With Google reporting searches for World War 3 are exploding in the days since President Trump started two bombing sprees, one on a Russia-controlled facility on a Syrian airfield over an alleged Sarin gas attack, another on a presumed ISIS cave complex in Afghanistan, the media and Washington are back in war-whooping mode. The military strikes have divided what was a unified Trump base of populist support, and made many wonder if Trump has already been cowed into compliance with the war agenda by the special interest elites, or perhaps, was always in their pocket. Considering the president was repeating his campaign promises about working with Russia, and not seeking to topple Syrian leader Bashar Assad as recently as a week before, others are frankly wondering, exactly what gives?
The Deep State Empire Strikes Back?
Among pro-liberty people, the most popular conclusion is that the Sarin gas incident is another false-flag incident set up by the ISIS rebels and their “White Helmets” allies (who have been caught faking such attacks before, most notably in 2013, to try to bring down the Syrian government). While Assad is certainly not a boy scout, there is no evidence he had the means, motive or opportunity to perform the attack. A brilliant MIT analysis of the incident has already shredded the claims made by the US that Syria ‘had to be’ behind the attack. How could Syria use chemical weapons they no longer had, that they had already turned over to the Russians four years ago (stored at the Russian facility that was bombed)? Why would he do so when he was about to defeat ISIS, and had been assured by the US he could remain in power? How did Syria have an opportunity to do it, when the entire world was watching them—what culprit knowingly conducts a crime when the cameras are running? As for the cave complex Trump approved dropping a MOAB (‘Mother of All Bombs’) on, what was the urgency of threat level it represented at this time, to warrant its sudden and massive destruction? What of the fact, disclosed by both Wikileaks this week and by the NY Times in 2005, that the CIA built those tunnels in the first place?
Whether the gas attack was false or real, the feeling is that Trump has used the incident to betray his base by seemingly reversing his stands on regime change, military restraint, and other American First elements of his foreign policy. As far as liberty movement champions like Chuck Baldwin are concerned, Trump is just another neocon warmonger. A variation on this view holds that Trump did not actually mean to double-cross his voters on the matter, but was just “too stupid” to resist falling for the false flag and regime change templates being pushed on him by war hawk generals, neocon pundits, and others (including his daughter Ivanka, along with his son-in-law and Soros buddy Jared Kushner, who are said to have urged him to take action). As to the possible influence Trump’s family members may be having on such major decisions, one Breitbart commenter bluntly jokes, “Amazing – a Talmudic Jew and a Paris Hilton Kim Kardashian bimbo is deciding the fate of the world. God help us.”
Perhaps the real answer is that these developments clearly represent the Deep State military, intelligence and bankster establishments striking back, furiously seeking to restore the globalist momentum disrupted by recent nationalist events such as the election of Trump, Brexit, or the pending election of Marine Le Pen in France. Even Russian officials, and Assad himself have openly expressed that the gas incident was a false flag designed by the Deep State war machine to frame Syria and justify the US bombing. Always and forever, the formula the western elite uses to trigger emotional support behind toppling yet another Mideast country independent of its influence is: accuse them of creating or misusing WMD. Works almost every time–except for Syria in 2013, when Russia took away the pretext by getting Assad to turn over the government’s chemical weapons to them.
The Empire wants its WMD pretext back, in order to invade Syria, turn it into another US client state, complete an oil pipeline through it to supply Eurupe, and to cut the territory off from Hezbollah, Iran, and Russia. So to do that, this time they have to discredit both Syria and Russia. A logical scenario that ties together the bombings with the bash-Russia CIA op that has been running in the MSM for the last half year, is to suppose the Syrian false flag was pre-planned to drop by the spring of 2017, no matter who won the election. If Hillary had won, the incident was poised to be used to fast track a full war with Syria to force regime change, and to demonize Russia for defending Assad. If Trump won, the Russia-baiting was meant to mousetrap him into doing the same thing, though perhaps on a slower path. Either way, the globalist bad guys plan to win, and they play for keeps.
Liberty Principle and Machiavellian Practice
Let’s be clear about two factors at this point. Factor one, invading or dropping bombs on countries that have not attacked us, and without obtaining a declaration of war from Congress, is not libertarian, non-interventionist, or constitutional. People who expected at least a different feel to the Trump administration have been put off by the optics of his bombing and threatening several countries within his first 100 days. Some supporters are accordingly getting off the Trump train over these actions. Or worse, they feel like they have been thrown off of it by the neocons, who seem to have taken the train over, much like the poor old man who was hauled off a United Airlines plane gestapo-style a few days ago.
Many formerly gung-ho supporters of foreign invasion and the War on Terror like Ann Coulter, and even voters in Michigan Trump had just won over, have expressed exhaustion over the unending fixation with military confrontation and belligerent diplomacy that has attended each recent Republican White House. Trump’s rapid transition into conforming to this tendency is distressing not only because of the illegality, the rush to judgement, and reversal of campaign rhetoric, but because the war mentality is, once again, crowding out all other issues (from immigration to ending Obamacare, to tax relief, and “draining the swamp” etc agenda items) Trump was elected to address. It in fact looks more like the swamp is draining Trump, not the opposite. Small wonder then, why people are worried about whether WWIII is upon us.
But there is an alternate dynamic at work, or factor two: this is the same Donald that outfoxed 16 much more experienced or better backed GOP contenders in the primaries, and outwitted the much better funded Hillary, the most intensely establishment-supported candidate in history, in the election. It’s the same guy who recently golfed with Senator Rand Paul, and actually took time to listen to anti-war Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (one of the few sensible Democrats left in Congress) during the transition period. He almost certainly knows, from either Rand, or Gabbard, or from former NSA chief Michael Flynn, that the Obama/Hillary regime was working with and funding Al Qaeda in Syria. Since Trump also listens to alternative voices like Roger Stone, and his own senior adviser Steve Bannon, it’s evident he knows about false flags and the deep politics forces trying to co-opt or mousetrap him. So this would appear to rule out the “he was stupid enough to fall for the Syrian frame job” scenario.
But that would by definition also mean that Trump is too smart to fall for it, and thus be cowed into betraying his policy and promises, especially so soon after taking office. Again, means, motive and opportunity—yes, he has the means to do whatever he wants now that he’s in power, but how would he benefit from abandoning his base of support, or jeopardizing his re-election chances with these policy reversals? And how would Trump have the opportunity to do it so explicitly, with the whole world watching him during his first 100 days? It doesn’t make sense. What does make more sense is the theory that, just as Trump has been known to downright troll his opposition, including the mainstream media, he is doing so now with Syria, to turn the traps set for him around, and ensnare them instead. Alex Jones has discussed this Machiavellian tactic here:
Andrew Jackson vs. the Empire
This analysis was confirmed by subsequent statements by Trump and top advisers, who stress he will not be conducting a full invasion, creating no-fly zones over Syria, or otherwise starting WWIII. Remember, Trump is a “Jacksonian” in his foreign policy leanings. This is a form of interventionism, to be sure, but one that commits itself only to big, but interim adventures and demonstrations of US military strength that are in the direct national interest, with an exit plan in mind—not the full scale, no-exit wars and open-ended empire building for global control that is characteristic of the modern war party, or neoconservative variety of interventionism.
Yet because both schools are variations on interventionism, the two factions often work together, or can be confused with one another. Quite a few full-out interventionists, like Charles Krauthammer, think Trump is coming around to the globalist total war mindset based on his recent limited actions: “What we are back to is the traditional American understanding of national interests as a broad definition, going all the way back to Harry Truman…” Excuse me, Mr. K, but ‘the American tradition’ goes back a bit farther than 1945. It goes back to the first 65 years of US history, not the last 65 years. The real American tradition, from Washington to Jackson, is to avoid long and total wars based on needless internationalist commitments, and to exercise military strength in bold, but short term ways, only when it furthers the American interest. That is the Jacksonian, limited intervention path Trump is taking, not the UNlimited war and pure empire, globalist path supported by Krauthammer.
This works out to act as a net anti-war, or limited intervention policy, compared to the constant militarism and long war model promoted by the empire builders. In this light, Trump could be simply using a “limited strike” intervention as a positioning tool to later embarrass the establishment. It would be much like his expressing support for Paul Ryan’s Obamacare-lite bill, whose defeat humiliated the Speaker, and led to Trump forging closer ties with the Freedom Caucus and Sen. Paul.
Reagan is said to have used the 1983 Grenada military action as cover for pulling out of intervention in Lebanon (the latter of which deeply displeased the neocons). Could the same thing be happening here? What if the missile strike is in fact a preamble to an independent inspection of the Syrian facility, and when no Sarin gas is found, Trump announces it was a false flag set up by the radicals, exonerates Assad, and it leads to the President re-committing to focusing on ISIS and working with Russia? If this is political theater, Trump thus would have “shown strength” (via the bombing), and showed he could “stand up to the Russians,” but the war party would not be able to complain when circumstances changed his mind.
More Signs of Theater
In other words, principled supporters of peace and liberty have been so focused on “the snapshot” reality that these actions are interventionist, that they are not noticing how they may be part of a “full motion picture” that sets Trump up to basically avoid war over the rest of his term. Ancient Chinese secret: If you pulled the trigger last time, when you bluff next time, you will be believed. Call it cynical, but Trump has pulled the trigger in order to have a stronger negotiating stance with countries going forward, and in order to shut the war hawks up—from this point on, they won’t be able to paint him as “weak” if he decides not to escalate things up to full scale war later in the Mideast, North Korea, or anyplace else.
It’s something of a reverse bait and switch from the usual scenario where “long wars, all the time” neocons bait Jacksonian people into supporting a war using short term code words like “it’ll be a cakewalk,” then once started, declare US forces have to be there forever “until the job is done.” Could Trump, hopefully, be doing the reverse, by baiting the war party with the prospect of conducting or financing long wars (via big bomb drops, and hawkish rhetoric coming from his generals and Cabinet people), but only delivers short term strikes designed to help quickly end the conflicts? As a libertarian, any such lawless militarism and intervention is wrong, of course, but in the absence of a pure liberty person in charge, Trump’s limited strike approach is an effective method for eclipsing or neutering the war hawks. Trump is a patriot on instinct, but has no fixed ideological rudder. In the absence of such, his limited strike tricks will have to serve to contain the neocons, as per the old song lyric, “if that isn’t love, it’ll have to do, until the real thing comes along.” It would have been nice, in fact, if Rand Paul also had made himself a close adviser to Trump earlier on, to help consistently steer him on foreign policy after the convention and election, so he could have been one of the finalists for Secretary of State (this time, or next time).
Trump has likewise mounted the MOAB strike using this same quiet “turn the tables on the Deep State” approach. The CIA has been facilitating Al Qaeda and ISIS for years in Afghanistan with the cave network that they built. So, bomb the blazes out of the cave complex, and presto—end of the CIA-created problem. The establishment can’t complain, else it would expose their covert operations. The president, true to his nationalist promises, can thus take out a lot of the deep regime’s infrastructure, while making himself, and the not co-opted parts of the military look good. Trump has put it this way: “What I do is I authorize my military,” in response to a press question about the use of a massive bomb in an assault on Islamic State group positions in Afghanistan. “We have the greatest military in the world, and they’ve done the job, as usual. We have given them total authorization, and that’s what they’re doing.”
Of course Trump has no such authority to pass on to the military, neither constitutional, nor even under the War Powers Act. He is doing brazenly what his predecessors have been doing using a modicum of pretext or other excuses. The main/only saving grace behind this kind of intervention is that it is apparently Jacksonian in nature (i.e., intended to be short-term, big show of strength), and not all-stops out long war, maximum troops invading and dying, ongoing empire-building that the neocons prefer. As far as meddling goes, call it a form of harm reduction, compared to the 150,000 troops on the ground, full invasion scenario we would be engulfed in under a President Hillary.
It is kind of the opposite of the posture of previous administrations, that would talk the limited war talk but deliver long war and ongoing quagmires everywhere. Trump is instead letting his hawks talk the full war, regime change talk while delivering short-war, shock and awe moments of military action to keep the war party happy. He’ll permit the remove-Assad talk, but not do the full invasion it would take to do it, etc. By doing so early in his term, he can bluff about performing expanded actions later, and will be believed (since he is known to have pulled the trigger previously), giving him a better position when negotiating.
For the same reason, the full Monty interventionists will not be able to paint him as weak if Trump later declines to go further than commit to such short war, in and out operations. The question is, will Trump stop here, or truly capitulate to the full regime change, more empire agenda of the neocons?
Silver Linings, Bottom Lines
Time will finally tell which direction The Donald is actually going, and how deep his resolve really is. In the meanwhile, the weight of the above considerations point to there being no World War 3, and possibly no full war at all under Trump’s reign. There will be hawkish theater, and triangulation of both the hawks and the liberty side, who will be united in constant protest to keep Trump from falling over the cliff. The global statist elite’s machinations will be somewhat, or even substantially destroyed by Trump’s countermeasures. And even a partial unveiling of the secrets kept by the Deep State, once the rock is kicked over, will be putting a lot of its minions out of business forever. While highly pessimistic about the White House’s current direction, Antiwar.com editor Justin Raimondo explains the single biggest positive ideological outcome of the Trump reversal:
The silver lining in this dark cloud is that Trump’s most vocal supporters are now thoroughly alienated from him, as he abandons his domestic agenda and is sucked into yet another useless war in the Middle East. Here’s the lovely Ann Coulter railing against the “Strangelovian generals” who surround the formerly “awesome” Trump – and it’s music to my ears. Here’s Ryan James Girdusky of Red Alert Politics, a popular pro-Trump site, denouncing the Syria strike on Fox Business News. Here’s Laura Ingraham citing Iraq war veterans’ warning against entanglement in Syria. And the verdict from Lou Dobbs and Trump’s many fans in the world of talk radio is a resounding no.
Trump, we are told by gloating NeverTrumpers, has no principles. But so what? His followers do, and they are now an army of dovish “deplorables” whom we are happy to welcome into the anti-interventionist movement. Many are now readers of – and contributors to – this site, and with the War Party on the march, we expect many more to follow in their wake.
The antiwar movement is no longer the preserve of coastal elites, Chomskyite professors, and obnoxious “social justice warriors,” who kept it marginalized, brain-dead, and impotent. The Trump phenomenon, and the subsequent betrayal by a President who was elected on the strength of his resolve to avoid the mistakes of the past, has introduced some much needed ideological diversity into the ranks of anti-interventionists. As my mentor Murray Rothbard proclaimed way back in the early 1990s, “The Old Right is back!”
We may have lost the White House – but we’re about to take Flyover Country! And that is a cause for celebration.