by Eric Zuesse
The first big battle of the Trump transition into the White House is occurring over the fundamental issue that had caused the Establishment to repudiate Donald Trump: Which war will America prioritize — the one against jihadists, or the one against Russia (and also against any nation’s leadership — including the leaders of Iran — that is friendly toward Russia)?
A domestic underground war has thus long been raging between Trump and the neoconservatives (the people who want to resume the Cold War as being now a hot war against Russia by overthrowing all governments — e.g., Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Viktor Yanukovych, Bashar al-Assad — favorable toward Russia). It has been raging ever since Trump made clear early this year that he wanted to stop Obama’s war in Syria against Assad and Putin, and start a real war against all of the many jihadist groups that are trying to overthrow the secular Assad, and to eliminate jihadists in every country except the ones that are supporting them, which then would constitute state sponsors of jihadism and thus enemies of the United States. This is a war about war.
This war is right now coming to a head with the breaking-off, on Tuesday November 15th, of Trump’s conciliatory efforts to win the cooperation of the neocons, which group includes virtually the entire Republican Party foreign-affairs Establishment, both military and diplomatic, plus most of the Democratic Party’s foreign-affairs Establishment. These two ‘Establishments’ are actually two teams of one Establishment, and they are, now, after three successive neoconservative U.S. Presidents (Bush, Clinton, and Obama), almost entirely neoconservatives, especially on the Republican side (the Bush side).
Neoconservatism started in earnest on 24 February 1990 when U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush told his agents that though the Cold War was then ending on the Russian side, it wasn’t really going to end on the American side, even though they had all promised to the then-Soviet and future Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, that it would. The next President, Bill Clinton, followed through and expanded NATO, and his successors G.W. Bush and Barack Obama, expanded it even more and so we now surround russia with our missiles. We have also overthrown Moscow’s friends and allies — Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and Viktor Yanukovych, and are still trying to do that in Syria — in order to weaken Russia still further, to go in then for the kill.
If Trump crosses Party lines in order to bring in the small segment of Democratic Party foreign-affairs Establishment who are not neocons, then he’ll face strong opposition from Republicans in the Senate and House, against passing significant portions of his Defense and State Department initiatives. His Presidency will then be crippled by the refusal of the Washington Establishment (the neocons) to provide the essential information and cooperation in order for the Trump Administration to have any major success in the realms of foreign affairs. The Establishment have lots of essential information and foreign-government contacts without which things cannot be done in international relations. Trump’s Presidency would then be stillborn.
The man who had organized the neoconservative revolt against Trump’s candidacy, and who recently but briefly held out an olive branch to assist the Trump team to select people to run U.S. international relations, Eliot A. Cohen, tweeted on November 15th “After exchange w Trump team, changed my recommendation: stay away. They’re angry, arrogant, screaming ‘you LOST!’ Will be ugly.”
After exchange w Trump transition team, changed my recommendation: stay away. They're angry, arrogant, screaming "you LOST!" Will be ugly.
— Eliot A Cohen (@EliotACohen) November 15, 2016
That’s all-out war: the neocons’ effort to sabotage Trump’s Presidency.
Another leading neocon, Daniel W. Drezner, tweeted later the same day, “Btw, the scariest sentence in that tweet is ‘Flynn and Kushner are now controlling who gets basic posts.’”
Btw, the scariest sentence in that tweet is "Flynn and Kushner are now controlling who gets natsec posts." https://t.co/izISGiXnNh
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) November 16, 2016
That’s referring to retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, whom Obama fired as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency because Flynn opposed Obama’s prioritizing the anti-Russia war above the anti-jihad war: Flynn favored our working with Assad instead of against all of the jihadists not only ISIS (like Obama demanded).
And that’s also Jared Kushner, Trump’s anti-Palestinian and anti-Iranian Zionist Jewish son-in-law, who is just now learning that all the terrorism that’s been perpetrated against the United States and Europe comes almost 100% not from them (the anti-Zionists), but instead from Iran’s self-declared “existential” enemy, the Saud family who own Saudi Arabia and who have been deeply allied with the U.S. Establishment, or aristocracy, especially America’s billionaires, ever since World War II ended, and who still remain determined to, with U.S. help, conquer Russia, which (even above Iran) is their major competitor in the oil-and-gas markets. Here is what the Trump team don’t know. And, above all, they don’t know that the royal family who own Saudi Arabia were the main financial backers of Al Qaeda and of 9/11. The U.S. government is in the ‘uncomfortable’ position of being allied with the enemies of not only the American public but of every nation that’s not run by fundamentalist Sunnis and Sharia law. We arm them. We defend them. And, on occasion, we get blown up by them.
Trump and his family had better be able to be quick learners of reality and discarders of myths, because in the short time they’ve got left to start running the U.S. government, there’s a lot of U.S. propaganda they’ll have to unlearn, and a lot of hidden history they’ll need to learn to replace it.
They say they want to clean the swamp in Washington, but the swamp includes thousands of people who are refusing to help inform and train their own replacements. The neocons ever since George W. Bush (and here are 450 of the most prominent of them on just the Republican side) have had a virtual monopoly over U.S. foreign policy, and don’t want to relinquish it.