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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/28/19

Tit for Tat? Why Did Mueller Let Trump Off the Hook?

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Think about it: In mid December 2018, Trump announced the withdrawal of all U.S. troops in Syria within 30 days. But instead of withdrawal, the US has been sending hundreds of trucks with weapons to the front lines. The US has also increased its troop levels on the ground, the YPG (Kurdish militia, US proxies) are digging in on the Syria-Turkish border, and the US hasn't lifted a finger to implement its agreements with NATO-ally Turkey under the Manbij Roadmap. The US is not withdrawing from Syria. Washington is beefing up its defenses and settling in for the long-haul. But, why? Why did Trump change his mind and do a complete about-face?

The same thing happened in Korea. For a while it looked like Trump was serious about cutting a deal with Kim Jong un. But then, sometime after the first summit, he began to back-peddle. He never honored any of his commitments under the Panmunjom Declaration and he never reciprocated for Kim's cessation of all nuclear weapons and ballistic missile testing. Trump has made no effort to "build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula" or to strengthen trust between the two leaders. Then, at the Hanoi Summit, Trump blindsided Kim by making demands that had never even been previously discussed. Kim was told that the North must destroy all of its chemical and biological weapons as well as its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs before the US will take reciprocal steps. In other words, Trump demanded that Kim completely and irreversibly disarm with the faint hope that the US would eventually lift sanctions.

Trump made these outrageous demands knowing that they would never be accepted. Which was the point, because the foreign policy establishment doesn't want a deal. They want regime change, they've made that perfectly clear. But wasn't Trump supposed to change all that? Wasn't Trump going to pursue "a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past"?

Yes, that was Trump's campaign promise. So, what happened?

There are other signs of capitulation too; like providing lethal weapons to the Ukrainian military, or nixing the short-range nuclear missile ban, or joining the Saudi's genocidal war on Yemen, or threatening to topple the government of Venezuela, or stirring up trouble in the South China Sea. At every turn, Trump has backtracked on his promise to break with tradition and "stop toppling regimes and overthrowing governments." ... At every turn, Trump has joined the ranks of the warhawks he once criticized.

Trump is now marching in lockstep with the foreign policy establishment. In Libya, in Sudan, in Somalia, in Iran, in Lebanon, he is faithfully implementing the neocon agenda. Trump "the peacemaker" is nowhere to be found, while Trump the "madman with a knife" is on the loose.

Is that why Mueller let Trump off the hook? Was there a quid pro quo: "You follow our foreign policy directives and we'll make Mueller disappear?

It sure looks like it.

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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.

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