It’s a horse race.
Will Donald Trump’s first new war be with Russia, Iran, China, or North Korea?
Here are some things to consider as you try to handicap this deadly contest:
It is a certainty that a war of principals or proxies with Russia remains a chief objective of the neocons and the Deep State. If Victoria Nuland in Kiev didn’t convince you of this, recall Murray Rothbard’s trenchant observation that “sanctions are simply the coward’s and the babbler’s halfway house to war,” and it is clear we have been on the way to war with Russia for some time.
All that could ever have been hoped from Donald Trump was that if elected president he would deflect Washington’s headlong rush to a Russian war, beginning with the lifting of sanctions. Judging today by the way he has populated his administration, I no longer have any hope that Trump will change that trajectory.
Look at it this way. For Donald Trump to have survived and flourished in New York and New Jersey real estate development, he had to have a keen sense of the hidden power interests that he needed to appease: Which union or brotherhood had to be guaranteed building contracts, which suppliers must be used, and which politicians need to be greased to win zoning and other approvals. Beginning with the Flynn episode and other surveillance and leaks, the President is being schooled by the permanent government. Whatever else you may say about him, he is a quick learner. Unquestionably, in its few short weeks in Washington, the Trump team’s rhetoric about Russia has toughened and official U.S. behavior is again growing bellicose.
Iran has been more sinned against than sinning in its relations with the United States over the past couple of generations. Nevertheless, for reasons that are discernable to those willing to look closely, but unknown to the average American, Iran remains a primary target of the war-making classes in Washington.
Among them, we must now include the new president. Trump is more enchanted with the ability to wield deadly power than anyone with healthy human consciousness. (We’ve learned from Joe Scarborough that Trump repeatedly pressed a foreign policy advisor during the campaign to explain why the U.S. can’t use its nuclear weapons.)
As Eric Margolis observed recently on LewRockwell.com, in the Persian Gulf the US Navy “is provoking the Iranians to please President Donald Trump who seems determined to have war with Iran.”
Trump has more been more critical of China than of any other country. To underscore his outlook, at his confirmation hearing Trump’s Secretary of State struck a tone that China justifiably found alarming: “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and, second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed,” said Rex Tillerson.
It looks like the Trumpsters want to teach China that the South China Sea is an American lake.
What is more apparent is that Trump is eager to start a trade war with China. That trade wars often lead to hot wars should be a given, but it is clearly unknown to most of Washington and to Trump.
For persistence of policy failure, nothing can equal the Empire’s standoff with North Korea. A near total economic embargo of North Korea has been in place since 1950, the policy under 13 consecutive presidents – under more than a quarter of the occupants of the White House and for more than a quarter of the life of the American constitutional republic.
At what point is the failed North Korean embargo due for reevaluation? Does anyone think that in the embargo’s seventh decade North Korea has been insufficiently isolated? Since the policy has had so little effect, could the answer be to continue doing the same thing for another two-thirds of a century? Does it make sense to continue the wishful-thinking Korean policy for another 13 presidencies expecting different results?
It is a policy that has made the region ever more dangerous today. It cannot be denied that 28,500 troops from the world’s sole superpower just across the DMZ make the Dear Leaders of the Hermit Kingdom nervous indeed, while U.S. war games in the region involving tens of thousands of U.S. and South Korean troops provoke hysterical reactions from an already paranoid regime. The fear of a joint U.S. – South Korean attack fuels the North’s nuclear ambitions.
China’s tolerance for the rogue and impulsive regime on its border is only likely to change when the Empire vacates the region. China’s concern about the U.S. and its nuclear arsenal holding sway on the Korean peninsula is justified by the facts. Under the existing protocol, if a war were to break out there, a U.S. general would be in charge of both U.S. and South Korean forces.
Unless the U.S. military leaves Korea, the region is headed to war. China has no wish to be maneuvered into defending the North Korean miscreants. But it will feel cornered into doing so in the event of hostilities.
PLACE YOUR BETS:
You may remember Iraq war architect Paul Wolfowitz arguing for Bush’s elective war on the grounds that it was “doable.”
Because sometimes that is all that logic it takes, for now, my money is on the pale horse of North Korea as the first new Trump war.
The U.S. has:
1.) deployed its THAAD anti-missile system in South, a technology that the North suspects is intended to provide cover for an attack on it;
2.) refused to stand down the annual war games that the North finds so frightening, and;
3.) planned to send B-1 and B-52 bombers to the peninsula.
I fear the crazies think that a war there is “doable.” If I am right, the Korean War that began in 1950 will be re-ignited. It will likely involve the same alignment of North Korea, China, and Russia allied against the United States and South Korea.
Only this time it is certain to go nuclear.
What say you? Will Trump’s first new war be with Russia, Iran, China, or North Korea?