The decision announced by President Donald Trump on December 19 to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria provoked an outpouring of denunciations and vitriol against him which demonstrates, once again, how hysterical his opponents are about his intention to put an end to his immediate predecessors’ commitment to a state of permanent imperial warfare. The clamor against him escalated the following day, when he announced the withdrawal of half of the 14,000 U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan. U.S. troops have been deployed in Afghanistan since October 7, 2001, when President George W. Bush launched Operation Enduring Freedom, allegedly in response to the role of jihadists forces based there in coordinating the attacks on the U.S. on September 11.
In reaction to Trump’s announcement, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis submitted a letter of resignation the following day, stating that the President can replace him with a Defense Secretary “whose views are better aligned with yours.” He noted two areas of differences with Trump: Mattis’ belief in the need to show “respect” for our allies, an obvious reference to the contentious relationship Trump has with the British and NATO officials; and “being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors,” which refers to his warnings about Russia and China and their “authoritarian model.”
Trump’s effort to establish a collaborative strategic partnership with Russia and China, in a decisive break with the geopolitical doctrine of confrontation explicit in the unilateralist post-Cold War liberal order, has been at the center of the fraudulent Russiagate attacks on him, as has been evident again in the attacks on his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria. For example, James Clapper, President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, when asked on CNN whether American’s are “less safe” due to Mattis’ exit, said yes, adding that the sequence of events leading to the resignation is “disturbing, but not surprising.” Clapper, along with Obama’s former CIA chief John Brennan, has been a key operative in the “Get Trump” operations underway since Trump’s emergence as a leading candidate in the spring of 2016, and in the regime change coup efforts since his election.
Brett McGurk, an Obama appointee as U.S. envoy for coordinating the global coalition against ISIS, resigned on December 22, sounding the same theme. Trump’s decision, he said, has left our allies “confused” and “bewildered.” This was echoed in an op ed in the New York Times on December 23, by Susan Rice, National Security Advisor to Obama, titled “The Threat in the White House.” Rice laments that, “We are walking away from our British and French allies,” and Trump’s action “does more to undermine American national security than any foreign adversary,” stating that the beneficiaries are Iran, Turkey, Russia and China. In addition to coordinating regime change coups in Libya and Ukraine during her years on the Obama national security team—which added significantly to the tension between the U.S. and Russia—Rice was involved in the “unmasking” of Trump’s first National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, i.e., releasing his identity from NSA intercepts of conversations he had with Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Kislyak, which led to his targeting by the Mueller probe.
Typical of the anti-Trump media coverage has been the New York Times
(NYT), which attacked the troop withdrawal as an “abrupt and dangerous decision.” Describing it as “a gift to Putin,” the NYT dismissed it as a “way of deflecting attention from bad news” leaking out from the Mueller investigation, about his allegedly growing legal difficulties.
The Mattis’ resignation has given the anti-Trump networks in both parties an excuse to escalate their attacks on the President, and defend the geopolitical doctrines behind the endless wars. On the Republican side, Senator Marco Rubio denounced the decision as one moving the U.S. “towards a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances and empower our adversaries.” Rubio, who Trump defeated on the way to winning the Republican nomination, has taken a leading role in the Senate in China bashing. He also insists that Russia continues to meddle in U.S. elections, and those of our allies, and is an “aggressive” opponent of U.S. strategic interests, allying himself with those pushing the Russiagate line, that Trump’s willingness to work with Putin proves he is a “Putin puppet.” Republican Senator Sasse, who often has been a harsh Trump critic, defended Mattis, saying he “rightly believes that Russia and China are adversaries.” Democratic Senator Mark Warner called Mattis “an island of stability amidst the chaos of the Trump administration,” while Nancy Pelosi, who will likely regain her post as Speaker of the House, proclaimed Trump’s actions “a Christmas gift to Vladimir Putin.”
Most telling of all is a statement from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham critical of Trump’s actions. Graham, a longtime ally of the late Senator John McCain—and therefore one who supported every regime change war and opposed Trump’s desire to work with Putin—had recently become a fierce ally for Trump, working with him closely in the period leading to the midterm elections. The decision to withdraw from Syria, however, brought him again into opposition to Trump. “I don’t know how this decision was made,” he said, “it literally came out of left field. It has rattled the world.” He added, in defense of Mattis, “that this decision did not come based on advice from his national security team, it came from the president himself.”
What Graham said was confirmed by Trump spokesman Sarah Sanders. Trump, she said, “listens to all of his national security team….He takes their advice. And at the end, HE MAKES THE DECISION” (emphasis added). This is precisely the greatest fear of his opponents, from the so-called right and left spectra, that Trump is now acting as his own man, with a full self-confidence in his authority to act as President. Before, the hope of his adversaries was that he could be contained, by the gang of military officials and Bush-linked neocons inside his administration, and by the grinding effect of Russiagate, which subjected every decision he made to the standard of “How does this help Putin?” Though he is still surrounded by neocons, such as John Bolton, the military figures constraining him are gone, with the firings and/or resignations of Generals McMaster, Kelly and now Mattis. And with Mueller’s inability to demonstrate any evidence of “Russian meddling” or “Trump collusion,” he is moving ahead with his strategic agenda.
Contrary to assertions in the media that the military is united in its outrage at this decision, Pentagon reporter Mark Perry’s Dec. 20 column in “The American Conservative” reported that numbers of senior U.S. military officers fully support the President’s decision. “‘We need a respite,’ a senior military officer told us,” Perry wrote, “‘and that’s especially true for the Air Force. Those guys have been in the air over the Middle East since Operation Enduring Freedom, back in 2001. These guys are running on fumes.’
“Nor, as we’ve been told, are senior military officers concerned that the announced U.S. withdrawal from Syria gives Putin a victory. ‘Complete and absolute nonsense,’ a very senior officer who served multiple tours in the region told us. ‘We can’t repair Syria—and it’s not our job to do it. If Putin wants to inherit it, that’s fine.'”
A tweet from military veteran and Democratic Party Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard pointed to the hypocrisy of those attacking Trump. “The hysterical reaction to the decision…is astonishing & shows just how attached to war some are. Lindsey Graham & others want us to continue our regime change war in Syria and go to war with Iran. That’s why they are so upset.” Gabbard’s words should be taken seriously by Democratic Party liberals and peaceniks, whose attacks on Trump now land them squarely in the pro-war camp.
TRUMP: THIS SHOULD BE NO SURPRISE, WHY IS PEACE BAD?
Trump himself made it clear that those expressing surprise are disingenuous. He tweeted on December 20, “Getting out of Syria was no surprise. I’ve been campaigning on it for years.”
A brief look at his record confirms this. In June 2013, he tweeted “We should stay the hell out of Syria, the ‘rebels’ are just as bad as the current regime. WHAT WILL WE GET FOR OUR LIVES AND $ BILLIONS? ZERO.” On September 5, 2013, in response to Obama’s threat to bomb Syria in retaliation for the False Flag charge that Assad’s forces used chemical weapons, crossing his “Red Line”, he tweeted “Do not attack Syria, fix U.S.A.”
This was a consistent theme during his presidential campaign. At a debate in South Carolina on February 18, 2016, he said George W. Bush’s decision to go into Iraq “may have been the worst decision anybody has made, any president, in the history of this country.” In April, he criticized Obama’s Libyan regime change operation as one which, while claiming “to foster democracy”, has instead caused civilians to “suffer while that country falls apart….We’ve made the Middle East more unstable and chaotic than before.” And on October 26, at a campaign rally less than two weeks before he defeated Hillary Clinton in the general election, he criticized her call for use of a No Fly Zone over Syria, saying “You’re going to end up in World War III over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton.”
Commenting of Trump’s actions, the Schiller Institute’s Helga Zepp LaRouche said in her weekly webcast on December 27, “I think that if Trump is working with Russia, with Turkey, with Iran (with some problems there, obviously) [in pulling out of Syria and Afghanistan]…this is the absolutely only alternative to a catastrophe, which would eliminate civilization.”
She continued: “I think the entire British game to bog Trump down with Russiagate is not working, and…what the recent actions of Trump really show is that he is feeling back in control of his Presidency, and he’s doing these things, and people should be happy about it, and not freak out. Naturally, the geopolitical game of the geopolitical neo-con faction of the West just falls to pieces, and that’s why they’re so freaked out. But the left, of the so-called liberals, who are advertising war instead of a peaceful settlement, are really unmasked in a way which is quite amazing!”
She concluded her assessment by saying that the events of the last days open the prospect for a new Peace of Westphalia in southwest Asia, to replace the British imperial game of geopolitics. And whether one agrees with Trump on everything, or not, is not the issue—on this matter, he is acting as a statesman, and deserves the support of all concerned with mankind’s future.
Source: Harley Schlanger