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Why you should be intensely skeptical of everything

... you hear about Iran protests

Every few weeks I switch from being accused by pro-establishment Democrats of writing propaganda for Putin and Assad to being accused by pro-Trump Republicans of writing propaganda for the Iranian government, all because I am opposed to US-led regime change intervention in both Syria or Iran. Whichever country the US war machine is roaring loudest at on a given day, that’s the country I’m writing propaganda for, because somehow the social engineers have succeeded in turning regime change interventionism in Iran vs. regime change interventionism in Syria into a partisan wedge issue.

Couldn’t possibly just be that I know the US intelligence community lies constantly about such things.

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Today there are reports being triumphantly bandied about by neoconservative pundits everywhere (often hilariously using pictures of the MEK terror cult) that some Iranian protesters have been recorded chanting “Death to Palestine” and “Death to the dictator” and carrying signs which admonish the Iranian government to pull its troops out of Syria. All of which just so happens to play nicely into the pro-regime change narratives of America’s defense and intelligence agencies.

“To reporters everywhere: Please pay attention to what is happening in Iran now,” said the Bush administration’s Press Secretary Ari Fleischer in a viral tweet about the new reports. “I know foreign bureaus are almost non-existent these days, but keep a close eye on this story — and report it.”

 

 

So naturally I am being accused by Trump supporters on social media of being a paid propagandist for the leaders of the Iranian government. This is primarily because I’ve been using my platform to circulate an article I wrote way back in January, which begins as follows:

Back in June the Wall Street Journal published a report saying that America’s Central Intelligence Agency had set up a new organization whose sole task would be to focus on Iran under the direction of “Ayatollah Mike” D’andrea, an aggressive Iran hawk.

“The Iran Mission Center will bring together analysts, operations personnel and specialists from across the CIA to bring to bear the range of the agency’s capabilities, including covert action,” says the report.

This alone is reason enough to be intensely skeptical of every single thing you hear about Iran. The CIA has been a consistent utilizer and developer of the science of psyops — psychological operations in which large groups of people are deceived and manipulated into thinking and feeling a certain way to advance a preferred agenda during war and during peacetime. Relatedly, the CIA also has an extensive and well-documented history of staging regime change coups to topple rival governments all around the world, including Iran. These are not conspiracy theories. These are conspiracy facts.

 

 

 

It has now been a year since that Wall Street Journal report. Since that time, the Iran deal has been cancelled, sanctions have been implemented, and an effective regime change policy has been put into place. And now, lo and behold, there are Iranians being recorded chanting slogans that according to New York Post headline “prove Trump is getting it right.”

There is no doubt that approval of the Iranian government is far from unanimous among Iranians. There is no doubt that there is an authentic element of legitimate discontent to the current protests. There is also no doubt that the exact same thing could have been said about Libya and Syria, two countries which have been devastated by uprisings artificially provoked by psyops and manipulations from the US intelligence community.

Is it technically possible that these protests in Iran are completely, one hundred percent organic and not in any way the product of manipulations by America’s Central Intelligence Agency or any of its allied agencies? Sure. It’s technically possible the whole thing is exactly what neoconservative pundits like George W Bush’s press secretary want us to believe it is, and since ramping up covert operations in Iran the CIA has just been sitting there twiddling its thumbs the entire time wondering what all the fuss is about. But it’s not bloody likely, is it?

Of all the groups in the world who deserve the benefit of the doubt, the depravedlying, torturingpropagandizingdrug traffickingcoup-stagingwarmongering CIA ranks dead last, especially when it comes to issues of regime change. There is no reason whatsoever for any thinking person to assume the best of that malignant agency, nor that what we’re being told to believe about Iran is true.

 

It’s so goddamn stupid that regime change interventionism in Iran has become a partisan issue. The fact that establishment liberals are arguing for interventionism in Syria and blind faith Trump loyalists are arguing for interventionism in Iran is the most perfect illustration you could ask for of what Noam Chomsky was talking about when he said that “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.”

It’s so degrading. Like the oligarchs who run the whole bipartisan scam were sitting around one day and decided to have the riff raff fight each other over which country the war machine will steamroll next.

 

 

We’re better than this. I don’t care who you are, you’re better than this. When pundits and politicians on either side of the aisle begin explaining to you why it’s good and desirable for the government of a rival nation to be overthrown, they are lying. Always. This isn’t the one time they’re telling you the truth after all those other times. Lucy’s never gonna let you kick that damn football, Charlie Brown.

It is the US intelligence community’s job to lie to you. I will say it again: it is the US intelligence community’s job to lie to you. The Trump supporters I’ve been arguing with about this on social media are swept up in the propaganda, apparently believing that every single person in Iran wants to overthrow their government, which is the only way a people’s uprising could possibly be peaceful. They don’t seem to think the government has any loyalists. They don’t seem to understand what happens in a country when one part of the population wants to force the overthrow of their government and the rest of the population wants the government to stay, especially after the CIA gets involved. They don’t seem to understand the CIA’s extensive history of funneling arms to groups of mutual interest, who then go on to tear apart countries like Libya and Syria. It’s just “Yay CIA! Yay neocons! Free Iran!”

This should not be a partisan issue. We are all being lied to to advance a policy which will inflict an immense amount of death, destruction, destabilization, displacement, terror, rape and slavery upon a massive region, just like always happens with these interventions. This is not different. They are lying. Turn around. Go back. Wrong way.

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https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/26/politics/donaldTrump said Wednesday ...

Trump said Wednesday he had no plans to pull troops from Iraq, suggesting the country could be used as a base for potential future missions in Syria.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-24/taibbi-we-know-how-trumps...

This has all been a giant, bloody, expensive farce, and it’s long since time we ended it.

We’ll see a lot of hand-wringing today from people who called themselves anti-war in 2002 and 2003, but now pray that the “adults in the room” keep “boots on the ground” to preserve “credibility.”

Part of this is because it’s Trump, but a bigger part is that we’ve successfully brainwashed big chunks of the population into thinking it’s normal for a country to exist in a state of permanent war, fighting in seven countries at once, spending half of all discretionary funding on defense.

It’s not. It’s insane. And we’ll never be a healthy society, or truly respected abroad, until we stop accepting it as normal.

Incidentally, I doubt Trump really follows through on this withdrawal plan. But until he changes (what passes for) his mind, watch what happens in Washington.

We’re about to have a very graphic demonstration of the near-total uniformity of the political class when it comes to the military and its role. The war party is ready for a coming-out party.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-26/both-leading-candidates-r...

Indeed, back in September and now following news of Mattis’ resignation, the top contenders for the top position at the Pentagon and now being named including Senator Lindsey Graham and David Petraeus. However, a source close to the President cited by FOX News — Trump’s news outlet of choice — insists that the most likely candidates for Mattis’ post are Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), and retired General John “Jack” Keane.

The lesser of two very evil evils?

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., interrupts a fellow senator during CIA nominee Gina Haspel’s confirmation hearing, May 9, 2018. Alex Brandon | AP

Tom Cotton, in his relatively short time as a senator, has gained a reputation for being extraordinarily hawkish, particularly regarding Iran. A long-time critic of the Iran nuclear deal, Cotton was one of the authors of a controversial letter to Iran during negotiations that was described by the Baltimore Sun as telling Tehran “to prepare for war” because the agreement could be nullified by the subsequent president. Since then, Cotton has repeatedly called for the unilateral bombing of Iran, which he insisted would only take “several days” and would not lead to a wider war.  

Cotton is also markedly pro-Israel and received over $700,000 from the Emergency Committee for Israel in 2014 and nearly $1 million from that same group a year later. That same year, during the Israeli invasion of Gaza, Cotton called the Israeli military “the most moral, humanitarian fighting force in the world” despite the numerous war crimes it was committing at the time. A year later, Cotton called on Congress to supply Israel with B-52s and “bunker-buster” bombs to use against Iran.

Regarding the Syrian conflict, Cotton has been a vocal proponent of escalation for years and praised Trump’s decision in April 2017 to bomb Syria as restoring “our credibility in the world.” After Trump again bombed Syria this past April, Cotton released an official statement praising the attack, which read as follows:

The Butcher of Damascus [ostensibly referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] learned two lessons tonight the hard way: weapons of mass destruction won’t create a military advantage once the United States is done with you and Russia cannot protect its clients from the United States. President Trump ought to sustain the attacks if Assad doesn’t learn these lessons, and Iran’s ayatollahs and Kim Jong Un might want to learn the easy way. We thank our old British and French friends for once again joining us in defending the civilized world.”

Furthermore, Cotton is also hawkish on Russia. Though a vocal critic of “Russiagate,” Cotton has called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a committed adversary of the United States.” He has accused Russia of having:

Meddled in our presidential campaign, violated arms-control treaties with the United States, invaded Ukraine, assassinated political opponents in the United Kingdom, made common cause with Iran in propping up Bashar al-Assad’s outlaw regime in Syria, and cheated not only in the Olympics, but even in the Paralympics.”

In July, Cotton summed up his Russia policy as follows:

The United States should stay on the strategic offensive against Russia by maintaining sanctions, rebuilding our military, modernizing our nuclear forces, expanding missile defenses, sending more weapons to our allies, and producing more oil and gas.”

Cotton also called for the U.S. to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty last April. The Trump administration eventually followed Cotton’s advice and announced it would withdraw from the treaty this past October.However, in December, the administration gave Russia 60 days to return to “compliance” with the treaty, even though Russia is unlikely to make concessions in this area. Many analysts and foreign governments have warned that the U.S.’ unilateral withdrawal from this treaty would result in a revived nuclear arms race between Russia and the United States.

In addition, Cotton has invited controversy in the past for stating that the U.S. should be “proud” of how it treats the “savages” detained in Guantanamo Bay as well as for his claim that “bombing makes us safer.” He also called for the jailing of two New York Times journalists in 2006 for “espionage” for reporting on a classified government program and supports the war in Afghanistan.

Yet, while the possibility of Cotton as a future Secretary of Defense is alarming, perhaps even more alarming is the other name making the rounds as a Mattis replacement, John Keane.

Neocon darling Keane in pole position?

John Keane testifies on Capitol Hill about two bills on Iraq troop deployment policies, July 27, 2007. Susan Walsh | AP

Media reports have cited John Keane – sometimes referred to by his nickname “Jack” — as Mattis’ most likely replacement, which should concern anyone wary of U.S. military escalation in the Middle East. Keane, a frequent commentator on FOX News, has been described by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern as “the go-to general for the neoconservatives,” which is unsurprising given his close association with the influential neoconservative “Kagan clan” that includes Fred Kagan, Robert Kagan and their wives Kimberly Kagan and Victoria Nuland.

One of Keane’s many connections to the Kagans is the document “Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq,” which Keane co-authored with Frederick Kagan and was used as the blueprint for the Bush administration’s failed 2007 “troop surge” in Iraq. In addition, Keane is the current chairman of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), which was founded by Fred Kagan’s wife, Kimberely, and was formerly chaired by Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

As noted by Consortium News in 2012, ISW is funded by major weapons manufacturers and military contractors such as “General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and CACI, as well as lesser-known firms such as DynCorp International, which provides training for Afghan police [and has been accused of child trafficking in Afghanistan and Kosovo as well as “enslaving” American workers], and Palantir, a technology company founded with the backing of the CIA’s venture-capital arm, In-Q-Tel. Palantir supplies software to U.S. military intelligence in Afghanistan.” This may explain why Keane is an enthusiastic supporter of the 17-year-long war in that country.

Indeed, Keane’s policy positions notably benefit many of the weapons makers and contractors that fund the group he chairs. A committed “Iran hawk,” Keane had championed the U.S.’ withdrawal from the Iran deal and has called Iranians “thugs and killers” intent on “acquiring nuclear weapons.” He is also a strong supporter of the administration’s current aggressive Iran policy, including regime change.

Keane has called Iran “our number-one strategic enemy in the world” and, in 2011, promoted a plan for regime change in Iran involving “covert operations led by the CIA” and giving “money, information, and encouragement to the dissident leaders inside Iran to use their population to put pressure on the regime,” which bears striking resemblance to the White House’s current Iran policy.

The retired general is also very pro-Israel when it comes to foreign policy. For instance, Keane claimed last December that the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would “help” peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine. Then, this past February, Keane stated that war between Israel and Syria/Iran was “inevitable.”

Watch: Jack Keane calls a war between Israel and Syria/Iran/Lebanon “Inevitable”

In the case of Syria, where Trump recently announced an “immediate” troop withdrawal, Keane has repeatedly called for the U.S. to directly enter the Syrian conflict, to arm “the right [Syrian] rebels with anti-aircraft weapons,” and target Syrian military sites with “limited airstrikes.” He has also championed attacking Syrian “ground forces,” and called for a forceful overthrow of the Syrian government and the establishment of a no-fly zone over Syria. He has also advocated for a permanent U.S. military presence in the country.

Furthermore, if appointed to head the Pentagon, Keane would likely support increased troop deployments to places like Afghanistan (a war he still supports) and elsewhere, given that he has been touted as the “mastermind” behind the Bush administration’s 2007 troop “surge” in Iraq.

If that is not enough, Keane is also a “Russia hawk” and was one of the main propagators of the claim made last year that Russia was funneling weapons through Iran to the Taliban in Afghanistan in order to “weaken popular support for the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan, hoping the United States will give up and ‘go home.’” In other words, a lack of domestic support for the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan is, in Keane’s view, Russia’s fault.

Watch: “Jack” Keane blame Russia for falling support of the Afghanistan War among Americans

Keane has also called on Trump to “call out and confront” Russian President Vladimir Putin and has accused Putin and the Russian government of using “political information warfare.” Keane also stated in March that Russia “is becoming considerably more dangerous.”

Keane as personal war profiteer?

Beyond his clear support for American military intervention abroad, Keane has several conflicts of interest with private companies that benefit from U.S. intervention and war abroad. For instance, in addition to his chairing ISW, which is funded by top military contractors, Keane is a former board member of U.S. weapons manufacturer General Dynamics and a current senior advisor to Academi (the mercenary, special-ops outfit formerly known as Blackwater).

Keane is also a board member of IronNet Cybersecurity, whose CEO is Keith Alexander, the former director of the National Security Agency and head of U.S. Cyber Command. Alexander founded the company in 2014 along with a team of former leaders of the Defense Department, the National Counterterrorism Center, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, as well as cyber-experts from the commercial sector.

According to its website, IronNet “works collaboratively with government security operations centers” and Alexander, as its CEO, has spent most of the year making repeat appearances on cable news calling for a military cyber build-up to target Russia and China, a build-up from which IronNet is likely to benefit. Given his role as a board member at IronNet, Keane, if picked to be the new Secretary of Defense, will likely be equally hawkish in regards to cyber-warfare, which is likely to benefit Keane’s personal finances.

Out of the bun warmer into the fire?

Though Mattis’s record as Secretary of Defense is far from admirable, there is every indication that the person set to succeed him will be far worse. Whether Cotton or Keane or another war hawk is soon nominated to serve as the Pentagon’s top official, Mattis’ replacement is likely to support war with Iran and an increase in confrontational policies with Russia and other global powers.

While both Cotton and Keane undeniably are neoconservatives who support war, regime change and U.S. empire at every turn, it appears that Keane could well be more dangerous as future Secretary of Defense because his affiliations would result in his benefiting financially from increased U.S. involvement in both current and future military conflicts due to his numerous connections to private military contractors and weapons manufacturers.

Whereas Cotton’s hawkish policies have been largely influenced by the defense and Israel lobbies, Cotton’s personal financial interest in expanding war is largely the result of donations from these lobbies, which do not necessarily result in a pay-off every time a bomb is dropped.

Yet, either way, Mattis’ “retirement” as Secretary of Defense paves the way for further escalation in an increasingly unstable world that seems to be inching closer to another major war.

President Trump is "reconsidering" his strategy to pull US forces out of Syria following an "eye-opening trip to Iraq" the day after Christmas, Bloomberg reports. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who sits on the Senate Armed Forces Committee - a harsh critic of Trump's announced pullout, said earlier Sunday that he would try to change Trump's mind during a private lunch since the Islamic state isn't quite defeated in the region as the President had previously stated. 

"I feel better about Syria than I felt before I had lunch," said Graham after he left the White House. "I think the president is taking this really seriously, and the trip to Iraq was well timed." Trump has apparently devised a strategy with his generals in the field that "makes sense" according to the Senator. 

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-30/president-reconsidering-s...

https://www.rt.com/news/448159-us-syria-bolton-damascus-chemical/

There is absolutely no change in the US position against the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime and absolutely no change in our position that any use of chemical weapons would be met by a very strong response, as we've done twice before," Bolton told reporters on his plane shortly before landing in Tel Aviv.

While the schedule for the planned pullout remains unspecified, Bolton noted that the US would hold Syrian President Bashar Assad accountable for any incidents involving chemical weapons.

"As we elaborate how the withdrawal is going to occur and the circumstances, we don't want the Assad regime to see what we do as representing any diminution in our opposition to the use of weapons of mass destruction," he said.

https://www.populum.org/sendy/l/1Iey763NPD5QJq892SRETiAStA/YNKiX29N...

From Caitlin Johnstone Website

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On the first of April last year I published an article titled "Ignore The Words Of US Presidents. Watch Their Actions Instead," about Trump's claim that his administration would be pulling troops out of Syria "very soon." Watching the actions and ignoring the words is a personal policy I've found very useful in dealing with top government figures who understand that power has nothing to do with truth and everything to do with narrative control, and in that particular case the president's claims were quickly memory-holed after a highly suspicious chemical weapons allegation in Douma a few days later. The president's words said the troops were leaving, and what actually happened was the US bombing the Syrian government for a second time in a year while troops remained where they were.

Embarrassing Speeches: Signs Of A Dying Empire

Profile picture for user Tyler Durden


Authored by Tom Luongo,

“What are you reading my lord?” — Polonius

“Words.” — Hamlet

Something has changed in U.S. politics. And it may finally signal something changing for the better. Since the announcement (but no real follow through) to end our military involvement in Syria what passes for our statesmen - John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - have been ignored, mocked or both.

Bolton attempted to box Trump in on not leaving Syria while Israel chest-thumped about how they will not yield an inch to Iran. Turkish President Erdogan publicly lambasted him with no response from President Trump.

Or anyone else for that matter.

When was the last time you heard of a major U.S. political figure go overseas and be refused a meeting with a foreign head of state, publicly upbraided and sent home like an irrelevant flunkie?

I can’t think of one.

Bolton came into the Middle East and made demands like he was the President which Bolton knew were clearly red lines for Erdogan — guaranteeing the safety of the Syrian Kurds.

And he did this from Jerusalem.

The insult couldn’t be plainer. The lack of Bolton’s self-awareness and understanding of the situation was embarrassing. And it left Erdogan the perfect opportunity to call out the Trump Administration’s policies as beholden to a foreign power, Israel.

Pompeo’s Pomp

Next up we have His Rotundity, Mike Pompeo. He goes into Cairo and gives a speech which again shows a stunning lack of specific knowledge of history. Pompeo spent most of the speech doing what he does best.

Misrepresenting history of U.S. involvement in the Middle East so ardently one really thought he should have done it in his private man place.

The other thing he did however, is what got my attention. And I have Moon of Alabamaagain to thank for this. Pompeo outlined Trump’s vision for the future of U.S. intervention in the Middle East.

And that intervention involves something Trump is good at and Pompeo isn’t.

Words.

From Pompeo’s speech (H/T MoA):

In Syria, the United States will use diplomacy and work with our partners to expel every last Iranian boot, and work through the UN-led process to bring peace and stability to the long-suffering Syrian people. There will be no U.S. reconstruction assistance for areas of Syria held by Assad until Iran and its proxy forces withdraw and until we see irreversible progress towards a political resolution.

— MIKE POMPEO, SECRERTARY OF STATE

To be honest, the Trump administration actually engaging in something approximating diplomacy would be a welcome start. Because, to this point, there has been precious little diplomacy in the way the administration as comported itself.

Whether this was by design or a consequence of the paralysis imposed on it by a rebellious Deep State and political opposition is, frankly, as irrelevant as most of the words that come out of Pompeo’s mouth on most days.

But, grudgingly, I’ll concede this is a good sign. As always with Trump, the follow-through is what’s important. He should know that from his golf game.

Back in the Iraq-SSR

To whit, the Asia Times just ran an article wondering what is Trump up to in Iraq? Pulling the troops out of Syria only to relocate them to Iraq to retrench there after another embarrassment — recent electoral loss of our guy Abadi — seems at odds with Pompeo’s words.

Baghdad played host to a kick-off conference of the new NATO Mission in Iraq or (NMI).

According to the press release issued by NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, the conference was attended by “key leaders from across the Iraqi Security and Defence sector. They included the Iraqi Chief of Staff, General Othman Al-Ghanimi” and representatives from various international partner missions, organizations and entities such as the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, the European Union Advise Mission in Iraq, the United Nations Assistance Mission Iraq, and the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq and Diplomatic Missions.

The NMI Commander, Canadian general Dany Fortin, introduced the mission’s mandate, vision and aim as a “new iteration of a long-standing relationship” between NATO and Iraq, one that will bring together “expertise and best practice in security/defence sector reform, institution building and training and education from the entire Alliance and its partners.”

We’re cozying up to the Iraqi military as NMI has the backing of prominent Iraqi generals, while the Iraqi political leadership, no longer ‘our guys,’ refused to meet with Trump when he landed in what Trump called ‘our base.’ But we have no bases in Iraq. We are there at the pleasure of the Iraqi government, a government that now no longer necessarily wants us there.

Again, a U.S. official, this time Trump himself, using the wrong words and the wrong diplomatic protocol now wants to engage in dialogue with people who we’ve invaded, abused, spat on and murdered.

So, is this a change in direction in U.S. foreign policy or a response to the ‘wrong people’ coming to power politically and the U.S. looking to shore up support with the military?

In other words, has anything really changed?

Face the Face

For another example I turn to U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who just sent a letter to both Uniper and BASF to stop work on the Nordstream 2 pipeline or else face further U.S. sanctions.

The Bild report raised the ire of some German politicians in Berlin. Fabio De Masi, a top Left Party MP, demanded that the government reprimand Grenell, saying: “The US Ambassador seems to make an impression that he is a viceroy of the Washington emperor.

This is the real face of Trumpian diplomacy. Stop acting in your own best interest or we’ll bankrupt you.

The situation at this point is pretty clear. While our military strength is formidable it is not, however, a blank check to enforce political edicts anymore.

In a world where U.S. prosperity is dependent on the prosperity of the entire world, threatening financial ruin is just as much of a bluff as threatening physical ruin.

And we’re seeing that bluff being called a lot. Country after country are now simply showing U.S. strongmen like Pompeo, Bolton, Mattis and even Trump himself, the door and there is little to no real response from them.

  • Trump tried to scare Erdogan into submission with sanctions and a collapse of the lira last year. When it didn’t work, Erdogan knew where his allies were. He acted accordingly, siding with Putin’s energy security for Turkey rather than a mercurial U.S.

  • India did the same thing over the purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems. They said some nice things, invited us to talks and then sent us packing without a deal.

  • Germany refuses to yield on Nordstream 2.

  • Qatar was the first to pull out of the Syrian conflict and then turned around and negotiated a major exploration and development deal with Iran in the North Pars gas field.

  • Even Japan is in constant talks with Russia about working out their differences officially (again, against U.S. wishes) and sign a peace treaty. Japan needs Russian energy badly and Putin is patient enough to wait Prime Minister Shinzo Abe out while calling out his hypocrisy.

War of Words

All of these words and ineffectual bloviations point to the same thing, despite Trump’s bluster. The U.S. isn’t respected the same way it once was. And the countries caught between the growing stature of China and Russia and the fading glory of the U.S. sense this shift and are placing their bets accordingly.

Trump senses this and, in many ways, doesn’t care about them. He’s focused on what he sees as old debts, not future liabilities. He’s worried about getting everyone to pay up and pay us back rather than excising the sunk costs and shoring up the finances at home.

He’s coming around to the view that these commitments — Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. — can never recoup the losses. So, while Putin, Xi, Erdogan and Modi wait him out on when we’re leaving Asia, he’s trying to wait out the Deep State’s and his staff’s obsession with staying here.

In the meantime all we’re left with is a lot of words, full of sound and fury, signifying the end of the geopolitics as we’ve known it.


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