in Syria? There is no point in guessing an average, since that would be a fat-tailed event with more or less unbounded negative consequences, up to nuclear war that cripples much of the American economy, infrastructure, military, and citizens' lives. However severe, there would be only downside for the American people.

The counter-argument is that we're missing the upside to war against Russia -- e.g., proving once and for all that the "Trump in bed with Russia" narrative is bogus, winning support of media, Democrat politicians, and other groups who were antithetical to his coalition and will always remain so.

This is a phony upside, and as we're already seeing, the conspiracy theorists and witch hunters will never be satisfied, as every attempt to disprove their narrative only strengthens their convictions. "Ha, Trump only lobbed a few dozen missiles that did minimal damage to that airfield, leaving the runway intact -- just the sort of halfhearted PR stunt that a stooge of the Kremlin would resort to in order to throw us off track." Then if he launches a nuclear strike on Moscow, "Wow, someone is desperate to cover up his being controlled by the Kremlin. Trump only dropped one nuke and did not even flatten the city! Nice try to throw us off track."

The straightforward interpretation that we're heading toward a military escalation against Russia is both more likely and far more serious in its consequences -- so that's the scenario that we behave as though it were true.

To end with, let's contrast how this is unlike the several times when Trump's hardcore supporters freaked out during the campaign that he was changing course. For example, that he was opening up to amnesty for illegals.

First, there are concrete decisions made by the administration that point 180 degrees away from Trump's long-standing and fervent views on the topic. The missile strike itself, the public innuendo that Russia knew about the alleged chemical attack by their Syrian client (making them complicit), and on the Russian side, the termination of the deconfliction channel between the Russian and American militaries in Syria, along with condemnations of the strike.

Trump never made any clear action toward amnesty -- he wasn't even President, so how could he have taken any action one way or another? The paranoids were going off of his rhetoric alone, which itself was simply more ambivalent -- not unambiguously the opposite of what he had promised.

Now that he's taken office, this is the only policy on which he has veered off-course from his promises. He killed the TPP, nominated a SCOTUS justice from his original list, stepped up deportations and border defense, twisted arms of manufacturers into bringing back jobs and plants, and signed two separate executive orders to implement the Muslim ban.

None of these were preceded by 4D chess moves, taking clear steps away from his promises, only to return back to them for the win. Trump is a busy man, and there is so much on the Trump movement's agenda. He doesn't have time for playing games or toying with his supporters -- he's hit the ground running, and launched a totally straightforward full-court press on all of his major issues.

That would seem to rule out an emotional fake-out in the case of war, which was another of his major promises. He would have wanted to hit the ground running on fixing our commitments in the Middle East ASAP. But in this area, he ran into an enemy (military Deep State) that has enough literal forces to push back at least for the moment, though hopefully not for the long-term.

Trump wants rapprochement with Iran, distance from Gulf states

We're getting closer to involvement in an open armed conflict between the Iranian vs. Arabian sides in the struggle for regional dominance in the Middle East, with Syria and the Shia Crescent being on the Iranian side, and the jihadist-enabling monarchies on the other (led by Saudi Arabia).

If you belive in "trusting Trump," what are his views on this choice moving forward? For the past several decades, we have only sided with the Arabians and cut off relations with the Iranians.

It turns out that Trump believes in moving closer to Iran than we have been, and farther away from the Arabians than we have been.

Rewind to 2007, when Iranian President Ahmadinejad is visiting New York to give speeches at the UN and Columbia University. It's a rare appearance of an Iranian President in America.

As the Columbia president is giving the introduction to Ahmadinejad's speech, he turns to him and flatly accuses him, "You exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator."

At the time, Trump was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer, and the topic came up. Did we score any wins?

Well, I'll tell you this. I guess [Ahmadinejad] hates us pretty much already. When he leaves New York, he's going to dislike us even more. And in a way, that's too bad. But he certainly dislikes us. And from everything I see on television, between CNN and everything else, he's going to dislike us a hell of a lot more once he leaves.

So, he wasn't some supreme evil or #1 state sponsor of terrorism. He was some foreign leader who we should have made a better impression on and gotten something out of. It was a missed opportunity.

For even clearer statements, see this vintage Trump appearance on Fox & Friends from 2007:

President Bush was also at the UN at the time, but doesn't meet Ahmadinejad. Trump says that instead of blowing him off, Bush should be meeting, talking, and negotiating with the Iranian leader, especially now that he's on our turf (a rare opportunity for home field advantage).

A Fox host asks, "Do you think he's mentally stable?" Trump: "Who, the President?" lol. Trump calls the Persian "smart like a fox" who is probably playing other world leaders without them realizing it.

Trump reiterates that Iraq didn't knock down WTC -- that it was Saudi Arabia and other (Gulf) countries. Then he adds for emphasis that it wasn't Iran either on 9/11. He calls out Saudi Arabia again for probably harboring Bin Laden, when the retarded media is focusing on distraction countries.

At least as far back as a 1999 interview with Larry King, discussing his political views while considering a presidential campaign in 2000, Trump has made his displeasure known that "Saudi Arabia is ripping us off big-league".

Since the Iraq War, he has regularly made statements about how Iran's influence is growing in the region (and that was before Iran started taking over Iraq's oil, a common complaint of his now). As a savvy businessman, he knows that this means there's more and more reason to try to cut some kind of deal with them. Get a piece of the action, rather than get shut out. He probably has not just the oil in mind but the geopolitical strength that oil brings with it.

Here are all of Trump's tweets that mention Iran. Most are about the nuclear deal, and his criticism was always how bad our negotiators were at getting goodies for our side, not that it was immoral to make the deal, it would lead to nukes, etc. Unlike Lyin' Ted, Trump did not promise to "rip to shreds" the deal as President.

The other occasions are outrage when they antagonize us, but that burns out quickly.

And mentioning that Iran's power and influence continue to grow. He sounds upset not on an existential level, like the Antichrist is growing more powerful -- but because we have no relations with them, and they're holding more and more of the cards in the Middle East, especially regarding oil. He's pissed that we can't get in on that because we've so isolated ourselves from them, and on the few times when we do interact, we give them everything and get nothing in return.

He certainly has never mocked an Iranian politician like he did a major figure in the Saudi royal family:

Verdict: Trump favors rapprochement not only with Russia, but also their major ally in the Middle East, Iran (aside from defending their client, Assad, as the lesser evil). He has held this view for at least the past 10 years, and is making his calculations based on utilitarian concerns like rising vs. falling relative influence. If the Saudis are down and Iran is up, then we should re-allocate our relations away from the Arabians and toward the Iranians.

All the more reason given how we were stabbed in the back by the Gulf states on 9/11, and provide them with free defense without which they wouldn't exist. Iran does not parasitize us militarily or blow up our skyscrapers, so they would make better-faith partners.

If we the American citizens can drown out the drumbeat of war, we may actually get to see the President make good on his long-held goal for aligning ourselves away from the jihadist hotbed of Arabia and toward a worthy fuckin' adversary at the deal-making table. "The Persians -- they're great negotiators, folks."

Aside from that line, he does not idealize or romanticize Iran, but he's a realist -- and who is the alternative? The two big oil nations there are Iran and Saudi Arabia (Iraq is big, but becoming an extension of Iran). By now we see what we get from throwing in with the Saudis rather than the Iranians, a relationship that Putin has been benefiting from -- without having Iranians hijack planes and fly them into Moscow skyscrapers.

April 9, 2017

Put 150,000 Americans in Syria: Deep State envoy McMaster

Mike Cernovich, who broke the Susan Rice as unmasker story, delivers some unfortunate news (article link in tweet):

Here is a livestream he did at the same time.

Current National Security Adviser Herbert Raymond “H. R.” McMaster is manipulating intelligence reports given to President Donald Trump, Cernovich Media can now report. McMaster is plotting how to sell a massive ground war in Syria to President Trump with the help of disgraced former CIA director and convicted criminal David Petraeus, who mishandled classified information by sharing documents with his mistress.

As NSA, McMaster’s job is to synthesize intelligence reports from all other agencies. President Trump is being given an inaccurate picture of the situation in Syria, as McMaster is seeking to involve the U.S. in a full scale war in Syria.

The McMaster-Petraeus plan calls for 150,000 American ground troops in Syria.

The article also says that plan intends for the American force to be working mostly alone, not even with our jihadist supporting allies in the region (Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, etc.). Therefore, certainly not with Assad, Russia, or Iran, whose forces are stabilizing Syria.

Read the whole thing.

This seems to be what the military wing of the Deep State wants, and is trying to get it the easier way, by having the Nat Sec Advisor present a warped picture of what the intelligence says to Trump, nudging him persuasively toward the full-scale invasion. More likely they're just using McMaster as a glorified courier delivering the message of what their demands are, if they are to continue giving Trump their legitimacy (control over the armed forces).

Timewise, both Cernovich and Jack Posobiec are saying their sources suggest a roll-out no later than the end of May.

That means all of this was crafted long ahead of time, back when every elite group was 100% convinced that Crooked Hillary was going to win. If it sounds like Hillary's foreign policy is coming true, it's more that she was the mouthpiece for plans that were developing and are now coming to fruition.

It's not as though the Deep State sat around with their thumb up their ass during all of 2016, and only after a winner emerged on November 9 did they begin crafting a set of short-term plans and long-term goals that would be to the liking of Trump and his voters. They knew Trump would lose, and began designing the standard interventionist program that Hillary would begin selling to the citizens during the electoral season.

Except that the Trump movement won on Election Day -- oops. They weren't going to let that get in their way, though. We managed to stop the TPP trade deal dead in its tracks, even though the Chamber of Commerce didn't want to give that one up either. But they have no leverage over us -- just money, which we don't need. The military wing of the Deep State, however, has armed forces that are slightly more persuasive.

Internally, we Trump voters and citizens in general are headed on a collision course with the Establishment warhawks. Externally, we are headed on a collision course with nuclear Russia -- far worse than merely getting bogged down in quagmires like Iraq, Afghanistan, or Vietnam, where there was no major power on the other side.

As we prepare for the coming anti-war movement, remember not to blame Trump since his goals are our goals, and it's not his fault that the military part of the Deep State can threaten a coup or similar if he doesn't play along with their plans.

We will be only too happy if he does stand up to them, but at this early stage without widespread popular support for the anti-war position (especially after that disgusting speech he was forced to read during the missile strike), he might have to give in on this issue for a little while.

Our goal is to get him the popular support cover that he needs in order to say, "Gee fellas, I'd love to indulge you, but in case you haven't noticed, the streets are in turmoil and we're facing a bloody peasant revolt unless we get the hell out of there."

Our other goal is to shine a light on who exactly is pushing this -- both the Deep State concept, as well as specific individuals such as McMaster and Harvey (his Middle East advisor). Exposing shadowy behavior raises the social costs on it, and tends to make them knock off their subversion while they're under a spotlight.

Fun fact: the article says that the drama between Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner is hyperbole put out into the media by McMaster's team, since both Bannon and Kushner agree on not wanting to pursue nuclear WWIII in the Middle East. I told you I never know what to make of the mainstream media's reports of palace intrigue because the sources are the factions involved themselves, and have every motive to deceive.

BTW, I will be deleting all comments that are non-sequitur or raising questions of credibility (i.e. the Soros-funded shills). We'll stipulate that the report may be true or not, but given his track record in breaking the Susan Rice unmasking story, as well as going public with advance warning of the strikes the other night, it seems likely this one is true, too. He'd been sitting on it before the Rice story, and used that one to establish that his sources are accurate.

April 8, 2017

Looming war with Russia over who shapes post-war Syria?

In a few days, Sec of State Tillerson heads to Moscow. Now that American-Russian relations have soured, especially over Syria, it's worth asking a simple basic question: Why would Russia now allow us a role in shaping Syria after the war is all wrapped up?

Since the outbreak of the civil war in 2011, the efforts to put down the jihadists and stabilize the society in Syria has always come from Russia (and to a lesser extent, Iran), not from the US, EU, or the Arab League. As of 2015, that includes military intervention, not only the diplomatic and supplying roles they had played before.

See here for an overview, here for military intervention, and here for diplomatic leadership in the peace process.

Since Russia has played the decisive role in turning the tide against the jihadists, and before long ironing out the remaining wrinkles, they will play the primary role in crafting post-war Syria -- its government, economy (oil pipelines), military, and so on. Iran will also play a decent role for its involvement on the winning side.

What investment in stabilization can the globalists in the US State Dept, military, and White House point to? At least Obama didn't take out Assad, and he did fight ISIS somewhat. Beyond that, our involvement has been to leave the secular regime high-and-dry, while arming and providing propaganda cover for the jihadists not named ISIS (al-Nusra et al).

Our allies in the region have also been in favor of winking at the jihadists while fighting against only the ISIS fighters among them, possibly even favoring to depose Assad. Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey -- they, along with us, have been on the wrong side of history, not only in the moral sense of supporting jihadists, but backing the losing side in a war.

Our side, both the US and its allies, is also bitterly opposed to Russia's main ally and the secondary force for stabilizing Syria, Iran.

Over history, Syria has been aligned with the Soviet Union and Russia since the end of WWII. Their diplomatic, economic, and military bonds are stronger and deeper than either nation's bonds are with us.

Any way you look at it, Russia has invested tons more in the Syrian civil war and peace process, and importantly on the winning side. We have stayed more on the sidelines, and tended to back the wrong side when we did get involved.

Having put so much skin in the game, Russia is going to push for its own delegation to be the primary shaper from outside of the country itself. Secondarily the influence will go to Iran. Both are located close to Syria, and have more of a vested interest in the region's security.

Even if there had been a spirit of cooperation between the US and Russia, the Russians would push for more influence on account of having risked more and sacrificed more. But now that relations have gone from frosty to heating-up, they will be even less inclined for the US to play much of a role at all in shaping postwar Syria.

The American Deep State and military brass have twisted Trump's arm into striking Assad, against years of his arguing for the exact opposite (right through October 2016). Being in control of the armed forces that undergird his authority, they have leverage over his plans in a way that other big actors do not (Chamber of Commerce, illegal immigrants, and so on).

This was done as some kind of display of strength, presumably leading up to a negotiation of some kind -- likely the peace process talks that determine how Syria will operate after the civil war is completed. Their tough talk about "maybe Russia was involved in the chemical attack themselves, not just their client Assad," plays a similar function, turning up the heat ahead of sitting down at the bargaining table.

In the past few days, we've been wondering if Assad will ultimately go or not, and if so, who has input over his successor -- he would be someone to the liking of both Russia and the US. But given how distinct Russia's interests are from the US's interests in that country and region, it's unlikely that their goals will harmonize an awful lot -- not just about the individual leading the government, but who will benefit from oil pipelines, who gets which military bases, which areas provide buffer zones against whose vulnerable spots, and on and on.

So, the American foreign policy Establishment turning up the heat on Russia is unlikely to yield much at the negotiating table. They have contributed relatively little to stabilization (if anything, mostly destabilizing by supporting jihadists), have mostly sought the most destabilizing diplomatic option (Assad goes, before jihadists have been brought under control), and have taken unilateral military action against another party's client.

Then we arrive at the stage where a truly hot conflict breaks out, given that the US Establishment seems unwilling to back down or even moderate their tone and posture toward Russia vis-a-vis Syria. At that point, the question is who wants the influence over postwar Syria more -- who has invested the most already, and who stands the most to lose if they get little in return?

That is obviously Russia. They will be far more committed to winning any military conflict that breaks out as a result of a showdown among the parties trying to get a piece of the Syrian pie.

Iran would immediately side with Russia, and that could easily trigger the US allies to join in too, as they're all united around countering Iran's growing sphere of influence. With Turkey on our side, perhaps that would draw in some major NATO countries as well -- particularly France, which seems to be champing at the bit to stick it to Russia, Iran, and Syria. (Here's to hoping Le Pen wins the election.)

Hell, maybe China joins in on the other side for good measure, seeking a piece of Russian / Iranian / Syrian oil.

This thing has the potential to blow wide open, which is why so many in the Trump movement have come against even the initial moves in that direction. We don't want to risk nuclear WWIII against Russia, whose nuclear program is not still run on floppy disks like ours.

For some perspective, imagine if America had at first supplied the Mexican government with arms in their battle against the drug cartels, and then we intervened outright with our military and decisively turned the tide against the cartels. With over five years of involvement, who knows how much money spent, and conducting peace talks between Mexican government officials and cartel representatives to finalize the conflict, we would want a hell of a lot out of it.

Now imagine some country that wasn't even involved, or even one that had been funding and arming several of those cartels, butts into the process and arrogantly demands a seat at the final negotiating table. Some country that isn't even from this hemisphere -- France, say. They want a piece of Mexican oil, and they start turning up the heat on the United States ahead of meeting with us, hoping to psych us out of imposing our will on the post-cartel landscape of Mexico.

We'd slap them so fast it'll make ya head spin. And we can expect Russia to respond likewise when the US foreign policy Establishment and Deep State try to butt their way into the postwar process in Syria.

Who knows for certain who would prevail, especially considering the vagaries of which other countries would join us and which would join Russia?

But setting us onto this course toward potential nuclear WWIII cannot be tolerated. Not just because we have very little basis for demanding a role in the shaping process, given our record, but because on a pragmatic level, Russia stands to lose a lot more from being the first to swerve in this great big game of chicken -- so they won't, and either we'll swerve and look stupid and weak, or we'll choose to collide and fuck our country over for the next generation.