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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/24/17

McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy

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McMaster: "...even though it may have been apparent at least since 2008 that Russia was changing its geostrategic behavior ... what we're seeing now is we've awakened to, obviously, this threat from Russia, who is waging limited war for limited objectives -- annexing Crimea, invading Ukraine -- at zero cost, consolidating gains over that territory, and portraying the reaction by us and allies and partners as escalatory."

The "threat from Russia"? In other words, NATO is not responsible for its relentless push eastward expanding its grip on all the former Soviet satellites in east Europe, deploying its tanks, heavy artillery, troops and missile systems right onto Russia's doorstep. No. Instead, Russia should be blamed for its fictitious invasion of Crimea.

McMaster is basing his argument on fake facts and a convoluted interpretation of events that doesn't square with reality. Russia is the victim of US-NATO aggression not the perpetrator.

McMaster then offers a remedy for so called "Russian aggression":

"...what is required to deter a strong nation that is waging limited war for limited objectives on battlegrounds involving weaker states ... is forward deterrence, to be able to ratchet up the cost at the frontier, and to take an approach to deterrence that is consistent with deterrence by denial, convincing your enemy that your enemy is unable to accomplish his objectives at a reasonable cost rather than sort of an offshore balancing approach and the threat of punitive action at long distance later, which we know obviously from -- recent experience confirms that that is inadequate."

"Forward deterrence"? This needs to be clarified.

What McMaster is saying, is that, instead of threatening to retaliate at some time in the future, the US should use "deterrence by denial," that is, make it as hard and as costly as possible for Russia to achieve its strategic objectives. By defeating ISIS in Eastern Syria and establishing permanent US military bases, McMaster intends to prevent Russia from restoring Syria's sovereign borders which is one of the primary goals of the mission. The "safe zones" that Trump has talked about recently, fit perfectly with this same strategy as they undermine Moscow's efforts to reunify the state and bring the conflict to an end.

This appears to be the plan that McMaster will pursue as national security adviser. Expect US ground troops to be deployed to Syria as soon as the details are worked out.

More from McMaster:

"...what Russia is employing...is a sophisticated strategy...that combines conventional forces as cover for unconventional action, but a much more sophisticated campaign involving the use of criminality and organized crime, and really operating effectively on this battleground of perception and information, and in particular part of a broader effort to sow doubt and conspiracy theories across our alliance. And this effort, I believe, is aimed really not at defensive objectives, but at offensive objectives -- to collapse the post-World War II, certainly the post-Cold War, security, economic, and political order in Europe, and replace that order with something that is more sympathetic to Russian interests."

The Russian strategy employs "criminality and organized crime" to effect "perception and information"?

This is just more demonization of Russia intended to make the case for war. Putin does not want a war with the US nor does he want to "collapse the post-World War II order" and replace that order with something that is more sympathetic to Russian interests...

Putin is a firm believer in capitalism and still participates in the G-20 and WTO. What Putin objects to is the US using its extraordinary power to topple regimes it doesn't like, spreading death and instability across the planet. That's what he opposes, the persistent meddling that undermines global security. Is that so unreasonable?

McMaster: "So what do all these conflicts have in common is they're about the control of territory, people and resources...what we need is that synergy between the joint force, where our forces have the capability and the capacity to deter conflict and, if that fails, to resolve conflict in our interest -- to protect our security and our vital interests. And that may entail imposing outcomes without the cooperation of the enemy, and that has significant implications for the Army in particular."

In other words, we are going to continue to fight for oil and markets (our "vital interests"), we're going to go it alone if necessary, and if somebody tries to stop us, we're going to annihilate them.

Isn't that what he's saying?

You know it is. There's not going to be normal relations between Russia and the US on McMaster's watch. The man believes we are in a life-or-death struggle with an evil enemy that wants to do us harm. That's not the basis for building peaceful relations. It's a justification for war.

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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.

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