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War Between Trump & The Neocons?

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.”

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.’”

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.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.


  1. Bush and Obama both got their military strategy from two places, the Brookings Institute and The American Enterprise Institute. Both are infested by neocons like Robert Kagan and William Kristol.

    This is the enemy within the gates.

  2. Alan says

    It’s unsettling to discern the assumed legitimacy attached to Mr Trump. As his opponent, Mrs Clinton, he acquiesced to voter fraud and manipulation. Why two unsavoury characters were chosen and then allowed to run for Presidency should have the focus, not how such a mess will work.

    • John says

      It is not all that different from the past.
      Within my life time, JFK got into the White House because of his father’s mafia connections.
      Just ask Al Gore how US presidential elections really work.
      Reagan’s electoral campaign sailed very near to the edge of outright treason over the Iranian hostages.
      Tammany Hall and Mayor Daley are still recognised as representing the very worst of US electoral fraud.
      Graft, fraud, corruption and coercion are all essential elements within US politics.
      It was ever thus…….

  3. chrisb says

    Ever since Trump won the Republican nomination, the Deep State and its more public supporters would have been working out how to infiltrate Trump’s team. Unlike the Democratic Party, they probably did not underestimate Trump’s appeal and they had the resources to back many horses. Perhaps that’s why Giuliani was supporting Trump from the start.

    People who focus on Israel and the Israeli influence on US policy miss the central point. The US wishes to control resources principally energy resources worldwide and it wishes to be unchallenged as a military power. While neither China nor Russia would win an all-out military confrontation, as nuclear powers they would do immense damage to the US. Given these policy imperatives, the US military, intelligence and associated business interests will always focus on weakening Russia over weakening the jihadist threat. Why? Firstly, because Saudi and Qatar are not military powers. And secondly because they are already occupied by US military forces. The US could depose the Saudi and Qatar royal families and take direct control of their oil, whenever the US wants. The US chooses not to do so, essentially for PR reasons. (Saddam was probably tricked into thinking the US would do nothing, were he to invade Kuwait. The US’ motive for setting the trap was to frighten the Saudis into inviting US troops into Saudi Arabia.)

    The question remains whether Trump can resist these powerful impulses in the US state. Trump’s instincts as a property developer is to do business deals and become richer through construction. He probably genuinely recoils from the financial waste of war. He is also a lot more intelligent than his detractors imagine. He did after all prove himself to be a better politician than the professional politicians. Trump is also probably much better informed than the author of this article imagines. He was aware of the allegations of rape against Bill Clinton and his team would definitely have gone through the wikileaks that showed that Clinton knew about the Saudi and Qatari funding of ISIS. Trump will prove much harder for the Deep State to wear down than Obama proved to be. Trump would ultimately yield to pressure, even if it took assassination to make him do so. The only chance is that Trump moves quickly to improve relations with Russia through a personal contact with Putin and that he can show that this policy is popular with the US electorate.

    • Trump also knows how buildings go up and how they come down.

      Working in NYC with the Port Authority, the Mayors Office, The Chamber of Commerce and everyone in the construction game, Trump traces back to rubbing shoulders with every entity connected to the World Trade Center, to include the Rockefeller’s who originally owned the land where the entire WTC Complex is situated.

      Trump’s conflicted stance with the Neo Con lunatics is then further protracted by his backing of Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, whose rabid stance with the Palestinian State has put into Trump’s head the whole idea of building walls from studying the morbid borders within Israel, where the walls built to separate the Israeli’s and Palestinian’s would make Ronald Reagan vomit.

      Like a cancer eating away at the whole of life in America, the tragedy of 9/11 presupposes that we are only to look at the Saudi financial involvement as only the way to find a cure for this deadly disease. When in fact the wholistic approach would be to examine in any criminal line up, all of the suspected parties, to include the governments of England, Turkey, Pakistan, Israel and of course the United States of America for complicity.

      Trump has that on his plate as job #1.
      All the rest of the moves on the board are useless steps in a square dance that lead back to the same stained spot on the floor.

      Should Trump fail here, the nation will never survive as a working Republic.

      • Houndog says

        He knows the towers were intentionally blown. He runs in the same circles as Lucky Larry… He is smart enough to know you don’t get elected without fealty to Bibi… Hopefully he’s been playing the long game where Israel is concerned… He’s in the den of vipers with a globalist VP waiting in the wings unless he plays this right… 911 is KEY, the public is brainwashed to reject any criticism of Israel as the conspiracy theories of bigoted anti-Semites, and willfull ignorance is prevalent. Time will tell if he truly is an American firster as he claims or another Zionist Israel firster. After all, he MUST know THEY did it – he needs to tread carefully or he’s not long for this world. Help us Tumpy-Wan Kenobi – you’re our only hope!

  4. “Flynn favored our working with Assad instead of against all of the jihadists not only ISIS…” Is that not supposed to be ‘with Assad instead of with the jihadists’?

  5. Aren’t you aware that Trump is far more hostile to Iran and China than any neocon? Just because he is pro-Putin and pro-Assad, that does not mean you should line up with him. This is not to speak of his ultra-Likudist politics that has a lot to do with his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s affiliation with the Lubavitcher Hasidic sect that is part of Netanyahu’s religious bloc.

    NEW YORK – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for an hour and 20 minutes on Sunday at Trump Tower in Manhattan. He will meet with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton later Sunday, at 6:30 P.M. EST (1:30 A.M Israel time).

    According to a Trump campaign press release, Trump told Netanyahu that if elected, “a Trump administration would finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel.”

    The Trump campaign statement said during the meeting, “Trump agreed that the military assistance provided to Israel and missile defense cooperation with Israel are an excellent investment for America,” amid the backdrop of speculation that Trump would support cutting U.S. military aid to Israel.
    Trump told Netanyahu that if elected, “there will be extraordinary strategic, technological, military and intelligence cooperation between the two countries.” Trump added that Israel is a “vital partner of the United States in the global war against radical Islamic terrorism.” The two also discussed the nuclear deal with Iran and the fight against ISIS.

    The two also “discussed at length Israel’s successful experience with a security fence that helped secure its borders.” The Republican candidate declared several times throughout the campaign that he will build a fence on the U.S.-Mexico border and force Mexico to pay for it.

    read more:

    • joer says

      Do you know where Ayatollah Khomenei spent his exile? In France! Ever ask yourself why throughtout the course of modern history, so many “revolutionary” figures have sojourned there while in exile from their native country? The answer: Grand Orient Lodge of Paris. All is not what it seems in Persia’s way.

    • chrisb says

      I always had the view that Trump’s rhetoric as a candidate would have little connection to his actions as President. That it took him only 80 minutes with Netanyahu to fall in line on US policy towards Palestine was the main reason for my view.

  6. BigB says

    When Trump sees the ‘real’ balance sheet he may realise – or be persuaded – that without the black money from drugs, the illicit arms trade and international money laundering – the humanitarian pre-emptive grabbing of other sovereign nations assets and resources will have to continue.
    If they haven’t already – the vulture capitalists of Citigroup will be dictating his cabinet for him – as they did with Obama. Greed is good, debt is better.
    If Bolton gets anywhere near the State Department – World War Final could still be on.
    I know this is supposed to be a time of hope – but let us not be delusional. Are we really to expect that a guy – who is as fake as his hair and his permatan – who has his fingers in all of the pies (including the Dakota pipeline) – represents change?
    The Messiah he ain’t. If the American people want real change – like the Lakota – they may have to peacefully face down the militarized police – and do it themselves.

  7. Trump can easily get the neo-cons out of the USA war machine by deleting their dual citizenship Status and deporting them. America first! Get us completely out of the middle-east and let them fight it out between themselves.

    • John says

      What a great idea!
      Could someone in the USA start an on-line petition, addressed to President-Elect Trump, calling on him to exclude from his administration all individuals who hold dual nationalities?
      That would ensure the neo-traitors no longer get a look-in.
      “Either you are a loyal American – or you are not” could be a strap-line or catch phrase of use.

  8. michaelk says

    The Guardian’s a strange beast. It appears to be wedded to commercial suicide by increasingly publishing articles that don’t reflect the interests of its readers and are politically at odds with them, as shown by the number of BTL comments that fundamentally disagree and criticize their writers. Whilst those writing about US imperial foreign policy are clearly neo-conservatives crusaders; the Guardians readers are not.

    Obama’s in Germany and the elite there are on their knees before him. He’s warning Trump not to make ‘deals’ with Russia and to ‘stand up to Russia’ showing if anyone had any doubts that he’s a neo-con through and through. Yet the Guardian is in love with Obama’s every word and totally uncritical. I often think it’s all about sex, not politics at all.

    Trump is in a difficult position. Even though he won the election the opposition to him is still in power. The political civil war within the establishment isn’t over. It’s like Gladio cells are left behind everywhere inside the state and Trump is outnumbered. A president surrounded by enemies and a media that hates him. So there’s a cultural and political war still going on and the outcome is uncertain.

    Trump’s only chance, I think, is to be extremely bold and not compromize at all with his enemies, but go forward in the same ways that led to his spectacular successes. For that he needs to mobilize his supporters behind him, what he calls the ‘movement.’ A key is his stance on Russia. He should go to Russia and make peace with Putin and agree to fight the Islamists, the terrorists, together. As the neo-cons are in bed with the terrorists, this would mean fighting the neo-cons as well, defeating them and their sick and dangerous ideas. The road to defeating the neo-cons goes through Moscow. The question is, does Trump really have the power, will and courage to follow it?

    • Eileen Kuch says

      Obama has NO right whatsoever to tell his soon-to-be successor what to do regarding Russia. Trump won the Nov. 8 election, and he has every right to change the course the US has been on for 8 years concerning US-Russia relations.
      Obama will be leaving the Oval Office come January 20 and Trump will take over. Once the transition’s done, The Donald will honor his promise to those of us who voted for him – as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin – to resume friendly ties with Russia. Russia isn’t any threat to the US, but the US has been a threat to Russia for 8 years. It’s time to stop this nonsense, before our two countries wind up in a thermonuclear 3rd World War – a war that could very well end life on Earth as we know it.

    • chrisb says

      ‘Obama’s in Germany and the elite there are on their knees before him. … the Guardian is in love with Obama’s every word and totally uncritical.’ The first sign of the cringing towards Obama was his award of the Nobel Peace Prize.

      It’s not to do with sex principally, even though there are people who would fantasise about sex with a charismatic, physically fit, mixed-race man such as Obama. (Angela, in your dreams …) It’s to do with race. The wealthy ‘liberal-left’ elite have just one justification for benefiting so grossly from economic inequality – that they defend groups such as women, gays and racial and religious minorities from white, male, Christian conservatives. The embarrassment of the ‘liberal-left’ elite is that few members of these groups ever rise to prominence within the elite itself. The consequent sense of guilt means that, when a member of these groups does rise to the top, the ‘liberal-left’ elite has to fawn before him (Obama) or her (Clinton).

  9. they don’t know that the royal family who own Saudi Arabia were the main financial backers of Al Qaeda and of 9/11.

    That 28 page report alleging that the Saud family was behind 9/11 is vague, to say the least.

    On that day which changed everything, only Israeli nationals were arrested, some filming the WTC getting attacked and cheering on the carnage, some others that were caught in a van, along with over $4,000 in cash, some box cutters and the bomb squad dog detected explosives in the van.

    One Israeli national that was being apprehended by New Jersey police said this: “We are Israelis. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are your problem.”

    The police and FBI field agents became very suspicious when they found maps of the city with certain places highlighted, box cutters (the same items that the hijackers supposedly used), $4700 cash stuffed in a sock, and foreign passports. Police also told the Bergen Record that bomb sniffing dogs were brought to the van and that they reacted as if they had smelled explosives.

    At every junction or 9/11 intersection, there was and still are American or Israeli Jews that helped set up the attack and are now protecting the lies to keep the truth from coming out.

    So if the Sauds did 9/11, did they also alert the Israeli messaging service ‘Odigo’ telling them to get the hell out of the WTC before the attack?

  10. Yes….the Sauds. They did finance a certain amount of the 9/11 strikes. Trump has said he wants to reopen the 9/11 investigations….and I think he’s got some inside info he wants to share. Could it be the Israeli Mossad part of that 9/11 . No mention of Mossad involvement in this article, but they had Motive and Opportunity.

  11. Strange article. IMHO the Sauds (the royal family, as opposed to the Saudi people) are the symptom not the disease

  12. Neocons are treacherous and the last four presidents have joined them in harming US national security. Ever wonder why 9/11 happened? It isn’t too late for Trump to show the American people the treason these four “presidents” have practiced on them!

  13. Simon Roberts says

    I think the bromance between Trump andPutin is genuine.

    We need to keep Trump honest via petitions (sensible and if you want a term then alt right will have to do).

    In the meantime, death to the fucking actual Guardian, what a piece of shit. Hopefully weeks not months before it dies.

    I have been actually posting that on their website, fucking lying whores about everything.

    Shame as their sports coverage is so good.

    • JJA says

      “Shame as their sports coverage is so good”
      Up to a point. It is becoming ever more tabloid sensationalist and the better writers are being ousted, particularly in the cricket where David Hopps, Andy Wilson and most recently Mike Selvey have all been pushed out and replaced by callow youths.
      Of the dozens (hundreds) of articles attacking Trump since the election, none has reached the obvious conclusion. Clinton was unelectable as a lying, corrupt and psychopathic individual, nothing to do with her gender.

  14. John says

    There is a saying in politics: “Kick the bums out”!
    On this occasion, the neo-conservatives are the bums being kicked out.
    Team Trump does not need them.
    All kinds of people will flock to them in order to wield influence on new policies.
    Who needs yesterdays neo-conservative men and women bums?
    They are proven traitors to America and they would be traitors to a Trump Presidency.
    Team Trump are way way way way way better off without them.

    • I hope Trump follows your advice and indeed kicks the bums out. But Trump already has neo-cons on his team like John Bolton and even worse Rudy Guiliani. In fact, all the “never Trump” neocons who signed onto this petition are falling over themselves to get onto Trump’s team. There is always this fleeting time of hope after a presidential election where a totally new president is elected: look at Obama in 2008 and all the hope for “change” then. Said ‘change’ never came. Hate to say it, but I don’t have much hope in Trump holding the line, i.e. cooperating with Putin. Many peeps don’t seem to realize how the deep state (Pentagon, security agencies, etc full of careerists) manhandles presidents and call the shots. There is a good chance Trump will change his tune on Russia due to massive pressure from all the CIA, Pentagon, DOD schmucks. Sure hope I’m wrong though!

      • Enyalion says

        I tend to agree. The primary layer of shadow government – basically the bureaucracy – under orders from the oligarchs, will try to stop him. But some days I have hope that given Trump’s personality – that ugly American bluster and myopic attitude that insists he knows best – just might react to the internal pressure and direct him in his own way – not all of which is good, but at least is a preferable direction with regards to Russia.

    • Yonatan says

      However, the Neo-Cons see an opening into his foreign policy team and are piulling out all the stops to make the selection of Bolton seem desirable and acceptable. Large numbers are already switching sides.

      Eliot Cohen – “Trump may be better than we think. He does not have strong principles about much, which means he can shift” [or rather be shifted by the Neo-Cons into a position favorable to Israel]

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