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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/12/17

Bush/Cheney, Trump, and Permanent War

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH

BREAKING  President Trump SHOCKS reporter with his answer about Steve Bannon
BREAKING President Trump SHOCKS reporter with his answer about Steve Bannon
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As is well known, Donald Trump ran on what Steve Bannon calls "economic nationalism." (That it is really in major part a cover term for the racism/Islamophobia/xenophobia that was central to the Trump campaign from the beginning and so strongly reflected on Bannon's Breitbart, is another story.) Part of that position is that the US shouldn't intervene abroad, shouldn't get involved in "nation building," shouldn't be the "world's policeman," and certainly should try to get along better with Russia, for whatever reasons.

As is well-known, just a few weeks ago, Trump and Tillerson were essentially laying out a "hands-off" policy towards Syria. And then comes the bombing, both literally and figuratively out-of-the-blue, except that, apparently, the Russians were given advance notice. That they might pass this information along to their long-time ally, the Syrian government under one or another Assad, was apparently not taken into account. But as is well-known, Syrian jets were flying from that air-base the next day.

Fortunately, Trump has not put "boots on the ground" in Syria (and Iraq), yet (or at least any more that Pres. Obama had sent there). But he has changed US policy towards the Assad Regime and by so-doing, towards Assad's principal ally, Russia, as well. (And if you think that Russia is going to suddenly abandon Assad's Syria, you've got another think coming. First and foremost, Syria provides Russia [and before that the Soviet Union] with a naval base window on the Mediterranean at Tartus , and has done so since 1971. Russia will not give that up easily.)

As is well-known Trump ran on making nice towards Russia, for whatever reasons. As is well-known, speculation about them has run from genuinely wanting to reduce world tensions, to investment interests going in one way or another or in both directions, to possible Russian blackmail. But, as I and many other observers have discussed on numerous occasions, the U.S. does need a Permanent Enemy in order, among other things, to justify the truly gigantic Military-Industrial Complex.

Apparently Trump thought (if he gave it thought or was capable of doing so) that China or Iran might become the substitute enemy-for-the-purpose of maintaining a Permanent War footing (if not Prepayment War, which didn't go so well in Afghanistan or Iraq) But no (see "The Russia House"). So, back to Russia. This might cause personal financial difficulties for Trump and family, and no sanctions-lifting for Tillerson (so that Exxon-Mobil could pursue Arctic drilling with Russian oil interests). But it is seeming to becoming clear from statements first made by UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Sec. Def. James Mattis, and now by the White House itself that the US is going right back there.

But why now? As is well-known, Trump is in trouble politically, with disastrous poll numbers and the inability to get anything major done. And his poll numbers have upticked dramatically since the Syrian missile strike. And so, here's a shot (literally) to overcome all the negatives so far. (Really believe the watching-TV story? Such an attack takes quite a bit of planning.) And so, there are certain comparisons with Bush/Cheney and the establishment of Permanent War. Not exact, but they are there.

Let's connect the dots to see what was really happening, first with Bush/Cheney. 1. As is very well known, Bush/Cheney lied the U.S. into war. 2. There was no post-war planning, as is also well known. The U.S. State Department had a plan, and all 2,200 pages of it were just ignored. 3. The museums looting that could easily have been prevented could have part of a plan (well a different kind of plan) to develop permanent chaos. That would also explain the staffing of Paul Bremer's pro-consulate by totally unqualified, very young, Republican political operatives: not accidental or careless, but purposeful. In essence it was thinking what might be stated like this: "Let's do whatever we can to gum up the infrastructure even further than it is already gummed up by Saddam and our invasion." 4. In late 2006, the report of The Iraq Study Group, headed by no less than the man who coordinated the effort to steal the 2000 election for Bush, James Baker, had provided a perfect cover for withdrawal to begin then. CheneyBush disposed of it before the ink was dry, and [the famous/infamous "Surge" was begun . 5. At various times, the major Muslim countries offered to provide cover for an American departure, especially if it were attached to a real settlement of the Palestine/Israel problem. They were not taken up on those offers.

The United States could now be headed in precisely the same direction, for very similar reasons. Did Putin and Trump have some sort of deal? If they did, is Putin now feeling that he has been double-crossed? Duh! He is already ramping things up in Ukraine and the former territories of Georgia that are Russian-speaking. Many people, including some on the Left, are going to be disappointed because during the campaign, Trump did make nice with Russia on many occasions. But the reality of the importance of having an enemy for the maintenance of the MIC (which Trump actually wants to expand), and etc., has finally been brought home to Trump. Never a man of principle, he has fallen right in line.

A postscript on Steve Bannon. He is the Master of Hate who brought money and Kellyanne Conway with him from the Cruz campaign to the Trump campaign, or maybe it was the money who brought Bannon and Conway. But anyway, Bannon has now outlived his usefulness to Trump and like so many others before him, e.g., Lewandowsky and Manafort, he is gone from the inner circle (at least for the time-being). Trump can be counted on for few things. Having absolutely no loyalty to anyone who has ever worked with him is one of them.

A postscript on a possible flag flying from the Syria gas attack. Lots of suspicions here , and they all start with Qui Bono (who benefits)? And that's surely not Assad. But surely the "we've got to have Russia as the enemy" dominant element of the U.S. ruling class, so liberally (if I may use that term) represented in the Trump cabinet, does. Even a U.S. Congressperson, the maverick Democrat Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii, has. (And for it, she brought down the wrath of, among other Democrats, former DNC Chair Howard Dean --- which says a lot more about them than it does about her). And then there are the oddities in the U.S. missile attack itself. False flag to serve the current political needs of the Trump Presidency on a variety of levels? The flags certainly point in that direction.

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY). As well as having been a regular political columnist on several national websites for over 20 years, he is the author/co-author/editor/co-editor of 37 books Currently, on the columns side, in addition to his position on OpEdNews as a Trusted Author, he is a regular contributor to From The G-Man.  In the past he has been a contributor to, among other publications, The Greanville PostThe Planetary Movement, and Buzzflash.com.  He was also a triathlete for 37 seasons, doing over 250 multi-sport races.  Among his 37 books (from the late 1970s, mainly in the health, sports, and health care organization fields) are, on politics: The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022; A Futuristic Novel (originally published 1996; the 3rd version was published by Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013, Brewster, NY, sadly beginning to come true, advertised on OpEdNews and available on  (more...)

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