The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Trump the Peacemaker?

So, Trump recently said the US would be withdrawing from Syria. Now, we have news that Trump has ordered the Pentagon to draw up plans for leaving Afghanistan.

During the 2016 election, I refused to endorse either candidate; I considered Clinton a war-mongerer, with a non-zero chance of starting a war with Russia over Syria. Trump, was, of course, beyond the pale in so many ways.

However, as I told an American friend, by 2016 I was done prioritizing American lives and well-being over those of other nationalities. Before then, I had, slightly, because I believed that if the US could be turned around, as the hegemonic power, that would help everyone else.

But by 2016 it was clear that the US was basically hopeless. Everyone’s blood is the same color, everyone suffers the same. Bad things happening domestically in the US do not trump American mass-murder and terrible policy to other nations.

Now I don’t know if Trump will actually withdraw from Syria or Afghanistan; just as I don’t know how real the North Korean negotiations will turn out to be. (I just want a peace treaty out of that mess.)

But Trump has a chance to come out of this looking a lot better than Obama. All he has to do is stop a couple wars, and not start a war.

Something Obama (Libya) was unable to do.

Non-American lives matter.

Oh, and withdrawing will save some American lives, too, though a trivial number compared to how many foreigners’ lives it will save.

Plus it will correct a monumental geopolitical error. Bin Laden’s entire plan was to get US boots on the ground, prove the US military could be be beaten, and bleed the US dry. Americans, in their hubris, walked right into his trap.

Maybe time to step out of it.

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Rising and Falling


  1. Ian Welsh

    Still have the stuffing taken out of me by the post-operative recovery, so posting will probably still be light for the next little while. Thanks to Mandos for posting while I’m not well.

  2. Plenue

    Good, if he sticks to it.

    I’ve been completely bemused by the feigned outrage from Liberals over this. Trump makes a move for less war, but since it’s Trump their lizard brains are repelled by it. Something something RUSSIA!

  3. Tom

    General Mattis just quit:

    The decision to pull out of Syria and stop the Airstrikes that are leveling entire cities and villages to the ground and killing scores of civilians prompted this.

    Mad Dog Mattis always covered up civilian death tolls and research in Mosul has confirmed 10,000 civilians killed and there is still an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 bodies buried under the rubble. All those airstrikes said to be necessary actually impeded the advance of the Iraqi Military and gave the 3,000 IS defenders a lot of cover to use. It is estimated that ISF lost 20,000 troops clearing the city as Baghdad stopped releasing Data on troop losses when they hit 5,000 dead.

    Even Trump is starting to realize that blindly worshipping the military and throwing money into the black hole that is the Pentagon is a lost cause. As he sees it, his base will back him while the those opposed would be think tanks who lack constituency.

  4. bruce wilder

    I think we have to consider the possibility that Trump is the one-eyed king in the land of the blind, that all the “serious” people in Washington, including many of the most prominent journalists, are even less acquainted with reality than he is.

    Really, how much “seriousness” or genuine patriotism or just common decency does it require to see after 17 years that the war in Afghanistan is very expensive and accomplishes nothing???

    Is there any reason, any justification for the U.S. to have forces in Syria?

    These are not difficult policy questions.

    I would not even venture the hypothesis that Trump understands these issues except in the most superficial way. The thing is, his establishment foes cannot seem to muster even a superficial understanding.

    The deep and pervasive inability and disinterest in the mainstream media to make sense is vastly more frightening to me than Trump’s hypomania.

    (Thanks to Ian and Mandos for carrying the flag despite Ian’s on-going recovery.)

  5. Z

    If he follows through with the actions to meet his words, it will be one of the most monumental things he’ll ever do. One aspect of it that makes it so important, and in some ways it might be the most important of all, is that he will be so blatantly placing the interests of the U.S. over Israel’s. Obviously, he’s also thumbing his nose at the Mighty MIC.

    I expect some very interesting Congressional theater over this matter. Will Mueller’s investigation suddenly gain steam? Will the Republicans start to murmur about Impeachment as well? Also, it will be interesting to watch the media’s show with their conglomerate cousins being dissed like this.

    I suspect that the Mueller investigations are going to gain some Congressional steam as some leading Republicans start to voice their concerns with some of the findings to the media. Maybe McConnell or someone like that will start it off. Lindsay Graham is probably making phone calls to David Brooks right now.

    This Mattis resigning is just the beginning of the eruptions that are about to ensue.

    Also very important: if Trump does what he says he’ll do, he’ll be giving the majority of the American people a win over these powerful and entrenched influences in our government.


  6. Z


    It’s no mystery why they can’t seem to “figure” things out when the findings would be against the interests of their conglomerate cousins.


  7. Rich

    “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.”
    Matthew 5:9

    I’d say Trump comprehends the “issues” well enough as the encyclopedic understanding of guys like Obama, Hillary and Mattis brought us to this place in the Middle East vis a vis Obama’s adoption of GWBs wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hillary’s signature execution of Gaddafi in Libya and Mattis’s personal promotion of boots on the ground in Syria.

    While we worship these murderous souls and deem them “worthy” of leadership in our country, any other citizen soldier, sailor, airman, marine or not who made the case for war-fighting in Syria as critical to this country’s national defense would have been correctly, mercifully and forcibly hospitalized as a paranoid delusional egomaniac. No, wait, that would never happen because Ronald Reagan shuttered most community mental health programs and the Gov’t weaponized medicine in the realm of psychology and psychiatry as an essential tool for torturing the enemy, the terrorists.

  8. Herman

    This is another example of Trump making decisions that are popular enough with his base and with independents that I think he has a very good chance of winning reelection in 2020.

    Feel better Ian. Take it easy and don’t worry about the blog. Thanks to Mandos for keeping things going while you recover.

  9. Hugh

    This is Trump we are talking about. Trump doesn’t do policy or strategy. He doesn’t give a shit about peace or lives, American or foreign. A slime beetle has more morals and more loyalty. All Trump cares about is Trump. We should never forget that or read more into his actions than is there. Indeed with Trump, there is no there there, just random fluctuations. He has left the North Koreans to develop their nuclear weapons and missile capabilities. In Syria, Erdogan, the Turkish dictator, said he was going to go to war against the Kurds, the US allies in the region, but in exchange he would buy some US weapons. So Trump said fine and sold out the Kurds. This should surprise no one. He has done this repeatedly to all kinds of people who were stupid or greedy enough to work for him or in his Administration.

    I think you could say that as Mueller has gotten closer to him and with the Democrats in the House set to turn up the pressure astronomically on him with their investigations, Trump is likely to act even more erratically because that’s who he is, because he will make nuttier and nuttier efforts to play to his diminishing base, and because he will make wilder and wilder attempts to divert attention away from his and his family’s growing legal jeopardy.

  10. Ché Pasa

    As Hugh points out, with Trump there is no there there. It’s all about him all the time, and he is oblivious to such notions as Peace in Our Time. At least insofar as it affects anyone other than him.

    But let’s dig a bit further too. These actions, if such they be, do not signal Peace at all. Putting American troops into hostile areas or withdrawing them from them is not about Peace in any case. Treaties mean even less under Trump as he will unilaterally abrogate any and all without a thought or care.

    You could say that “he makes a desert and calls it peace.” Dozens of cities have been laid waste and uncounted tens or hundreds of thousands of people have been exterminated under Trump’s command. And millions are at risk of slaughter, disease, and starvation because of Trump’s devoted obeisance to the killer regimes of Saudi Arabia and Israel. Much of this killing spree has been executed “with American assistance” by others under a US sponsored “coalition” umbrella.

    The US has been engaged in a form of mercenary warfare guised as “coalitions’ for decades, while also pitting nations against nations, rebels against nations, and committing murders, assassinations and coups with abandon. None of that stopped because Trump ascended the throne, in fact much of it accelerated. Drone strikes alone have killed more people during the first two years of Trump’s reign than during the entirety of the Obama regime.

    And so on.

    Trump is no peace maker, nor is Mattis, except in the sense of causing utter destruction and calling it peace.

    What will come of this latest jiggery-pokery (h/t the unlamented Antonin Scalia) is anybody’s guess, but given the global state of things, I doubt it will be net-positive.

    On the other hand, yes Ian, wishing you full recovery.

  11. Thanks for all the appreciation, it was my pleasure and I would have liked to have filled more “dead air” were it not for “real-world” commitments … although some of you who come here for Ian had to endure my general contrarianism and pretentions to shibboleth-busting, but then that’s why Ian brought me on in the first place, to make sure you guys can’t use his blog as an intellectual bubble zone 🙂 I’m glad, in any case, to see that Ian is well enough to write new posts.

  12. On the topic at hand: Trump is doing something that is incidentally good, even if it is for bad reasons, and the benefit of it at risk of being ruined by some other dumb or malfeasant move in the future. But it is good … or would be if it really does involve a genuine disengagement in the end …

  13. Al

    The President is going up against the Borg by withdrawing of troops from Syria and hopefully Afghanistan. If indeed it really happens. It’s a dangerous move on his part. Remember what happened in Dallas in 1963.
    Please get well soon, Ian. And Happy Winter Solstice.

  14. Jib Halyard

    Yay, The Great Satan America is withdrawing from yet another part of the outside world! I’m sure the vacuum will be filled ever-so benevolently by such champions of human rights and rule of law as Russia, Iran and Turkey.
    Cue the whataboutisms from people who have the luxury of not living in small countries in those neighbourhoods…

  15. rangoon78

    GG on Twitter: The most bizarre aspect of Rachel @Maddow’s deep anger over troop withdrawal from Syria is that she wrote an entire book in 2012 denouncing illegal US Endless War without congressional approval – exactly what Syria is. I interviewed her about it here:…

  16. rangoon78

    Jrermy Scahill on Twitter:
    1. I support withdrawing US troops from all these wars, overt and covert.
    2. Trump is an unstable authoritarian who cannot be trusted.
    3. “Mattis was an adult” is bullshit. He’s a hawkish war criminal.
    4. It’s very telling that the war party in DC is furious.
    5. This is an opportunity for progressive forces to assert an alternative vision for US foreign policy.
    6. Trump is a crooked charlatan. But these withdrawals would represent a dent in the armor of the bipartisan war machine.
    7. This chaos presents opportunity.

  17. NR

    I look forward to seeing all the people here who are now praising Trump as a peacemaker twisting themselves into virtual pretzels to justify their continued support of the man when he starts a war with Iran next year.

  18. Wishing you a smooth and speedy recovery, Ian. Great to see you back posting. Thanks to Mandos for fill-ins. On the topic: Kurds stabbed in the back! Film at 11. Seriously, no matter how much you may despise Trump, give a blind pig credit for an acorn when he finds it.

  19. I don’t think Trump is a peacemaker and think he will probably mess something up later on. This is a case of a “broken clock is right twice a day”, but nevertheless, it is right.

  20. Herman


    That is a possibility but we can’t be sure yet. I think a lot of what Trump does in the future will depend on the state of the economy. If the economy tanks and tanks hard then I think things could get hairy because who knows what Trump will do to salvage his presidency. But I could also see him basically trying to not rock the boat until 2020.

    Also, there is the added question of what the military thinks about war with Iran. Does the military really want a war with Iran that will probably be much bigger and bloodier than the war with Iraq? Will the public be as willing to go to war in 2019 as they were in 2003 under the shadow of 9/11? Are the neocons and other hawks as influential under Trump as they were under Bush II?

  21. nihil obstet

    Trump sees his own fortune as real estate and crony consumer based. His view is different from say, Dick Cheney, who got very rich from the non-compete contracts to Halliburton in the mid-east wars. U.S. foreign policy is about further enriching the rich. Trump doesn’t see wars as further enriching him.

    But then, I don’t care what the motive is if he ends some of the worst of the evil.

  22. Willy

    Maybe Trump made the narcissistic personality disordered political calculation that withdrawal leading to chaos to later blame on Democrats, was the right move?

    I’m more interested in his rabid fan base. Faith based reasoning seems to go hand in hand with authoritarianism and bad fads. You know that if Bill Kristol suddenly grew a mullet you’d never see one in the general public again. But if Trump grew one they’d be all over the place.

  23. StewartM

    It’s good that Trump decided to pull out of both Syria and Afghanistan. But given his fold on the wall deal just now when his Congressional base told him ‘hell no’, consider me skeptical that he won’t either renege on this decision or go start a new war somewhere else.

    What I find most depressing is “DemTV” praising about Mattis as a hero, just like they cheered Bush ’41 after his death. As one talking head praising Mattis said, he ‘understood the dire threats to American security and the importance to our alliances in a dangerous world’–to which I thought “bullshit”.

    There are no existential foreign adversary threats to the US, like Hitler. We are not at war with Putin’s Russia; our differences with Russia are imagined and largely one of our own hubris and capitalist overreach. China might be slightly more problematic (Taiwan, South China Sea) but most of China’s strength has come about via our Bain Capitals and reining them in alleviates that. Iran is not a threat, but a potential ally, and North Korea is laughable (and that too can be solved). The US is more a threat to itself than others are a threat to it.

    This is where I think you were largely right, Ian in your previous assessment. The world would be a better place if America fixed its domestic problems, but since we went all capitalist-y for the past 40 years our influence has worsened the world. Recall Henry Carey’s (economic advisor to Lincoln) about what kind of foreign policy that ‘pure’ capitalism begets (I marked it in bold):

    “Two systems are before the world;

    the one looks to increasing the proportion of persons and of capital engaged in trade and transportation, and therefore to diminishing the proportion engaged in producing commodities with which to trade, with necessarily diminished return to the labour of all ; while the other looks to increasing the proportion engaged in the work of production, and diminishing that engaged in trade and transportation, with increased return to all, giving to the labourer good wages, and to the owner of capital good profits.

    One looks to increasing the quantity of raw materials to be exported, and diminishing the inducements to the import of men, thus impoverishing both farmer and planter by throwing on them the burden of freight ; while the other looks to increasing the import of men, and diminishing the export of raw materials, thereby enriching both planter and farmer by relieving them from the payment of freight.

    One looks to compelling the farmers and planters of the Union to continue their contributions for the support of the fleets and armies, the paupers, the nobles and the sovereigns of Europe ; the other to enabling ourselves to apply the same means to the moral and intellectual improvement of the sovereigns of America.

    One looks to the continuance of that bastard freedom of trade which denies the principle of protection, yet doles it out as revenue duties ; the other to extending the area of legitimate free trade by the establishment of perfect protection, followed by the annexation of individuals and communities, and ultimately by the abolition of custom-houses.

    One looks to exporting men to occupy desert tracts, the sovereignty of which is obtained by aid of diplomacy or war ; the other to increasing the value of an immense extent of vacant land by importing men by millions for their occupation.

    One looks to increasing the necessity for commerce ; the other to increasing the power to maintain it.

    One looks to underworking the Hindoo, and sinking the rest of the world to his level ; the other to raising the standard of man throughout the world to our level.

    One looks to pauperism, ignorance, depopulation, and barbarism ; the other in increasing wealth, comfort, intelligence, combination of action, and civilization.

    One looks towards universal war ; the other towards universal peace.

    One is the English system ; the other we may be proud to call the American system, for it is the only one ever devised the tendency of which was that of elevating while equalizing the condition of man throughout the world.

    Carey’s “English system” is classic lassiez-faire free-trade capitalism, and I find it astonishing that he nailed its effects so presciently. And Carey correctly says, for much of its history America was proud to say we weren’t lassiez-faire capitalists. Movement conservatives and libertarians have rewritten much of US history into a false narrative.

  24. bruce wilder

    The establishment politicos and the corporate Media are going to go with narratives (aka propaganda) that feature manipulative hooks. The only checks on their freedom to do so are:
    1.) our own lying eyes (looking and judging directly when and where that is possible;
    2.) memory (“Oceania was at war with Eastasia: Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.”)
    3.) the idealism and professional scruples of intermediaries (journalists and academics).

    Political leadership entails some combination of persuasion, subtlety in equivocation and staying in front of the crowd. We are justified in praising a politics as democratic when the relation of leadership to mass support is a two-way street, when leaders feel some dependency on the interests and opinions of the public-at-large. When it is a one-way street of top-down manipulation and mobilization and public opinion is a product of propaganda and not at all a strategic factor, . . . not really democracy.

    That Trump is President is a sad commentary on the state of American politics, and lots of people seem to understand that instinctively, but they also “remember” Obama in very inaccurate ways and project characteristics on the Clintons that have little basis in reality.

    When Trump decries, “fake news” for example, few credit the truth of that attack on, say, CNN or the New York Times, both establishment outlets with few scruples.

    I have long followed Atrios of Eschaton, because he seems to have high resistance to establishment cant. Today, he quips, “. . . I’ll allow that Mad Dog . . . was at least slightly more competent . . . We’re increasingly finding out whether chaotic stupid evil is preferable to lawful evil.”

    OK, so what’s the algebra of that quip? Trump being Trump is: “chaotic stupid evil” and who, precisely, is “lawful evil”? It sure as hell ain’t Mattis or any of the architects of the American military presence in Syria, which has absolutely no basis in either American law or international law. U.S. involvement in Syria which goes back to Obama (and Clinton as Secretary of State) has always been “chaotic stupid evil” with tentative backing for a re-branded Al Qaeda affiliate, trying to ally with both the Turks and the Kurds and so on, and all with no apparent aim beyond perpetuating the conflict.

    Atrios was trying to make the point that “Mad Dog” Mattis was not deserving of the accolades heaped on him by Media propaganda. But, then, he slips trying to draw out the dichotomy that concedes Trump’s incompetence.

    Our minds are trapped in this never-ending gale of misinformation and disinformation.

  25. Ché Pasa

    From appearances, much of what passes for Trump’s war policy is a preparatory feint. Preparatory to the increasingly likely attack on Iran. This is the desire of his partners in the bloody business of war, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Trump has been telegraphing his desire to annihilate the Persian host for years. None of his actions have shown the slightest indication that an attack on Iran is less likely.

    When/if the attack occurs, his fans who now cheer his “peacemaking” will no doubt loudly cheer his decisive and ultra bloody action with regard to Tehran. Same as happened in the Third Reich. Hitler was the Peacemaker — until he wasn’t.

    Ultimately, it is so easy to con so many to believe fantasies.

  26. Hugh

    You can argue whether the US should be in either Syria or Afghanistan, but the bottom line is that we are in them and Trump’s quick, essentially unplanned, withdrawal from them will further destabilize both and the regions in which they lie.

    It is important to remember that when we talk about fake news we are talking about the media’s neoliberal/neoconservative/Establishment biases while when Trump talks about fake news, he is talking about anything that doesn’t involve glowing, unquestioning adulation of him.

  27. different clue

    ” An imminent hanging tends to concentrate the mind.” Who said that? Samuel Johnson?

    Almost every time the Kurds have been given a Darwin Exam, they have flunked it. Now the Kurds in Syria have been given a chance to pass a Darwin Exam, for once. They still have days or maybe even a couple of weeks to make a peace with President Assad of the Syrian Arab Republic. They might be able to win a little autonomy for themselves in return for accepting being ” a part of” Syria and letting the SAR government handle all ( ALL) of Syria’s foreign policy and defense policy. That way, maybe the SAR and the Syrian Kurds can fight the upcoming Turkish invasion together, or maybe even deter it.

    Otherwise, they will fight Turkey alone and they will lose. Turkey may well ” West Bankify” the whole Northern Strip of Syria.

    Trump’s sudden announcement forces the issue.

    And likewise for Afghanistan. A swift and sure removal of all American forces from Afghanistan will end the levitation-in-mid-air of the cinder blocks, which will be set free to all fall down. Let the neighbors pacify Afghanistan. If Western Liberals really caaaaaare . . . soooo much . . . about things like “Rights for Women and Girls” in Afghanistan, let them give hundreds of thousands of machine guns to the membership of RAWA ( Revolutionary Afghan Womens’ Association), along with millions of rounds of ammo, and trust that RAWA will do what needs to be done.

    China plans to mine minerals in Afghanistan. Let China keep the peace there. Maybe China will be kinder and gentler than past Pacificationists were.

    I see at least two commenters have made a specific prediction . . . that the people who celebrate Trump’s apparent peacemaking now will turn right around and celebrate Trump’s open warfare attack on Iran, if he launches one. Hopefully we will not ever have to see that tested. But if we do, we will see whether those predictions turn out right or wrong.

    In the meantime, it is amusing to see the coalition of Jihad-supporting Clintonites and Mad Dog McCainists foaming in spittle-flecked rage at the thought that Assad isn’t going anywhere, either sooner or later or ever.

    Like that kid says on the Simpsons: . . . .

  28. bruce wilder

    @ Ché Pasa

    Mattis or whoever is in charge at DoD has managed to minimize the presence of U.S. naval task forces in the Persian Gulf — many possible explanations, but it does make war harder to trigger on impulse

    @ Hugh

    If presence does not produce stability, absence does not produce instability.

    Withdrawal might allow movement to a different political equilibrium, where stability is possible, but it is faulty reasoning to insist as your implicit premise that U.S. is fostering “stability” by keeping a civil war going. Afghanistan might well revert to rule by the Taliban — quite likely to be a more stable outcome than prolonging a 17 year war of attrition that “our” side is losing. Similarly, U.S. withdrawal is likely to lead the Kurdish secessionist proto-state to seek an accommodation with Assad, or maybe just give up, but in either case, it is b.s. to claim that U.S. support for a bloody stalemate in an on-going civil war constitutes “stability”.

  29. Stirling Newberry

    Stopped clock – twice a day.

    W did a couple of things right too.

    I will take it, modulo that the recession will be coming soon. And will cost more lives.

  30. scruff

    Ok, so how many children die in the coming week’s gas attack?

  31. Hugh

    Bruce, I think Mattis was a hardliner on Iran while not wishing to take that hardline to the point of war. No strategist contemplating an attack on Iran would station US naval inside the Persian Gulf. It would placing them in a shooting gallery. They would and do have them patrol several hundred miles away out in the Arabian Sea.

    “If presence does not produce stability, absence does not produce instability.”

    That is a non sequitur. The last time the Taliban was in power, it gave shelter to al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, enacted very repressive laws, many directed against women, had a significant portion of the population dependent on international food aid, and all in all was proudly marching Afghanistan back to some unsustainable seventh century version of itself. Similarly, on your reasoning, Syria was more “stable” under ISIS.

    I have in the past criticized the Chomskyan view of history as deceptive and wrong, that if only the US presence could somehow be erased from history countries would happily revert to some Jeffersonian democratic ideal. I have always found this to be a deeply colonialist view, that history never existed before our appearance and would end once again with our disappearance. The truth is that countries do have histories that do not depend on us. They had those histories long before we came along and while our presence has had some effects in the world, it has in no way caused those histories to cease to exist. Put more simply, the world has always been a fucked up place. And when we leave some country, our exit merely allows the pre-existing fuckedupedness to reassert itself along with any fuckedupedness we may have added along the way.

  32. davidly

    Hugh with the trifecta. 1) His “Chomskyan view of history” his projected man made of straw. I’ll risk hyperbole by asserting the clichéd “nobody is saying” that all would have been hunky dory, just that the added fuckedupedness is under the control of those who add it. That’s no zero some great game. 2) He’s wrong about whatever he thinks the Jeffersonian democratic ideal is; there is none. There is only vapid interpretation for the purpose of selling the US as a nation of worthy ideals. 3) That countries have histories is a… non sequitur.

  33. Ché Pasa


    Seems to me war is triggerable practically on whim or whenever the urge reaches its peak. We’ve been through this with Bush the First and Second whose thoughtless invasions and blood-fests left ruin and chaos in their wake, with global repercussions none of us can escape.

    Those catastrophes were possible in part because whoever sits on the presidential throne can order them, and troops are obliged to obey. There are brakes to be sure, but barring full on mutiny they won’t stop a determined presidential command to attack, to withdraw or whatever.

    It’s interesting that those who are criticizing or leaving the Trump regime because of the precipitous order to withdraw from Syria/Afghanistan were some of the very people counseling against (and yet it seems preparing for) the Iran project. With them gone, the only brake may be a mutiny.

  34. bruce wilder

    @ Ché Pasa: It’s interesting that those who are criticizing or leaving the Trump regime because of the precipitous order to withdraw from Syria/Afghanistan were some of the very people counseling against (and yet it seems preparing for) the Iran project.

    @ Hugh: I think Mattis was a hardliner on Iran while not wishing to take that hardline to the point of war.

    Once journalists are tasked with writing the hagiography of a Man of Integrity with a Profile in Courage in the immediate aftermath of his Heroic Moment defying Trump, you pretty much cannot trust anything said on teevee or printed on-line or in newsprint. The need to spew an appealing narrative has a strong tendency to overwhelm any available basis in facts.

    It would be really hard to portray Mattis as “the adult in the room” if you felt compelled to explain in a coherent fashion why a troop withdrawal is the trigger for the prick’s outraged resignation.

  35. different clue

    A memory comes back to me: there have been people saying the Trump election is obviously a well-hidden military “soft coup” . . . what with all those generals in positions of power and authority.

    The departure of Kelly and McMaster and now Mattis appears to render that analysis to have been mistaken, in retrospect.

  36. bruce wilder

    @ different clue

    I remember venturing such an interpretation myself. Doesn’t look so hot right now, but maybe the Deep State has plans? Vacating the premises prior to . . . ??

  37. Ché Pasa

    Marcy Wheeler rather comprehensively covers the topic of “withdrawal” from Syria/Afghanistan/wherever vis a vis the Trump regime.

    She may be overthinking it, but at the same time, she recognizes the complexity of the situation, something most Trump fans can’t and don’t. At any rate, there’s always more going on than we know.

    There’s little doubt in my mind that Mattis is a blood-soaked war criminal as are so many of our leaders and would be champions. And yet, from accounts and appearances, he has been an advocate for delaying or even canceling the Iran Operation altogether. The point of removing troops from Syria/Afghanistan and removing naval forces from the Gulf may be simply to protect them for later use once the Iran Operation (possibly not an invasion) gets under way. If troops are also removed from Iraq and Gulf bases, then I think the signs and portents will be clear enough, and they will not signal Peace In Our Time. The Operation may be led by Israel and Saudi Arabia, supported by the US from a distance, but the global consequences are dire, no matter who pushes the button.

    Perhaps I’ve become so cynical in my dottage because experience has shown that what we think we know is generally incomplete or altogether wrong, and government and the military, no matter who is at its apex, operates on quite a different plane than the rest of us.

    Trump has no interest in changing any of that; what he’s doing — and mostly getting away with — is turning government operations toward his own personal benefit regardless of harm or benefit to others. There is no concept of public service or responsibility in his world-view. As Mattis appears to have recognized, he’s been misusing the military both in his desire for personal glory and through unwise deployments, including domestically.

    What takes the place of the current line up of military commanders and advisors is anybody’s guess. Maybe Bannon will return, chastened. Or not.

    A military “soft-coup” was being bruited as a counter to Trump, his chaos and his cult. “His generals” seemed to be able to rein him in, but something happened (reports say Bolton overreached the way he does) and whatever internal stability there was collapsed and Mattis, et al., departed. Leaving a vacuum. To be filled by who knows what?

    Our journey into Interesting Times continues…

  38. S Brennan

    As miserly as the post and comments are…I note for the record:

    Trump* said he wanted out of DC’s endless wars of neo-colonilaism…and unlike the poster/commenters, I supported him on this.

    Hillary* said she was willing to risk WW III over Syria…and unlike the poster/commenters, I condemned her for this.

    Now, Trump walks this road alone, “liberals”, always a cowardly bunch, will do what evil requires and remain silently on the sidelines…or worse, advocate for colonial wars.

    *During the campaign

  39. Ché Pasa

    Trump* said he wanted out of DC’s endless wars of neo-colonilaism…and unlike the poster/commenters, I supported him on this.

    This may your belief, but it’s neither what he said nor what his actions since becoming president have demonstrated. If anything, he’s as much of a domineering neo/colonialist as any president before him. With the possible exception of TR.

    Hillary* said she was willing to risk WW III over Syria…and unlike the poster/commenters, I condemned her for this.

    Again, this may be your belief, but it is not what she said nor did she have the power to initiate such a war had she wanted to.

    On the other hand, her position on Syria, like that of Donald Trump’s, was that of a typical American warmonger politician. Neither of them advocated peace for Syria or the region. Both were intent on extermination of enemies in the field and destruction of much of Syria in quest of their neo-imperialist goals.

    Trump has had the pleasure of acting on his desire for blood which has been spilled in great quantities in Syria and throughout the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. There’s no sign yet that his bloodlust has been sated.

  40. S Brennan

    Why Clinton’s plans for no-fly zones in Syria could provoke US-Russia conflict

  41. S Brennan

    Could Hillary Clinton start a world war? Sure as hell she could – and here’s how.

  42. S Brennan

    Hillary Clinton’s insane plan for a no-fly zone – The Democratic presidential frontrunner is calling for war against Russia over Syria and hoping no one notices – December 29, 2015 2:00AM ET

  43. Ché Pasa

    Being soaked in blood or being willing to be soaked in other people’s blood appears to be one of the requirements for high office in this country.

    Hillary never called for nuclear war with Russia, but it’s become an article of faith that she did and that if elected she would have had her generals push the button within days of her inauguration. Nothing will shake that belief in the short term and probably not in the long term, either. Trump on the other hand has continually threatened “annihilation” of foes, and has carried out numerous slaughters and the destruction of cities throughout the various conflict zones.

    Effectively, Hillary’s “No-Fly Zone” in Syria was identical to Trump’s “Safe-Zone.” If one would trigger a nuclear war, so would the other, but the fact is that neither would have done so. Tragically, neither a “No-Fly Zone” or a “Safe-Zone” was established in Syria, and tens of thousands of Syrians have perished in the various operations for and against the sides in the civil war that was precipitated on behalf of… well, who exactly? And why? Imperialist projection of power? That’s part of it. Crisis of opportunity? Sure, why not?

  44. S Brennan

    Pasa proves, once again, Hillary acolytes are delusional and incapable of rational discussion. Four articles, with quotes, at odds with your “opinion”. Sorry you didn’t get your pony, maybe tomorrow…huh Pasa?

  45. bruce wilder

    Hillary never called for nuclear war with Russia, but it’s become an article of faith that she did and that if elected she would have had her generals push the button within days of her inauguration. Nothing will shake that belief in the short term and probably not in the long term, either. Trump on the other hand . . .

    That last part — “Trump on the other hand” — is a tell. We are way past close calculation of lesser evil the 2016 election required but here we are still practicing it with the same erosion of intellect.

    Lots of people out of partisan determination absolved Hillary of all sin by comparing her to Trump. It was not smart and it certainly did not result in a realistic assessment of the politics let alone the person.

    Hillary was a war-monger, hard-core on Iran, hands dirty in Ukraine, and yes she proposed the no-fly zone as a way to prolong the war of attrition against Assad with no more plan for after than she had in Libya. Whatever Trump is or is not does not change that. If you cannot see her as the monster she is, you are not looking with your eyes open.

    The deeper reality of American foreign policy is that a sociopathic establishment has presumptive control regardless of Party.

    However hard partisans might have tried to find the lesser evil, the Party elites were not different and were offering no choice to the electorate, just as no policy difference followed on Obama’s election. Obama did not even change key personnel much.

    I have near zero faith in Trump’s basic competence, but just recognizing that the U.S. is doing no good in Syria or Afghanistan does not require genius. It does require overcoming the obduracy of a corrupt elite in government and political media. I may not be with Trump, but I sure as hell am not with the likes of Mattis or the New York Times (or Hillary Clinton!) whose argument in favor of their own palsied grip on power is, “it’s complicated” with no shred of rational concern for blood or treasure let alone honor.

  46. different clue

    Technically, it is oh-so-exquisitely-correct that Hillary never overtly called for a nuclear war with Russia in those exact words. And it is a revealing act of deception and misdirection on the part of those who pretend that anyone ever did say that Hillary overtly called for a nuclear war with Russia in those exact words. Its just the sort of deception one would expect from a deep-cover Clintonite.

    What Hillary DID say, which alarmed some of us, was that we needed to establish a No-Fly Zone over Syria to stop the Syrian Arab Republic from flying its airplanes and helicopters, and also to stop Russia from flying ITS airplanes, anywhere over Syria. What alarmed some of us about Hillary’s call for a No Fly Zone is the real risk it posed of direct combat between US and RF air forces leading up the ladder of escalation to a thermonuclear exchange between the peer nuclear powers. Establishing a No Fly Zone would also require weeks of massive bombing to destroy all of Syria’s air defense systems. And since some of those were manned by Russian personnel at the time, it would involve killing military-service Russians; again taking us to the brink of the escalatory ladder to thermonuclear exchange.

    These threats and problems were discussed in some detail at Colonel Lang’s Sic Semper Tyrannis blog. That was the single biggest main reason I voted for Trump in order to deny Hillary access to the Red Button. The Beautiful Shiny Red Button . . . . the Jolly CANNNdy-like Button . . .

    A close second reason for me is that the reason Hillary wanted a No Fly Zone over Syria was to topple Bashar al-“Must Go” Assad. That would have helped Saudi Barbaria and the United Arab Emirates create their Syrian Emirate of Jihadistan. I opposed giving Hillary that chance.

    My close third reason was Hillary’s long support for the International Free Trade Conspiracy as embodied by her long advocacy for Trade Treason Agreements. So one could say that the emotional sweetener for me in voting against Hillary was that I could take revenge for NAFTA, WTO membership “for” America, MFN for China, etc.

    We may still have a silent lurker reading here from over at the Confluence. We may have two or three. If we do, here is my message to you:

    You have never paid for what you did to this country. You have never even begun to pay.
    But you will.
    You will pay.
    We will make you pay.

  47. Z

    For those 24-hour a day, irrelevant of whatever he ever does Trump-haters out there who are now scavenging for some fault to his planned withdraw from Syria … timing!!!!!! Oh yes, of course. Okay, what would be your plans for a “reasonable” measured withdraw of troops? Just a broad outline of your thinking on the matter would do. What benchmarks would you set for a staged … as in stages … withdraw? Why would you ever trust our military and diplomatic leadership to manage your plan well even if you had a feasible plan?

    If you’re going to leave anyway, might as well go now. Yes, it will be a mess. It was a mess before us and it became more of a mess the more we got involved in it.

    The only time to act on the Middle East should be if some country is placing ours in danger with their nuclear capabilities. That should be aggressively squashed. That’s about it. But of course you can’t even trust our government on those matters as they have proven. And many, many innocent people have paid for.


  48. Ché Pasa

    The ‘tell’ is that those who continue denouncing a faction of the the Establishment (incl. Hillary, the Dems in general, the permanent government, the supposed deepest Deep State, etc.) cannot find it in themselves to denounce Trump and his pals (so long as they remain pals) for much of anything, despite the fact that operationally they are factions of the same corporate/imperialist/warmongering Overclass.

    That’s the definition of partisanship.

    Neither faction (nor any of the other factions currently lying low) is our friend. Is that so hard to understand? Apparently passionate partisans have a hard time with such a simple concept.

  49. NR

    The Trumpers here are dishonestly pretending that Hillary Clinton would have unilaterally imposed a no-fly zone over Syria, when she explicitly said that a no-fly zone would be negotiated with Russia, not imposed:

    A negotiated no-fly zone would, of course, not have led to a war with Russia, because they would have agreed to it. Yet the Trumpers here insist on pretending that this is not the case. Very strange.

  50. NR

    “The ‘tell’ is that those who continue denouncing a faction of the the Establishment (incl. Hillary, the Dems in general, the permanent government, the supposed deepest Deep State, etc.) cannot find it in themselves to denounce Trump and his pals (so long as they remain pals) for much of anything, ”

    To paraphrase George Orwell, their attitude toward Trump’s policies is not “Is this policy right or wrong?” but rather “This is Trump’s policy, how can I make it appear right?”

  51. different clue

    Would the Democrats like my vote in 2020? All they have to do is nominate Sanders to be their Presidential Nominee. If they offer me Sanders to vote for, I won’t have to vote for Trump again.
    See how simple that is?

  52. S Brennan


    There is no need, indeed no purpose in me criticizing Trump, without exception, everything Trump does is universally castigated by corporate media/pundits as “just like Hitler”.

    Hillary, at the last moment [late Oct 16] , after polls showed her warmongering to be unpopular, came up with the pathetic story that she would get the Russians to agree to having the US dominate the skies above Syria. Hillary’s lie was too little too late…except for fellating suchophants nobody took Hillary seriously…nor should they.

  53. NR

    I’ll just state that just because some people have gone so far round the bend that they’ve decided to ignore Hillary Clinton’s expressly stated words and dishonestly pretend that she would have started a war with Russia when she clearly and explicitly stated that she would not, does not mean everyone else should do the same.

    Whatever you may think of Hillary Clinton (I personally don’t care for her), facts are facts, and ignoring them because you find them inconvenient to your narrative isn’t good practice.

  54. nihil obstet

    “some people have gone so far round the bend that they’ve decided to ignore Hillary Clinton’s expressly stated words and dishonestly pretend . . . .” — when Clinton expressly says one thing and then expressly says the opposite, is there a way to believe or disbelieve one of the contradictory sayings without oneself becoming dishonest? Inquiring minds want to know.

  55. NR

    “when Clinton expressly says one thing and then expressly says the opposite”

    She didn’t expressly say the opposite. She always said the no-fly zone would be negotiated and not imposed unilaterally. That some people are now desperate to pretend otherwise doesn’t change that fact.

  56. nihil obstet

    OK, you’re probably right on the “expressly” in this case. I didn’t follow her Syrian statements with the careful parsing necessary to make the “expressly” statement. I did, for example, follow her statements on TPP. She expressly said it was the gold standard of trade deals. When it was clear that this was hurting her polling, she said that she didn’t support it “in its current form”. Lots of people argued with me that I was ill informed in my belief that Clinton supported the TPP. My response was that I didn’t know what “in its current form” meant — would she accept its current labor and environmental standards and enforcement mechanisms? Would she agree to the ISDS? And Clinton supporters said I was just wrong, because Clinton didn’t support the TPP, which she had earlier called the gold standard of trade deals. I would say her positions were expressly contradictory, but you might find that the subtle linguistic differences that make them consistent.

    I didn’t track her precise words at all points on the no-fly zone in Syria. Did she make the kind of vague statements on cooperation with Russia that she made on not supporting the TPP? I was concerned about the Obama administration’s policies towards Russia that Clinton never pivoted away from — the fomenting of a coup in Ukraine to displace an elected pro-Russian government and the movement towards incorporating nations on Russia’s borders into NATO. Given Russia’s history of being invaded and the American promises to Russia in 1990 during negotiations over German reunification not to expand NATO, this is dangerous. I probably pay more attention to politics than the average voter, and I did not think she was proposing a serious policy of cooperation with Russia, not in Europe and not in the Middle East. She did not seem to have discussed the possibility with Russia prior to announcing it during her campaign.

    S Brennan, above is right — her statement that she would negotiate a no-fly zone with Russia is like her statement that she didn’t support the TPP in its current form. A departure from her past policies in response to poor polling, and meaningless as a statement of her current policy. It’s like Trump responding to negative polling about the expense of building a wall by saying that Mexico would pay for it. You wouldn’t know whether it would be done until you elected Trump. And you wouldn’t know whether Clinton

    NR, you’re right that the issue is how we examine public figures and discuss policies with each other. I can’t see that poll-friendly statements divorced from the candidate’s past history or current actions should play the decisive role in judging her likely policies. I can’t see that “You have to believe everything the candidate says or you’re being dishonest” is a valid standard. Or that thinking she might be misleading by stating a nice sounding but impossible condition is denying that facts are facts.

  57. NR

    nihil obstet:

    Since Hillary Clinton did not become president, it is of course impossible for us to know what she would have done if she had. All we have to go on is what she said she would do. Now, of course you don’t have to believe everything she says–she is a politician, and politicians lie. Trump has lied over and over and over again before and after taking office, for example.

    But there is a difference between reasonable skepticism about what a politician did say, and trying to use something they didn’t say as evidence of some point. S Brennan is jumping up and down shrieking about how Hillary Clinton was willing to risk World War III over Syria, and points to her saying she wanted to establish a no-fly zone as evidence of this. The problem is that she explicitly said that the no-fly zone would have been negotiated with Russia and not imposed unilaterally, which means there is no possible way it could have led to World War III. And yet S Brennan insists that his version of the “facts” is completely true and correct despite contradicting what actually happened, and that everyone who disagrees with his interpretation is a “fellating sycophant.”

    No one has to believe everything Hillary Clinton said, of course, but people can’t use something she didn’t say as evidence that she would have started World War III, and then claim that their completely made-up hypothetical scenario is the truth of what would have happened, handed down from god on high, and that no one could possibly disagree with it.

  58. Ché Pasa

    The ::Hillary will start WWIII:: trope became embedded in the political discussion beginning with Bernie and Stein partisans (or so it seemed) and migrating through the rightist commentariat until it became an article of faith. It was never true, but it was and to an extent still is fervently believed by a segment of anti-Clintonites who still use it as a means to defend Trump — whose killing spree is far from over, but is overlooked by his fans because Hillary would start WWIII and we would all be glowing radioactive cinders by now if she were president. It’s a proven fact.

    I pointed out during the campaign that this false trope was ludicrous in part because Hillary had gone to public school during the ’50s, and public schools at the time drummed into their students the very real perils of nuclear war. There was no escape. Duck and cover wasn’t going to save you. If there were a nuclear war, life as we know it would be over and done. That would be that. Practically no one who lived through the era of potential instant incineration and nuclear annihilation and learned about the stark reality in a US public school would dream of “starting” a nuclear war.

    On the other hand, Trump went to private school, a day school until he was expelled for misbehavior, and then a military boarding school closely associated with West Point. You would think the military would be even more leery of nuclear war, but that’s not necessarily true at all. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy had plenty of military advisors counseling a first strike against the Soviet Union. Some of that attitude was parodied in Dr. Strangelove, but it was based on reality. More than once, military advisors suggested to President Johnson that he use nukes in Vietnam. More recently, people like Dick Cheney have argued that a nuclear war would be survivable and therefore could and should be contemplated in defense of the Republic — or in offense because you never know what the Other Guy is up to and if there’s even a 1% chance…

    I didn’t and don’t believe that Trump would mindfully start a nuclear war, but his mindfulness is questionable. On the other hand, Hillary is not president and has no authority over any part of the government or military. Even if you believe she would do the deed, it doesn’t matter. She can’t.

    Trump is the one who can. And the fact is, we don’t know how close he is to doing it.

  59. S Brennan

    Pasa, NR;

    Fact is, enough folks thought Hillary warmongering…was for real…and by implication, your defense, not only wrong, but, stupid. Trump got elected because, after seeing Hillary, center-stage, [as US Secretary of State] start the disastrous wars in Libya, Syria & Ukraine, they believed her warmongering to be heartfelt and her attempts to obfuscate her previously expressed words on warring with the Russians disingenuous.

    Attempts by DNCers to parse a peacemaker from a war monger stands in stark contrast with Hillary’s DOCUMENTED wars of aggression. Hillary is, by the definition of Nuremberg, a war criminal…and people knew it in 2016.

    Further Pasa, NR; your apocalyptic apologia, which must be driven by your need to publicly display your sycophancy to the [D] hierarchy is truly impressive…but in a sad, pathetic way, sorta like the proverbial ships steward on the Titanic who kept trying to keep the deck chairs in good order as the ship went through it’s final death throes. Good luck to you both, if you are not already paid, the DNC should pay you handsomely because, defending Hillary, is such an odious task.

  60. NR

    It is fully possible to acknowledge the fact that Hillary Clinton was too hawkish and too quick to use military force, as well as the fact that going from that to “Hillary would have started World War III had she won” is a ridiculous leap with no basis in reality.

    “Further Pasa, NR; your apocalyptic apologia, which must be driven by your need to publicly display your sycophancy to the [D] hierarchy is truly impressive”

    The irony of a blind Trump toady such as yourself saying this is rich.

  61. S Brennan

    NR; your use of false “quote marks” are amusing.

    Above, on December 23, 2018 I said:

    “Hillary* said she was willing to risk WW III over Syria…and unlike the poster/commenters, I condemned her for this…” – – – *During the campaign

    Which you then quote as “Hillary would have started World War III had she won”.

    NR; you are a liar, plain and simple…but then again, there was no honest reason to vote for Hillary in 2016 and all the subsequent lies of racism & Russia won’t change that reality…no matter how much gaslighting you engage in. Pathetic, really pathetic.

  62. bruce wilder

    I read the piece by Marcy Wheeler linked above in comments.
    Marcy makes a number of valuable points highlighting the ways in which people of sense and good will are pretty much as powerless in a Trump Administration as they were in the Obama Administration and the Bush Adminstration, with the only difference being that some of the figures who were wrong about everything in previous Administrations are now nominally opposed to Trump and pushing useless, warmed-over centrists as Teh Resistance ™.

    Marcy’s major points, though, are:
    1.) “It is a mistake to think we will get peace from men who dismember dissidents alive.”
    2.) To question how you get a decent, rational foreign policy thru or past the Trump Administration.

    So, when responding to Jeremy Scahill’s accurate observation that the Left does not have a foreign policy vision to offer as an alternative to neoconservative perpetual war, she basically embraces a policy of shunning the authoritarian bad guys and picking out “the good guys” — that’s the essence of her point 1. With this cast of characters — Assad, Erdogan, the Saudi’s, Putin, et cetera, I doubt that foreign policy is going to get very far trying to conjure up “good guys”. Everyone is an authoritarian in that neighborhood as far as I can see.

    Point 2 leads to her bratty tag line is, “It is especially incumbent on those celebrating a withdrawal to acknowledge, and try to answer, them.”

    Apparently, Marcy’s hand-wringing concern for preserving democracy does not extend to understanding that elections have consequences.

    I will celebrate a withdrawal, thank you very much, and suggest that people think seriously about how they elect politicians who are not deeply embedded in the neoliberal/neoconservative matrix (as Hillary Clinton clearly was in 2016). If Marcy has some spare time, she might worry a bit about how the Democratic Party in the 2018 mid-terms shifted toward the Right!!!

    And, yes, as Marcy demonstrates a bit, Trump, remains constrained to appointing corrupt and reactionary officials of dubious competence. So, it is only his impulsiveness and isolationist instincts that offer any hope of even slightly loosening the grip of the neoliberal/neoconservative matrix, aka the Blob. I am not going to do as Marcy does, and add any legitimacy to the Blob’s propaganda rhetoric of “its complicated” and hypocritical process-and-norms criticisms that leave aside the absence of substantive justification for the U.S. troops in place.

    If people on the Left, so far out of power no one ought to be asking us questions, can do anything now, it is simply to tell the truth without being drawn into the corporate media circus around Trump. Rather than joining our voices to the chorus predicting Trump’s withdrawal will be “de-stabilizing” or aid some caricature of black-hat-wearing Russians, we should be pointing out that policy put forward by the neoconservative troglodytes (including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, thank you very much) has failed. Or, in Syria, has no basis in domestic or international law, as well as no credible strategic purpose beyond keeping the civil war going. We certainly should not be going along with “Mad Dog” as the “adult in the room” — obvious b.s. I would think, as Marcy seems to acknowledge.

  63. bruce wilder

    Blake Hounshell writing at Politico and apropos of nothing:

    It’s not that these moves [Trump’s withdrawals] are indefensible—one can easily imagine a President Hillary Clinton determining that the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze and ordering U.S. forces home.

    You see Hillary is the gold standard of wise and judicious policymaking; “It’s a fact”! as Ché Pasa might say.

    Meanwhile, the actual Hillary Clinton tweets,

    Actions have consequences, and whether we’re in Syria or not, the people who want to harm us are there & at war. Isolationism is weakness. Empowering ISIS is dangerous. Playing into Russia & Iran’s hands is foolish. This President is putting our national security at grave risk.

    There are serious problems with the general strategic shape and tenor of American foreign policy, including the vast drain of resources in prolonging civil wars. As far as I can tell, Hillary Clinton has never so much as questioned any of it since she voted for the second Iraq War.

    I wish Hillary Clinton was no more than an historical footnote at this point, but the continuing propaganda campaign against Trump on the basis of charges that Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the election has done more than simply killed brain function in millions of MSNBC viewers. It has given a whole new dimension to Clinton’s irresponsibility: apparently, re-igniting a Cold War and arms race, with NATO on Russia’s doorstep is well worth it, if it is effective domestic propaganda that distracts from Clinton’s domestic policy failures. But, hey, nothing to worry about here, she went to public grade schools in the 1950s.

  64. NR

    S Brennan:

    Yeah, except you also quoted this:

    “Hillary Clinton’s insane plan for a no-fly zone – The Democratic presidential frontrunner is calling for war against Russia”

    So what, pray tell, is the difference between calling for war against Russia, and starting World War III? Because that is what a war between the U.S. and Russia would likely amount to.

    “but then again, there was no honest reason to vote for Hillary in 2016 ”

    But there WAS an honest reason to vote for Trump? That’s a laugh. That man wouldn’t know “honest” if it walked up to him and spit in his eye.

  65. Willy

    Next we’ll have Hillary and Kristol hitting the road with a hawkish vaudeville act. Gotta try to stay relevant somehow.

    Trump probably did collude with the Russians, but unwittingly. The real crime is having such an intellect with such power pretty much “burning down” most of the wrong things those voters were counting on him burning. Only in America folks.

    But I agree that MSNBC is pissing people off by endlessly trying to divert attentions away from actual populist concerns.

  66. Don Quijote

    You people are funny… Anyone who thinks that the American people in their wisdom went thru the policy papers and statements of the candidates before voting must not have ever met Joe SixPack American. The only reason Trump is in the White House is pure BLACK LASH, and from the looks of it Trump got lots of help from his master: Vladimir Putin.

    As for the Syria withdrawal, it’s probably a bad idea American troops are preventing the Turks from crossing the border and starting another war, remove those troops and don’t be surprised that in 6 month to a year, we all be hearing about Kurds being massacred by the truckload and another refugee crisis hitting Western Europe as the Kurds try to escape.

  67. S Brennan

    Don Quijote…It’s you that are “funny”…your hatred & contempt of your fellow American and in particular the American Marines/Soldiers who have deployed* shines through when you say:

    “Anyone who thinks that the American people [aren’t stupid never] met Joe SixPack American…Trump got lots of help from his master: Vladimir Putin.”

    Don Quijote, In your world view, the US Constitution, [which I swore to protect] is nothing more than toilet paper, the US government should overthrown and ruled by an elite cabal of your fellow distinctly un-American travelers.

    It’s always remarkable how those who seek to rule through fascism, as you do dear Don Quijote, have a deep and abiding hatred of their fellow countrymen.

    *…over the past 17 years and returned home to inform their fellow countrymen of the tremendous financial/human waste that DC’ers[D]/[R] have perpetrated.

  68. different clue

    @NR . . .

    ” But there was an honest reason to vote for Trump”?

    Yes, there was. To make as sure as possible of defeating Clinton. Of defeating her aggressive warpig depravity. Of defeating her Free Trade Treasonism. Of hopefully aborting and destroying the Clinton “dynasty” just as Trump has destroyed the Bush Dynasty at least for a while.

    About the Syrian Kurds . . . . they still have a chance to make their peace with the Syrian Arab Republic and place themselves and their territory firmly under SAR sovereign control. That way, the Syrian Arab Army can be part of defending Syrian Kurdistan from the coming Turkish Colonial Aggression. Also, it may well give the RussiaGov an incentive to restrain Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman fantasies and desires.

  69. different clue

    My lonely comment sits and weeps in moderation.

  70. Willy

    Moderated comments make friends when they’re in the pokey. But are these friends a bad influence which makes our own released comments leaner, meaner, and definitely not cleaner? Something for another time perhaps.

    I’m curious about what’ll happen if Trump has to go up against Bernie in the near future. I’m hoping comments around here will be getting that much more interesting.

  71. different clue


    The mainstream Democrats will do everything in their power to prevent Sanders from getting nominated. They don’t want the SanderSocial Democrat agenda to be discussed or even mentioned anywhere where the FNMSM ( Fake News Main Stream Media) might possibly have to mention any of it. And the FNMSM will co-operate with the DLC/ Third Way/ Hamilton Project/ Clintiform-Obamazoid Democrats to prevent any mention of Sanders’s efforts and agendas.

    They know that people are watching. They may not try to outright-fraudulate the primaries like they did last time. They and their DavidBrock Flying Monkeys will try every kind of libel and slander all over the Internet. The DemParty itself will try running 20 or 30 nomination seekers so as to flood the zone and prevent Sanders from reaching the Convention with enough delegates to win on the First Ballot. If they can do that, then they will conspire among themselves to select a compromise Mainstream Democrat figure and get all the Elected Delegates and all the Super Delegates to vote for it. And that will be the DemParty Nominee.

    What will Sanders do at that point? Probably support the DemParty nominee to “defeat the awful Trump”. But that doesn’t mean that all ( or even any) of the people who will have voted Sanders throughout the caucuses and primaries have to vote for whatever Clintobozo filth-trash-garbage the DemParty will pour into our dogdish. We can fling their kibble back in their face.

    If the DemTicket is merely awful, we can vote for the Purity Pony Third Party of our dreamiest desires. Or we can leave the “President” line un-voted on. If the DemTicket is as evil as the Clinton itself was, we can vote for Trump all over again. While also voting for any “Red Gingriches” which might be running for Senate or House and voting against Clintobamacrats which might be running.

    If Sanders is somehow able to beat the DemParty into submission and make it nominate him as its nominee, the Clintobama filth will conspire to defeat him just as the Mainstream Democrats worked with the Nixonites to defeat McGovern. Let them do so. Let everyone smell the Clintobamacrats’ true stench in the broad light of day.

  72. Willy

    I sure hope lessons have been learned for the next go-round. But those people can be tricky. It’s how they rolled to get to be “those people”. More people need to be more vocal about how those people operate.

  73. Sid Finster

    @ Don Quijote:

    To believe the russiagate conspiracy theory, not only must one believe in a preposterous conspiracy, but one must also believe that “Russia” has these superhuman powers, magical stuff that Lex Luthor, Ivy Lee and Goebbels never dreamed of wielding, but at the same time, no clue how to go about using them.

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