Thursday, June 4, 2020

Trump's Distractions or Is the Empire in Retreat? - Author: Tom Luongo

Things continue to spiral out of control in the U.S. as the myth of policing fails and anti-civilizational forces move into the power vacuum.
And while I’m still completely committed to the end of the U.S. empire and its imperial edicts, It’s also not lost on me what’s happening, who’s making it happen and how they are taking advantage of this.
I warned you President Trump’s near atavistic pursuit of U.S. ‘enemies’ in places like Syria, Iraq, Iran and Venezuela would turn the world against us. Look at the protests for George Floyd across Europe and tell me things haven’t changed.
The empire is the problem. It’s a lesson Justin Raimondo taught me at twenty years ago. And it’s only now that that idea has reached any kind of critical mass.
Are we going to dismantle the empire in an orderly fashion or a chaotic one? The animals on the streets have cast their vote. What’s yours?
And while Trump has made a hash of foreign policy in so many ways, I also told you that he was smart enough to only play the crazy Ivan role up  to the point of actually starting a shooting war.
This is his greatest accomplishment as President. Sadly, it shouldn’t be that great an accomplishment.
And all detractors need to remember this, including me. He hasn’t ended existing wars, but he hasn’t started any new ones. And the U.S. political apparatchiks in D.C. have been braying for wars for nearly four years.
Trump’s failure, however, is in not understanding that sanctions, tariffs, and diplomatic strong-arming are acts of war.
They may be a real part of realpolitik but his failure to grasp the nuances of that have led to the present situation internationally where he is effectively being ignored in every way that matters.
At the same time he’s dealing with a domestic insurrection that is both organic and organized, free-spirited and feral.
Here are a list of major incidents over the past week that support the thesis of the failure of the U.S. empire.
They are all significant.
The first is Iran successfully staring down U.S naval blockade threats to deliver refined petroleum and replacement parts to Venezuela. All five tankers made it safely into port and expect another five in the future.
Like with last year’s drone incident and this January’s missile attack on our bases, Iran called Trump’s bluff when push came to shove. As Yra Harris said to me in my recent podcast, do you think the U.S. will go to nuclear war over Turkey? No.
We didn’t do it in 1972 over Taiwan when Nixon sat down with Mao. We’re not doing it today with Iran, China or Russia. Iran understands this. Russia understands this. And China understands this.
So, all Trump has as an effective weapon is excising people from the dollar system, itself the source of most of the U.S.’s real strength, because the military truly can’t be used anymore like it was in the past.
And that weapon is being easily countered.
That is only accelerating the resistance to the U.S.’s hegemony in the long run.
Next up is the completion of Nordstream 2. It’s happening. Yes, Trump and his idiotic sanctions delayed it for a year or so, but that delay forced Ukraine’s hand to sign a terrible gas transit deal with Gazprom which will ensure in five years there will be no gas transiting across Ukraine.
So, does that change the dynamic in Ukraine? Ukraine was the project of Obama, Clinton, Biden, McCain and Nuland. Why on earth would he continue it today?
End the sanctions. End support of Ukraine. The Democrats will scream Russia into a vacuum.
The Russian pipe-laying vessel is in Danish waters doing the work and all Trump accomplished is ticking off the Swiss. None of the legal arm-twisting worked.
More sanctions won’t stop it.
The pipeline will be finished by the end of the year.
The EU gas directive which forces un-bundling of the ownership of the pipeline from the gas going through it was nullified by German courts.
Was anyone surprised by this? Germany gets to become the energy distribution hub for Europe, tying them to Russia. Why would they vote against that?
All the time, money and political capital spent to stop Nordstream 2 which was never going to be stopped because of the economic and political advantages to Germany, have come to naught.
Pipelines are important. They are the seams that bind countries together. Trump knows this but he can’t stop it.
Putin and Russia now have major energy pipelines connecting them to two major NATO countries, Turkey and Germany. All because the Obama administration decided to stop South Stream going through Bulgaria.
So instead of Russia gaining the long-term relationship with and loyalty of Bulgaria, it has gained even stronger relationships with Turkey and Germany. If this isn’t a foreign policy own goal of epic proportions nothing is.
And that’s on Obama, not Trump.
This solidifies Russia’s hold over the Black Sea and gives Russia the ability to support kicking the U.S. influence out of the Eastern Mediterranean. It also ensures that Turkey’s adventurism in the Mediterranean is tempered by Putin, not Erdogan in the end.
When Turkey gets uppity to the point of needing a smack down, Trump won’t hold the hammer, Putin will. And Trump will need Putin to deliver that blow to protect Greece and/or Israel and what happens then?
Still think the Empire needs to be kicked in the nuts by attacking it from within? It’s doing a fine job of self-flagellation from my seat in the bleachers.
The war in Syria is, effectively, over. So is Iraq. Trump understands this dynamic but won’t admit it publicly. In reality, he knows there is little left to do except pull out of the region now. Hence he’s quietly, for him, drawing down troops in Afghanistan at a far faster rate than has been officially recognized.
The Pentagon says that the goal has been for 8,600 troops to be left in the country by mid-July, and they are so ahead of schedule they say they’ll meet that number in June, which is just a few days away. The White House, by contrast, suggested that the US has somewhere in the realm of 7,000 troops left in Afghanistan and that this is set to drop even further.
Afghanistan first. Then Iraq. Then Syria. If reports of Bibi Netanyahu’s pet traitor Jared Kushner’s days in the White House being numbered are true, that timetable could accelerate quickly in the next couple of months as we approach the election.
The big issue surrounding the domestic insurrection today is the ruthlessness of the Empire abroad and at home.
Trump has a chance here to ‘win bigly’ as Scott Adams puts it, by reversing his worst foreign policy excesses, lifting some of the sanctions on places like Iran and Venezuela and reining in the lawlessness of both the jackals in D.C. and on the streets across the U.S.
But he can’t do that if people pile on the side of the vandals fomenting insurrection to cover up their crimes.