Trump`s UN speech `belongs in medieval times,` says Iran’s Zarif

Trump`s UN speech `belongs in medieval times,` says Iran’s Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif looks on as he attends the Executive Committee Meeting of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on August 1, 2017 in Istanbul. (Photo by AFP)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif looks on as he attends the Executive Committee Meeting of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on August 1, 2017 in Istanbul. (Photo by AFP)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that US President Donald Trump’s UN address is not worth of a reply.

“Trump’s ignorant hate speech belongs in medieval times – not the 21st century UN – unworthy of a reply,” Zarif tweeted on Tuesday.

“Fake empathy for Iranians fools no one,” he stressed.

Since Trump took office, the US has launched an attack against the nuclear deal negotiated between Iran and the world powers, including Washington, threatening to abandon the deal on multiple occasions.

Trump told the United Nations General Assembly earlier Tuesday that the nuclear agreement, dubbed as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is an “embarrassment” to the United States.

The US president repeated baseless allegations against Tehran, accusing it of engaging in “destabilizing activities” in the region.

Trump claimed that Iran’s “support for terror is in stark contrast to the recent commitments of many of its neighbors to fight terrorism and halt its financing,”

The US and some of its regional allies, including Saudi Arabia, have been staunch supporters of Takfiri terrorists in the Muslim states of Syria and Iraq.

Tehran has, meanwhile, been praised for its support for anti-terrorism efforts by the governments in Damascus and Baghdad.

The Takfiri terrorists of Daesh were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (R) exits the Russian Permanent Mission to the UN following a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on September 17, 2017 in New York. (Photo by AFP)

Trump’s top diplomat appeared on the US media later to highlight his boss’s stance on the JCPOA.

“If we’re going to stick with the Iran deal there has to be changes made to it. The sunset provisions simply is not a sensible way forward,” said US State Secretary Rex Tillerson. “It’s just simply … kicking the can down the road again for someone in the future to have to deal with.”

Tillerson made the comments as the October 15 deadline was approaching for the president to certify that Iran is complying with the pact.

 

If Trump refuses to do that, then the Republican-controlled Congress will have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions waived under the deal.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany signed the nuclear agreement on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016. Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.

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Who Rules America?

Who Rules America?

The Power Elite in the Time of Trump

In the last few months, several competing political, economic and military sectors – linked to distinct ideological and ethnic groups – have clearly emerged at the centers of power.

We can identify some of the key competing and interlocking directorates of the power elite:

1. Free marketers, with the ubiquitous presence of the ‘Israel First’ crowd.

2. National capitalists, linked to rightwing ideologues.

3. Generals, linked to the national security and the Pentagon apparatus, as well as defense industry.

4. Business elites, linked to global capital.

This essay attempts to define the power wielders and evaluate their range of power and its impact

The Economic Power Elite: Israel-Firsters and Wall Street CEO’s

‘Israel Firsters’ dominate the top economic and political positions within the Trump regime and, interestingly, are among the Administration’s most vociferous opponents. These include: the Federal Reserve Chairwoman, Janet Yellen, as well as her Vice-Chair, Stanley Fischer, an Israeli citizen and former (sic) Governor of the Bank of Israel.

Jared Kushner, (image right) President Trump’s son-in-law and an Orthodox Jew, acts as his top adviser on Middle East Affairs. Kushner, a New Jersey real estate mogul, set himself up as the archenemy of the economic nationalists in the Trump inner circle. He supports every Israeli power and land grab in the Middle East and works closely with David Friedman, US Ambassador to Israel (and fanatical supporter of the illegal Jewish settlements) and Jason Greenblatt, Special Representative for International negotiations. With three Israel-Firsters determining Middle East policy, there is not even a fig leaf of balance.

The Treasury Secretary is Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive, who leads the neo-liberal free market wing of the Wall Street sector within the Trump regime. Gary Cohn, a longtime Wall Street influential, heads the National Economic Council. They form the core business advisers and lead the neo-liberal anti-nationalist Trump coalition committed to undermining economic nationalist policies.

An influential voice in the Attorney General’s office is Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Robert Mueller the chief investigator, which led to the removal of nationalists from the Trump Administration.

The fairy godfather of the anti-nationalist Mnuchin-Cohn team is Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sach’s Chairman. The ‘Three Israel First bankerteers’ are spearheading the fight to deregulate the banking sector, which had ravaged the economy, leading to the 2008 collapse and foreclosure of millions of American homeowners and businesses.

The ‘Israel-First’ free market elite is spread across the entire ruling political spectrum, including ranking Democrats in Congress, led by Senate Minority leader Charles Schumer and the Democratic Head of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff. The Democratic Party Israel Firsters have allied with their free market brethren in pushing for investigations and mass media campaigns against Trump’s economic nationalist supporters and their eventual purge from the administration.

The Military Power Elite: The Generals

The military power elite has successfully taken over from the elected president in major decision-making. Where once the war powers rested with the President and the Congress, today a collection of fanatical militarists make and execute military policy, decide war zones and push for greater militarization of domestic policing. Trump has turned crucial decisions over to those he fondly calls ‘my Generals’ as he continues to dodge accusations of corruption and racism.

Trump appointed Four-Star General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis (retired USMC) – a general who led the war in Afghanistan and Iraq – as Secretary of Defense. Mattis (whose military ‘glories’ included bombing a large wedding party in Iraq) is leading the campaign to escalate US military intervention in Afghanistan – a war and occupation that Trump had openly condemned during his campaign. As Defense Secretary, General ‘Mad Dog’ pushed the under-enthusiastic Trump to announce an increase in US ground troops and air attacks throughout Afghanistan. True to his much-publicized nom-de-guerre, the general is a rabid advocate for a nuclear attack against North Korea.

Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster (an active duty Three Star General and long time proponent of expanding the wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan) became National Security Adviser after the purge of Trump’s ally Lt. General Michael Flynn, who opposed the campaign of confrontation and sanctions against Russia and China. McMaster has been instrumental in removing ‘nationalists’ from Trumps administration and joins General ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis in pushing for a greater build-up of US troops in Afghanistan.

Lt. General John Kelly (Retired USMC), another Iraq war veteran and Middle East regime change enthusiast, was appointed White House Chief of Staff after the ouster of Reince Priebus.

The Administration’s Troika of three generals share with the neoliberal Israel First Senior Advisors to Trump, Stephen Miller and Jared Kushner, a deep hostility toward Iran and fully endorse Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s demand that the 2015 Nuclear Accord with Tehran be scrapped.

Trump’s military directorate guarantees that spending for overseas wars will not be affected by budget cuts, recessions or even national disasters.

The ‘Generals’, the Israel First free marketers and the Democratic Party elite lead the fight against the economic nationalists and have succeeded in ensuring that Obama Era military and economic empire building would remain in place and even expand.

The Economic Nationalist Elite

The leading strategist and ideologue of Trump’s economic nationalist allies in the White House was Steve Bannon. He had been chief political architect and Trump adviser during the electoral campaign. Bannon devised an election campaign favoring domestic manufacturers and American workers against the Wall Street and multinational corporate free marketers. He developed Trump’s attack on the global trade agreements, which had led to the export of capital and the devastation of US manufacturing labor.

Equally significant, Bannon crafted Trumps early public opposition to the generals’ 15-year trillion-dollar intervention in Afghanistan and the even more costly series of wars in the Middle East favored by the Israel-Firsters, including the ongoing proxy-mercenary war to overthrow the secular nationalist government of Syria.

Within 8 month of Trump’s administration, the combined forces of the free market economic and military elite, the Democratic Party leaders, overt militarists in the Republican Party and their allies in the mass media succeeded in purging Bannon – and marginalized the mass support base for his ‘America First’ economic nationalist and anti-‘regime change’ agenda.

The anti-Trump ‘alliance’ will now target the remaining few economic nationalists in the administration. These include: the CIA Director Mike Pompeo, (right) who favors protectionism by weakening the Asian and NAFTA trade agreements and Peter Navarro, Chairman of the White House Trade Council. Pompeo and Navarro face strong opposition from the ascendant neoliberal Zionist troika now dominating the Trump regime.

In addition, there is Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, a billionaire and former director of Rothschild Inc., who allied with Bannon in threatening import quotas to address the massive US trade deficit with China and the European Union.

Another Bannon ally is US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer a former military and intelligence analyst with ties to the newsletter Breitbart. He is a strong opponent of the neoliberal, globalizers in and out of the Trump regime.

‘Senior Adviser’ and Trump speechwriter, Stephen Miller actively promotes the travel ban on Muslims and stricter restrictions on immigration. Miller represents the Bannon wing of Trump’s zealously pro-Israel cohort.

Sebastian Gorka, Trump’s Deputy Assistant in military and intelligence affairs, was more an ideologue than analyst, who wrote for Breitbart and rode to office on Bannon’s coat tails. Right after removing Bannon, the ‘Generals’ purged Gorka in early August on accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’.

Whoever remains among Trump’s economic nationalists are significantly handicapped by the loss of Steve Bannon who had provided leadership and direction. However, most have social and economic backgrounds, which also link them to the military power elite on some issues and with the pro-Israel free marketers on others. However, their core beliefs had been shaped and defined by Bannon.

The Business Power Elite

Exxon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson, (left) Trump’s Secretary of State and former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Energy Secretary lead the business elite. Meanwhile, the business elite associated with US manufacturing and industry have little direct influence on domestic or foreign policy. While they follow the Wall Street free marketers on domestic policy, they are subordinated to the military elite on foreign policy and are not allied with Steve Bannon’s ideological core.

Trump’s business elite, which has no link to the economic nationalists in the Trump regime, provides a friendlier face to overseas economic allies and adversaries.

Analysis and Conclusion

The power elite cuts across party affiliations, branches of government and economic strategies. It is not restricted to either political party, Republican or Democratic. It includes free marketers, some economic nationalists, Wall Street power brokers and militarists. All compete and fight for power, wealth and dominance within this administration. The correlation of forces is volatile, changing rapidly in short periods of time – reflecting the lack of cohesion and coherence in the Trump regime.

Never has the US power elite been subject to such monumental changes in composition and direction during the first year of a new regime.

During the Obama Presidency, Wall Street and the Pentagon comfortably shared power with Silicon Valley billionaires and the mass media elite. They were united in pursuing an imperial ‘globalist’ strategy, emphasizing multiple theaters of war and multilateral free trade treaties, which was in the process of reducing millions of American workers to permanent helotry.

With the inauguration of President Trump, this power elite faced challenges and the emergence of a new strategic configuration, which sought drastic changes in US political economic and military policy.

The architect of the Trump’s campaign and strategy, Steve Bannon, sought to displace the global economic and military elite with his alliance of economic nationalists, manufacturing workers and protectionist business elites. Bannon pushed for a major break from Obama’s policy of multiple permanent wars to expanding the domestic market. He proposed troop withdrawal and the end of US military operations in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, while increasing a combination of economic, political and military pressure on China. He sought to end sanctions and confrontation against Moscow and fashion economic ties between the giant energy producers in the US and Russia.

While Bannon was initially the chief strategist in the White House, he quickly found himself faced with powerful rivals inside the regime, and ardent opponents among Democratic and Republican globalists and especially from the Zionist – neoliberals who systematically maneuvered to win strategic economic and policy positions within the regime. Instead of being a coherent platform from which to formulate a new radical economic strategy, the Trump Administration was turned into a chaotic and vicious ‘terrain for struggle’. The Bannon’s economic strategy barely got off the ground.

The mass media and operatives within the state apparatus, linked to Obama’s permanent war strategy, first attacked Trump’s proposed economic reconciliation with Russia. To undermine any ‘de-escalation’, they fabricated the Russian spy and election manipulation conspiracy. Their first successful shots were fired at Lt. General Michael Flynn, Bannon’s ally and key proponent for reversing the Obama/Clinton policy of military confrontation with Russia. Flynn was quickly destroyed and openly threatened with prosecution as a ‘Russian agent’ in whipped-up hysteria that resembled the heydays of Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Key economic posts in the Trump regime were split between the Israel-Firster neoliberals and the economic nationalists. The ‘Deal Maker’ President Trump attempted to harness Wall Street-affiliated neoliberal Zionists to the economic nationalists, linked to Trump’s working class electoral base, in formulating new trade relations with the EU and China, which would favor US manufacturers. Given the irreconcilable differences between these forces, Trump’s naïve ‘deal’ weakened Bannon, undermined his leadership and wrecked his nationalist economic strategy.

While Bannon had secured several important economic appointees, the Zionist neoliberals undercut their authority. The Fischer-Mnuchin-Cohn cohort successfully set a competing agenda.

The entire Congressional elite from both parties united to paralyze the TrumpBannon agenda. The giant corporate mass media served as a hysterical and rumor-laden megaphone for zealous Congressional and FBI investigators magnifying every nuance of Trump’s US Russia relations in search of conspiracy. The combined state-Congressional and Media apparatus overwhelmed the unorganized and unprepared mass base of Bannon electoral coalition which had elected Trump.

Thoroughly defeated, the toothless President Trump retreated in desperate search for a new power configuration, turning his day-to-day operations over to ‘his generals’. The elected civilian President of the United States embraced his generals’ pursuit of a new military-globalist alliance and escalation of military threats foremost against North Korea, but including Russia and China. Afghanistan was immediately targeted for an expanded intervention.

Trump effectively replaced Bannon’s economic nationalist strategy with a revival Obama’s multi-war military approach.

The Trump regime re-launched the US attacks on Afghanistan and Syria – exceeding Obama’s use of drone attacks on suspected Muslim militants. He intensified sanctions against Russia and Iran, embraced Saudi Arabia’s war against the people of Yemen and turned the entire Middle East policy over to his ultra-Zionist Political Advisor (Real Estate mogul and son-in-law) Jared Kushner and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

Trump’s retreat turned into a grotesque rout. The Generals embraced the neoliberal Zionists in Treasury and the Congressional global militarists. Communication Directory Anthony Scaramucci was fired. Trump’s Chief of Staff General Joe Kelly purged Steve Bannon. Sebastian Gorka was kicked out.

The eight months of internal struggle between the economic nationalists and the neoliberals has ended: The Zionist-globalist alliance with Trump’s Generals now dominate the Power Elite.

Trump is desperate to adapt to the new configuration, allied to his own Congressional adversaries and the rabidly anti-Trump mass media.

Having all but decimated Trump’s economic nationalists and their program, the Power Elite then mounted a series of media-magnified events centering around a local punch-out in Charlottesville, Virginia between ‘white supremacists’ and ‘anti-fascists’. After the confrontation led to death and injury, the media used Trump’s inept attempt to blame both ‘baseball bat’-wielding sides, as proof of the President’s links to neo-Nazis and the KKK. Neoliberal and Zionists, within the Trump administration and his business councils, all joined in the attack on the President, denouncing his failure to immediately and unilaterally blame rightwing extremists for the mayhem.

Trump is turning to sectors of the business and Congressional elite in a desperate attempt to hold onto waning support via promises to enact massive tax cuts and deregulate the entire private sector.

The decisive issue was no longer over one policy or another or even strategy.

Trump had already lost on all accounts. The ‘final solution’ to the problem of the election of Donald Trump is moving foreword step-by-step – his impeachment and possible arrest by any and all means.

What the rise and destruction of economic nationalism in the ‘person’ of Donald Trump tells us is that the American political system cannot tolerate any capitalist reforms that might threaten the imperial globalist power elite.

Writers and activists used to think that only democratically elected socialist regimes would be the target of systematic coup d’état. Today the political boundaries are far more restrictive. To call for ‘economic nationalism’, completely within the capitalist system, and seek reciprocal trade agreements is to invite savage political attacks, trumped up conspiracies and internal military take-overs ending in ‘regime change’.

The global-militarist elite purge of economic nationalists and anti-militarists was supported by the entire US left with a few notable exceptions. For the first time in history the left became an organizational weapon of the pro-war, pro-Wall Street, pro-Zionist Right in the campaign to oust President Trump. Local movements and leaders, notwithstanding, trade union functionaries, civil rights and immigration politicians, liberals and social democrats have joined in the fight for restoring the worst of all worlds: the Clinton-Bush-Obama/Clinton policy of permanent multiple wars, escalating confrontations with Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela and Trump’s deregulation of the US economy and massive tax-cuts for big business.

We have gone a long-way backwards: from elections to purges and from peace agreements to police state investigations. Today’s economic nationalists are labeled‘fascists’; and displaced workers are ‘the deplorables’!

Americans have a lot to learn and unlearn. Our strategic advantage may reside in the fact that political life in the United States cannot get worse – we really have touched bottom and (barring a nuclear war) we can only look up.

Featured image is from The Unz Review.

It’s not just U.S. politicians, it seems the majority of Americans are frigging mad

Survey: Most Americans Accept Preemptive Nuclear Strike Against Iranian Civilians

As the survey notes, a clear majority of Americans “would approve of using nuclear weapons first against the civilian population of a nonnuclear-armed adversary, killing 2 million Iranian civilians, if they believed that such use would save the lives of 20,000 U.S. soldiers.”

new survey published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) suggests Americans are willing to make a first nuclear strike against Iran and kill millions of civilians in the process.

According to the report, entitled “Revisiting Hiroshima in Iran,” although the majority of Americans initially approved of President Harry S. Truman’s decision to drop the nuclear bomb in 1945 on two civilian populations in Japan, a poll conducted in 1998 showed the number of Americans who approved of the decision had dropped since the 1970s and 1980s. This trend carried on even until the early 2000s and arguably to the present day.

However, the new survey shows that many Americans continue to support nuclear warfare when posed with a hypothetical (albeit currently nonexistent) threat. As the survey notes, a clear majority of Americans “would approve of using nuclear weapons first against the civilian population of a nonnuclear-armed adversary, killing 2 million Iranian civilians, if they believed that such use would save the lives of 20,000 U.S. soldiers.”<img src=”http://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/themes/core/images/ads/ad-mp-squigl.jpg” class=”no-thickbox”/>

 

Source: MIT's What Americans Really Think About Using Nuclear Weapons And Killing<img class=”size-full wp-image-231502″ src=”http://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Capture-1.jpg” alt=”Source: MIT’s What Americans Really Think About Using Nuclear Weapons And Killing” width=”588″ height=”505″ srcset=”http://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Capture-1.jpg 588w, http://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Capture-1-300×258.jpg 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 588px) 100vw, 588px” />

Source: MIT’s What Americans Really Think About Using Nuclear Weapons And Killing
Noncombatants

Around 60 percent of respondents polled said they would approve of the decision to kill two million Iranians.

As Bloomberg explained:

The survey casts doubt on the power of what experts call the ‘nuclear taboo,’ said Stanford University historian David Holloway, author of ‘Stalin and the Bomb.’ The idea, or hope, behind the concept is that it’s not just luck that humans haven’t dropped any nuclear weapons for 70 years — that there’s a stigma that makes the use of nuclear weapons unthinkable.”

One would have to wonder if most Americans are even aware that the Trump administration is spending billions of dollars developing its nuclear technology far beyond what America’s rivals can match. Recognizing the nuclear threat America poses to Russia and its interests, particularly by having NATO members surround Russia with its anti-missile defense system, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a warning last year that Russia was modernizing its missile systems in preparation for what’s to come.

Russia has also warned multiple times about attacking Iran and views Iran as a strategic ally. This is just one of the factors Americans should take into account when considering the use of nuclear weapons.


Related | Demand Grows To Strip Trump Of Nuclear Authority


As Bloomberg noted, there are a number of other factors that should also be examined:

That just means they haven’t thought about it,’ said Brian Toon, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Colorado. They think nuclear weapons are just big bombs that blow up lots of people, he said, without considering the way a nuclear conflict -– even a ‘small’ one involving some 10 percent of the U.S. arsenal — might poison millions of men, women and children and change the climate enough to starve hundreds of millions.”

What it ultimately shows is that Americans want to fight (and instigate) wars but no longer want to expend their own people commissioning such conflicts. Polls have also demonstrated that the majority of Americans approve of the use of drone warfare against suspected terrorists, another example of Americans approving of killing people without realistically endangering personnel.

In Libya, an American drone flown out of Sicily by an American pilot based in Nevada directly struck Muammar Gaddafi’s motorcade. Little thought is paid to the fact that the U.S. helped assassinate a foreign leader in direct contravention of international law, arguably because no American personnel were killed or even endangered (in contrast, when many Americans think of Libya, they focus on the handful of American lives lost in Benghazi).

This paradigm, identified as one of three schools of thought by the MIT study, is solely concerned with “winning wars and the desire to minimize the loss of lives of their nation’s soldiers.”

This view appeared to hold even when the scenario presented to the respondents was one in which the U.S. aggravated Iran via sanctions and Iran responded with a direct attack on a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 was also provoked via U.S.-led crippling economic restrictions on Japan, and even the number of military personnel killed in the hypothetical scenario MIT presented to subjects was the same as the number of U.S. personnel who died at Pearl Harbor (though this was not mentioned to respondents).

As we all know, this particular story ended with the complete destruction of Japan’s major cities through conventional bombing, as well as the nuclear decimation of two civilian populations. Also bear in mind that America’s modern day nukes are far more dangerous than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, meaning any future nuclear strike would have an even worse impact on the civilian population.

In addition to a majority of Americans’ willingness to use nuclear weapons on civilians, the survey found “an even larger percentage of Americans would approve of a conventional bombing attack designed to kill 100,000 Iranian civilians in the effort to intimidate Iran into surrendering.”

Read the full report What Americans Really Think About Using Nuclear Weapons And Killing below:

Top photo: Frank Gaffney, founder and CEO of the Center for Security Policy, speaks during a rally organized by Tea Party Patriots in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, to oppose the Iran nuclear agreement. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

Trump, The Last of the Mad Pirates?

The Last of the Mad Pirates?

Exclusive: President Trump’s erratic behavior and careless bellicosity could have dire consequences for the world, but he also demonstrates the need to rethink America’s global power, notes David Marks.

By David Marks

There is clear evidence of a world increasingly steeped in conflict and violence: The degradation of U.S.-Russian relations, territorial tensions in the South China Sea, the hostile rhetoric between North Korea and the United States, an escalation of the border conflict between China and India, growing tension between Israel and Iran, and the continuing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine; among other hostilities around the globe yielding death and destruction.

A pirate flag from the early Eighteenth Century.

Yet there is some indication that what we may be witnessing is darkness before a new dawn.

In his historical essay of 1968, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, Buckminster Fuller, futurist and inventor of the geodesic dome, describes the conquest and colonization of the planet by Europeans as the age of the great pirates. He marks the end of that era with World War I, followed with a subsequent attempt by lesser pirates taking advantage of a time when the planet’s fate was precarious.

Fuller concluded that the later events of the Twentieth Century and beyond would be determined by the wisdom and strength of those who recognized that Spaceship Earth has limited resources that need to be appreciated and protected. As with others who consider our predicament, he saw only two possibilities:

“We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.”

The reign of the last of the pirates in their final self-destructive, single-minded grasp for profits would either destroy human life as we know it or be countered with a new sustainable relationship with the Earth.

The struggle between the conflict generating profiteers and those who recognize that reducing conflict is the only path to sustaining human life on the planet, is coming to a head. Despite hard evidence that environmental traumas are increasing and will dominate the near future, the modern pirates are in defiant denial, leading their final charge against anything that might get in the way of gargantuan treasure chests. They must lie, cheat, pillage or kill in order to maintain the facade that everything is okay with the planet.

One of the most critical tools of the great pirates and their modern heirs is the ability to prey on the ignorant and misinformed.

The pirates of old applied the sword to abscond with valuables; and more often committed genocide to steal land and resources from the indigenous.

Propaganda Power 

Modern pirates inherited these tools and became specialists in others. They deceive, entice and encourage scapegoating to obtain treasures or protect their fortunes. Ignorance is fertile ground for their work. Anyone opposing these marauders and their skewed vision of the world become the objects of derision, ridicule and threats of violence.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at his swearing-in ceremony on Feb. 1, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

Yes, this tale may sound familiar as we watch world events unfold. In that sense, the Trump presidency is a dramatic test of the planet’s fate; the last desperate, inane, final gasps of piracy confront us all.

Some recent U.S. Presidents, other world leaders, corporations and industrialists bear some resemblance to the pirates of old, and certainly there are current conflicts that are fueled outside the scope of U.S. influence. But Trump is straight out of Central Casting. And in contrast to his self-aggrandizement, he is not the heroic leader, but rather the mad, despised black pirate awash in his own darkness and loathing.

The glimmer of light comes because President Trump, pirate extraordinaire, is unwittingly doing everything to ensure that no one will ever tolerate a pirate again.

Because he is great at alienating others, Trump’s enemies begin to unite. Some of his previous supporters and loyalists have mutinied in reaction to his unwillingness to condemn racism and his willingness to pardon political allies. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently spoke an amazing phrase to encapsulate and isolate the so-called leader of the free world: “The President speaks for himself.”

The greatest danger, which was noted by some before he was elected and is just being recognized by those who have been on board his ship until now, is Trump’s proclivity to embrace violence, however and wherever it might suit him, such as his rush-to-judgment missile strike against a Syrian airbase in April. Many an eyebrow was raised at Trump’s “fire and fury like the world has never seen” threat against North Korea – suggesting a nuclear strike – but very few have broached the touchy subject of taking away his role as commander in chief, including his nuclear sword, via impeachment or the Twenty-fifth Amendment’s provision for declaring the President “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” (requiring a finding by the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet).

A Pattern of Violence

Veiled hope percolates that Trump’s words are no more than bluster – and it must be acknowledged that Trump’s predecessors resorted to violence repeatedly around the world, including Nobel Peace laureate Barack Obama, who acknowledged bombing seven countries, and George W. Bush, who invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and lusted for more wars, and that Trump’s rival last year, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, may have surpassed even Trump in her hawkishness, having pushed for the invasion of Libya in 2011 and supporting the bloody proxy war in Syria.

Barack Obama and George W. Bush at the White House.

But the current mad pirate, if nothing else, excels at unpredictability. The world watches in amazement as a buccaneer steers the most powerful ship on the planet with egoistic lunacy. How might this precarious tale have a happy end?

If we manage to survive these dangers, the Trump presidency could engender a new era of consensus. Perhaps with the maddest of the pirates gone, recognition of the causes of his ascendency might be considered. First and foremost: the last U.S. presidential election presented only a choice between an unsustainable status quo and a role of the dice.

In that sense, it is not enough for Trump simply to be replaced by another pirate, even one with a calmer disposition and a better vocabulary. For the U.S., a period of serious self-criticism is warranted. Without that, it is hard to envision how candidates seeking a more peaceful future can succeed.

President Trump’s crass destructiveness – and the more suave advocacy of violence by Bush, Obama and Clinton – should be a mirror for all Americans to reflect upon. The image of Trump is more garish and thus more obvious in its ugliness, but that may finally shake Americans of all ideological persuasions awake in the recognition of the viciousness that has absorbed American politics and society.

Trump’s unintended contribution is that he makes obvious how dangerous it is for the planet to have mad pirates at the helm. He has given re-birth to a concept that Fuller succinctly expressed: If humanity does not opt for integrity we are through completely. It is absolutely touch and go. Each one of us could make the difference.”

Perhaps – once Americans are awake to this reality – simple things might be prioritized; like reducing violence between nations and religions, reversing the abuses that have bruised the planet and polluted its atmosphere. And maybe working to ensure that everyone on Spaceship Earth is fed, sheltered and educated.

Unlikely, naive and idealistic you say? Perhaps, but the moral health of the United States is a strong influence on the rest of the world. The direction that the U.S. takes after Trump will be a key factor in future global stability, both politically and environmentally.

The veil hasn’t quite lifted and the pirates still dominate, but there’s potential for recognizing we’re all on a mother ship worth protecting.

David Marks is a veteran documentary filmmaker and investigative reporter. His work includes films for the BBC and PBS, including Nazi Gold, on the role of Switzerland in WWII and biographies of Jimi Hendrix and Frank Sinatra.

Israel’s Chorus Sings Again

Less than total loyalty to Israel is un-American

By Philip Giraldi

August 15, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – Congress is on a one-month summer recess. You would think that given the recent turmoil over the bill to eliminate Obamacare and the upcoming debate over tax policy the nation’s legislators would be back in their home districts talking to the voters. Some are, but many are not. “More than fifty” Congressmen are off on an all-expenses paid trip to Israel to demonstrate that “there is no stronger bond with any ally we have.” Yes indeed, a congress which cannot pass legislation to benefit the American people finds that it has only one voice when it comes to our troublesome little client state that also doubles as the leading recipient of U.S. tax dollars in the world.

How do they do it? They do it by relentless courting of the congress critters and media talking heads, all of whom know how to repay a favor. Some readers might be asking how Congress (spouses included) can accept these free trips from a foreign government? The current trip is estimated to be costing $10,000 per person. Well, the answer is that they can’t do it directly, which would be illegal, so the clever rascals at the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC) have created an “charitable” foundation that pays the bills. It’s called the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF). AIEF is a tax exempt 501(c)3 foundation that had income of more than $80 million in 2015. As it is tax exempt that means that its activities are, in effect, being subsidized by the U.S. Treasury so the congressmen are being “charitably educated” while they are also being wined and dined and propagandized in part on the taxpayers’ dime. A couple of the congress critters hardly hit the ground before they were singing the praises of their hosts, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy crooning “We have shared values! Shared security interests! No stronger bond!” And plenty of feel-good all around as Israel is “The Only Democracy in the Middle East!”

Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who has had his head up the Israeli derriere for decades, was also quick on the uptake, enthusing how support for Israel is completely bipartisan, “We are not here as Democrats and Republicans, we are here as Americans who support Israel’s security, its sovereignty and the safety of its people.” And as if it is not enough to go around bragging how one is subordinating U.S. sovereignty to that of Israel, the gnomes are hard at work back at home preparing to pass into law the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which will criminalize for many Americans their First Amendment right to criticize Israel, and a completely bipartisan bit of new legislation being pushed by the Israeli government that will take away aid currently given to the Palestinians as long as the Palestinian Authority continues to provide subsidies to help support the families of those individuals being held prisoner by the Israelis. As most aid actually goes towards training Palestinian security forces that are intended to prevent terror attacks against Israelis, the bill is as wrong-headed as can be, but it just goes to show how far Congress will go to punish Arabs on behalf of Israel.

And finally there has been a series of Israel-centric attacks on leading members of the Trump Administration. A month ago, the State Department released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism for 2016. The report, as always, describes threats of violence in the Middle East from an Israeli perspective, but it was honest enough to also include two sentences that state that

“Continued drivers of violence included a lack of hope in achieving Palestinian statehood, Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, settler violence against Palestinians…and IDF tactics that the Palestinians considered overly aggressive. The PA has [also] taken significant steps…to not create or disseminate content that incites violence.”

B’nai B’rith immediately blasted the report for “parroting the false Palestinian narrative” and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) demanded that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson resign because the report was “bigoted, biased, anti-Semitic, Israel hating, error ridden.” ZOA went on to praise the co-chairman of the Republican Israel Caucus, Congressman Peter Roskam for demanding that the State Department correct the “numerous mischaracterizations” in the report.

Tillerson has long been a target of the American-Jewish media because of the perception that oil company executives are traditionally not friendly to Israel. There have also been claims that he is “less hard” on Iran than the Israel Lobby would like. But what Tillerson is really experiencing is the hard truth regarding Israel: that its Lobby and friends in congress are both unrelenting and unforgiving. Even when they get 90% of the pie they are furious over someone else getting 10%.

Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has also been under siege for the past several weeks and his “loyalty” to Israel is now under the microscope. McMaster made the mistake of firing three National Security Council officials that were brought in by his predecessor Michael Flynn. The three – Ezra Cohen-Watnick, Rich Higgins, and Derek Harvey – are all regarded by the Israel Lobby as passionately pro-Israel and virulently anti-Iran. It was therefore inevitable that McMaster would take some heat, but the “speed and intensity” of the attacks has surprised even The Atlantic, which failed to note in its thorough examination of the development that while much of the anger flows from extreme right-wing sources there is also considerable pressure coming directly from friends of Israel.

It is interesting to note just how and by whom the argument against McMaster is being framed. Caroline Glick, an American-born Israeli journalist who might reasonably be described as extreme right wing, has led the charge in a posting that described McMaster as “deeply hostile to Israel.” She cites anonymous sources to claim that he refers to Israel as an occupying power and also has the audacity to claim that there once existed a place called Palestine. Oh, and he apparently also supports the nuclear agreement with Iran, as does Tillerson.

McMaster’s other crimes consist of allegedly altering the agenda of Donald Trump’s recent trip to Israel in ways that are somewhat arcane but which no doubt contributed to Glick’s sense of grievance. What is most interesting, however, is the unstated premise supporting Glick’s point of view, which is that the United States national security team should be subject to approval by Israel. Her view is not dissimilar to what lies behind the attacks on Tillerson and the real irony is that neither Tillerson nor McMaster has actually demonstrated any genuine animosity towards Israel, so the whole process is part of a perverse mindset that inevitably sees nearly everything as a threat.

We Americans are way beyond the point where we might simply demand that Israel and its partisans butt out of our politics. Israel-firsters are literally deeply embedded everywhere in the media, in politics at all levels, in academia, and in the professions. They are well funded and highly disciplined to respond to any threats to their hegemony. Their policy is to never give an inch on anything relating to Israel and their relentless grinding is characteristic of how they behave. The Israel Lobby controls Congress and can literally get any bill it wants through the legislature. And it also has its hooks in the White House, though the unpredictable Trump obviously makes many American Zionists nervous because it is rightly believed that once the president takes a position on anything he cannot be trusted either to understand what he has committed to or to stick with it subsequently.

So what is to be done? To match the passion of the Israel Lobby we Americans have to become passionate ourselves. Do what they do but in reverse. Write letters to congressmen and newspapers opposing the junkets to Israel. When a congress critter has a town hall, show up and complain about our involvement in the Middle East. Keep mentioning the pocket book issues, i.e. how Israel costs the taxpayer $9 million a day. Explain how its behavior puts our diplomats and soldiers overseas in danger. The reality is that Israel is built on a lot of lies promoted by people who frequently cite the holocaust every time they turn around but who have no actual regard for humanity outside their own tribe. The hypocrisy must stop if the United States is to survive as a nation. Pandering to Israel and engaging in constant wars to directly or indirectly defend it, be they against Iran or in Syria, will wear our country down and erode our freedoms. We are already on a slippery slope and it is past time to put our own interests first.

This article was first published by Unz Review 

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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Voice of Sanity Missing in Korean Showdown

Posted on August 9, 2017

[ Ed. note – If you’re looking for a leader of enlightened wisdom, or even one who simply manages to display prudence and sanity on a somewhat regular basis, Donald Trump doesn’t seem to fit the bill. For all the foolhardy, misguided decisions he made in choosing his cabinet and staff, Trump’s threat to unleash “fire and fury” upon North Korea may be the stupidest move we’ve seen from him yet. In addition to Trump, Mattis, the Secretary of Defense, is threatening the “destruction” of the North Korean people, and if all that isn’t bad enough, the North Korean government is threatening to attack Guam. ]

***

Relations Between US and North Korea Deteriorate to New Low

Izvestia — translated by Inessa Sinchougova — Aug. 9, 2017

A meeting of the UN Security Council on the situation on the Korean peninsula has taken place in New York. A new cause for concern – the words of Donald Trump: they say, the US will respond to the dangers of the North Korea “by force, fury and fire,” which “the world has not yet seen.” In response, on North Korea’s Central Television, it was said: Pyongyang is ready to strike a missile at the US military base on Guam. How will this clattering with weapons end?

Angry rhetoric between the North Korea and the US has reached a new level. Now Pyongyang has announced to the States not just new missile tests, but a blow, the goal of which is quite specific.

“North Korea is developing a plan for a preemptive missile strike against US military facilities on the Pacific island of Guam, including the Andersen airbase, where strategic bombers are deployed,” Korean television reported.

The North Korean military said that they would use medium-range ballistic missiles Hwasong-12 for their purposes. Theoretically, the rocket can reach the island of Guam.

“The missile, Hwasong-12, is theoretically capable of flying to the island of Guam,” said military expert Ivan Konovalov. “It was already tested in May of this year, it flew only 700 kilometers. But it had a very steep trajectory. Experts say that the missile can “strike” at 4,500 kilometers. This missile – if it will be launched – will still be intercepted by the US missile defense THAAD, which is in South Korea. But this complex is precisely designed to intercept such missiles.”

However, even if the missile is intercepted, the consequences can be disastrous for both sides. The crisis will shift to a new level – from rhetoric to concrete actions.

Perhaps, it is precisely the continuation of a verbal skirmish, and not the development of the conflict, that is expected in Washington. Governor of Guam Edward Calvo said “I want to reassure people that there is currently no threat to our island. I remind you that there are several levels of protection that are strategically located to protect our island and our nation. An attack or threat on Guam is a threat or an attack on the United States. ”

The Secretary of State of the United States, Rex Tillerson, was quick to introduce clarity in the dialogue. His statement sounded much more gentle than the emotional statement of Trump. “The harsh statements by US President Donald Trump about North Korea do not mean that Washington will abandon attempts to settle the problem peacefully,” the US Secretary of State explained. “What the president is doing is a message to North Korea in a language that Kim Jong-un can understand, because he does not seem to understand the diplomatic language. ”

The possible development of the conflict on the Korean peninsula has already affected the Asian market. The Korean stock index, which includes more than 700 companies, fell by 0.8 percent. Outside military threat, the deterioration of the situation in the region can affect the profits of companies and reduce business activity in the region.

***

Breaking: North Korea Developing Final Plan to Hit Guam in Mid-August

By Adam Garrie – The Duran

North Korean media has announced that the leadership is finalising plans for hitting Guam with intermediate range missiles which are apparently to be launched in mid-August.

Sputnik quotes General Kim Rak Gyom who said the following to North Korean media,

“The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA (Korean People’s Army) will cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi Prefectures of Japan.

They will fly 3,356.7 km (2,085.8 miles) for 1,065 seconds and hit the waters 30 to 40 km away from Guam”.

Several things are curious about this statement.

First of all, by stating that the preparations for the attack to apparently take place in mid-August are being made now, North Korea seems to be validating the Russian statement that it takes a significant amount of time for North Korea to launch missiles that countries like Russia, China and the US can generally launch in a matter of seconds or at the very most, a matter of hours, depending on the kind of warhead payload attacked to the missile in question.

Secondly, by telling the United States that it plans to launch an attack in the direction of Guam, the crucial element of surprise is totally lost.

North Korea further stated that Trump’s remarks threatening to hit north Korea with “fire and fury” the likes the world “has never seen before”, amount to “A load of nonsense”.

North Korea further stated that Donald Trump is only capable of understanding force, because he is “bereft of reason”. Such statements far from being classic North Korean rhetoric soudn a great deal like commentators on CNN and op-ed pieces in the Washington Post, New York Times and Guardian.

Sputnik reports,

“Pyongyang also said that America’s “frantic moves” on the Korean Peninsula will be reined by the action the North’s military “is about to take.”

First the communist nation will develop a plan for the historic “enveloping fire at Guam,” communicate the nuclear force of the attack to Kim, then, “wait for is order.”
The DPRK has said it will “keep closely watching the speech and behavior of the US.”

Earlier today, US Secretary of State James Mattis warned the North in a statement that they should “cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”

He added, “While our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means, it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth.  The DPRK regime’s actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates.”

Either this is the ultimate test of brinkmanship on both sides, or the world’s most dangerous game of chicken. This comes as Russia, China and Philippines repeat calls for dialogue as the only safe and sensible way forward.

Trump’s Knowledge of Lebanese Situation Is Non-Existent

Trump’s Knowledge of Lebanese Situation Is Non-Existent

WAYNE MADSEN | 08.08.2017 | OPINION

Trump’s Knowledge of Lebanese Situation Is Non-Existent

US President Donald Trump, hobbled by a two-minute attention span, demonstrated his utter lack of knowledge about the political situation in Lebanon during a recent visit to the White House of Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri. During a press conference outside the White House, Trump opened his remarks by stating to an astonished Hariri and the viewing Lebanese television audience, «Lebanon is on the front lines in the fight against ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Hezbollah».

Trump was correct that Lebanon is battling the Islamic State and Al Qaeda but is doing so with the assistance of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shi’a movement with which Hariri’s government maintains a fragile but maturing political accommodation. Trump followed his opening remarks by stating, «Hezbollah is a menace to the Lebanese state, the Lebanese people, and the entire region. The group continues to increase its military arsenal, which threatens to start yet another conflict with Israel, constantly fighting them back. With the support of Iran, the organization is also fueling the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria. Hezbollah likes to portray itself as a defender of Lebanese interests, but it’s very clear that its true interests are those of itself and its sponsor – Iran».

Following his meeting and news conference with Trump, Hariri was forced to correct the record in order not to face a government collapse back in Beirut. Hariri said,

«We fight ISIS and al-Qaida. Hezbollah is in the government and part of parliament and we have an understanding with it».

There is little doubt that Trump, under the influence of Israeli agents-of-influence like his son-in-law Jared Kushner, was not briefed on Hezbollah’s critical role in supporting the Hariri government, to bring about a Lebanese political crisis. Fortunately, Hezbollah did not fall for the Israeli subterfuge and gimmickry carried out by the White House.

Kushner obviously had help in briefing Trump on the need to attack Hezbollah. Just after Trump’s misguided comments on Hezbollah, US National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster fired an unwanted staff member, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a leftover from retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s regime at the National Security Council. After Flynn was fired by Trump in February 2017, McMaster attempted to oust Cohen-Watnick, who was attempting to use sectors of the Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency, where the staffer once worked, to overthrow the government of Iran. Israel’s propaganda network within the United States and abroad began beating the tired old «anti-Semite» canard to criticize McMaster and call for his firing by Trump. Immediately, «rumors» began circulating from the White House, most of them originating with the Kushner circle, that Trump was considering relieving McMaster as National Security Adviser and sending him to command US troops in Afghanistan, a move like Adolf Hitler sending rebellious German generals off to the «Russian front».

The Kushner crowd also suggested that Trump was misled about the situation in Lebanon by Hariri, who was accused of colluding with Hezbollah, Lebanese president Michel Aoun – a political ally of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Armed Forces, Directorate of General Security (Lebanese Intelligence) General Abbas Ibrahim, and unnamed Lebanese lobbying organizations in Washington, DC of trying to «sell» a «pro-Iran order» in Lebanon and Syria. Only seasoned cabalists who make up the Israel Lobby, itself possessing a rich history of advancing actual conspiracies, could concoct such an intricate fictional conspiracy theory to complement their hysterical rhetoric concerning Lebanon.

With Cohen-Watnick out at the National Security Council and Trump’s new chief of staff, retired Marine General John Kelly, attempting to limit Kushner’s access to the Oval Office and involvement with crucial Middle East policy decisions, perhaps Trump can be educated about Israel’s documented military, logistical, and intelligence support for the Sunni jihadist groups in Syria that have been battling against the Syrian Army and volunteers from Hezbollah and Iran. However, Trump has been found loathe to listen to advice from anyone who commands more knowledge of international affairs than himself, which may be anyone possessing a Bachelor’s degree in political science or history.

Trump’s siding with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in a sanctions showdown with Qatar, engineered by Abu Dhabi’s computer hacking of the Qatar News Agency, is a case in point. The entire Qatar episode appears to have been engineered by Kushner, who was miffed after Qatar rejected his request for a $500 million investment in the failing Kushner office building at 666 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and the UAE’s pro-Israel and anti-Qatar ambassador in Washington, Yousef Al Otaiba. Trump found it preferable to heed the advice of Kushner and the Saudis and Emiratis over that provided by McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Trump was obviously operating from an outdated neo-conservative playbook when he met with Hariri. True, Hariri has long been considered a Sunni pro-Saudi political power in Beirut. But, Hariri is prime minister as the result of a carefully-negotiated power sharing agreement that saw Aoun become president, Hariri become prime minister, and Hezbollah backing the national unity arrangement. While Trump fails to meet the most minimum degree of a working knowledge of international politics, the same does not hold true for operatives like Kushner and his allies in the White House. It is likely that these pro-Israeli elements were trying to engineer a political crisis in Lebanon, an event that would have worked in Israel’s favor.

Hezbollah, which has scored impressive military successes against Israeli military forces and which has managed to harden its telecommunications systems from Israeli eavesdropping, did not take Kushner’s bait. Hariri has publicly recognized and lauded Hezbollah’s role in militarily defeating Al Qaeda and Islamic State jihadist forces on Lebanon’s northern border, calling it a «big achievement». Hariri stated,

«We have our opinion and Hezbollah has its opinion, but in the end, we met on a consensus that concerns the Lebanese people for the [welfare of the] Lebanese economy, security and stability».

Hezbollah leader Nasrallah also held back from falling into the Israeli and Wahhabist trap. Rather than denounce Trump for his ill-informed comments on Hezbollah, Nasrallah merely said he would withhold comment to not embarrass Hariri and his entourage. The words of Hariri and the «no comment» by Nasrallah were irritants to the Israelis and their Wahhabist allies in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, who were hoping to upset the political apple cart in Beirut.

For years, the Israelis and Saudis have attempted to force a Sunni radical government on Lebanon. Both countries’ intelligence services had their fingerprints on the November 2005 car bombing assassination in Beirut of Hariri’s father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri.

This was borne out by a United Nations panel headed by former Canadian prosecutor Daniel Bellemare, which concluded that Rafik Hariri was assassinated by a «criminal network», not by Syrian intelligence or Hezbollah as proffered by the neo-conservative propaganda mill operating out of Washington, DC and Jerusalem.

In fact, Lebanese intelligence ascertained that the assassination of Hariri and twenty-two other persons was carried out by rogue Syrian, Druze, and Palestinian intelligence operatives in Lebanon who were in the pay of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service.

The entire operation was designed to besmirch Hezbollah and Syria and their Lebanese Christian allies. The Israelis were fishing for a casus belli to justify a Western military attack on Syria. War with Syria would be put off until the Barack Obama administration’s ill-fated decision to support «Arab Spring» uprisings throughout the secular Arab world. Mr. Trump, knowingly or unknowingly, attempted to set off a political time bomb in Lebanon with his comments about Hezbollah. Lebanese politics has matured greatly since 2005 and neither Hezbollah, Hariri, Aoun, or other legitimate Lebanese political voices will fall again for the gimmickry engineered in Jerusalem, Riyadh, and the Israeli-directed think tanks in Washington.

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