Donald Trump and the deep state appear to be singing off the same hymn sheet. Defence contractors stocks are going up, war is being both threatened and waged, NATO is in and America first is out. Of equal importance to Donald Trump’s short term political smooth sailing, the country is more united and his conservative base it totally divided.
The differences between Donald Trump and the deep state seem to be merely over matters of degree at this stage. The war party represented best by H.R. McMaster in the Cabinet and John McCain/Lindsey Graham in the Senate want more and more war.
By contrast, it has been speculated Trump prefers a more Reaganite strategy of short and ineffective bombings followed by an extended victory lap for domestic consumption.
But what if the Reaganite interpretation is incorrect? What if Donald Trump actually wants to drop bombs and lots of them in many places?
Between Donald Trump’s warm words about the Syria attack, the MOAB drop in Afghanistan, ominous Tweets about North Korea and the ‘zero-gravity nuke test’ in the Nevada desert of the American west, something is emerging that has a kind of ‘made for TV war’ quality about it. This of course screams Trump Brand War.
I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea. If they are unable to do so, the U.S., with its allies, will! U.S.A.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2017
Under Trump, tensions between North Korea and the US are higher than they have been since the 1950s, far exceeding the tensions of 1994. The much vaunted ‘element of surprise’ to Trump’s military strategy, also seems like a self-evident personal touch.
During the campaign, Trump spoke of not telling ISIS where, when and how the US would hit them. That seemed like an entirely fair point so long as the ‘when, wheres and hows’, were legal according to international law.
But now, Trump has taken the element of surprise tactic and applied it to which country will be bombed next and when. Again, it seems more like a cliff-hanger episode of The Apprentice than actual geo-politics. It’s more reality TV than foreign policy realism.
When it comes to melodrama, Trump found a tailor made adversary in North Korea. The North Korean leadership have an undeniably cartoonish element about them and always have done.
By contrast, Bashar al-Assad is doctor by training and gentleman by approach and demeanour. There is nothing of the ‘super-villain’ to Assad. In fact he looks, speaks and manifestly acts far more moderately than most American or European politicians. For these reasons and because Assad is fighting ISIS and al-Qaeda and doing so increasingly effectively, it is difficult to paint him as the ‘bad guy’, however hard the biased mainstream media attempt to do.
Of course having Russia and Iran fighting with Syria is a matter of fact deterrent for further American attacks. After all, Hollywood doesn’t like unhappy endings and Russia and Iran could arrange such a thing if they wanted to.
When it comes to cartoon villains, it would be nice if Donald Trump decided to take on the super-monsters of the fascist regime in Kiev. The problem is that not many Americans know nor care about who Stepan Bandera is and probably even fewer know the history of Donbass as the cradle of the Russian industrial revolution. In order words–bad for the deep state and perhaps more importantly for Trump, bad for TV.
So back to North Korea, the cartoonish state whose announcements are almost as crazy as those coming from Sean Spicer and CNN and on a much smaller budget too.
Trump after all said during the campaign that it might be advisable to assassinate Kim Jong-Un. Clearly this rivalry between two political newcomers, long predates Donald Trump’s one week old enthusiasm for Middle East militarism and regime change.
What if Trump takes it too far? The deep state are good at bullying small countries without nuclear weapons, but North Korea has nuclear weapons in spite of its size.
Could we actually be reaching a point where the deep state that Trump was ‘going to restrain’ might actually be a restraining force on Trump?
Stranger things have happened and indeed could happen. They may even be happening now.