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4 places Donald Trump might go to war

Civil war, North Korea, Iran or Venezuela. Which place is next?

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In most evolved countries, war is considered a problem rather than a solution. In the event of a war, this is usually a last resort rather than a first. Take for example the current dispute between India and China over Doklam/Donglang. As recently as today, China has said that war is a last resort. The fact that China has shown restraint in the face of Indian encroachment on Chinese territory is a sign that for a nuclear super-power like China, even what it sees as India’s grievous violation of sovereignty, isn’t an automatic trigger for war with a fellow nuclear power, though a considerably less potent one.

For the United States however, it seems that war is often a first option. Take for example the illegal 1999 war on Yugoslavia that Bill Clinton launched to try and remove his concubine Monica Lewinsky from the headlines. While most Americans knew more of the details regarding the Lewinsky scandal than they did about the history of the Balkans, any distraction was a good one and for the US media, war is the biggest weapon of mass distraction that money can buy.

Donald Trump is currently in a uniquely precarious position. Unlike most modern US Presidents, Trump ran and won on a platform largely centred around peace. However, due to becoming embroiled in Congressional and mainstream media attempts to undermine his presidency and possibly remove him from office, he is boxed into a policy making corner on multiple fronts.

War is often the solution for American leaders in such a position. Many, including myself have explored the very real possibility of armed civil conflict in the United States should Trump be removed from office.

READ MORE: Donald Trump is keeping the lid on internal American violence and preventing civil war

Trump and those around him (certainly those who he counts as personal friends) will doubtlessly be aware of the threat of civil war should he be removed from office. The question that remains is: what kind of war will Trump launch to prevent this?

1. Information War 

This far, the war that Trump has waged and continues to wage, even before becoming President has been the information war. His Twitter account has allowed alternative narratives to that of the liberal mainstream media to become highly pervasive throughout the US and the world.

Whether one agrees with Trump, the MSM or neither of the two narratives is a separate issue, the point is that Trump has broken into the mundane unilateral MSM narrative and offered an alternative view that because of his stature can neither be suppressed nor ignored.

Trump could continue to fight the information war and indeed gather a team of lawyers to take it to the courts while simultaneously fighting his public case on Twitter and his new ‘Real News’ video platform.

This would be the most peaceful option but would it be enough to stop his domestic would be political assassins?

2. War on North Korea 

North Korea is perversely the most dangerous option for the world and the safest option from a media point of view. A war on North Korea would be highly digestible for a notoriously under informed US public.

This is true for the following reasons

Between 1950 and 1953, the United States fought in the Korean War, America’s first military loss of the Cold War era. In the insuring decades, the US has built North Korea up as a consummate villain which ticks many boxes in the collective American psyche.

North Korea is nuclear armed, has a strong highly disciplined military, is anti-American imperialism, is communistic, is non-Christian, is oriental. All of this sells like hotcakes in the US mainstream media.

From decades old news reports to the film Team America: World Police, everyone in America knows the Kims and knows North Korea, even if they can’t find it on a map.

America has worked hard to make North Korea a villain starting from the time that Saddam Hussein was a child. America is in other words, unambiguous about its hatred of North Korea. While America’s activities in the Middle East have become a stalemate due to the changing political alliances in the region and with many in the US public feeling a kind of ‘Muslim fatigue’ ever since Islam was outrageously declared enemy number one after 911, a good old fashioned war against ‘godless Asian commies’ might just wake Americans up from their war fatigue.

However, the problem of practicability then comes in. North Korea has nuclear weapons and far more advanced weapons systems than did Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya or Syria. Even more importantly, the world’s other two super-powers both border North Korea and both Russia and China are totally opposed to any military action on their doorstep. Furthermore, many people in South Korea and Japan are paralysed in fear over the prospect of nuclear war that could harm their countries. Even further away, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has said that such a war would be a disaster for the countries of South East Asia. Is America willing to risk harming not only its foes but also its supposed friends?

In this sense, a war with North Korea could be a nuclear world war. Not a safe option.

3. War on Venezuela

From a propaganda angle, a so-called regime change war on Venezuela would be far less impactful than one on North Korea. Fewer Americans see Venezuela as a cartoon villain vis-a-vis North Korea and furthermore, much of the US based Latin American community would resent a war against a smaller Latin American country, especially a war waged by Donald Trump who has terrible PR among Latin Americans.

From a military point of view as well as a political perspective, it would however be a safe option. Venezuela’s armed forces cannot complete with those of the US and since Russia closed its base in Cuba in the year 2002, Latin America is from a military point of view, an American peninsula, even though politically the United States has lost tremendous amounts of clout over the last decades as many far-right dictatorships across Latin America have fallen to democratic socialist governments.

While Russia and China would likely condemn such a war, they would not participate in the conflict as they might do in Korea.

4. War on Iran

In many ways, Iran is the worst of both worlds for Donald Trump. Like North Korea, Iran has a highly professional and well disciplined army. While Iran does not have nuclear weapons, Iran could easily bring tends of thousands of volunteers from around the world into its ranks should America declare war, many of whom are battled hardened from fighting in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and even Yemen.

No other regional power would come to America’s aid. Saudi Arabia is both weak and useless in this sense, Egypt would not want to get involved in any case and if recent history is an example, Israel is far happier with the US fighting its wars than actively participating in them.

While Iran still has a lot of bad PR in the US, this is changing because of alt-media which has exposed to America, Iran’s role in fighting terrorism in the form of its war against ISIS and al-Qaeda in places like Syria. The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity is one such organisation based in the US which has countered a great deal of anti-Iranian propaganda.

Likewise, the Iranian community in America, even those who opposed the Islamic Revolution, are dead-set against a war on Iran and many of these individuals are wealthy, especially when compared with individual leaders and families in the larger Latin American community.

Furthermore, Russia would be extremely opposed to such a war. As Russia’s influence continues to grow in the Middle East, any war on Iran would be automatically a resumption of a partial if not a full-on Cold War between Russia and the US, more so than that which exists presently.

Finally, Donald Trump campaigned on a platform of rejecting further Middle East quagmires. For those who think that George W. Bush and Barack Obama’s wars in the Middle East were a disaster, Iran would be exponentially worse.

CONCLUSION: 

The choice for a sane Donald Trump would therefore be between a domestic information war and a war on Venezuela. The calculated logic of American aggression dictates nothing else.

Therefore, if Trump refrains from going to war with Venezuela one can say that he has, by American standards, exercised restraint. If he goes to war with North Korea, he has doomed the entire world. At this point it is also necessary to rule out a Balkan war. America has successfully honed puppet governments in both Macedonia and Montenegro. Albania has been a US puppet state for some time. Serbia remains the biggest obstacle to US hegemony in the Balkans, but the current Serbian government looks to be bending to the breaking point rather than standing up to US bullying.

Some may have noticed that I did not mention morality or international law in this discussion. The answer as to why is simple: the United States cares about neither.

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Russia calls on US to put a leash on Petro Poroshenko

The West’s pass for Mr. Poroshenko may blow up in NATO’s and the US’s face if the Ukrainian President tries to start a war with Russia.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Russia called on Washington not to ignore the Poroshenko directives creating an active military buildup along the Ukrainian-Donbass frontier, this buildup consisting of Ukrainian forces and right-wing ultranationalists, lest it “trigger the implementation of a bloody scenario”, according to a Dec 11 report from TASS.

The [Russian] Embassy [to the US] urges the US State Department to recognize the presence of US instructors in the zone of combat actions, who are involved in a command and staff and field training of Ukraine’s assault airborne brigades. “We expect that the US will bring to reason its proteges. Their aggressive plans are not only doomed to failure but also run counter to the statements of the administration on its commitment to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine by political and diplomatic means,” the statement said.

This warning came after Eduard Basurin, the deputy defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic noted that the Ukrainian army was massing troops and materiel for a possible large-scale offensive at the Mariupol section of the contact line in Donbass. According to Basurin, this action is expected to take place on 14 December. TASS offered more details:

According to the DPR’s reconnaissance data, Ukrainian troops plan to seize the DPR’s Novoazovsky and Temanovsky districts and take control over the border section with Russia. The main attack force of over 12,000 servicemen has been deployed along the contact line near the settlements of Novotroitskoye, Shirokino, and Rovnopol. Moreover, more than 50 tanks, 40 multiple missile launcher systems, 180 artillery systems and mortars have been reportedly pulled to the area, Basurin added. Besides, 12 BM-30 Smerch heavy multiple rocket launchers have been sent near Volodarsky.

The DPR has warned about possible provocations plotted by Ukrainian troops several times. Thus, in early December, the DPR’s defense ministry cited reconnaissance data indicating that the Ukrainian military was planning to stage an offensive and deliver an airstrike. At a Contact Group meeting on December 5, DPR’s Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova raised the issue of Kiev’s possible use of chemical weapons in the conflict area.

This is a continuation of the reported buildup The Duran reported in this article linked here, and it is a continuation of the full-scale drama that started with the Kerch Strait incident, which itself appears to have been staged by Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko. Following that incident, the president was able to get about half of Ukraine placed under a 30-day period of martial law, citing “imminent Russian aggression.”

President Poroshenko is arguably a dangerous man. He appears to be desperate to maintain a hold on power, though his approval numbers and support is abysmally low in Ukraine. While he presents himself as a hero, agitating for armed conflict with Russia and simultaneously interfering in the affairs of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church, he is actually one of the most dangerous leaders the world has to contend with, precisely because he is unfit to lead.

Such men and women are dangerous because their desperation makes them short-sighted, only concerned about their power and standing.

An irony about this matter is that President Poroshenko appears to be exactly what the EuroMaidan was “supposed” to free Ukraine of; that is, a stooge puppet leader that marches to orders from a foreign power and does nothing for the improvement of the nation and its citizens.

The ouster of Viktor Yanukovich was seen as the sure ticket to “freedom from Russia” for Ukraine, and it may well have been that Mr. Yanukovich was an incompetent leader. However, his removal resulted in a tryannical regíme coming into power, that resulting in the secession of two Ukrainian regions into independent republics and a third secession of strategically super-important Crimea, who voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia.

While this activity was used by the West to try to bolster its own narrative that Russia remains the evil henchman in Europe, the reality of life in Ukraine doesn’t match this allegation at all. A nation that demonstrates such behavior shows that there are many problems, and the nature of these secessions points at a great deal of fear from Russian-speaking Ukrainian people about the government that is supposed to be their own.

President Poroshenko presents a face to the world that the West is apparently willing to support, but the in-country approval of this man as leader speaks volumes. The West’s blind support of him “against Russia” may be one of the most tragic errors yet in Western foreign policy.

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Second Canadian Citizen Disappears In China

According to the he Globe and Mail, the man was identified as Michael Spavor, a Canadian whose company Peaktu Cultural Exchange brings tourists and hockey players into North Korea.

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Via Zerohedge…


For a trade war that was supposed to be between the US and China, Canada has found itself increasingly in the middle of the crossfire. And so after the arrest of a former Canadian diplomat in Beijing in retaliation for the detention of the Huawei CFO in Vancouver, Canada said a second person has been questioned by Chinese authorities, further heightening tensions between the two countries.

The second person reached out to the Canadian government after being questioned by Chinese officials, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said, at which point Canada lost contact with him. His whereabouts are currently unknown and Global Affairs Canada said they are in contact with his family.

“We haven’t been able to make contact with him since he let us know about this,” Freeland told reporters Wednesday in Ottawa. “We are working very hard to ascertain his whereabouts and we have also raised this case with Chinese authorities.”

According to the he Globe and Mail, the man was identified as Michael Spavor, a Canadian whose company Peaktu Cultural Exchange brings tourists and hockey players into North Korea. He gained fame for helping arrange a visit to Pyongyang by former NBA player Dennis Rodman, and he met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on that trip, the newspaper reported. Attempts to reach Spavor on his contact number either in China, or North Korean went straight to voicemail.

Spavor’s personal Facebook page contains several images of him with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un including one of him with both Jong-un and former Dennis Rodman at an undisclosed location.

Michael P. Spavor, right, pictured here with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, second from right, and Dennis Rodman.

Another image shows the two sharing a drink on a boat.

The unexplained disappearance takes place after China’s spy agency detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig in Beijing on Monday, who was on leave from the foreign service. The arrest came nine days after Canada arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou at the request of U.S. DOJ. While Canada has asked to see the former envoy after it was informed by fax of his arrest, Canada is unaware of Kovrig current whereabouts or the charges he faces.

“Michael did not engage in illegal activities nor did he do anything that endangered Chinese national security,” Rob Malley, chief executive officer of the ICG, said in a written statement. “He was doing what all Crisis Group analysts do: undertaking objective and impartial research.”

One possibility is that Kovrig may have been caught up in recent rule changes in China that affect non-governmental organizations, according to Bloomberg. The ICG wasn’t authorized to do work in China, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said during a regular press briefing in Beijing Wednesday.

“We welcome foreign travelers. But if they engage in activities that clearly violate Chinese laws and regulations, then it is totally another story,” he said, adding he had no information on Kovrig specifically.

As Bloomberg further notes, foreign non-governmental organizations are now required to register with the Chinese authorities under a 2017 law that subjects them to stringent reporting requirements. Under the law, organizations without a representative office in China must have a government sponsor and a local cooperative partner before conducting activities. ICG said this is the first time they’ve heard such an accusation from the Chinese authorities in a decade of working with the country. The company closed its Beijing operations in December 2016 because of the new Chinese law, according to a statement. Kovrig was working out of the Hong Kong office.

Meanwhile, realizing that it is increasingly bearing the brunt of China’s retaliatory anger, Trudeau’s government distanced itself from Meng’s case, saying it can’t interfere with the courts, but is closely involved in advocating on Kovrig’s behalf.

So far Canada has declined to speculate on whether there was a connection between the Kovrig and Meng cases, with neither Freeland nor Canadian Trade Minister Jim Carr saying Wednesday that there is any indication the cases are related. Then again, it is rather obvious they are. Indeed, Guy Saint-Jacques, who served as ambassador to China from 2012 to 2016 and worked with Kovrig, says the link is clear. “There’s no coincidence with China.”

“In this case, they couldn’t grab a Canadian diplomat because this would have created a major diplomatic incident,” he said. “Going after him I think was their way to send a message to the Canadian government and to put pressure.”

Even though Meng was granted bail late Tuesday, that did not placate China, whose foreign ministry spokesman said that “The Canadian side should correct its mistakes and release Ms. Meng Wanzhou immediately.”

The tension, according to Bloomberg,  may force Canadian companies to reconsider travel to China, and executives traveling to the Asian country will need to exercise extra caution, said Andy Chan, managing partner at Miller Thomson LLP in Vaughan, Ontario.

“Canadian business needs to look at and balance the reasons for the travel’’ between the business case and the “current political environment,’’ Chan said by email. Chinese officials subject business travelers to extra screening and in some case reject them from entering, he said.

Earlier in the day, SCMP reported that Chinese high-tech researchers were told “not to travel to the US unless it’s essential.”

And so, with Meng unlikely to be released from Canada any time soon, expect even more “Chinese (non) coincidences”, until eventually China does detain someone that the US does care about.

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Multipolar World Order in the Making: Qatar Dumps OPEC

Russia and Qatar’s global strategy also brings together and includes partners like Turkey.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The decision by Qatar to abandon OPEC threatens to redefine the global energy market, especially in light of Saudi Arabia’s growing difficulties and the growing influence of the Russian Federation in the OPEC+ mechanism.

In a surprising statement, Qatari energy minister Saad al-Kaabi warned OPEC on Monday December 3 that his country had sent all the necessary documentation to start the country’s withdrawal from the oil organization in January 2019. Al-Kaabi stressed that the decision had nothing to do with recent conflicts with Riyadh but was rather a strategic choice by Doha to focus on the production of LNG, which Qatar, together with the Russian Federation, is one of the largest global exporters of. Despite an annual oil extraction rate of only 1.8% of the total of OPEC countries (about 600,000 barrels a day), Qatar is one of the founding members of the organization and has always had a strong political influence on the governance of the organization. In a global context where international relations are entering a multipolar phase, things like cooperation and development become fundamental; so it should not surprise that Doha has decide to abandon OPEC. OPEC is one of the few unipolar organizations that no longer has a meaningful purpose in 2018, given the new realities governing international relations and the importance of the Russian Federation in the oil market.

Besides that, Saudi Arabia requires the organization to maintain a high level of oil production due to pressure coming from Washington to achieve a very low cost per barrel of oil. The US energy strategy targets Iranian and Russian revenue from oil exports, but it also aims to give the US a speedy economic boost. Trump often talks about the price of oil falling as his personal victory. The US imports about 10 million barrels of oil a day, which is why Trump wrongly believes that a decrease in the cost per barrel could favor a boost to the US economy. The economic reality shows a strong correlation between the price of oil and the financial growth of a country, with low prices of crude oil often synonymous of a slowing down in the economy.

It must be remembered that to keep oil prices low, OPEC countries are required to maintain a high rate of production, doubling the damage to themselves. Firstly, they take less income than expected and, secondly, they deplete their oil reserves to favor the strategy imposed by Saudi Arabia on OPEC to please the White House. It is clearly a strategy that for a country like Qatar (and perhaps Venezuela and Iran in the near future) makes little sense, given the diplomatic and commercial rupture with Riyadh stemming from tensions between the Gulf countries.

In contrast, the OPEC+ organization, which also includes other countries like the Russian Federation, Mexico and Kazakhstan, seems to now to determine oil and its cost per barrel. At the moment, OPEC and Russia have agreed to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day, contradicting Trump’s desire for high oil output.

With this last choice Qatar sends a clear signal to the region and to traditional allies, moving to the side of OPEC+ and bringing its interests closer in line with those of the Russian Federation and its all-encompassing oil and gas strategy, two sectors in which Qatar and Russia dominate market share.

In addition, Russia and Qatar’s global strategy also brings together and includes partners like Turkey (a future energy hub connecting east and west as well as north and south) and Venezuela. In this sense, the meeting between Maduro and Erdogan seems to be a prelude to further reorganization of OPEC and its members.

The declining leadership role of Saudi Arabia in the oil and financial market goes hand in hand with the increase of power that countries like Qatar and Russia in the energy sectors are enjoying. The realignment of energy and finance signals the evident decline of the Israel-US-Saudi Arabia partnership. Not a day goes by without corruption scandals in Israel, accusations against the Saudis over Khashoggi or Yemen, and Trump’s unsuccessful strategies in the commercial, financial or energy arenas. The path this doomed

trio is taking will only procure less influence and power, isolating them more and more from their opponents and even historical allies.

Moscow, Beijing and New Delhi, the Eurasian powerhouses, seem to have every intention, as seen at the trilateral summit in Buenos Aires, of developing the ideal multipolar frameworks to avoid continued US dominance of the oil market through shale revenues or submissive allies as Saudi Arabia, even though the latest spike in production is a clear signal from Riyadh to the USA. In this sense, Qatar’s decision to abandon OPEC and start a complex and historical discussion with Moscow on LNG in the format of an enlarged OPEC marks the definitive decline of Saudi Arabia as a global energy power, to be replaced by Moscow and Doha as the main players in the energy market.

Qatar’s decision is, officially speaking, unconnected to the feud triggered by Saudi Arabia against the small emirate. However, it is evident that a host of factors has led to this historic decision. The unsuccessful military campaign in Yemen has weakened Saudi Arabia on all fronts, especially militarily and economically. The self-inflicted fall in the price of oil is rapidly consuming Saudi currency reserves, now at a new low of less than 500 billion dollars. Events related to Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) have de-legitimized the role of Riyadh in the world as a reliable diplomatic interlocutor. The internal and external repression by the Kingdom has provoked NGOs and governments like Canada’s to issue public rebukes that have done little to help MBS’s precarious position.

In Syria, the victory of Damascus and her allies has consolidated the role of Moscow in the region, increased Iranian influence, and brought Turkey and Qatar to the multipolar side, with Tehran and Moscow now the main players in the Middle East. In terms of military dominance, there has been a clear regional shift from Washington to Moscow; and from an energy perspective, Doha and Moscow are turning out to be the winners, with Riyadh once again on the losing side.

As long as the Saudi royal family continues to please Donald Trump, who is prone to catering to Israeli interests in the region, the situation of the Kingdom will only get worse. The latest agreement on oil production between Moscow and Riyad signals that someone in the Saudi royal family has probably figured this out.

Countries like Turkey, India, China, Russia and Iran understand the advantages of belonging to a multipolar world, thereby providing a collective geopolitical ballast that is mutually beneficial. The energy alignment between Qatar and the Russian Federation seems to support this general direction, a sort of G2 of LNG gas that will only strengthen the position of Moscow on the global chessboard, while guaranteeing a formidable military umbrella for Doha in case of a further worsening of relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

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