Wednesday 12th of December 2018

don't mention the war...

don't mention the war

Neither of them mentioned President Trump by name but two of his predecessors emerged from political seclusion on Thursday to deliver what sounded like pointed rebukes of the current occupant of the Oval Office and the forces of division that propelled him to power.

In separate and unrelated appearances, former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both warned that the United States was being torn apart by ancient hatreds that should have been consigned to history long ago and called for addressing economic anxiety through common purpose. While not directly addressing Mr. Trump, neither left much doubt whom and what they had in mind.

Mr. Bush, the last Republican to hold the White House, spoke out at a conference he convened in New York to support democracy, noting that America first had to “recover our own identity” in the face of challenges to its most basic ideals. While Mr. Trump seeks to raise barriers to trade and newcomers, lashing out at targets with relish, Mr. Bush defended immigration and free trade, denounced nationalism and bigotry and bemoaned what he called the “casual cruelty” of current public discourse.

“We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America,” Mr. Bush said. “We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade, forgetting that conflict, instability and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism. We’ve seen the return of isolationist sentiments, forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places.”

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breaking with the tradition of silence...

For Mr. Bush, democracy and free trade are longtime themes, but there was an edge in his address that went beyond the usual nostrums. Asked by a reporter as he left the hall whether his message would be heard in the White House, Mr. Bush smiled, nodded slightly and said, “I think it will.”

In his speech, the former president lamented that “bigotry seems emboldened” and “our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.”

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As a grand fabricator of fake news for going to war in Iraq, Bush takes the cake of hypocrisy, in his face...

when bannon tells the truth...

Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon served up a searing attack Friday night on former president George W. Bush, saying Bush "didn't understand anything he was talking about" in a speech the day before that was widely seen as a rebuke of Donald Trump's presidency.

"He embarrassed himself," Bannon said in a dinnertime address at the convention banquet of the California Republican Party.

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why is trump still laughing... (in the toon)...


During the last three months, the crisis that pits Donald Trump against the US ruling class has not stopped getting tougher. The Republican Party has no qualms about betraying the President, who was one of their own. Thus it has allied itself with Trump’s adversary, the Democratic Party, against the White House. On 27 and 28 July, the two parties had Congress adopt Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. What this Act does, is to divest the President of his foreign policy prerogatives [1]: no more, no less.

Our aim here is not to take positions in this conflict. Rather we seek to analyze it to understand the permanent contradictions between words and actions as well as the incoherencies in US foreign policy.

Barack Obama has been supported by his administration. So he would use his communications to let his decisions be adopted by his people and the world. Thus he developed a nuclear arsenal by claiming that he was going to dismantle it. He made the enlarged Middle East a bloody battlefield by announcing a new beginning with the Muslim world. Donald Trump is trying to do quite the opposite. He is trying to take back his country’s institutions from the ruling class and make them serve his people once again. Thus he communicates thus by changing his mind like his shirt, by sowing trouble and confusion. He fills his opponents’ minds with his disorderly gesticulations yet when he is out of their sight, he patiently follows through with his policy.

It has already been stamped out of our minds but as soon as he arrived in the White House, Donald Trump had taken positions that contradicted some of the speeches he made in his electoral campaign. He had been accused of systematically distancing himself from his predecessor’s policy and adopting a practice that was too nice to North Korea, Iran, Russia and Venezuela.

Commentators had accused him of being unable to use force and, on final analysis, being an isolationist on account of his weakness. Of course they abandoned this on 7 April, when he bombed the Shayrat base (Syria) with 59 Tomahawk missiles. Yet soon after, they returned to this charge. The same commentators once again charged him with being weak, but this time they highlighted his moral relativism, which prevented him seeing how dangerousness the enemies of the United States really were.

During an almost unanimous vote of the Congress against him, the President seemed to have been defeated. He separated himself brutally from his special advisor Steve Bannon and, seeming to reconcile himself with the Establishment, he engaged himself against North Korea, Venezuela, Russia and Iran one at a time.

On 8 August, he launched a diatribe against Pyongyang, announcing that its “threats” would be met with “fire, wrath and force such that the world had never witnessed before”. A verbal escalade on both sides followed, allowing us to think that a nuclear war was imminent, while the Japanese descended to their anti-atomic shelters and the inhabitants of Guam left the island.

On 11 August President Trump declared that faced with the dictatorship of the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the “military option” was back on the table. Caracas responded with a full page advert in the New York Times accusing President Trump of preparing a regime-change (cut from the same mould as the coup d’État rolled out against Salvador Allende) and calling upon US citizens to help [2].

On 31 August, the State Department opened a diplomatic crisis with Russia by ordering a number of Russian diplomatic premises to close down and personnel in the USA to be reduced. To reciprocate, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs made the US close its diplomatic premises and expelled a fair number of diplomats.

On 13 October, Donald Trump delivered a speech accusing Iran of being the global sponsor of terrorism and challenging the nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama. This speech had been preceded by the same sort of accusations that the State Department levelled against Hezbollah [3].

Commentators think that finally, Donald Trump is on the right path, but that he is too late and it is going badly for him. Some consider that he has a disease of the mind; yet others hope that he reproduces the “mad dog” strategy that Richard Nixon implemented before him: to make the enemy fear him, thinking that he is capable of everything.

However, on the facts, nothing has changed. Nothing with respect to North Korea. Nothing with respect to Venezuela. Nothing with respect to Russia. And now, nothing against Iran. Quite to the contrary: Trump continues to take a firm position against the creation of Jihadist states to the extent he is able to. The Gulf countries have not stopped supporting Daesh which has now been defeated at Mossul and Raqqa. Jihadism is in the process of descending once again to the sub-state level. All is happening as if the President had simply played a comedy and bought time.

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