Suddenly President Trump’s no longer the fool, the dupe of his generals. His latest, historic tweets are bombshells. “Getting out of Syria was no surprise. I’ve been campaigning on it for years, and six months ago, when I very publicly wanted to do it, I agreed to stay longer. Russia, Iran, and Syria & others are the local enemy of ISIS” and the US was “doing there [sic] work.”

The shouts ‘Bring the troops home’ filtered through Washington’s cacophony -- Russiagate, hookergate -- and Trump was listening. 72% are in favour of pulling out of Syria, though you wouldn’t know it if all you listen to is “fake news” from the MSM. Sometimes Trump delivers, practices what he preaches. Wow.

Finally Trump is doing something he promised on the campaign trail: "Russia wants to get rid of ISIS. We want to get rid of ISIS. Maybe let Russia do it. Let them get rid of ISIS. What the hell do we care?"

The ‘deep state’ was listening in 2016, and prepared their cold war arsenal,

Russiagate, to try to bring him to his senses, or rather their senses. He started off with mud pies in the face, threats of impeachment even before he was sworn in. He fought back with tweets, ushering us into the new era of social media presidency.

They had to keep him off the Red Phone, the Washington-Moscow Direct Communications Link (Russian: Горячая линия Вашингтон — Москва), where he could talk directly with his once-admirer and friend, Vladimir Putin, making deals to take directly to the American people. So the Washington beltline has sent one guided missile after another at the president, leaving him bloodied but, apparently, far from out. In fact, just coming into his own.


The (very few) pundits who approve compare him to LBJ (made famous by another peacenik chant: How many babies did you kill today?). In 1966, in the midst of the Vietnam War, Vermont Senator George Aiken recommended that President Lyndon Johnson simply “declare victory and get out.” Because the US clearly couldn’t win militarily, he implied it should stop deploying troops and start deploying diplomats.

Surely it’s not LBJ that Trump longs to be compared to, but that president who dared stare down the generals in 1962-3, refusing to force the empire down Cuba’s throat, and then made a volte face on Vietnam and decided to ‘bring the troops home’.

No one has dared compare Trump to JFK, who the deep state bumped off for his cardinal sin: going against the empire. Making peace with the Soviet Union. Listening to the peacenik chants and war resisters, already gaining momentum in 1963. Kennedy suddenly realized: Hey, I’m chief honcho. The CIA/FBI and their mad schemes are wrong. If I do what the people want, I can take control of them and ‘make America great again.’

His ‘great’ would have been FDR part II, and would have made the Russians friends again, like they were when we had no choice, during WWII, long before the CIA was born, when the FBI was doing its job, fighting the mafias that had taken root during prohibition. US politics has been downhill since then. Kennedy tried to reverse it in 1963 and was assassinated. No one has dared since then.

Trump is no JFK, but he is president, has no 'deep state' baggage, has enough smarts, and knows enough history to know that he can ‘pull a JFK’. He dislikes and fears the FBI/CIA much like Kennedy. Like Kennedy, he pretends he likes Israel, though I suspect he really doesn’t. He was booed by zionist lobbyists during the election campaign for politely stating that Israel must make compromises if it wants peace. They only came on board with his gift of Jerusalem.

Netanyahu got his phone call last week with the bad news, and is no doubt beginning to wonder if Trump’s Jerusalem might be some kind of Trojan Horse. The Israeli PM is not campaigning on Trump’s ‘deal of the century’, as he doesn’t want any deal until the West Bank is full of bloodthirsty settlers.

Syria is Trump’s opportunity to 1/ fulfill arguably his most important election promise, 2/ find out who his real allies are, 3/ finally work on making America great again. Not ‘great’ as in ‘terrifying’, but as in ‘admired, respected, respectful.

The only people who want a US base (illegal, unwanted, imperial) in Syria are the military and their Washington beltway lackeys, who can’t pass up the chance to invade somewhere, anywhere. To rape and pillage, test out their latest war toys on the new ‘enemies’ of America, enemies created by the US itself in its lust for world control.

Beltway blowback, but Turkey

Will Trump’s growing list of beltway enemies let him act? Will they move impeachment into high gear, or ‘do a Kennedy’ and bump him off? Are the people willing to let them get away with this treason again?

The MSM is the warmongers' ace. It was born in imperial savagery in the 19th century,** and relishes the blood and guts. Peace makes lousy headlines. It loathes Trump and will add fuel to the deep state’s flame.

Up to now, Trump was drinking their kool-aid, accepting their fake news from the Pentagon that the US needed to remain in Syria in order to check Iranian influence in the region. Did the contradictions (Iran bad, Saudi good) finally get to him? He is now arguing: let Russia and Turkey look after Syria. There has been silence from Jerusalem but the zionists can’t be any happier in their homeland than in the US.

Erdogan was ready for Trump's bombshell and encouraged him: the best hedge against Iran, he told Trump, was not the Kurds, or even the Saudis, but Turkey. Of course, Erdogan has his own imperial agenda, a return to Ottoman glory. Hopefully he won’t try to steal choice bits of Syria as the new regional hegemon. There is much bad blood between him and Assad, and he has had to eat crow by accepting Assad as part of the deal. But no one ever gets what they want for Christmas. You learn to take the knocks as you grow up.

Trump needs Erdogan and Turkey as a regional ally, not enemy. This move keeps Turkey in NATO, and prevents it from shifting wholesale to Russia and China and their budding Eurasian Economic Community and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Trump doesn’t give a fig about NATO. He has called NATO "obsolete" because it "wasn't taking care of terror." He's holding back on his promise to dismantle that white elephant. But that’s what sensible people called for in 1991,*** and a quarter century later, it’s still the right thing. Better late than never.

Putin is a model of diplomacy through all this. Both Turkey and Israel (sort of) shot down Russian planes, the pilots killed, without retaliation. Erdogan looked like a willful child after 2011, abandoning Assad, counting on the US and the Syrian opposition to make sure Syria collapsed, hoping to move in to collect the spoils. When that didn’t pan out, he made a volte face and is now Russia and Assad’s greatest ally.

The Kurds are being abandoned yet again, but that is their eternal fate, lacking their own state. No one, Turk, Syrian, Russian, American, wants a Kurdistan. Israel would love a Kurdish state as a spoiler, but even Netanyahu doesn’t dare play G-d. The Kurds will just have to reach accommodation with Damascus (and Ankara). Sorry, guys.

There are bruises -- in Washington, Riyadh, Jerusalem -- but for people (including US troops) everywhere, a sense of relief.

Trump’s legacy?

Trump is the real conservative after all. He is called a phony. Neither a Bush nor a Tea Partier. But the real conservative is against empire. You can’t rebuild America if your best young people are training to kill gooks, and dying for their misguided efforts. Empire, now ‘empire-lite’, is a liberal fetish.**** This move could lead to further unravelling of US empire, and true conservatives will approve. By pulling out of Syria, Trump is obeying the constitution and appealing to the people. Sounds like real democracy.

The rest of Trump’s agenda is still a shambles. The Mexico wall, his Muslim ban, the rebuilding of infrastructure, his promise of a 14% tax on the net worth of wealthy Americans … His denial of global warming and gutting of environmental programs is outrageous, but if Trump pulls off this coup, he will at least undo some of Bush-Obama’s imperial legacy. Besides, states and cities across the US are moving to adhere to the Kyoto protocol and respond to local needs.

Yes, Obama voted against the Iraq war in 2003, but as president, he did everything the deep state asked: a Wall Street bailout, deporting more Hispanics than Bush or Trump, invading Libya and, yes, Syria. Not to mention his ‘surge’ in Afghanistan, which only made things worse there. With Trump’s decision to pull all 2,000 troops from Syria and 7,000 troops from Afghanistan, Trump is already looking good in comparison.

Only Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is happy, telling CNN’s “State of the Union” he is “very proud of the president. The American people are tired of war,” arguing “roads, bridges, schools“ are what we should be spending money on.
The naysayers are getting fake news time:

*Senator Lindsay Graham, calling Trump's Syria withdrawal a “stain on the honor of the United States”, “a huge Obama-like mistake” (i.e., the Iraq withdrawal in 2011)
*Senator Marco Rubio: "It will haunt this administration and America for years to come."
*The National: "Donald Trump has destroyed America's credibility with one tweet."

Really? Now why was Obama’s one brave move, his Iraq policy, wrong? Who will Trump's action ‘haunt’? Is America’s credibility based on illegal, unwanted occupation and violence? As for retired secretary of defense Mattis, Trump shot back: “Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world.”

The Pentagon can still fight ISIS using small teams of Special Operations forces in Iraq. And work with the Russians and Syrian government, if it can get off its regime-change high horse.

Let Mattis eat his words along with his Christmas pudding. If Trump survives the slings and arrows until the next election and wins a second term, maybe we’ll get our peace dividend promised in 1991, and he’ll take the next step and scuttle NATO, finally empowering the UN as the world’s peacekeeper.  

*This hotline was established in 1963 and links the Pentagon with the Kremlin (historically, with Soviet Communist Party leadership across the square from the Kremlin itself). Although in popular culture it is known as the "red telephone", the hotline was never a telephone line, and no red phones were used. The first implementation used Teletype equipment, and shifted to fax machines in 1986. Since 2008, the Moscow–Washington hotline has been a secure computer link over which messages are exchanged by a secure form of email.
**Reuters news agency was established by a German Jew, Paul Reuter, in 1851 and came to specialize in swashbuckling, sensational British imperial news, enthusiastically supporting empire (doesn’t matter whose), in line with the interests of Jewish financial capital (both German and British) at the time. By the 1870s, while 1% of Germany’s population, Jews controlled 13 out of 21 daily newspapers and had strong presence in four others.
***In 1990, people just assumed NATO would disband along with the Warsaw Pact. French president Mitterand coined the slogan “US out and Russia in”, meaning, of course, Europe. Czech Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier in 1990 proposed replacing NATO and the Warsaw Pact with the OSCE European Security Commission. (Walberg, Postmodern Imperialism, 2011, p150.)
****See Michael Ignatieff, Empire Lite: Nation-Building in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan (2003).

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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