[this analysis was written for the Unz Review]
At this time of writing, it is too early to declare the danger over, but at least three out of five Iranian tankers have made it safely to Venezuela (confirmation from TeleSur and PressTV). Furthermore, while we should never say “never”, it appears exceedingly unlikely that the US would let three tankers pass only to then try to impede the arrival of the other two. So it ain’t over until its over, but as of right now things look way better than last week.
Besides, this is mostly a symbolic issue. While these 5 tankers will make a difference, it won’t be a huge one, especially considering the devastating consequences which the US sanctions, sabotage and subversion have inflicted on Venezuela.
Still, symbols are important, if only because they create a precedent. In fact, I would argue that the latest climbdown by Trump is no different than all his other climbdowns: Trump has had a very consistent record of threatening fire and brimstone before quietly deflating walking away. And since he did that many times now, we have to wonder whether this strategy is effective or not?
One could argue that this strategy could be described by saying that you put the maximum pressure on the other side in the hope that the bluff will entice the adversary to fold. This could be a semi-credible argument where it not for a very simple but crucial problem: so far the other guys have never folded. In other words, Trump’s bluff has been called over and over again, and each time Trump had to quietly deflate.
Some will say that this only proves that Trump is truly a peace-loving President who, unlike his predecessors, does not want to go to war. But then, what about the cruise missile strikes on Syria? What about the murder of Soleimani?
Truth be told, the kindest thing we can say about this strategy (assuming that it is a strategy to begin with, not the evidence of a total lack of one) is that it is tantamount to yelling “fire!” in a crowded movie theater: the fact that Trump did not set any movie theater ablaze hardly justifies his yelling “fire” in such a dangerous environment. The perfect example of this kind of irresponsible behavior is the murder of General Soleimani which truly brought the US and Iran a millimeter away from a real, full-scale war.
Furthermore, while I salute Trump’s climbing down following the Iranian strikes, I also believe that in doing so he hurt the international image of the USA. Why? Think about this: this is the first time ever (if I am not mistaken) that the US was the object of a major military strike coming from another state-actor and did not retaliate. In the past and until this Spring, the USA always held the view that if anybody dares to mess with it this would result in very serious consequences. Thus the US upheld a world order in which some were a lot more equal than others. Specifically, “others” had to meekly accept US strikes and shut up whereas Uncle Shmuel could strike left and right and expect no retaliation.
By “accepting” the Iranian counter-strike, Trump did essentially place an “equal” sign between Iran and the USA. He probably never understood that, but in the region this was understood by all.
Just as Hezbollah destroyed the myth of Israeli impunity, Iran destroyed the myth of US impunity.
Still, I will always prefer the politician who does not start a war (for whatever reason) to one who would. I also have no doubt whatsoever that Hillary would have started one, or even several, wars. But the fact that Hillary would have been even worse than Trump is hardly a reason to start fawning about Trump’s brilliant “5D chess” genius or peace-loving policies…
Trump reminds me of a guy pointing a gun at people in the street only to later say “but it was a toy gun, I never meant to really shoot anybody”. This is definitely better than shooting people with a real gun, but this is hardly a sign of maturity or intelligence.
The other problem with this “strategy” (let’s assume for argument’s sake that this is a strategy of some kind): each time the “indispensable nation” and “sole hyperpower” has to climb down, it increasingly looks like a paper tiger. Not looking like such a paper tiger is probably the main reason behind Michael Ledeen’s famous words “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.” In a strictly evil and imperialistic sense, Ledeen’s strategy makes a lot more sense than what Trump has been doing.
As Marx famously said, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce“. The outcome of what some now call the “Battle of Macuto Bay” is a perfect example of this: if the Bay of Pigs was the “root case” then the disaster in Grenada was the tragedy and the Battle of Macuto Bay the real farce.
Humor can be a devastating weapon and anybody who has studied the late Soviet Union (in the late Brezhnev years and after) knows how the Russian people ridiculed the Soviet leaders with literally thousands of jokes.
A real imperialist would much rather be hated than ridiculed, and while Trump himself probably does not realize that he is the laughingstock of the planet, his aides and deep state bosses most definitely do and that is very, very dangerous.
Because the pressure to, once again, “ pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall” increases with each climbdown (see my article “Each “Click” Brings Us One Step Closer to the “Bang!” for a fuller discussion of this).
Besides, finding an even smaller and weaker country than Venezuela will be hard (maybe the Island of Saba? or Grenada again? who knows?). And potentially very dangerous.
The other problem is predictability. Any international system requires that its most powerful actors be predictable. In contrast, when a major international actors acts in what appears to be unpredictable, irrational or irresponsible manner, this puts the entire stability of the system at risk.
This, by the way, is also why it is so disastrous that the USA has withdrawn from so many international organizations or treaties: the participation in international organizations and treaties indicate that the USA is willing to play by the same rules as everybody else. The fact that the USA is ditching so many of its former international obligations only shows that the USA has gone rogue and is from now on totally unpredictable.
Finally, there are also lessons for Moscow here, the main one being that when confronted with a determined adversary, the Empire tries to bluff, but eventually folds. True, Moscow has to be much more careful than Tehran simply because the consequences of a US-Russian war would be dramatically worse than even a major conflict in the Middle-East. Yet it is also true that over the past years the Russian armed forces did have the time to prepare for such a conflict and that now Russia is ready for pretty much anything the US could try to throw at her, at least in purely military terms.
[Sidebar: in contrast to the military posture of Russia, the political environment in Russia has changed for the worse: there is now a potentially very dangerous “hardline” opposition to Putin which I have christened the “6th column”, as opposed to the liberal and pro-western 5th column. What these two “columns” have in common is that they both will categorically oppose pretty much anything and everything Putin does. The 6th column, in particular, has a seething hatred for Putin which is even more rabid than what the liberal 5th column usually express. Check out this excellent video by Ruslan Ostashko, who prefers the term “emo-Marxists” and who very accurately describes these folks. Whether we think of them as 6th-columnists or emo-Marxists does not matter, what matters is that these folks are eager to act like a soundboard for any and all anti-Putin rumors and fakes. While Putin certainly has his flaws, and while the economic policies of the Medvedev, and now Mishustin, government are a far cry from what most Russians would want, it is also true that these two “columns” are objectively doing the bidding of the Empire, which could present a real problem if the current pandemic-induced economic crisis in Russia is not tackled more effectively by the government]
I have always said that Iran, while being much weaker than Russia, has consistently shown much more courage in its dealings with the Empire than Russia. Furthermore, Iran’s policies are primarily dictated by moral and spiritual considerations (like in the case of Iran’s principled stance on occupied Palestine) while Russian policies are much more “pragmatic” (which is really a euphemism for self-serving). But then, Iran is an Islamic Republic whereas Russia still has to develop some kind of unifying and original worldview.
For all his innumerable negative character traits and other flaws, it remains true that Trump has not launched a major war (so far). Yes, he has brought the world to the brink several times, but so far he has not plunged the world into a major conflict. How much of the credit for this truly should go personally to him is very debatable (maybe cooler heads in the military prevailed, I think of folks like General Mattis who, reportedly, was the one who stopped the USA from seriously attacking Syria and settled for a symbolic strike). Some Russian analysts (Andrei Sidorov) even believe that the USA is in no condition to fight any war, no matter how small. Furthermore, most (all?) Russian analysts also believe that the USA is fully committed to a full-spectrum information and economic war to try to economically strangle both Russia and China. I think that it would be fair to say that nobody in Russia believes that the relationship with Trump’s USA can, or will, improve. The tone in China is also changing, especially since the US has now launched a major anti-China strategic PSYOP. In other words, the USA is merrily continuing down its current road which leads it to a simultaneous confrontation with not one, or even two, countries, but with a list of countries which seems to grow every day. So while it is true that in this case Trump appears to have canceled two wars, we should not assume that he won’t soon start one, if only to deflect the blame for his total mismanagement of the COVID19 crisis. Should that happen, we can only hope that all the “resistance countries” and movement will provide as much support as possible to whomever the Empire attacks next.
Hopefully Trump isn’t climbing down only because he is looking at November 3rd. But I’d still have less hope with Biden given his support of pretty much all of the wars.
I wonder if trump is any better than clinton if she would have been elected. Are we sure clinton would have terminated the jcpoa made by obama a democrat like her?
I don t think trump has any clue regarding military conflicts and that if the us has not started a war yet is only because easy targets are gone and that some us military officials know that and they try their best to stop the madness from the neocons. The fact that easy targets are gone would be true with clinton as well and the same officials who are trying to prevent trump from starting a war would be doing the same thing with clinton.
Pompeo has terminated open skies treaty and has decided to put further sanctions on iran. Sanctions targeting chinese officials are waiting on trump s desk.
The situation is very, very bad. Tensions are on the rise continuously since 2018. Now trump is threatening to restart nuclear tests. Start 3 treaty will be terminated next year in february. I don t see how all of this could end well.
I may be wrong but in my mind we are in 1936 or something like that. China is the new japan, iran is the new poland and the us is the new nazi germany.
I think that Hillary would be way fore forceful on Syria. That would have been the major cause of a new war, possibly even with Russia.
Laurent, go back and review Killary’s support of the war in Libya, in which Obama was neutral about, and which the U.S military wanted nothing to do with. All that gold from Libya’s bank, maybe she got some. Also, if Killary had been elected, we would have already been at war with Russia. Please recall when she said the U.S. should impose a no-fly zone in Syria.
“Prevent Trump from a…war”? Seems like the only President who’s held the military industrial complex at bay for over three years now would deserve more credit than that. Please try to rise about the regurgitation of cable news left vs. right dialectic. Crony corporates with feudal designs own both parties, control the DNC/RNC meaning they control the primaries meaning they control who the U.S. votes for, and who “forced” ex-Prez Obomber to sign E.O.’s (like Bush did in Iraq, killing 500,000 civilians) to bomb Libya, initiate and continue to support a war in Syria, bomb the bejeezus out of Yemen through CIA drone strikes and selling the idiot Saudi’s all the weapons they can scrounge, killing a quarter million (so far) in Yemen, bombing in Somalia, drone strikes across the Afghan. border into Pakistan….thus causing the “anti-war” Obomber, who promised to “get us out of the Bush wars,” then sold out………….want you to grab onto one “side” of the Hegelian dialectic. Looks like you’ve already bought in. Hint: neither side will “win,” in WW3.
Does the kabuki theatre have any impact on reality though? Politics in USA today is not a decision-capable arena, it is only the way your owners break the news to you. Like rasslin’.
Look behind the fourth wall.
This operation was obviously designed to fail. What covert operator carries his military ID on a mission? Like the Bay of Pigs fiasco, it was meant to draw the US into invading with air support, the works. That it didn’t happen is testimony to the cross-purposes at work in the US Deep State, just as there was during the Kennedy administration when he prevented follow-up air support to the CIA-led invasion of Cuba. Ultimately, he signed his own death certificate by doing that.
Trump is just an organ-grinders monkey in this whole affair. It remains to be seen once those oil tankers all reach port if the Israelis, who really call the shots in the Trump administration, don’t stage a false-flag attack on those ships via sabotage or whatever. That will bring the Iranians and the Russians into it and war will only be averted by their restraint and common sense, not by anything that Trump does or doesn’t do.
I remember thet clinton said she wanted to impose a no fly zone on syria. But you know saying it and doing it for real are two different things.
For trump it s the same thing. Americans elected him because they didn t want to continue wars. Trump bombed syria 2 times, started a trade war with china, withdrew from the jcpoa, killed soleimani, tried 4 times to make a coup in venezuela, withdrew from INF treaty and open skies treaty and so on. I really don t think americans were expecting that from trump when they voted for him. They would have voted for clinton otherwise.
Trump is the consummate con man. I don’t think those who voted for him were aware of that in 2016. They certainly are now.
Exactly. Right now trump is an enxpendable president. The neocons use him to do what they would have done with clinton. But for the neocons the situation is even more confortable with trump because if what they do somehow backfires they will blame trump. I think that with trump the neocons are even more reckless than they would have been with clinton because they feel safer; they have their super trump card to play: don t blame us blame him. Trump surrendered to the neocons after 6 months and by doing so he made himself even more dangerous than clinton.
There is this story about Trump raising a oversized American flag at his Mar-Largo estate, only to have to take it down, but in doing so he got what he wanted. Maybe the people Trump is fooling are his warhawk supporters?
I think there will NOT be war before the election. Trump doesn’t want to hurt his re-election chances.
However, if Trump is re-elected it is my personal opinion that some kind of military conflict with Iran – whether it escalates into a fullblown war or just a temporary skirmish – is inevitable.
As for Biden, it’s tough to say but I’m hoping that if Trump is edged out that he will be too senile to start any wars and basically be a continuation of the Obama years, where proxy wars were fought and there were false flags but no hot wars.
Ultimately though we are just kicking the can down the road over and over and over. Eventually the PEOPLE need to wake up and take their country back or else you can bet your ass the Neocons and their Zionist satan-worshiping buddies will eventually up the ante and launch some 9/11 style false flag that kicks off WW3. Then they get to hide in their underground bunkers while the rest of us burn and the Earth is ruined.
Let’s get to work to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Sorry, but don’t you think the utter destruction of Libya was “hot”?
Definitely yes it was!
Even if Joe Biden is too senile, his VP (whoever it is) will take over. Remember how Dick Cheney basically ran W’s presidency? Biden would simply be the corpse-like figurehead.
Libya was bad and resulted in massive destruction obviously, but it was limited to an air campaign that did not involve two major powers lobbing missiles at each other or nuclear armageddon.
It’s sad what happened but not as bad as what could have happened under Hillary for example.
In fact Hillary was State at that time under Obama, and I believe Obama wasn’t happy with the results of listening to her advice on that, calling it a “shit show”.
Hmm, I wonder whether, if Hillary somehow emerges from the current “primary season” as Biden’s VP, whether Obama wouldn’t still have a lot of power over her. I have read somewhere recently that Obama now really controls the Dem Party apparatus–that is, that his power base within the party has defeated the Clinton faction.
If Michelle can’t be VP, Obama might still be the “Cheney” to both Biden and Clinton. They are both semi-senile and over the hill.
I personally would be outraged at Michelle Obama being VP, but it would well expose the actual working of things. So for purposes of misdirection it might suit Obama to put Hillary in the VP spot. Then he would be in control of both her and Biden. Dangerous game, though. I am sure that Obama has goods on Clinton. But I am also sure that there are plenty of players who have goods on Obama. .
I am, for one, immensely relieved that Iran has succeeded in calling the bluff, and impressed with its leadership’s courage and carefully calibrated strategy. But undoubtedly the US is busy planning revenge, probably with more cyber attacks, like the one on the ports, but more deadly. I hope they are prepared for what’s coming.
Since it’s hard to imagine that another president would not have been more “kinetic”, it would seem that Trump is the lesser evil when it comes to foreign policy at least. Not many “liberals” want to hear that though!
I believe Trump has a new mindset since his assassination of Soleimani. He sees that decapitation is a victory. He gets great political credit for such acts. The military likes it. Very little risk with a drone missile strike. The Intel Community likes it. They set up the hit and act as the targeting officer. The result is a momentum change on the battlefield, region or organization.
So, he must be contemplating and approving plans for attempts on Assad, Maduro, maybe even, Kim.
Any of them would be a big geopolitical win for Trump at very little cost.
If there is blowback, like the Iranian missile strike, he sees the military can ‘body wash’ victims in uniform and quash any sight of over 100 seriously wounded (traumatic head wounds).
I think Trump has found a substitute for war. All he has to do is authorize a hit on someone the US would like to see gone from the scene.
Zakharchenko was a prior one. It altered the entire Donbass scene and negotiations. He had at least a $5million dollar contract for his death.
The untimely death on May 17 of the Chinese Ambassador to Israel, Du Wei, comes to mind.
Trump did not take credit for that. If he’s going to turn an assassination into political capital then he has to take credit for it.
Did Trump cancel a potential double war ? Maybe. However, who brought this decision ? Trump, or somebody close to him, who explained that the US does not have the manufacturing base nor enough boots on the ground for any large or medium sized military confrontation ? A military confrontation right before the next presidential elections ? Always possible, but unlikely, as the Deep State would jump at this opportunity to accuse Trump of warmongering, no matter how much the actual military confrontation would benefit the Deep State.
Trump mismanaging the corona virus epidemic ? Debatable. More than one analyst has pointed out that the corona virus epidemic in the US will eliminate a large number of small and medium sized businesses, giving corporations even more power and profits. Perhaps the intention ?
The Russian 6th column presenting a danger to Russia ? I am very surprised by this, when even the liberal 5th column is losing power. It’s been some 31 years since communists lost power in Russia. Do they still possess any real power or popularity, bearing in mind each one of them is now 31 years older ? How many have passed away ? Do the people in Russia really want them ? I doubt it. On the other hand the leftovers of the old communist elite cannot – of course – forget the good old days when they controlled everything. All they can do is dream and nothing else. How many votes did communists get during the last election ? Yes, they did get a number of votes, but nothing of any real importance. Over here in Serbia there were – at last count – three communist parties, and they exist only on paper. I doubt if the young people are even aware that they are in existence. I presume the situation is almost identical in Russia, due to similarities in culture. Yes, the communists and liberals can always unite, but this would finish off both.
Edited at poster’s request.
”The Russian 6th column presenting a danger to Russia ? I am very surprised by this, when even the liberal 5th column is losing power.”
Short answer to the question: Absolutely nothing of the sort. This ”6th column” is a non-issue altogether. Smearing Putin and Russia along the lines of Ukronazi State Propaganda is a non-starter; possibly with the exception of Ksenya Sobchak and the Pussy Riot harridans. The blockquote was a wholly unconvincing part of an otherwise very perceptive blog post. If this ”6th column” nonsense is perceived as a ”problem” to Russia, then Russia is in for a final, total victory, The ”6th column” would be like a heap of burning tyres trying to stop the Red Army at the outskirts of Berlin in 1945.
The Solemimani assination was a set up by both sides. A means to an end. Theatre of the absurd. Since then it’s been conflate then de-escalate. Now Iranian tankers travel the high seas delivering oil. The US, and Trump, taking stupid advice from stupid advisors backed themselves into an ugly corner with Iran, no rope left for the dope, an exit stratagy (no I’m not retreating, I’m repositioning) regardless of how convoluted and ragged, is the order of the day.
Psychopaths and psychopathic ‘cultures’ tend to self-destruct
Purple Library Guy made a good point a couple of articles ago; all this bluster is for domestic consumption. I don’t think Donald Trump gives a shit what the rest of the world thinks of him.
I think people in Russia & China are woken to the fact that the third world war (actually 4th if the Cold War is counted) has already been underway most of this century, all bar any actual shooting (which will probably never happen – since both Russia & China have NFU policies – unless Clitler or a proxy get in power).
As for “shithole” countries to throw against the wall, the few left include Binomo, which has those allegations of Russian election meddling to deal with.
So long as CNN, Fox, etc push it the proles will lap it up without question. They won’t see the retraction on page 10 a few days later.
Funny how the Iranians quit harasing us ships since Trump gave the order to sink any that come within a hundred yards
What harassment?You force yourself in somebody’s house, and,when he want’s to kick you out, you complain that he’s been harassing you?
Still searching for the Lesser-spotted Trump
‘A dollar each, that’s my starting price, take it or leave it.’ ‘…. have any Lesser-spotted Trump’s, maybe even stuffed ones?’
He scratched his long beard. ‘What do you mean stuffed? I never head of one that stopped talking long enough to be stuffed’.
Suddenly he went even paler, and began to hiss like a punctured tire. ‘We sold our only live spotted Trump to a spiv, a commie, a Russian snake oil businessman who had a card like yours. And for what? For some plump young wedged-tailed Goldman-Sacks’ and a brace of Brested Taxwobblers, and I’ve never had a moments peace since I bought them birds’, he paused only to let out a long high howl. ‘Accursed and bloody things that they are, they will not be content till they have sucked the life-blood out of my body, sold the roof over my head, and sent me to the pauper’s grave to perish. Merciful God,’ he wept, ‘it’s fearful, it’s awful, it’s cruuu…el that I should be afflicted thus in my old age. How much, just how much more?’ His eyes roved wildly and his gnarled arthritic hand tore at his rooster like throat.
‘Now don’t get excited ‘enry, the wispy old lady pleaded tying and untying her own arthritic hands, it was only a Trump after all.’
Only a Trump! God save Israel!’ he screamed. ‘But I’m ruined.’ he began sobbing in burlesque sniffles, and to pace randomly about. ‘Took my beautiful Trump and some Brested Taxwobblers and left me with this gawking rubbish. He swept his arm randomly about.
‘Your’ a fiend out from hell,’ he cried …..’, plunging forward and grabbing for my throat. ‘Cruel and criminal monster is what you are asking for a Spotted Trump, you will put us all in the ground before you are done.’ Suddenly he fell backward with a howl of terror……
Trump seems to be loathed by the leaders of NATO countries. I feel this makes those countries less eager to follow american adventurism than w/a more ‘appealing’ president, such as was Obama.
That is what I saw as the initial positive of a Trump presidency. 3 1/2 years later, I’d say I was guilty of wishful thinking. Just look at the Meng Wanzhou extradition or sanctions against Venezuela. It sure looks like Canada is still in lock step with the Empire. Hasn’t Nord Stream been paused yet again? isn’t Australia doing the Empire’s business on anti China propaganda(I know Australia isn’t in NATO, however your suggestion applies to all in the Imperial Club).
Unfortunately the ruling class of every American ally has been bought. They might ridicule Trump for domestic consumption and they might be less eager to follow, however they continue to toe the line when it matters. I’m afraid this dynamic will continue until the demise of the US dollar.
Really, the only friends America has are the ones they can buy. The money tree hasn’t been cut down yet.
I don’t see the danger allegedly posed by Russia’s ”6th column”. Some Ukronazi Personality Disorder folks completely blown out of proportion. The equivalent of a few noisy alcoholics on a park bench. Toss them some needles and effigies of Putin — problem solved.
“I have always said that Iran, while being much weaker than Russia, has consistently shown much more courage in its dealings with the Empire than Russia.“
Agree, but even more true to substitute Russia with China. This is especially disappointing as Xi is suppose to be the “strong leader”, “president for life”, etc. IMO, the reason is in the top China politburo standing committee of seven, at least four are kind of “pro-west” or “ soft”. Every tough decision in China has to be unanimous by these 7, and Xi simply does not have the votes. In fact for the first time, there was a high ranking Chinese General who outright said publicly it is not time yet to retake Taiwan (despite the recent various trouble making efforts by the USA). Again, imo, this is a sign that the “doves” are having the upper hand right now. Xi simply does not have the backing for stronger responses, even though in my opinion, that will only encourage more destabilizing efforts, and in more blatant ways, from the Empire.
The Battle of Marcuto Bay is killing me. Brilliant.
Marcuto Bay should be renamed Maduro Bay to ”rub it in”. However, do keep in mind that the operation might had succeeded had Trump personally joined the freedom fighters /sarc off/.
”In other words, the USA is merrily continuing down its current road which leads it to a simultaneous confrontation with not one, or even two, countries, but with a list of countries which seems to grow every day.”
Yes, that’s what usually happens when ”continuing down the road” driving on the wrong side of it. And it doesn’t get any better when you feel exceptional and indispensable about it too.(Removed overboard language,MOD)
Maybe the attention span…focus….wishful thinking….whatever….has gone back to Iran….Trump removing all but 1 of the waivers under the JCPOA.. attempting to block Russian Iran contract to build 2 nuclear reactors for example. “Confrontation “of some kind possible?
“…the participation in international organizations and treaties indicate that the USA is willing to play by the same rules as everybody else”.
But the USA was never “willing to play by the same rules as everybody else”. Literally never since maybe the 1830s.
When it signed a treaty or joined an organization such as the UN, it always did so with its fingers crossed behind its back. The attitude was, “Well, let those suckers believe whatever they want – there may be something in that for us – but the moment our interests diverge from the rules, we are out of here”.
The new and more forthright policy is very much in line with Mr Trump’s candidness. I seriously believe that he is, to say no more, at least no worse than most previous presidents. The reason he is so hated in the USA and its allies is precisely that he does not trouble to lie. Obama was a whited sepulchre, but Trump is an open one. Unpleasant, but not deceptive or hypocritical.
“…maybe cooler heads in the military prevailed, I think of folks like General Mattis…”
Is it perhaps a little worrying that one of the “cooler heads” in Washington should be someone with the sobriquet “Mad Dog”?
What are the hot-heads like – rabid hyenas or paranoid allosaurs?
Off-topic except for the sidebar, but I feel very important: why on earth did Mr Putin acquiesce to the lockdown, while Belarus provides such a vivid contrast right next door?
How must Mr Putin have felt, watching Mr Lukashenko preside over the Belarusian victory parade? I can hardly imagine a better gift to Mr Putin’s enemies, whoever they are.
It’s a joy to see Iran and Venezuela defy the bully. The thought of Pompeo, like a belligerent elephant seal minus the power, reduced to malicious impotent blubber. But then I think of Soleimani and Zakharchenko and realise its too soon to celebrate.
Actually a state actor attacked the USA on 9/11. That no one has been held accountable…………..and millions of lives have been destroyed and lost running around looking for the ‘state actor’ screems madness when the ‘state actor’ is gifted 30 billion dollars by the victim.
I’m pretty sure that it was the US and Israel that executed 9/11. It must have taken years to wire and arm the twin towers for their controlled demolition, a huge undertaking. Cheney was in charge, diverting all defensive air power during the execution of the operation.
Perhaps you meant that Israel was the true director of this op? If so, I don’t have an argument. Some of their agents were caught filming and dancing during the demolition. It was probably their broadcast that the idiot Bush was watching, and then mentioned it at the elementary school visit, where he was supposedly first informed of the event.
Trump has not started any wars but he has certainly provoked them, most recently with murder of two high ranking military leaders in Iraq, which is flagrantly illegal. And with the attempted replay of the Bay of Pigs.
In return, Iran killed a number of US soldiers in a retaliatory strike, and dared the US to fight back. Trump instead downplayed the incident. Reading between the lines, it’s quite possible that Iran seriously called Trump’s bluff. “You wanna fight, huh?. What will you say to the American people when several thousand soldiers and dozens of ships are at the bottom of the Persian Gulf?”
When Cheney was asked why he engaged in his various aggressions, he said, “Because I can”. My guess is that whether it’s under Republican or Democrat, US’s former victims are saying, “No you can’t!” It’s not because Trump is a peacenik, it’s because he’s been told by his presumed future victims that he will personally pay a huge cost if he does what Cheney/Bush or Obama did.
‘When Cheney was asked why he engaged in his various aggressions, he said, “Because I can”’.
The US government is like a roach motel for psychopaths.
Great article as usual, but one quibble. You note that:
this is the first time ever (if I am not mistaken) that the US was the object of a major military strike coming from another state-actor and did not retaliate
Not true. There was the attack on the USS Liberty in 1967 by Israel, which faced no consequences whatsoever.
Very well spotted, Kit S. Thanks for the reminder.
I am afraid that this 6th column could be hiding within the government itself as an integrationist policy with EU. It seems that FM Lavrov is the top official representing this integration. EU is of course emo-marxist if that could be a valid term for national socialism, socialism with private ownerships, ruled by an unelected body of the seat of the president, the president of the EU commision, presently Ursula von der Leyen, a national socialist of the London School of Economics, Fabian Society. The EU parliament are more like a discussion club for the agenda of the main leaders of EU such as Angela Merkel, a former communist official out of East Germany joined with the CDU of Germany, and of pres. Emmanuel Macron of France, a Rothschild banker linked to Bilderberg, and the EU commision president is the executive officer of EU. It does not have any properties of democracy and closely resembles fascism as when some entity have the absolute power as guaranteed by a political system such as socialism. The term emo-Marxism fit in with the liberals within the socialist system today, and for Russia that would be a 6th column since it will also aim to create the same system. While at this point Russia seek to align with the EU it may well be the very 6th column attempt to create national socialism. Pres. Putin however has sought the way of democracy, to have the people involved in the decision of governance, I find that there are several factions within his own government . The more traditional Rothschildist Nato integrationists represented by fmr. Prime minister Medvedev, and a EU integrationism represented by foreign minister Lavrov which has not been confronted. Russia is for sure under attack as 6th columnists seek to create a world corporate government dictatorship under external integration that will again be able to destroy the rights of ordinary russians to gain personal liberty and financial stability by a world oligarchy intervention. pres. Putin has been right in most of his policies and would be wise to look into the matter and continue to create and independent democratic Russia based on democracy unlike the rest of the world.
I have no idea what is going on and why. They have not suddenly become the Empire of Kindness for real. Logic would say there was no way they are letting those tankers reach Venezuela. So, why?
One vlogger has mentioned the two U.S. naval ships which had collisions with tankers over the past few years and has suggested somebody knows how to hack their navigation and tracking system. That is something they would not want to be publicized.
I can’t think of a more dangerous enemy than one living in your midst, actively working to destroy the country. I hope Russia can overcome this.
Tankers still have to make some kind of return journey somewheres…still a chance for some excuse or other..less chance of a big oil spill when empty if something happens..plus less manoeverability when rising high…..
The Saker wrote:
I have thought this for a long time.
The most amazing thing about the United States is this. No one, in any of ruling cliques, seems to understand this. Certainly not Trump or Pompeo or Bolton or, for that matter, the Republicans or the Democrats in Congress. Nor he editors for the Times or the Post. Nor any of the influential think tanks and so on.
It is one thing for an empire to fall apart under attack. It is another thing altogether for an empire to dissolve itself – while believing they are acting to assure its continuance.
No doubt Gorbachev and his supporters also believed they were assuring the continuation of the USSR.
The question for me is, after 3.5 years of no extra wars, is it possible the man is playing at least some 444D Chess?
If Trump is re-elected then look out. There will be little to hold him back and there is the example of previous criminals like Clinton, Bush, and Obama that after each killing millions left the White House (of ill repute) to a life untouched by those calling out for justice for their crimes.
I think you totally misinterpret Trumps bellowing, blustering, threatening and limited pinprick “strikes”. These are not intended to impress foreign enemies, and they certainly have not had that effect. They are palliatives for our very powerful warhawk domestic enemies. Trump plays Lucy-with-the-football to the warhawks’ Charlie Brown. Trump placates the hawks with promises of a chance to kick a field goal, then snatches the football away at the last moment. So far, this has proven remarkably effective at avoiding disastrous shooting wars.
Another excellent analysis. However, to understand what is going on, I think it helps to situate this Venezuelan situation in the broader, three-sided global conflict that has been under way since at least 2013.
I have been commenting on this site about this three sided conflict for a couple of years now (for example dh-mtl on March 17, 2018 · at 8:39 pm UTC).
To quickly review, the three sides to this global conflict are:
1. The ‘Globalists’: i.e. the trans-national wealthy elites, based in London and New York, sometimes called the ‘Davos Crowd’. Their principle source of power is control of most of the world’s wealth and finances. Among their instruments for the exercise of power are the U.S. Deep State, the UK equivalent and the EU structures.
Their objective is to create a ‘Global Government’ based on international institutions that they control. Under such a system national borders would be removed, and division of labor would occur on a world wide basis. The role of the U.S. is military enforcement. They would create a neo-feudal society, which would be ‘sustainable’ (i.e. no further development). Only the elites and their sub-ruling class would enjoy luxuries of life. The rest of the worlds population would live in virtual economic slavery or a subsistence mode.
2. The ‘Multi-polar World Order’ (MPWO), led by Russia and China, wishes to create, essentially, a ‘democracy’ of nations, where the rights of each nation-state is respected, and each nation is allowed to pursue its own development in its own fashion, consistent with its culture, customs and values.
3. The ‘Authoritarian Nationalists’ (AN). These are people, with leaders such as Trump, the Brexiteers, Orban, etc. Their goal is the supremacy of their own nation-state.
The ‘Globalists’ have been actively working on their project of ‘Wold Governance’ since at least 1990. Since 2001, under the auspices of the ‘Project for a New American Century’ they ramped up their actions to crush any opposition. However it was in 2013, when Russia prevented the U.S. from bombing Syria that open conflict between the ‘Globalists’ and the ‘MPWO’ broke out. The ‘Authoritarian Nationalists’ joined the fight after 2016 with Brexit and Trump’s victory.
If we analyze the U.S. actions in light of the above context we can understand the following.
1. Power in the U.S. is divided between the ‘Globalists’, instrumented by the Deep State, and Trump. This is why U.S. policies are unpredictable. These protagonists are constantly operating at cross purposes.
2. The ‘Globalists’ have been scheming to bait Trump into a war against Russia and China ever since he was elected. For them such a war is a no-lose situation. If the U.S. prevails then their enemies, the ‘MPWO’ are weakened. If the U.S. fails, they blame Trump and get rid of him. Suffering of the U.S. population is of no concern to them.
As for Venezuela, the ‘Globalists’ want Venezuela, and Trump wants Venezuela’s oil. For the ‘MPWO’, and Russia in particular, Venezuela is critical. Thus Trump is willing to play along with the ‘Globalists’ in order to overthrow Maduro. However, he is not willing to go to war for it, unless he is sure that he can win. With Russia backing Venezuela, Trump has no such assurance. However, the Deep State, keeps trying to bait Trump into going to war, as described above. This current situation with the Iranian tankers is just the latest of a long series of such events, where the Deep State creates a potential conflict and Trump, realizing that there is no guaranteed victory, backs down..
3. Trump’s objective is to ‘Make America Great Again’. What Trump wants is to build a wall around the U.S. and a few loyal vassal states, so that he can isolate the U.S. and rebuild its industrial base, which is critical for the U.S. to remain a World power. In general he sees international institutions, run by his ‘Globalist’ enemies as a threat to the U.S. and to himself personally. Thus he will continue to sabotage international institutions.
4. At this point in time the ‘Globalists’ see Trump as an existential threat. After more than 3 years of trying, and failing, to remove him from power, they are desperate. The coming election is the backdrop for a fight to the finish between the ‘Globalists’ and Trump. Whatever happens, the results of the election will not be recognized by one side or the other, and the resulting anarchy risks tearing U.S. apart.
The spillover to international affairs is hard to predict, but a desperate and anarchic U.S. cannot be good for anybody, For the ‘Globalists’, nothing, including starting a nuclear war, is off the table if they think that it can help them to remove Trump from power.
To say that Trump stands against the Globalists is just plain wrong. He’s been beholden to the so-called “Russian” mafia (Kosher Nostra) for decades, ever since he was Roy Cohn’s protégé. The reason why he won’t release his tax returns is because they would show a consistent pattern of tax evasion and money laundering for the mob that has become the basis of his real estate empire.
His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a close friend of Netanyahu, has also been mobbed up for many years and has surrounded Trump with Likudniks and Zionists. His biggest single source of campaign funds is Sheldon Adelson. If Sheldon says move the US embassy to Jerusalem, Trump moves it to Jerusalem. If Sheldon says break the JCPOA, Trump breaks the JCPOA.
He’s been an Israel-firster long before he posed as an America-firster and doesn’t give a rat’s ass about US workers or rebuilding its industrial base. That he hasn’t as yet attacked Iran is only because there hasn’t as yet been an Israeli false-flag that would drive us into war just like the Israeli false-flag attacks on 9/11 drove us into the GWOT. Just as with 9/11 some horrible outrage, like sabotaging those Iranian oil tankers, would drive us into war with Iran and Russia. It’s only a matter of time before it happens.
In the aftermath of last month’s failed mercenary incursion against Venezuela and the failure to prevent the Iranian fuel shipments after another barrage of ‘maximum pressure’ and threats, the US has announced that it will send troops of the Special Force Assistance Brigade to Colombia. One of the main focal points of their efforts will be areas along the border with Venezuela.
A new round of escalations is on the way.
We have to keep in mind that israel plans to annex a big chunk af jordan on july the first.
This will make the tensions go through the roof.
China takes Hong Kong and Israel takes the West Bank. Sweet, nice and coordinated.
And the US has to allow the Iranian tankers through else Iran has an excuse not to allow tankers into the Persian Gulf, and that could cause major problems. Of course, should one of Iran’s tankers get sunk then the same thing would have to happened to Western tankers in the Persian Gulf.
the difference is Hong Kong is part of China whereas Jordan is a sovereign country
I would like to come to a sensible conclusions on what were the real motives the Empire refrained from attacking the Iranian tankers in the Caribbean.
Or from boarding them with helicopter launched troops.
Were the threats a mere bluff and elections related political calculations?
Does anyone have a link to Trump threatening the oil tankers ? I don’t think he ever said anything. The threat was issued by “anonymous White House officials”, but the lying MSM may have concocted the whole threat.
Attacking the tankers was never going to happen because Iran has 1001 ways to stop the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf, possibly even including anonymous ways. The world would see that as justified retaliation to an overt act of war against Venezuela. So the tankers got through for the same reason that there has never been a war between Iran and the US.
When things don’t make sense, that’s only because we don’t have the real story. It seems to me that some low-level shills put forth this tanker hoax and Trump simply failed to outright deny the hoax. I rack it up as the Lugenpresse and the Deep State trying to box in Trump, like they always do.
Larchmonter may be correct, that the spooks and the military see the murder of Soleimani as a great victory. Certainly Solimani was a genius who will be sorely missed. The head of Iraq’s largest militia was killed at the same time, and the Iraqis have set a price: The US must leave. We will have to see what the Iraqis do. I was always amazed and saddened to see the Iraq people allow the US occupation to continue. Now, that may change.
Well there was another “state actor” that recieved no retaliation. It involved a ship named the USS Liberty.Not only was it not retaliated on, it was seemingly condoned.
Not just condoned, but none of the survivors were allowed to ever testify about the attack!
Trump’s actual life and death struggle is internal to the US ..and its very secondary external component remains almost a distant after thought, at least until after November.
Some may not be interested in that wrestling match….and really don’t care who wins it.
This disinterest in internal US affairs, in the most intense and interesting struggle many are mostly missing, while understandable emotionally….. is never the less extremely short sighted strategically…… and is the principal reason Trump’s seemingly erratic twists and turns and inconsistencies seem so puzzling to very many people, especially the non-Americans here, that this paragraph describes.
It’s not really that difficult of a puzzle to solve at all:
Just as most of you care far more about the survival and well being of Iran, Venezuela and Russia and China than you care about the United States……Donald Trump’s first priority is his own political and physical survival and well being…..because without taking care of that priority first, he’ll lose the republic that he is president of to Bush League….the Clintons…..the New World Order, the British monarchy…..in short the globalists.
Because that IS the fight eventually externally as well, (in a much more meaningful way 2021-2025……AFTER the internal decisive battle has been won) the forbearance that this situation requires of even Americans….. is beyond even most their capacity to not lose patience with it and get very worn out trying to make sense of it.
Until November he’s not nearly so concerned with foreign reactions as he is with outplaying his Deep State enemies in terms of US election results, court decisions, declassification of damning evidence of treason by his opponents, etc. . After November, when the feints and reverses are no longer nearly so necessary, you may see a great deal more consistency out of the man in terms of foreign affairs. Therefore, I would advise a bit less cynicism and pessimism….because that only helps people here …… that DO want endless wars.
Also be careful, or you might have to retract a lot of cynical and pessimistic utterances about the man from 2021 on…..for very possibly the rest of your lives. Realize: He’s not playing to your approval quite yet.
He can’t afford to this early in the “all or nothing” battle internal to the United States. But to complete the job in terms of matters beyond our borders in his second term (like disbanding NATO) he’ll need to turn to those things that interest you more, with more purpose 2021-2025.
And don’t be shocked then, if Mike Pompeo is no longer Secretary of State.
Patience. And endurance. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
In the english Wikipedia the “Battle of Macuto Bay” has been donwgraded to “Macuto Bay raid”. And any wording that may imply to the english-reading population, that Venezuelans have scored a significant, if symbolic in nature, victory has been rewritten accordingly. But for all, wo can read between the lines (and remember history), this “raid” is the Venezuelan version of the “Bay of Pigs” fiasco.
Trump the Peace Candidate? This President Abhors International Treaties
“Trump hasn’t started any new wars” say the more cogent of his supporters. That may be true, but he has attacked Syria twice based on phony intelligence and has committed a war crime by assassinating a senior Iranian government official. And he sure has worked hard to elevate constant insults and threats into a major component of U.S. foreign policy while also taking away the international instruments set up to minimize the risks of war. And it will only get worse over the next five months as the White House works desperately to shift the focus away from the fallout from the mishandled coronavirus and towards foreign enemies who will be blamed for everything going wrong in America.”
Everyone wants peace – but on their own terms. And so risk the war they seek to avoid. Washington, Moscow and Beijing move gingerly. These are the main powers that can destroy or save us. History warns them to be wary about their actions.
[Instead of opening your link reverts to a great big scary warning “Untrusted” because of an invalid security certificate – I’d imagine that puts most folk off?! The Mod]
Saker, I’m curious as to why you continue subject yourself to the cesspool that is the Unz Review comments section? They seem to be trying to outdo each other with vile ad hominem attacks and there is absolutely no moderation whatsoever. I wouldn’t bother posting anything on that site and I certainly would never make a comment there.
First, I have a lot of respect for Ron Unz and what he is trying to do with the Unz Review. Second, why would I care what the folks who bash me in the comments section think? I mean, really – they got the right to their opinion. As for the ugliness of the comments, it is a reflection of their author’s lack of arguments. It does not reflect on me in any way. And if we believe that notion that there is no such thing as bad publicity, then they might even be doing me a favor.
Besides, I have never replied to any comments there, since I do not comment on unmoderated fora.
Bottom line: I truly don’t care :-)
You are a better man than I am, Saker. I’d be out the door in a heartbeat.
Looks like Trump, or whoever actually runs US foreign policy, decided to opt for confrontation with Iran and Venezuela on petrol deliveries after all. Two tankers from Iran, the Bella and the Bering, were intercepted and turned back today, with the actual ship owners (some Greek corporations) being threatened with “sanctions” and “legal actions” should the deliveries be made. How can such piracy be “legal?” What court should find any merit whatsoever in the US actions? What actions would the US take if the ships proceeded on to their Venezuelan destinations? Sink them? Commandeer them? Incarcerate their captains and crews? Why should the world stand for such barbarism? Meanwhile, Venezuelans continue to die from deprivations imposed by the Great Satan in Washington. The cowardly imbecilic world should cease all ties with and isolate the American gangsters, not Iran or Venezuela.
Ah, so those 2 tankers are owned by Greece and not by Iran, then those 2 tankers can be safely sunk.
“Did Trump just cancel a potential double-war?”
A better question to ask is: Did Trump just back-down like a cowardly bully against not one but two nations (Iran and Venezuela)?
America–especially under Trump–operates like this:
1). Beat your chest and shriek about Making America Great Again, US Exceptionalism, “Defending Freedom and Democracy,” yadda, yadda….
2). Threaten and sanction other nations–including threatening war.
3). These other nations refuse to back down.
4). Quietly look for an excuse to slink away from outright war.
5). Rinse and repeat.
I have a suspicion the whole thing is staged by TPTB.
To create a totalitarian technocratic NWO, you need a totalitarian surveillance State like China to become liked by the populations as the savor, and you need the most powerful nation of “all men are created equal” to become despised and disliked.
In this context it makes no sense to degrade Trump in single cases. One man cannot save anything. Only Jesus.
I read your article the day you post it in this page and I though you were very accurate about your conclusion that Trump probably won’t start a war ” if only to deflect the blame for his total mismanagement of the COVID19 crisis.”
Is because I think you have a good analysis in this theme, now when US is in fire because the killing of George Floyd, I want to ask you: Is the external war much probably right now not just by the covid 19 but too by this killing?. One more aspect to consider is the fact that US sent some soldiers to train the contra in Colombia to attack Venezuela.
I remember thet clinton said she wanted to impose a no fly zone on syria. But you know saying it and doing it for real are two different things.
For trump it s the same thing. Americans elected him because they didn t want to continue wars. Trump bombed syria 2 times, started a trade war with china, withdrew from the jcpoa, killed soleimani, tried 4 times to make a coup in venezuela, withdrew from INF treaty and open skies treaty and so on. I really don t think americans were expecting that from trump when they voted for him. They would have voted for clinton otherwise.
Donald Trump is not in command of the US military.
There have been numerous reasons to question whether the USA has civilian control of its military. I’ve been seeing them back to the Clinton regime. Under Trump, there has been a long series of events where the military does not do what Trump says. As well as military leaders testifying to Congress that they would feel that orders from the White House are optional. They put it as they would not follow illegal orders. But, these days, since every war America fights is illegal, that means the US military leaders can pick and choose what orders to obey.
Certainly, Joint Chiefs of Staff could find a sharp military lawyer to say that attacking those oil tankers would be illegal. Any Colonel in the Pentagon would be able to see that backing Trump over the JCS would be a unwise career move. Do you risk your career for someone who has little real power in the military today, and who will be gone and probably fleeing prosecution in 232 days.
Today, Republican Senators from places like Nebraska, Oklahoma, and South Carolina were all criticizing the President. Those are all Trump-country states. The reason was over Trump’s stunt with the Bible, the photo-op for which he had to tear-gas peaceful protesters. What is interesting is not the detail of the criticism, but the very fact that it exists.
Up till now, Republican Senators have been very careful not to criticize the President, with the exception of Milt Romney. So, the very fact that the criticism was issued is noteworthy. I didn’t check to see if any of those Senators is running this year. At this point, Trump is leading the Republicans to an epic disaster of an election, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some Republicans are starting to worry, and might start to think that criticizing the President isn’t such a bad idea.
It was also interesting that the dispute is over the Bible. Trump has been having problems trying to keep the Evangelical Christians onside. There have been a lot of rumblings of dissent from there. Not that they’d vote for Biden, but if they stay home that lack of enthusiasm is bad for Trump. It seems like Trump’s stunt with the Bible and the church touched some nerves. Nerves that have never really forgotten that Trump is an evil New Yorker with the morals of Satan.
Cracks are starting to show. Remember, only three Republican Senators keep Trump in power. Romney already voted for impeachment. If three more decide to join him, then Trump is gone. I can imagine that it is highly likely that if a group of four or more Republican Senators told the Dems that they were ready to support impeachment, that the Dem House would quickly rush through another impeachment resolution to give them a lever to use. This while Trump is counting on the government just to keep the protesters out of the White House.
Has anyone noticed that some police are joining the protests? That is never a good sign for the longevity of a government.
I believe the tear-gas story is fake news, as it was completely unrelated to anything to do with Trump’s photo-op, which is essentially a derogatory way of saying that he rightly isn’t putting up with the rioting nonsense that burns Churchs for non-existent systemic racism that nobody can pinpoint where exactly it is any more than they can prove the actual supposed danger posed by COVID-19, for which I’m sure these protests and violent riots will major crowds of people will once and for all provide a demonstrable test case as to whether the threat was ever real or just a convenient world-wide psy-op. Even Russia is capable of being fooled or playing pretend-care for the sake of political expediency no different than any other nation’s politicians where placebos will suffice to try and show the dopey people that they are actually doing something. Or maybe the Russians entertain the possibility that the U.S. released a killer virus in China and Iran and what’s occuring elsewhere is more benign, who knows?
It’s no surprise that the Deep State also exists in the Republican side and doesn’t want Trump who they see as a usurper that was actually chosen by the people rather than the Deep State. Right now, everyone wants to light some incense and pay tribute to the goddess of social justice because politicians are trained bots who only respond to emotions, hence why suddenly COVID doesn’t matter any more, and people are free to go out there to peacefully protest or riot and loot to their heart’s content.
The Republican voters aren’t fooled by RINOs. If Trump’s photo with a bible in front of a Church that was attempted to be destroyed by godless ANTIFA arsonists did anything, it has only pleased the Christian base, who don’t buy into the media narrative that you seem to be drinking. The polls show overwhelming support for Trump’s actions and for using the military to control the bullshit riots. The impeachment hoax and the failed Russia collusion narrative have only strengthened Trump and backfired on the Democrats who are now on the defensive along with Obama.
Therefore why the Democrats are counting on COVID lockdowns and rioting on top of the failing economy and the usual screeching of RACISM! with their failing media industry to try and swing the election in their favour because creepy grandpa Joe Biden doesn’t know where he is whenever he wakes up every morning.
Police are joining the peaceful protesters in some areas because they have an optics issue for which they are responsible for in killing that man thanks to bad training as a result of Israeli handbooks that turn American cops into theatre of war soldiers where citizens are enemy combatants in the post 9/11 world. However elsewhere, police officers, including black ones, are being killed by thugs. Ironic, given how they cracked down on average citizens for benign behaviour that violated the great almighty COVID lockdown regulations.
It must be difficult to hold as many conflicted positions on Trump that you have identified here. In fact, being bound to so many positions restricts you from identifying any new doctrine or radical departure of policy because you will always be discounting such events as evidence of no policy, your neutral fallback position.
Trump is the outsider. Established, special interest and corrupt insiders are all resisting his articulated policies. These are policies he won on. It has been obvious he has had bad players inserted into his admin and several holdovers who should’ve been replaced. We can assume he has achieved what he could get down, has been frustrated in many areas and has partially achieved and compromised on many others. However taken as a whole I see no evidence that Trump has waived from his articulated policies.
In terms of geopolitical strategy Trump does not want the US to be the global cop. As he has identified – there is no upside to undertaking the role. He wants strong popular nation states thriving and safe from coercion or bullying by larger regional players. In all instances Trump correctly identifies the real culprit behind regional conflicts and uses economic clout to pressure the larger player to desist. It is simple when you open your eyes to it.
Trump also identifies that most people are inherently good but they can be manipulated and coerced into acts of evil by bad leaders. He has no hesitation in taking out such a leader. Soliemani was a remnant of the past and a barrier stopping any peaceful resolution to the problems of the region. Apologists will find comfort joining with Mattis who refused multiple opportunities to remove him from the geopolitical conflict.
One of the barriers I see in those who oppose Trump but articulate redundant, false or incoherent reasons for doing so is that they lack imagination. It’s not their fault we’ve all been bludgeoned into a stupor of repeating falsehoods to maintain a narrative that ultimately empowers the established elites and defeats the vast majority of people.
You can change your captured mentality by daring yourself to believe Trump may be motivated by good and not the evil we’ve come to accept from leaders. Dare to imagine he is attempting to remove old, corrupt and sociopathic power structures that have been exploiting people in order to enrich and empower themselves. Think reverse Rhodes.
Trump is untangling multiple gordian knots that impede the progress and improvement of life for humanity in general. Most importantly he is doing this not with weapons and war, but using methods that dont involve loss of life.
I believe Putin is similarly motivated but in a much more restricted manner. Hence the first act of the establishment, when they began to see Trump was a threat in mid 2016 was to gin up the Russian collusion hoax. Thus stopping Trump and Putin from openly co-operating.
The clues are visible all around you, if you allow yourself to believe they exist.