Democrats Foreign Policy Conundrum in the Era of Trump

by William Skink

I am watching the PBS news hour as I type this. The gas attack in northern Syria is the big news story. Trump is stating his opinion on Assad has changed. I suspect this time around there will be absolutely no skepticism about who is responsible for this attack. And that’s too bad because I seriously doubt Assad is to blame for this attack.

If one were to assume Assad is rational, and if one were to apply a little logic, it makes absolutely no sense for Assad to order this kind of attack when his government has the upper hand against the head choppers supported by America’s allies in the region, like Saudi Arabia.

I know it’s futile to write this. It makes absolutely no difference. America is too far gone to think rationally about foreign affairs. Journalists like Seymour Hersh, who courageously did some real reporting on the Sarin attack, at least tried.  Here is some of his work:

For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’

The joint chiefs also knew that the Obama administration’s public claims that only the Syrian army had access to sarin were wrong. The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’. (According to a Defense Department consultant, US intelligence has long known that al-Qaida experimented with chemical weapons, and has a video of one of its gas experiments with dogs.) The DIA paper went on: ‘Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusrah Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’ The paper drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.’ (Asked about the DIA paper, a spokesperson for the director of national intelligence said: ‘No such paper was ever requested or produced by intelligence community analysts.’)

Last May, more than ten members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with what local police told the press were two kilograms of sarin. In a 130-page indictment the group was accused of attempting to purchase fuses, piping for the construction of mortars, and chemical precursors for sarin. Five of those arrested were freed after a brief detention. The others, including the ringleader, Haytham Qassab, for whom the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 25 years, were released pending trial. In the meantime the Turkish press has been rife with speculation that the Erdoğan administration has been covering up the extent of its involvement with the rebels. In a news conference last summer, Aydin Sezgin, Turkey’s ambassador to Moscow, dismissed the arrests and claimed to reporters that the recovered ‘sarin’ was merely ‘anti-freeze’.

This reporting doesn’t matter. All the talking heads on tv are saying Assad is responsible, and that’s good enough for Americans. Trump will now have a free hand to do whatever he wants in Syria. Who is going to stop him? There is no anti-war movement. Democrats gave up on that when Obama streamlined America’s killing machine.

Now that Trump is Commander-in-Chief, I’m sure plenty of Democrats will suddenly realize they are against war now that a Republican is directing the killing. There is already evidence of this, like this post from the alleged progressive combat vet, Josh Manning. Here is how he concludes his partisan post:

With a massive military budget and plenty of toys to play with, the U.S. military is going to look like the cavorting pig in the trough the next four years or possibly even eight. After so many years of war and such a heavy burden placed on so many of my fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines I cannot fathom how there is still an appetite for war in America. But it is upon us again and the war junkies and fake “champion of the troops” pundits on television are going to booster us into more and more conflicts. They will tell us that this is what the troops signed up for as more and more of them die. They will tell us that civilian deaths are just a consequence of greater strategic needs. They will lie to America when they do this. They will lie to distract us from the authoritarian nature of the Trump regime and to keep their places in power. Once we have reached that place of complacency it will be too late for the America we once knew.

I don’t know what the hell Manning means when he says it is upon us again. Maybe he means wars of occupation where actual American troops may die. Obama did a great job of sewing chaos in a manner that didn’t result in a lot of dead American soldiers.

But, let’s remember, it was under Obama’s watch that Libya was destroyed, Ukraine was destabilized, the Yemen slaughter began, and America expanded its killing into over a half-dozen countries, most of which we have not declared war against.

If Democrats start ramping up the anti-war sentiment (because it’s anti-Trump), it will be too little, too late. The power Trump now enjoys was first grabbed by Bush after 9/11, then solidified and expanded under Obama. Those of us who pointed out the danger of Obama’s war machine getting into the hands of a more blatant tyrant were never taken seriously by the partisans who forgot to be horrified by war once Obama took charge.

They can try to resist Trump’s foreign policy, but the sad reality is Trump is their legacy, and the corpse of the anti-war movement is buried in their backyard.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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29 Responses to Democrats Foreign Policy Conundrum in the Era of Trump

  1. JC says:

    It’s not futile to write this. It needs to be said, over and over again. If only to maintain our sanity when it is time to say “I told you so.”

  2. “We are now ruled by men who think and act very much like that ordinary man you might know, and if you want to know why they believe so many strange and terrible things, you can basically blame the fact that a large and lucrative industry is dedicated to lying to them.”

  3. So we’re getting another military company in our neighborhood in our neighborhood
    Where would one FOIA to learn how many we have?

  4. Big Swede says:

    Sarin gas attacks on children are nothing compared to Israeli’s building subdivisions.

  5. steve kelly says:

    Correct, Swede. Sarin attacks on children are nothing. Another white-helmet fake video.

  6. Turner says:

    Can we at least agree that a chemical attack occurred? The video footage of children writhing on the ground, next to dead bodies, in extreme pain seems real to me. If the chemicals were delivered from the air, as eye-witnesses claim, who but Assad or the Russians could’ve done it? The U.S. and Saudi Arabia probably weren’t involved. They’re too busy killing civilians in Yemen.

    • JC says:

      Attack? Or bombing of a production/storage facility maintained by rebels? Or false flag setup by ISIS and/or its affiliates? The easy answer is not always the correct one.

      One possible scenario was that Syrian warplanes bombed a rebel weapons depot where the poison gas was stored, causing the containers to rupture. Another possibility was a staged event by increasingly desperate Al Qaeda jihadists who are known for their disregard for innocent human life.

      While it’s hard to know at this early stage what’s true and what’s not, these alternative explanations, I’m told, are being seriously examined by U.S. intelligence. One source cited the possibility that Turkey had supplied the rebels with the poison gas (the exact type still not determined) for potential use against Kurdish forces operating in northern Syria near the Turkish border or for a terror attack in a government-controlled city like the capital of Damascus.

      • steve kelly says:

        Another story claims that victims may have been kidnapped in advance, poisoned and laid out as props for the media rollout.

      • Turner says:

        Usually the apparently obvious explanation is the true one. You can always make up far-fetched explanations that are theoretically possible, but these are rarely true.

        • what do you think is the obvious explanation?

        • “Usually the apparently obvious explanation is the true one.”

          That statement is false in its face. Anyone paying attention knows that truth is hidden in many layers, all made to appear enough of an explanation to make you stop looking. If you don’t take time and trouble to be highly skeptical and diligently search for some truth, you will be perpetually bamboozled.

        • JC says:

          Well some people fall for what may seem to be obvious.

          Then there is always the “cui bono”, or who stands to gain the most from a move like this. Obviously, Assad stands to lose the most as the observed reactionary knee jerk from the U.S. might propel us into military action to take him down.

          And who gains the most? That’s pretty obvious too: the “rebels” who are looking to gain control of the government; ISIS, who is looking to ramp up there caliphate, which always prospers in chaos (just like its Iraqi breeding ground thanks to Operation Enduring Freedom); Erdogan, who is looking to prevent a Kurdish enclave carved out of Syria, Turkey and Iraq; neocons who look to war and chaos to feed the MIC; the petro dictators who want to run a gas/oil line from Qatar through Syria; and on and on.

          If you weigh it all, the last thing Assad would want to do is something stupid like gas anybody. And everybody else has a reason to do it. But yet folks want to point the finger at Assad. Why? Because propaganda is effective, and all the rest of those players have something to gain.

          I’m about 99% sure this whole thing is either fabricated or a false flag. The 1% unsurety is because their could be an overlooked possibility, like Netanyahoo trying to get chaos stirred up so Israel can lock up some more land in the Golan Heights, or weaken Hezbollah.

        • Look j g at Assad’s background I would suggest he bears the ear,arks of a western plant, an intelligence agent along the lines of Castro or Hugo Chavez, put there as controlled opposition and to lead his country into Western dominance.

        • Big Swede says:

          When do you expect the staged domestic terrorist attack Mark?

          “Author and political activist Noam Chomsky said Tuesday he believes President Donald Trump will likely stage a terrorist attack on the United States during his time in office to bolster his domestic support….
          Chomsky first said that Trump would not fulfill his past promises of focusing on the economy and bringing back manufacturing jobs.
          “Sooner or later this con game is not going to work,” said Chomsky, a linguistics professor. “People will understand he’s not bringing back jobs, he’s not going to recreate the partly illusory, partly real picture of what life was like in the past with manufacturing jobs, and a functioning society where you can get ahead and so on and so forth, he’s not going to create that.”
          Chomsky then explained his belief that Trump would stage an attack on America after trying to pin blame for problems on other groups….”-Free Beacon

        • Still looking for you to have your first original thought, Swede. It is kind of like a gauntlet, this political learning curve, where you have to keep moving forward, throwing out old beliefs, acknowledging mistakes, developing new insight. When you finally graduate from 1965 to 1966, write.

        • Big Swede says:

          Like the CIA killed Kennedy?

        • You are beyond hope, a wasted mind. As my old girl friends were so fond of saying to me, “do not contact me again.”

        • you “contacted” him by commenting. if you don’t want Swede to communicate with you, don’t initiate contact. by the way, this comment is very similar to things I say to my kids. how old are you again?

        • You’re wrong, he initiated contact. He’s your guy, I am glad you are taking ownership. My comment was serious. Swede is stuck in 1965.

  7. Turner says:

    So when I see a football player cross the goal line with the ball in his hands, and the ref throws up two arms, am I naïve to think that a touchdown has been scored? Or is there a multi-layered truth that I’m missing?

    • if that is all you see, then yes, you are missing other layers, like: billionaire owner interests, public/private stadium schemes, massive gambling and advertising revenues, bread and circus distraction value, profit-motive behind covering up the extent of brain damage, cross-over military recruitment opportunities, and an athletic organizing regimen for youth.

    • steve kelly says:

      Was that the winning touchdown? Was the game rigged? Most are!

  8. it appears US military strikes on Syria are imminent.

  9. Steve W says:

  10. Big Swede says:

    The question still remains, if Trump does nothing more than send 50 cruise missiles to damage planes and an airport is he a warlord president? Especially when no troops are committed?

    Trump is playing 3D chess and the Dems along with the Deep State are playing checkers.

    His 60 million dollar “investment” into his legacy (via Tomahawks) will reap multiple rewards.

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