Where will we strike first? The Donald has virtually promised that we’ll be at war within his first year in the presidency. But what does that mean? At war with whom?
Not Russia. Although saner heads express concern about Czar Vlad’s invasions of Crimea and Georgia, and about his alliance with the mullahs of Iran, the Donald has made clear that he has had his “Pootie Poot” moment with the Czar, and they will get along nicely.
George Bush was the first president to have a Pootie Poot relationship with Czar Vlad, and though it pains me to think it, it may turn out that even George W. Bush was more of an international diplomat and negotiator than the Donald. But NO! I am not one of those “do you miss me yet” Cheney/ Bush revisionists.
During the pre-inauguration weeks, we have seen confusion emerge, as Rex Tillerson pretends that he’s going to be stern with Russia, and the intelligence community seems unified around concerns that its reports are not being taken seriously. This contrasts with ex-general Michael Flynn’s new role as errand boy, conveying Czar Vlad’s instructions to the Donald, as delivered to Flynn by Russia’s ambassador.
But there seems the prospect of a clarifying gesture on the horizon. The Donald says that it isn’t really going to be a “summit”. But he has agreed to be summoned to Reykjavik, Iceland, by Czar Vlad, shortly after the inauguration. This meeting can cut out the ambassador and the general, and let Czar Vlad deliver his instructions to the Donald directly, in person.
With this new détente, peace with Russia seems assured, to the disappointment of the Corporate Republican Party warhawks sitting on Capitol Hill. So then where can we have a fight? To figure that out, we need to look at the interests of the Parties involved. As for the U.S., we used to support the Syrian rebels and civilians. We used to support the democracy movements of the Arab Spring.
But the Donald has made clear that he supports the Russia-Iranian effort to crush rebellion in Syria and prop up the Assad dictatorship. And he has condemned freedom-seeking Arabs around the Middle East. He will support Pharaoh Cisi in Egypt and Wahabi rule on the Saudi peninsula. The Corporate Republican Party in Congress will support whatever policy promises the greatest profits for the war profiteers.
Russia isn’t in the same position. As a monarch, Czar Vlad doesn’t have to bow and scrape to every corporate lobbyist who holds a checkbook. As an educated man, who worked in both the Soviet era and the modern era of a smaller, economically weaker Russia, Czar Vlad can want to restore the luster of earlier days, while also trying to plan for, and defend against, traditional problems.
In the recent past, Russia was surrounded by a protective barrier of client states. Outside that barrier, the European community, with the U.S., established a buffer ring of Western-affiliated states. The C.I.A. takeover of Iran in 1953 was as much about establishing an “anti-communist” client on the Soviet southern border as it was about the stated purpose of gaining control of Iranian oil. The partitions of Vietnam and Korea were for the same purpose.
Russia was hemmed in, but also protected. Until Mao’s China grew up and no longer needed its Soviet sponsor-protector, Russia had the relatively weak China buffering it from any threat from the U.S.-dominated Pacific rim. As China began to emerge, Russia backed North Vietnam and other countries surrounding China, trying to build a necklace like the U.S./European necklace around Russia. Part of this was the Soviet Afghanistan misadventure.
Times change. China is now a major power, more influential in much of the world than the increasingly isolationist, bloated, bankrupt, corporate U.S. The Donald’s whining about jobs moving away reflects the reality that corporations are abandoning the increasingly uneducated, unskilled U.S. for more promising markets. Having squeezed what they can from the U.S. population, they are looking to Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East for new profits. As it was once a buffer for Russia, China is now a potential threat.
And now neither a unified Vietnam nor an Islamic Afghanistan wants to be a colony of either Russia or China. China has its own problem client state, right on Russia’s border, North Korea. This provides Czar Vlad a clear path to weaken both China and the U.S., while strengthening his own hand.
A natural course for Czar Vlad is to tell the Donald to undertake a Cheney-esque “preemptive reaction” strike at North Korea.
A natural course for Czar Vlad is to tell the Donald to undertake a Cheney-esque “preemptive reaction” strike at North Korea. North Korea’s childish dictator seems about on par with the Donald for emotional maturity, and the love of bluster, although he also seems to have a greater degree of both international and scientific knowledge.
Economic sanctions are crippling North Korea, and China has been acting ambivalent towards its client. But the U.S. corporate press eagerly embraces every blustering statement by North Korea about its growing military capability. Almost as if they were already in the loop on a plan to strike this “enemy”.
By sending the Donald on an errand to ‘conquer’ this tiny “rogue” nation, Czar Vlad gets multiple advantages. He forces China to deflect its vision from the long Sino-Russia border and confront a question about who will control the Korean peninsula. And he heightens tension between China and the U.S., already stirred up by the Donald’s comments about Formosa.
The U.S.’s noted exceptionalism at nation building, exhibited so clearly in Afghanistan and Iraq, ensures a quagmire, which could reasonably turn even South Korea against the U.S. It would certainly provide the Donald’s administration an excuse for ignoring any Russian adventurism in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. To try to distract the public from the increasing chaos in a post-strike Korea, Czar Vlad could encourage the Donald to escalate conflict in the South China Sea, on the pretext of concern over the new Chinese island installations. This would provide a second front for Chinese concern, further reducing areas of tension along the Sino-Russia frontier.
There are certainly some people in the Donald’s administration, particularly the Sheldon Adelson wing, who would like the Donald’s first war to be against Iran. But neither Czar Vlad nor Rex Tillerson is likely to get on board with that. Tillerson’s focus will remain as the U.S. stated intent was in 1953, on Iran’s oil. And our biggest export corporation, Boeing, isn’t going to support a war that would disrupt its newest, huge contract.
By giving a greenlight to Israel to take over the rest of the Palestinian territory, and populate it with “settler” colonists, while erasing any pretense of opposition to formalized Apartheid rule of a one-state “greater Israel,” the Donald can probably deflate Likud’s expansionist fever dream of a war to conquer Iran.
Eventually, Czar Vlad and the Donald may come into conflict over Iran. But for now, Russia has its own oil resources, and Iran is going to be bogged down trying to administer Iraq, and trying to assert some control over a ‘triumphant’ Bashar Assad. By getting the Donald to look to the Pacific rim, and particularly at some need to ‘punish’ Kim Jong Un for being more narcissistic than the Donald, Czar Vlad gains position over both the U.S. and China.
A war against North Korea would also mirror the corporate Republican’s demigod, Ronald Reagan’s conquest of Granada. There is no real risk to U.S. military personnel, and almost no limit to the expenditures that could be justified for the profiteers and “nation builders”.
Such a war might also give the Donald space for a new gesture of friendship with his Russian ally. The Grenada war generated the Yugest per-man / per-officer outlay of military medals in U.S. military history. Granting himself a few for his heroic leadership against North Korea, the Donald could adopt the old Soviet model of a leader wearing medals on his suit coat. So long as Czar Vlad gives permission.