Donald Trump’s confused foreign policy just got a lot more confusing. 24 hours after Sean Spicer claimed that regime change in Syria was no longer a viable option, Donald Trump seemed to imply the opposite.
Speaking next to Jordan’s King Abdullah, Donald Trump said that the chemical weapons attack changed his position on Syria. He seemed to believe the fake news story that it was the Syrian government that dropped chemical weapons, rather than the forensically realistic explanation provided by Russia which explained that an illegal chemical weapons depot, where terrorists hoarded their explosives, was hit during an airstrike.
When asked about his sudden about face, Trump relied,
“I do change, and I am flexible. I am proud of that flexibility”.
Well then let’s hope that Donald Trump is flexible enough to understand the truth. There was an atrocity and it was committed by the jihadists that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton armed. It was not committed by the Syrian government. Even if one was to believe Syria had the ability to commit such an atrocity (which they do not), one has to ask why Syria would do it, knowing that America might change it’s position of ‘living with Assad’, which was articulated on Tuesday by Sean Spicer and before that by Rex Tillerson. It is a twist of logic beyond the wildest science fiction.
But what is Trump’s modus operandi in this? How could he have gone from a position of non-interventionism prior to entering policies, one that he maintained during the campaign and one that he spoke of as President, to seemingly wanting regime change in Syria?
All of the possibilities ought to be explored
1. He Caved To The Deep State
The resignation of Michael Flynn and the recent demotion of Trump’s so-called right hand man, Steve Bannon, has led many to conclude that Trump has caved in the face of deep state interests who represent big war, big government, big CIA, big military-industrial complex, big Russophobia and big-Israel lobby (who detest President Assad).
Under this scenario, Trump looks like the ‘little engine that could not’, a man who tried to drain the swamp and ended up drowning
2. He Is Stupid
Many find it hard to believe that a man who questioned the mainstream media and Obama narrative on Syria in the most harsh possible terms, could now somehow buy the same kinds of lies from the same kinds of sources.
It is possible that on this occasion, he simply got it wrong and got it wrong big league.
3. Calculated Rhetoric
For months now, Donald Trump has been trying hard to shut up the likes of John McCain, Lindsay Graham, other neo-cons, the Democratic Party, the mainstream media and the war-hungry deep state.
What better way to shut them up but than to utter one of their talking points, thus taking the wind out of their sails. It could also have the effect of ebbing at least some of the nonsense that is ‘Russiagate’, America’s home made weapon of mass distraction.
Many have said that Richard Nixon killed the anti-war movement in America as well as temporarily restrained the Goldwater-Reagan wing of the Republican Party by careful rhetoric that was tough and harsh, but ultimately conciliatory.
Nixon was hated by the mainstream media of his day, long before Watergate, but in spite of this, he ended the military draft in all but name, wound down the war in Vietnam, opened up relations with the People’s Republic of China and reached détente with the Soviet Union, thus preparing the world for the deeply important Helsinki Accords of 1975.
There is indeed a strong likelihood that this is the case with Trump, not least because while The Donald claimed that his views had changed, he refused to say what they changed to. He did not quote the infamous ‘Assad must go’ line which Obama and his officials quoted in the face of every false flag incident in Syria.
Before writing Trump off as a failure, stupid or a stupid failure, this ought to be considered.
4. Speaking To His Audience
Both Donald Trump and Rex Tillerson have thus far showed a remarkable inconsistency in their statements which often appears as though their remarks are tailored to the tastes of their audience.
When Trump uttered his statement standing next to Jordan’s King Abdullah, it was as though he was reading from the Hashemite monarch’s script.
This conforms to the precedent set by Rex Tillerson who threatened Pyongyang when in Seoul, but then fly to Beijing where ‘respect’ was the word of the day and everyone played happy family.
In Turkey, Tillerson spoke of the US and Turkey being on the same page even though they are most certainly not.
He later spoke of ‘Russian threats’ against Europe which his NATO audience lapped up.
This explanation of ‘playing to the crowd’ isn’t satisfactory on its own, but it could indeed partly explain what is going on in the strange world of Donald Trump’s foreign policy.
Steve Bannon’s demotion from his seat observing the National Security Council could have indeed been a concession to China as much as it could have been a capitulation to the deep state.
5. An Excuse To Divide Syria
Although there is no official US policy on the books favouring the partition of Syria, the recent false flag attack could be used by the US as an excuse to call for the partition Syria during a possible peace deal.
After all, the US has invested too much in Kurdish forces lately to now suddenly go back to a policy of shifting their support back to jihadists, part of the failed Obama policy which Trump had widely criticised. Could this be an excuse to throw the American jihadist baby out with the Ba’ath party?
This explanation does not yet look entirely convincing, not least because a jihadi controlled Damascus would be frowned upon by the Kurds themselves. Still, this is a theory that at least deserves consideration.
Trump’s remarks are terribly worrying because they are terribly wrong.
Only time will tell if he means them.