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General News    H3'ed 4/9/18

Open Thread: Trump contemplates attacking Syria...again

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No war on Syria
No war on Syria
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As conservative philosopher/commentator Stefan Molyneux put it in his latest video, "This Could be the End."

Now, as a progressive I disagree with the last third of his video where he blames the over-weaning power of the State for the war tendencies of the American republic since its founding, a time in which, he says, America has been engaged in a war 93% of the time. I have no reason to doubt that, but I would argue that if we have engaged in that many wars in that many eras, then perhaps it is something other than modern State control that is responsible. After all, there have been dictatorships that have been engaged in fewer wars than the U.S., though they might have been supported in making wars by the U.S. (I'm looking at you, Saudi Arabia).

But now, right now, our supposedly maverick conservative president is following the neocon script and "Trump to Decide Soon Whether to Retaliate for 'Barbaric Act' in Syria." By the time you read this, Trump may already have decided, and carried out, another bombing attack. He has already decided Russia and Putin are at fault:

Asked if President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, with whom Mr. Trump has sought to forge a friendship, bears responsibility, the president said: "He may and if he does it's going to be very tough, very tough. Everybody's going to pay a price. He will, everybody will."

Gone is the skepticism of the intelligence agencies. Gone are the campaign promises, which distinguished him from Hillary Clinton, of wanting to form better relations with Russia (despite congenially calling Putin to congratulate him on his over-whelming victory in the Russian presidential elections a few weeks ago).
During the campaign, Trump famously said:

"We have ISIS, and ISIS wants to go after Assad, but we're knocking the hell out of 'em -- even though it's not a very full-blown thing, we're still droppin' bombs all over the place and, you know, look, they're not exactly loving life over in Syria," he said of the terrorist group, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

"So we're stopping them, to a certain extent, from going after Assad," he said in an interview with CNN's Erin Burnett. "You have Russia that's now there. Russia's on the side of Assad, and Russia wants to get rid of ISIS as much as we do, if not more, because they don't want 'em coming into Russia."

The traditional Left is no help here. Left-leaning media like CNBC has wall-to-wall hyper-repetitive Russiagate coverage during Prime Time, nearly every night. They take FBI, Mueller investigations at face value, and CIA and NSA allegations of Russian tampering too. There is no longer any healthy skepticism of the 3-letter agencies which have overthrown governments, possibly even in America (Kennedy), and certainly in Chile, Iran, and many, many other places.

There is therefore no major antiwar coalition. The Right is for war. So is the Left. Some progressives are against war, and a smattering of conservatives who voted for Trump thinking at least he didn't want a no-fly zone over Syria as Clinton did, that would surely have put us into direct conflict with Russia, supporting Assad.

A true antiwar movement would be against war, period. It would say not only that war is a disagreeable alternative when none of the others had worked out, and anyway, most in Washington do not even come close to trying all the other alternatives. A true antiwar movement would say "War is the worst thing humanity can do to itself and we must avoid it."

Yet, Trump is weighing - all too quickly - whether to make the Syrian conflict into his war.

Russia has already said it will respond to any missile threats to its forces - not just actual attacks, but threats. We are closer to nuclear Armageddon than even during the Cuban Missile Crisis (CMC). At least during the CMC we had back channels. We had a relatively level-headed president. We didn't have an active war going on, just the threat of one, one that would end all wars forever. And today, today Monday, April 9th, is super-hawk John Bolton's first day as National Security Advisor. A proven liar and warmonger, Bolton is no counter-balance to...well, to what exactly? The State Department, run ineptly to the ground by Secretary of State Tillerson, until his replacement, also war-hawk, anti-Russia Mike Pompeo can be confirmed, is no counter-balance. Until then, the State Department is "officially rudderless."

Does anyone doubt that things could quickly spiral out of control? Have they already?

Syria has never attacked America. They are a threat to our ally, Israel, but so is ISIS and even more so now-entrenched Iran in a weakened Syrian state. It is not in Israel's interest to see the disintegration of Syria, whether they believe that or not.

Is this the end? Your thoughts....

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Scott Baker is a Managing Editor & The Economics Editor at Opednews, and a former blogger for Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Global Economic Intersection.

His anthology of updated Opednews articles "America is Not Broke" was published by Tayen Lane Publishing (March, 2015) and may be found here:

Scott is a former and current President of Common Ground-NY (, a Geoist/Georgist activist group. He has written dozens of (more...)

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