Friday, 20 July 2018

Donald Trump has achieved a great diplomatic coup and brought peace to Syria

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Imagine how the world would be had Hillary won in 2016. Of all the reasons to be pleased that she did not, the biggest is the fact that peace is being agreed in Syria. Had Hillary won, the Americans would have achieved regime change there. She said, days before the election that she was expected to win, that toppling Assad would be her top priority.

My impression of Donald Trump rose a lot after his performances recently in Europe and Great Britain. His undiplomatic, impolite, crudely expressed thoughts on Brexit and Nato were right and, more to the point, it was good to have them said. 

Then came the embarrassingly terrible press conference that he gave with Vladimir Putin
in Helsinki, at which President Trump went off on tangents, fought domestic political battles in a foreign capital and preferred the duplicitous Russian's bare word to the information provided by the CIA about Russian attempts to influence the 2016 US election. 

Attempts that no rational person has any doubts about, though it is almost impossible to imagine that they swung the election. Putin, whom everyone knows is a more shameless liar than Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

But though we all had the impression that Trump was a dangerous failure at diplomacy, it now appears that in fact Donald Trump and his people achieved a deal with Putin and Netanyahu, in the run-up to the meeting, which makes peace between the Israeli-Saudi alliance on the one hand and Russia, Syria and Iran on the other and provides for an orderly surrender by the Syrian rebels, other than the remaining ISIS fighters. 

This is exactly what I wanted and argued should happen in this blog for years.

This is a triumph for Donald Trump, not because he negotiated it (presidents have people to negotiate for them) but because he made it happen, by dropping the extensive secret US efforts on the side of the rebels, secret from the American voters who paid for them, efforts which kept the war going and the rebels' hope alive. Having done that he then conciliated Russia, the Saudis and Israel at the expense of Iran.

It may even be that Mr Trump wanted by flattering Putin to give Putin good PR while in the private meetings hard bargaining went on. It's possible, though somehow I don't believe it. Maybe Mr Trump's age is showing. Who knows? Still, hard bargaining certainly went on between diplomats to make the Syrian deal happen and this is what matters.

I do not buy the idea that Mr Trump has solved the North Korean question - his meeting with Kim also made me squirm with embarrassment for the American leader - but Mr Trump is bringing peace to Syria on the only terms it can be brought. 

As Syrian friends tell me, the regime is truly horrible but the alternative to the regime winning is chaos. The chaos that Wilsonian liberalism and what Paul Gottfried calls 'neo-con jihadism' brought to Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan.

The deal gives Russia and China what they want: a defeat for Sunni extremists. It gives Putin other things like prestige and a satellite in the Middle East. It gives the Assad family what they want and gives Israel, the Saudis and the UAE what they want: security from Iran.

The Iranians leave Syria, which saves them money they no longer can afford, get the glory of having won the war for their Syrian ally and Russian investments worth $50 billion. The Shia crescent remains but Hezbollah returns to the Lebanon.

The big questions: what about the Kurds and are the Syrian refugees going to be sent back home? 

23 comments:

  1. I was very pleased with the summit. Western public opinion is grotesquely misinformed about just about everything related to geopolitics. The West destroyed Libya, very nearly destroyed Syria. Sponsored Islamist terrorists for decades, including Chechnya, destroying the local peaceful sufism Ukraine was the most blatant coup in history, to quote George Friedman president of Stratfor. The US deep state assassinated Kennedy. The CIA have been heavily involved in the global drugs trade and have a domestic assassination squad. I have even interviewed an American special forces soldier who carried out assassinations. I dont believe that Skripal was a Russian government operation or that Douma was an Assad gas attack and if the Russians did break into the DNC - and there is a case to be made that iot was part of the CIA's false flag operation Marble project , where you false attribute hacks to your opponents - it only revealed the truth about Hillarys dirty tricks toi win the nomination, and how does that not serve the public interest? Further the bitch who destroyed Libya would probably have imposed a no fly zone in Syria and brought us into nuclear confrontation with Russia. What is your solution? Threaten Russia with nuclear war if they dont do as "we" say? Who is we anyway, the militiltary industrial complex and a bunch pf psychotic, often Jewish, journalists and think tanks in league with Western spooks.

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  2. Here is an interesting article by Pat Buchanan who sees things through Putin's eyes. http://www.unz.com/pbuchanan/trump-calls-off-cold-war-ii/

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  3. David in Belgrade20 July 2018 at 15:03

    Here is a piece by John R. Bradley:

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/07/assad-is-back-for-good-in-syria-and-with-trumps-blessing/

    IMO this latest development seals a triumph for Putin, although kudos to Trump for accepting the realpolitik of the situation.
    Ending the war by leaving Assad in power is the least worst outcome.
    Best wishes to the people of Syria as they try to rebuild their shattered lives and country.

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    1. I read it and learnt from it. He is a very perceptive writer.

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  4. Paul, I was curious about your article (good title) and I've read it. Although I am not a Trump fan, I am not a hater.
    I think these labels are for people who fail to understand context and nuances and have opinions driven by emotions alone.
    Trump is the first self-made billionaire US President. Kennedy was coming from a wealthy family (he was before Trump the wealthiest president in history, looking at his father's fortune).
    You have to understand how a billionaire businessmen operates to understand Trump. I have studied billionaires, who knows, one day I might even write a book about them, they are peculiar individuals.

    Trump operates on business principles which - although useful- are not always good in politics. Particularly in situations where, according to game theory one player stands to loose economically , but the loss of face/image for the political decision maker "trumps" economics.


    This is where I believe Trump is wrong when using leverage. For a lot of things he might be right, US is a superpower currently unchallenged, he has leverage and is using it. We will see the results and the consequences.

    Bad points:

    Trump is alienating important allies (the EU) and if I am correct, UK will have the surprize of their life when they will try to negotiate a stand alone trade agreement with US (a bad surprise). Figures not words move those deals and I doubt Trump will give a "free pass", that will signal weakness to other players.

    Trade deals- yes, US can get a smaller trade deficit, but they will loose a lot of business and that's bad. US has always had a trade deficit, financed by T-bills, that didn't bother them in having tremendous growth. I am currently reading a fascinating book "Bad Samaritans" on this exact subject - how advanced economies advocate free trade when it suits them, despite US and UK being the most protectionist economies in the world with tarrifs on imports at 30-50% of import value during 1850-1930 when they were growing and accumulating capital, creating industry champions. Now when China does exactly the same, albeit at much lower tarrifs and protecting industries from foreign investors (just as Japan did with their already famous industrial policy of 1950-1980 whose results we now know with global players in advanced industries) the US is reacting, forecasting that China will overtake them as the biggest economy (which will happen regardless of the trade deals).

    I think Trump genuinely thinks he knows what he's talking about. I also think he relies less than he should be on his advisers and that his protectionist policy will mostlikely trigger global recession in 2 years time.

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  5. Oh, and one last thing. Do you know why Trump dislikes the EU? It is not an accident that EU and China were targeted in the trade wars. The Eurozone is now the 2nd biggest economy in the world and a challenge to the US (economically). Trump loves Brexit and talks about the EU disintegrating, but as the Romans say "cui prodest?" or "divide et impera".

    If I wanted to weaken my economic rivals I would do the same. Oh, and that doesn't bode well for the UK either I am afraid, it's heading toward being a US vasal economically. UK has just given the boot to its biggest trading partner the EU (over 50% of UK exports) and has weakend its position as a global power (now) without influence in the 2nd biggest economy on Earth. But hell, what do experts know right?

    Sadly there are a lot of amateurs in British Politics, a far cry from the days of Margaret Thatcher who restored the competitiveness of British industries and was an architect of the European Union alliance.

    Now clowns more preoccupied with their haircut (Bojo) than their country are running the show. I actually think Theresa May has an impossible job at which she will fail.

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    1. Cristian, you make interesting points but do they relate to Syria?

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    2. If you scroll down my blog a short way you will see my latest thoughts on Brexit.

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    3. Boris would be a better Prime Minister than the current one. We can agree on that. It's not hard. A Leaver was needed.

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    4. Trump dislikes the EU because he dislikes globalism and likes nation states.

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    5. and yet he quotes by heart in interviews figures of trade between EU and US. Trump is doing what he said he would do, putting America first. EU is a rival, Trump is a pragmatist, not at all dogmatic, I don't think he understands the concept of nation states and he doesn't care. What he does care is that US will crush opposition and in the process Trump becoming a national hero.

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  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  7. "Then came the embarrassingly terrible press conference that he gave with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, at which President Trump went off on tangents, fought domestic political battles in a foreign capital and preferred the duplicitous Russian's bare word to the information provided by the CIA about Russian attempts to influence the 2016 US election.

    Attempts that no rational person has any doubts about, though it is almost impossible to imagine that they swung the election. Putin, whom everyone knows is a more shameless liar than Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton."

    My word, what a load of pompous bullsh*t. Why is it 'irrational' to doubt the word of Deep State operatives and security servicemen?

    Let’s recap the facts here:

    1. A private cybersecurity company, Crowdstrike was hired by the DNC to analyse their server. Neither the FBI nor any other government body ever examined the server, all FBI claims (and Muller’s subsequent claims) are based on Crowdstrike’s analysis. One of Crowdstrike founders, Dimitri Alperovitch, is well known to be anti-Putin and a member of an anti-Russian think-tank funded by both NATO and hyperglobalist George Soros. Crowdstrike was also caught lying about Russia hacking a weapons app in the Ukraine.

    2. The 20,000 emails from the DNC were downloaded at a speed which is too fast for a remote network connection and indicated the data must have been copied onto an external storage device, like a USB disk. It is certainly plausible that a Bernie Sanders supporter working for DNC could have been furious at the party fixing the primary for Hillary, and decided to leak the emails including those that documents that revealed this.

    Assange who released the DNC emails insists that they came from an insider leak, not a hack and though he is under a vow to never disclose a leaker’s identity, he has strongly implied it was the murdered DNC employee Seth Rich (whose murder remains unsolved).

    3. Whoever hacked the DNC, the evidence they left behind was very blatant. The idea that a proficient nation-state actor like Russia would suddenly stop bothering to cover its tracks while interfering with an election seems to stretch credibility.

    These are just some of the reasons to doubt that the Russia attempted to interfere with the 2016 election. There are many more. The truth is you haven't the faintest idea whether they did or didn't. Though you seem to disagree with the globalist media on a lot of things on this issue you are strangely convinced of their honesty.

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    1. Sorry if I sounded pompous.

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    2. The Seth Rich conspiracy theory is S hobbyhorse of Assange and and Fox News. It has been disproven.

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  8. Great article, with a good conclusion. Reasonable, not like the enemedia attacking Trump.
    The answer to your last question will shape Europe for the decades to come...
    I hope the right will soon move as fast as possible and will close the borders for the illegal migration.

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  9. Spot on. Many people seem to have decided on principle that the Trump administration can achieve nothing of value and so refuse to even examine the evidence. Re North Korea what he has achieved is a deescalation of tension. Dominic Johnson

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  10. Paul, wrong again. Hillary deserves a Nobel peace prize for managing to lose the election, thus burying her neo-liberal agenda of regime change.

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    1. It does seem to be buried and the rebels in Syria seem to be surrendering. I feared that the Donald would be turned by the defence establishment and feared General Mattis's anti-Iranian animus - but now I read that apparently Mattis sees his role as preventing war with Iran.

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    2. 'Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody in the room.' Retired General James 'Mad Dog' Mattis.

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  11. David in Belgrade27 July 2018 at 13:33

    A "must read" piece about US imperialism by Jeffrey D Sachs here:

    https://www.cirsd.org/en/horizons/horizons-spring-2018-issue-no-11/ending-americas-war-of-choice-in-the-middle-east

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  12. "President Trump went off on tangents, fought domestic political battles in a foreign capital"

    What I thought was most embarrassing for the Western world, was the stark contrast between the type and substance of the questions asked by the Western media as opposed to the Russian media. Western questions were as if taken out of a cheap melodramatic spy novel. Russians asked poignant questions about Syria and the energy balance, which in turn may alter conflicts/wars as well as livability in the ME. It confirms what many commentators wrote about the gas lines wars.
    If Trump and Putin agree, maybe it would be possible to let both gas lines (Yemen and Russian) be built, and may the best one win??
    Just listening to the AP and Reuters questions makes one utterly afraid to live in the West, and doubtful that this or any openness will happen. Ana

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  13. "President Trump went off on tangents, fought domestic political battles in a foreign capital"

    What I thought was most embarrassing for the Western world, was the stark contrast between the type and substance of the questions asked by the Western media as opposed to the Russian media. Western questions were as if taken out of a cheap melodramatic spy novel. Russians asked poignant questions about Syria and the energy balance, which in turn may alter conflicts/wars as well as livability in the ME. It confirms what many commentators wrote about the gas lines wars.
    If Trump and Putin agree, maybe it would be possible to let both gas lines (Yemen and Russian) be built, and may the best one win??
    Just listening to the AP and Reuters questions makes one utterly afraid to live in the West, and doubtful that this or any openness will happen. Ana

    ReplyDelete