by Eric Zuesse, follow-up of a version originally published at The Saker
Zerohedge’s “Tyler Durden” headlined on February 21st, “Bannon Breaks With Pence, Delivers Warning To Europe” and noted that before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis reassured European leaders this past weekend that the U.S. is as anti-Russian now as it was under Barack Obama, U.S. President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, had told European leaders “that he viewed the EU as a flawed construct and favoured conducting relations with Europe on a bilateral basis” — and that this fact supposedly raises a question regarding the Trump Administration, of “which axis is dominant: that of Trump/Bannon/Miller or Pence/Mattis/Haley.”
However, there is actually no such conflict: the Trump Administration, ever since at least February 14th’s White House press conference stating it firmly as President Trump’s policy, is and will remain anti-Russian. But this doesn’t deny that the Trump Administration also is going to be dealing not with the European Union as a government, but instead with the European nations individually. There is no contradiction between those two policies: America will be an enemy of Russia, and will support NATO in that regard, but America will not support the EU, but only its member-nations — to the extent that they increase their military spending (which is a decision that only each individual EU member-nation can make: there is no ‘EU’ market for weaponry, only 28 individual national markets there).
Donald Trump’s campaign statements that “NATO is obsolete” and that Russia and the U.S. “are not bound to be adversaries” were merely part of the candidate’s pitch to ‘anti-war’ voters, in a field of Presidential contenders who were ignoring them; but now that Trump is President, he is fully in line with the desires of America’s military-industrial complex, the owners of Lockheed Martin and other companies whose profits are heavily dependent upon selling nuclear missiles and other strategic weapons (in addition to the traditional weapons that those companies also want NATO member-nations to buy).
Thus far in his U.S. Presidency, Donald Trump has been serving not the American public but instead the American aristocracy, who loathed him and overwhelmingly preferred his Presidential-campaign competitor, Hillary Clinton. This fact — his serving the U.S. aristocracy instead of the public — is most starkly shown in Trump’s foreign policies, which might even be as strongly anti-Russian as hers were, even though he consistently throughout his campaign for the Presidency, promised that as President he would pursue a cooperative instead of a hostile U.S. relationship with Russia. In his policies toward Russia, thus far, he turns out to be far more Hillary Clinton than (the promised) Donald Trump. He might even be as likely to force World War III with Russia as she would have been as President.
Ever since Trump won the Presidency, the U.S. aristocracy (who control or outright own all of the U.S.-based international corporations whose sales-volumes depend upon increasing the nation’s and its’ allies’ ‘defense’ spending — and that requires restoring ‘the Cold War’) have been trying to abort his Presidency in any and every way they can. It’s a PR or marketing tactic. Above all, they have been trying to portray Trump as being secretly a Russian agent, a traitor. On February 14th, they clearly conquered him, and brought him fully into line (and not merely partially into line, as before, such as by his abolishing environmental and other regulations that reduce their profits). But did this happen because he is a coward, or instead because he is a fool? How did they conquer him? At the current time, this can be determined only by close examination of the way in which he capitulated. So, the February 14th event will be scrutinized here, in detail:
Trump made unequivocally clear, on February 14th, that the new Cold War between the U.S. and Russia will continue until Russia complies with two conditions that would not only be humiliating to Russia (and to the vast majority of its citizens), but that would also be profoundly immoral. One of these two conditions would actually be impossible, even if it weren’t, in addition, immoral. For Vladimir Putin to agree to either of these two conditions, would not only be a violation of his often-expressed basic viewpoint, but it would also cause the vast majority of Russians to despise him — because they respect him for his consistent advocacy of that very viewpoint. He has never wavered from it. The support of Russians for that viewpoint is virtually universal. (This article will explain the viewpoint.)
TRUMP’S DEMAND #1: “RETURN CRIMEA”
In order to understand the Russian perspective on the first of these two issues (which any American must understand who wants to understand the astounding stupidity of Mr. Trump’s position on this matter), which is the issue of Crimea (which had for hundreds of years been part of Russia, but was then suddenly and arbitrarily transferred to Ukraine in 1954 by the Soviet dictator — and the U.S. now demands that his dictat regarding Crimea must be restored), two videos are essential for anyone to see, and here they are:
The first video (and no one should read any further here who hasn’t seen that video or at least the first twelve minutes of it, because it’s crucial)
It shows the U.S.-engineered coup that violently overthrew the democratically elected President of Ukraine in February 2014, under the cover of ‘a democratic revolution’, which was actually nothing of the sort, and which had instead started being planned in the U.S. State Department by no later than 2011, and started being organized inside the U.S. Embassy in Kiev by no later than 1 March 2013. The head of the ‘private CIA’ firm Stratfor, has rightly called it “the most blatant coup in history”.
The second video (actually a page that includes several videos) shows the massacre of Crimeans who were escaping from Kiev during the Ukrainian coup, on 20 February 2014.
Which massacre came to be known quickly in Crimea, as “the Pogrom of Korsun,” which was the town where the fascists whom the Obama regime had hired were able to trap the escapees and kill many of them. That’s the incident which — occurring during the coup in Ukraine — stirred enormous fear by Crimeans of the rabid hatred toward them by the U.S.-installed regime.
Finally on the issue of Crimea, all of the Western-sponsored polls that were taken of Crimeans both before and after the plebiscite on 16 March 2014 (which was just weeks after Obama overthrew the Ukrainian President for whom 75% of Crimeans had voted) showed over 90% support by Crimeans for Crimea’s return to being again a part of Russia. Everyone agrees that there was far more than 50% support for that, among the Crimeans. Furthermore, even Barack Obama accepted the basic universal principle of the right of self-determination of peoples when it pertained to Catalans in Spain, and Scots in UK, and neither he nor anyone else has ever been able to make any credible case for applying it there and generally, but not in Crimea — especially under these circumstances.
So, on the first issue, Trump’s demand that Putin force the residents of Crimea to become subjects of the coup-regime that Obama had just established in Ukraine, it won’t be fulfilled — and it shouldn’t be fulfilled. Obama instituted the sanctions against Russia on the basis of what he called Putin’s “conquest of land” (referring to Crimea), but Russians see it instead as Russia’s standing steadfast for, and protecting, in what was historically and culturally a part of Russia not a part of Ukraine, the right of self-determination of peoples — especially after the country of which their land had been a part for the immediately prior 60 years (Ukraine), had been conquered three weeks earlier, via a bloody coup by a foreign power, and, moreover, this was a foreign power whom Crimeans loathed. Putin will not accept Trump’s demand. Nor should he.
TRUMP’S DEMAND #2: RUSSIA END THE UKRAINE-v.-DONBASS WAR
The way that this demand was stated on February 14th was that Russia must “deescalate violence in the Ukraine,” referring to Ukraine’s invasions of its own former Donbass region, which broke away from the Obama-installed Ukrainian regime shortly after Crimea did, but which Putin (after having already suffered so much — sanctions, etc. — from allowing the Crimeans to become Russians again) refused to allow into the Russian Federation, and only offered military and humanitarian assistance to protect themselves so that not all of the roughly five million residents there would flee across the border into Russia.
Donbass had voted 90% for the Ukrainian President that Obama illegally replaced in his coup.
Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel, and Vladimir Putin, had established the Minsk negotiations and agreements, to end the hottest phase of the (Obama-caused) war between Ukraine and Donbass; and a crucial part of the Minsk-2 agreement was that Ukraine would allow the residents of Donbass a certain minimal degree of autonomy within Ukraine, as part of a new Ukrainian Federation, but Ukraine’s Rada or parliament refuses to do that, refuses to allow it, and the United States and its allies blame the residents of Donbass for that refusal by their enemies, and blame the Donbassers for the continued war, or, as Trump’s press secretary referred to it on February 14th, “violence in the Ukraine.” He’s demanding that Donbass stop the war, when Donbass is being constantly attacked by a Ukrainian regime that refuses even to fulfill a fundamental provision of the peace agreement that Hollande, Merkel, and Putin, had arranged, and that both Ukraine and Donbass signed. (Note: even Hollande and Merkel weren’t able to get the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Obama, to so much as participate in this effort for peace.)
A demand like that — for the victim to stop the fight — is impossible to fulfill. It’s like, in World War II, blaming the United States, Soviet Union, and UK, for their war against Germany, Italy, and Japan. It is a cockeyed demand, which requires only cockeyed credulous believers, in order for it to be taken seriously.
The way that Sean Spicer, President Trump’s press spokesperson, put this demand in his February 14th press conference, was:
President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to deescalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea. At the same time, he fully expects to and wants to be able to get along with Russia.
To some people, that combination sounds idiotic. In any event, it’s not merely unrealistic; it is downright impossible. It’s not seeking peace with Russia; it is instead reasserting war against Russia.
Spicer said, with evident pride: “The President has been incredibly tough on Russia.”
A reporter at the press conference challenged that statement: “To me it seems, and I think to a lot of Americans it seems that this President has not been tough on Russia.” Spicer answered by referring to the statement that America’s new U.N. Representative, Nikki Haley, had made. She said at the U.N. on February 2nd:
I must condemn the aggressive actions of Russia. … The United States stands with the people of Ukraine, who have suffered for nearly three years under Russian occupation and military intervention. Until Russia and the separatists it supports respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, this crisis will continue. … The United States continues to condemn and call for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Crimea. Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the peninsula to Ukraine.
So, Spicer said that…
Q: That was an announcement from Haley, not the President.
MR. SPICER: She speaks for the President. I speak for the President. All of us in this administration. And so all of the actions and all of the words in this administration are on behalf and at the direction of this President. So I don’t think we could be any clearer on the President’s commitment.
Trump is continuing Obama’s war against Russia, although he had not given America’s voters to expect anything of the kind. Some voters (this writer is one) had voted for him because Trump alleged that he strongly disagreed with his opponent Hillary Clinton about that — he outright lied to the voters, on the most important thing of all. He applied mental coercion — deceit — in order to win. But as it turns out, he’s not really opposed at all to Obama’s coup in Ukraine. Perhaps he is so stupid that he’s not even aware that it was a coup, instead of a ‘democratic revolution’ (the cover-story). Maybe he’s so stupid, that he believes Obama’s lies.
At least Hillary Clinton was honest enough to make clear that she was going to continue Obama’s policies (only worse). But she was so stupid that she couldn’t even beat Donald Trump.
Anyway, all of that is water over the damn, now.
Initially, it had seemed that the only way in which Trump was aiming to satisfy the U.S. aristocracy (owners of the military-industrial complex, among other things) about increasing the ‘defense’ budget, was going to be a buildup against Iran; but, now, that war might end up playing second fiddle.
The war with Russia can only escalate, unless or until President Trump reverses course and states publicly, and provides to the American people and the world, the clear evidence of, his predecessor’s perfidy, both in Ukraine, and in Syria. Unless and until he comes clean, and admits that the problem between the U.S. and Russia isn’t Putin, but instead Obama, it will continue escalating, right up to World War III; and here is why:
When it escalates to a traditional hot war, either in Ukraine or in Syria, the side that’s losing that traditional war will have only one way to avoid defeat: a sudden unannounced nuclear all-out blitz attack against the other side. A nuclear war will last less than 30 minutes. The side that attacks first will suffer the less damage, because it will have knocked out some of the other side’s retaliatory missiles and bombs. The military would score that as a ‘win’ (victory, even if nuclear winter results). The global public would score it as hell (regardless of which side ‘wins’). If Donald Trump were intelligent, then one could assume that he knows this. He’s not, so he doesn’t. He plods on, toward mutual nuclear annihilation. Perhaps, like Hillary Clinton, he believes that the U.S. has ‘Nuclear Primacy’ and so will ‘win’.
It’s all so stupid. But, even worse, it’s evil. And I’m not talking about Russia or Putin here. The real problem — on this ultimate issue, of avoiding a nuclear winter — is my own country: the United States of America. To call this a ‘democracy’ is not merely a lie; it is a bad joke. The American public are not to blame for this evil. The American aristocracy are. It’s an oligarchy gone mad.
Trump was never a principled person. He never really resisted, at all. He caved after only three weeks on the job. Clearly, then, he’s not only a psychopath; he is a fool.
Trump promised to ‘drain the swamp’. Instead, he’s feeding the alligators. He’s serving the higher powers, even though they despise and would like to destroy him. He’s obsequious for their support; he has decided that they control the public even more than the President of the U.S. can. He threw in the towel within his first three weeks on the job. Perhaps he’s just trying to avoid being overthrown. He never even tried the “bully pulpit.” The con is over, and he doesn’t know anything else than that tactic. He never really cared about the truth, nor about the public. Only the con. And it’s been failing.
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.
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Oops, trouble at mill. One of Mercer’s partners at his magic money machine RenTec, a certain David Magerman, may be about to go rogue and shed some light on Mercer’s involvement with Trump. Or not, could be #FakeNews, the story originated with the WSJ. If true, could be interesting – information about the shady world of billionaire hedge funds is as rare as rocking horse droppings!
“Instead of draining the swamp Trump is feeding the alligators:”
Trump is an alligator. Whatever made anyone think otherwise? Sure, it was fun (it really was) watching the wicked witch foiled in her ambitions, finally, but how is it that so many of us still fall for the Clintons/ Obamas/ Putins/ Mays/ Merkels/ Hollandes/ Trumps of the world? The terrible paradox: only a sick bastard(ess) would want to be President/ PM/ King. Or would want to be a billionaire, for that matter. That kind of hunger for that kind of power is the only tip-off we need to run screaming. The entire idea of a national political leader with actual authoritarian power (as opposed to one appointed to the role of being a sort of consultant) … the warlord/ tribal chieftain thing… is obviously archaic, in any case, and grounded in the logic of violence; of might making right. The system needs an overhaul that it won’t be getting.
There is too much incongruence to write off Trump at this early stage as someone who will not “drain the swamp”.
However do not be fooled Trump’s objective, if he is successful, is only a re-lineament of US hegemonic adversaries. It’s not a peace process, neither is it a change for the good of ordinary Americans.
We are seeing the disillusionment of the population with the perceived Status Quo similar to when Thatcher gained power in 1979 UK.
In fact Thatcher posited the idea of capitalist public ownership with the public being so called shareholder with a stake in society, which was in fact a lie. A theme that was continued by Blair and proved to be so disastrous for the the Labour movement in the UK. Ideas which the alienated sections of society are now rejecting. However this is a reaction, not a revolution.
Trump is merely another manifestation of what Eric calls the Aristocracy and I agree with that observation.
In this context, the right wing are no friends of Russia in whatever country. We must remember this.
The Atlantisists in Russia wish, even dream of Western integration. But the problem is US hegemonic intent and exploitation by the largely US based/ international Aristocracy. Russia’s new aristocracy dreams of this acceptance. Ordinary Russians just want normal relations, as do normal Europeans and Americans.
The Question, will Trump deliver on these aspirations of US voters, is rather like will Boris Johnson deliver to those aspirations of people that voted for Brexit? The answer is obviously no, it’s a class thing.
The incongruence is class and nothing more. A multi-polar world or a uni-polar world is nothing but a battle of ruling class hegemons. People with wealth and therefore power.
So the real question is class, or perhaps classless global economics. If the economy is viewed as an engine then the people are the fuel. It’s as simple as that.
Now that is something to dream of, a dream that might save the world.
“…to the extent that they increase their military spending (which is a decision that only each individual EU member-nation can make: there is no ‘EU’ market for weaponry, only 28 individual national markets there).”
“Perhaps most dangerous here is the rapid integration of the EU commercial military procurement and supply chain, operating under an EU treasury already being declared and implemented. Once locked together under EU procurement rules, and with ‘joint interoperability’ doctrine driving pan-EU military needs, Britain will be further stripped of its ability to design, build and supply our own weapons systems and munitions. This will further strengthen the EU political tactic of creating ‘interdependence’ between EU member states as a tool for removing sovereign identity and the ability to act as an independent nation state.”
David Ellis, Strategic Defence Initiatives.
I’m actually surprised at this part of Eric’s analysis, I’m sure he’d be aware of David Ellis’ analysis (he’s been a UKColumn/21st Century Wire guest analyst) perhaps he didn’t want to conflate his issues – but this phrase “there is no ‘EU’ market for weaponry” should read: “there is no ‘EU’ market for weaponry – yet.”
If Treason May and Fallacious Fallon (and their EU counterparts) have their way – there soon will be. Brexit is the Trojan Horse – by the time we leave the Single Market in 2019 (cue uncontrollable laughter) we’ll be more in the EU than out of it – and the military procurement budget may well be singular. (Not sure how the possible secession of France, Italy or Greece would affect this – but it seems to be the overall plan.)
BTW: this plan would have to be wholly endorsed by the Americans – our (the UK’s) nukes are not our own – they are wholly retained and maintained by the Americans (at Kings Bay, Georgia.) Although we get to pay for them, we only get to play with them if the Yanks say so. Our independent nuclear deterrent is not independent – but interdependent, first with America – and now it seems, with France, then Germany.
Where this to occur (EU military and budgetary union) the neocons would have created a vast supranational mega-MIC – a NATO on steroids. For this to occur, they need an enemy – I guess detente will have to wait? Which further explains the impossible demands?
(PS. – If you agree with David Ellis’ analysis – pass it on! The UK Government couldn’t survive it becoming mainstream – viva la [informacion] revolucion!)
As Don Trump is now big boss, the ‘Goodfella’s’ don’t have to hide behind a veneer of respectability any more.
Yes, well said. I never held out much hope with Trump but I’m surprised at how quickly it has all happened.
The author is much too negative about the potentiality of this matter. Trump may not have thrown in the towel but is simply holding his cards close to his chest. He has a whole lot of conspiracists to deal with including some members of his own Party.
I agree with this comment. Trump’s style of leadership is something Capitol Hill and the Washington press corps are unfamiliar with. Even the alternative media is going belly-up with over-reading their interpretations and narratives about Trump and over-analysing the Trump government’s actions.
To dismiss Trump as stupid, after the clever way in which Trump targeted gaining Electoral College votes during his presidential campaign and win the November election as a result, stumping and confounding Clinton, her campaign staff and all the media and the self-styled political pundits, is (to put it bluntly) … stupid.
100% right, Trump is playing to the gallery because he has to & also his priority is internal to US not external so foreign policy can wait. He’s far from a fool – listen to his Florida rally speech & the picture is clear – its all about Jobs, Jobs & Jobs with sensible security & if he delivers that he’ll be akin to Jesus Christ but if he fails he’ll be eaten alive.
Agreed. I’ve no love of Trump, or indeed any line-up that the US Imperium presents as its ruling junta; but I also think that reports of Trump’s demise are premature. Unfortunately, by prioritising domestic policy the neocons are controlling foreign policy. McCains actions just don’t make sense if he is being openly adversarial to Trump – perhaps there has been a powerbroking agreement – or perhaps he is still planning a take down? We’ll see.
The ‘clever way’ Trump targeted the electoral college was through Robert Mercer/Bannon’s algorithms. Trump was squirming like an eel on a newspaper as late as the RNC – after that his campaign was transformed by serious money from billionaire activists such as the Mercers (Robert and Rebekah), Sheldon Adelson, Steve Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross. The Mercers/Bannon backing brought Trump a network of media savvy advertising agencies and Cambridge Analytica’s psychographic profiling software. I don’t think it was Trump’s genius that turned his campaign around, more his backers, their networks, (and their algorithms.)
Trump is not stupid, but only time will reveal the greater truth as to whether he was merely sponsored, or just simply bought.