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Very dangerous escalation in Syria

Reckless US sponsored attacks on Russian forces in Syria risk a dangerous clash

The Saker

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Republished with permission; this article was first published by The Saker

By now many of you must have heard the news: a Russian Lieutenant-General, Valery Asapov, and two Colonels have been killed in what appears to be a very precisely targeted mortar attack.  Just as in the case of the Russian military police unit recently attacked near Deir ez-Zor, the Russians are accusing the Americans of being behind this attack.  To make things even worse, the Russians are now also officially accusing the Americans of actively collaborating with ISIS:

US Special Operations Forces  units enable US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces units to smoothly advance through the ISIS formations.  Facing no resistance of the ISIS militants, the SDF units are advancing along the left shore of the Euphrates towards Deir-ez-Zor.  The aerial photos made on September 8-12 over the ISIS locations recorded a large number of American Hummer vehicles, which are in service with the America’s SOF.  The shots clearly show the US SOF units located at strongholds that had been equipped by the ISIS terrorists. Though there is no evidence of assault, struggle or any US-led coalition airstrikes to drive out the militants.  Despite that the US strongholds being located in the ISIS areas, no screening patrol has been organized at them. This suggests that the US troops feel safe in terrorist controlled regions.

These are the maps and aerial photos provided by the Russians (for higher resolution, click here)

What this all seems to point to is that the Pentagon has now apparently decided to attack Russian forces directly, albeit unofficially.   From the Pentagon’s point of view, this (almost) makes sense.

First, by now it is pretty darn clear that the “good terrorists” and the “bad terrorists” have lost the civil war in Syria.  Simply put, the USA has been defeated, Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah have won and the Israelis are now freaking out.

Second, the American plan to use the Kurds as foot-soldiers/canon-fodder has failed.  The Kurds are clearly too smart to be pulled in such a losing proposition.

Third, the American plan-B option, the partition of Syria, is now itself directly threatened by the Syrian military successes.

Last and not least, the Americans by now are deeply humiliated and enraged at the Russian success in Syria.

Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov

Hence they have now apparently taken the decision to directly target Russian military personnel and they are using their considerable reconnaissance capabilities combined with US Special Forces on the ground, working side by side with “good” and “bad” terrorists, to target and attack Russian military personnel.

This is not the first time, by the way.  There is pretty good evidence that a Russian hospital near Aleppo was targeted using means not available to the local Daesh franchise.  This time, however, the Americans are not even trying to hide.  The message seems to be this all-time American favorite “watcha gonna do about it?“.

There is a lot the Russians could do about it, in fact.  I wrote about this in my article “Using plausible deniability against a systematically lying adversary“.  If the folks at CENTCOM really believe that their generals are all safe and out of reach they are deeply mistaken.  Unlike the Russians and, even more so, the Iranians, US Generals are mostly risk averse and hard to get to in Syria.  But who said that Russia would have to retaliate in Syria?  Or, for that matter, that Russia would have to use Russian forces to retaliate.  Yes, Russia does have special units trained in the assassination of high-value targets in hostile countries, but that does not at all mean that they would decide to use them.  Accidents can happen anywhere and the roads are notoriously dangerous in the Middle-East.  Why do I mention that?  To illustrate that Russia does have options short of overtly going to war.

Of course, the Russians could simply fire a volley of Kalibr cruise missile at any of the ISIS positions shown in the photos above and then go “oops, you had personnel embedded with these al-Qaeda types?  Really?  We had no idea, no idea at all“.  Syria also have a pretty solid arsenal of tactical ballistic missiles.  The Syrians could mistakenly hit any such ISIS+US positions and express consternation at the presence of US military personnel in the midst of terrorists.  There is also Hezbollah who, in the past, has even seized Israelis soldiers in raids across the border and who could decide to capture themselves some US SOF types.    And let’s not forget the Iranians who have not had such an golden opportunity to finally get their hands on US military personnel since many years.

The three key weakness of the US force posture in Syria are: first, their own force in Syria is too small to make a difference, but big enough to represent a lucrative target and, second, all the boots on the ground which matter are against them (Syrians, Iran, Turkey, Hezbollah and the Russians).  Finally, the only two real US allies in the region are too afraid to put boots on the ground: Israel and the Saudis.

The bottom line is that if the Americans think that the Russians and their allies don’t have options they are deeply mistaken.  They also should seriously consider the consequence of having US SOF operating in forward positions.  The Syrians are closing the distance fast and this might not be the best time to hunt Russian military personnel.

So far the Russians have only limited themselves to protests and expressions of disgust.  This has clearly not been an effective strategy.  The Russians apparently don’t realize that very few people care and that the more the complain, the less credible their warnings sound.  This is not a sustainable approach and the Russians will so “have to do something about it”, to use the American expression.

Things might become very dangerous, very fast and very soon.

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Pedja
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Terry Ross
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Terry Ross

That definitely has ratchetted up the pressure on the US to pull back.
I cannot see Russians and Syrians stopping their advance at this stage.

colum
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colum

It would be defeat from the jaws of victory if they did. Militarilly and Politically they need the coup de grace as soon as possible to put this mess beyond doubt.

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal
BobValdez
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BobValdez

“The Russians apparently don’t realize that very few people care and that the more the complain, the less credible their warnings sound. ” What kind of stupid shit is this, from the saker, no less? The Russian DO realise no-one gives a shit about them or their military casualties, and they WILL retaliate, asymmetrically and under the radar. It is VITALLY inportant for Russia to make official complaints about the us and it’s terror tactics, so that when the whining seppos start bitching about Russia killing their terror troops on the ground, no-one will give a fuck then, either. I… Read more »

Norman
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Norman

Absolutely

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

Having read the entire article, I take a less literal interpretation of that sentence. In the context of the piece, that final sentence doesn’t seem to be a criticism of the Russians’ self-awareness, but perhaps a suggestion that they need to (and possibly will) turn the screw a tighter to counter US aggression. If there is one thing the Russians are meticulous about, it’s not giving the US and its allies the slimmest opportunity to condemn any Russian actions. So it seems that every step taken by the the Russians is signposted in huge neon lights, to cover every propaganda… Read more »

Suzanne Giraud
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Suzanne Giraud

Bingo!

Putin's baby
Guest
Putin's baby

Americans always, always underestimate their many enemies…. Russian will do something. In fact not too long ago, they fired some cruise missiles which killed us, British and yidreali officers…

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

But…But… They did win in Grenada ?? Didn’t they ??

PhoebeDHarry
Guest
PhoebeDHarry

Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
On tuesday I got a brand new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
!sz105d:
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Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

SamanthaDFujiwara only cheap two bit Ho are making home porn for $97 an hour ??

mnedes
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mnedes

The US doesn’t have to win wars, we just have to foment chaos. Be evil.

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

Chaos ?? & we know, who started it ? A doctor, an engineer, a rabbi and a lawyer were debating who was the world’s first professional. The Doctor said, “It must have been a doctor. Who else could have helped with the world’s first surgery of taking a rib from Adam to create Eve, the first woman?” “No,” said the rabbi. “It must have been a rabbi, since the Lord needed someone to help preach his message to Adam and the world.” “Wait,” said the engineer. “The world was created in 6 days from nothing. Do you know what a… Read more »

Gavin Allen
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Gavin Allen

More pathetic propaganda from the Duran. Never happened.

Norman
Guest
Norman

You smell really bad

Ray Joseph Cormier
Guest

I believe this is True, “First, by now it is pretty darn clear that the “good terrorists” and the “bad terrorists” have lost the civil war in Syria. Simply put, the USA has been defeated, Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah have won and the Israelis are now freaking out.” As for American behaviour these Days, I see the US is acting out these Projections from 1976; On September 13, 1976, the major daily THE KANSAS CITY TIMES published this Vision of the FUTURE: “He came to town for the Republican National Convention and will stay until the election in November… Read more »

dago dingo
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dago dingo

Would love nothing more than watching the Kalibr’s rain down on ISIS/U.S positions anywhere in Syria or Iraq, would also love to see some scum Israeli fighter jets blown out of the sky so as to send a very clear message to these thugs & their controllers in the deep state.

Woodshedding
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Woodshedding

Everyone keeps talking as though war with Russia weren’t the BIGGEST GOAL of the powers that be.

Robert Ferguson
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Robert Ferguson

“Powers that be” = Zionist Jews

john vieira
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john vieira

The script is being played out. Trump’s U turn after Merkel’s visit, the false flag gas attack, cruise missile shots into Syria and bellying up to the Brussels ‘bar’ to ‘derail’ Le Pen…and the deflection with Kim to cover their continued aiding and abetting of ISIS…Pity the Germans did not ‘oust’ Merkel…

Bong
Guest
Bong

RUSSIAN SHOULD KILL ALL FUCKING AMERICA AND THEIR COUNTER PARTIES IN SYRIA IN LAND OR OFF SHORE. BLOW ALL FUCKING US NAVY VESSEL TO THE BOTTOM OF THE ATLANTIC WITH ALL ON BOARD AND EQUIPMENT.

Pete Mangum
Guest
Pete Mangum

guys like Ron Paul have been warning about this for decades, all to no avail. American boobus are about to learn a hard lesson for not listening to him!

Isabella Jones
Guest
Isabella Jones

” The Russians apparently don’t realize that very few people care and that the more the complain, the less credible their warnings sound. ” Must admit to being a little surprised to see Saker taking a PCR line, and assuming that he knows more and better than the leaders in the Kremlin. Putin, and following him his hand picked team, have taken a cautious, calculated approach. There is a saying in Russia “you never hurry unless catching fleas”. Well, we might think of Yanks that way morally – yes they are fleas – but in truth, taking them on in… Read more »

tomo stojanovic
Guest
tomo stojanovic

I think you are right – Eastern Europeans have different mentality – in Serbia where I am from people try to do their best and they don’t worry at all what others will think about them. The first story I remember being taught in primary school was from I think the 1001 Nights by Scheherazade – called You cannot please Everyone or something like that. A man rides a donkey and his son pulls the donkey. They bump into a guy who tells the father to swap positions with his son, the other one later tells them that nobody should… Read more »

Isabella Jones
Guest
Isabella Jones

Very true re the story of the man, boy and donkey tomo. Something we have to learn early in life – impossible to please everyone. You just have to work out if what you are doing is right, and you are doing your best and not hurting anyone if it can helped, and then let others make of it / you what they will. It never ceases to amaze me the extent so many people, Anglos’ especially, will let their concern of what others think influence them. I knew one lady who fell in love with a beautiful outfit of… Read more »

Thomas
Guest

Let’s hope and pray a sea of American General rank officers and CIA types are spilled rather quickly to allow the world to watch the yellow streak the runs down their spines come to bloom when Push has turned into Shove.

Suzanne Giraud
Guest
Suzanne Giraud

Patience: just give the CIA/MOSSAD possessed soup of brands enough rope for the world to see WHO is the aggressor. And then, the legally-present and allied Justice can be released with full fury.

Keith Smith
Guest
Keith Smith

it seems that americans are monitoring the movement of all SAA and Russian military activites with drones and satelites, and reporting information to ISIS

Latest

FBI recommended Michael Flynn not have lawyer present during interview, did not warn of false statement consequences

Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18.

Washington Examiner

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Via The Washington Examiner…


Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who arranged the bureau’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 — the interview that ultimately led to Flynn’s guilty plea on one count of making false statements — suggested Flynn not have a lawyer present at the session, according to newly-filed court documents. In addition, FBI officials, along with the two agents who interviewed Flynn, decided specifically not to warn him that there would be penalties for making false statements because the agents wanted to ensure that Flynn was “relaxed” during the session.

The new information, drawn from McCabe’s account of events plus the FBI agents’ writeup of the interview — the so-called 302 report — is contained in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s defense team.

Citing McCabe’s account, the sentencing memo says that shortly after noon on Jan. 24 — the fourth day of the new Trump administration — McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone in Flynn’s West Wing office. The two men discussed business briefly and then McCabe said that he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with Flynn to discuss Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

McCabe, by his own account, urged Flynn to talk to the agents alone, without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,” McCabe wrote. “I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”

Within two hours, the agents were in Flynn’s office. According to the 302 report quoted in the Flynn sentencing document, the agents said Flynn was “relaxed and jocular” and offered the agents “a little tour” of his part of the White House.

“The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview,” the Flynn memo says. According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport.”

The agents had, of course, seen transcripts of Flynn’s wiretapped conversations with Russian then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak. “Before the interview, FBI officials had also decided that if ‘Flynn said he did not remember something they knew he said, they would use the exact words Flynn used … to try to refresh his recollection. If Flynn still would not confirm what he said … they would not confront him or talk him through it,'” the Flynn memo says, citing the FBI 302.

“One of the agents reported that Gen. Flynn was ‘unguarded’ during the interview and ‘clearly saw the FBI agents as allies,'” the Flynn memo says, again citing the 302.

Later in the memo, Flynn’s lawyers argue that the FBI treated Flynn differently from two other Trump-Russia figures who have pleaded guilty to and been sentenced for making false statements. One of them, Alexander Van der Zwaan, “was represented by counsel during the interview; he was interviewed at a time when there was a publicly disclosed, full-bore investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election; and he was given a warning that it is a federal crime to lie during the interview,” according to the memo. The other, George Papadopoulos, “was specifically notified of the seriousness of the investigation…was warned that lying to investigators was a ‘federal offense’…had time to reflect on his answers…and met with the FBI the following month for a further set of interviews, accompanied by his counsel, and did not correct his false statements.”

The message of the sentencing memo is clear: Flynn, his lawyers suggest, was surprised, rushed, not warned of the context or seriousness of the questioning, and discouraged from having a lawyer present.

That is all the sentencing document contains about the interview itself. In a footnote, Flynn’s lawyers noted that the government did not object to the quotations from the FBI 302 report.

In one striking detail, footnotes in the Flynn memo say the 302 report cited was dated Aug. 22, 2017 — nearly seven months after the Flynn interview. It is not clear why the report would be written so long after the interview itself.

The brief excerpts from the 302 used in the Flynn defense memo will likely spur more requests from Congress to see the original FBI documents. Both House and Senate investigating committees have demanded that the Justice Department allow them to see the Flynn 302, but have so far been refused.

In the memo, Flynn’s lawyers say that he made a “serious error in judgment” in the interview. Citing Flynn’s distinguished 30-plus year record of service in the U.S. Army, they ask the judge to go along with special counsel Robert Mueller’s recommendation that Flynn be spared any time in prison.

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Macron offers crumbs to protestors in bid to save his globalist agenda (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 36.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at French President Macron’s pathetic display of leadership as he offers protestors little in the way of concessions while at the same time promising to crack down hard on any and all citizens who resort to violence.

Meanwhile France’s economy is set for a deep recession as French output and production grinds to a halt.

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Via Zerohedge


As if Brussels didn’t have its hands full already with Italy and the UK, the European Union will soon be forced to rationalize why one of its favorite core members is allowed to pursue populist measures to blow out its budget deficit to ease domestic unrest while another is threatened with fines potentially amounting to billions of euros.

When blaming Russia failed to quell the widespread anger elicited by his policies, French President Emmanuel Macron tried to appease the increasingly violent “yellow vests” protesters who have sacked his capital city by offering massive tax cuts that could blow the French budget out beyond the 3% budget threshold outlined in the bloc’s fiscal rules.

Given the concessions recently offered by Italy’s populists, Macron’s couldn’t have picked a worse time to challenge the bloc’s fiscal conventions. As Bloomberg pointed out, these rules will almost certainly set the Continent’s second largest economy on a collision course with Brussels. To be clear, Macron’s offered cuts come with a price tag of about €11 billion according to Les Echos, and will leave the country with a budget gap of 3.5% of GDP in 2019, with one government official said the deficit may be higher than 3.6%.

By comparison, Italy’s initial projections put its deficit target at 2.4%, a number which Europe has repeatedly refused to consider.

Macron’s promises of fiscal stimulus – which come on top of his government’s decision to delay the planned gas-tax hikes that helped inspire the protests – were part of a broader ‘mea culpa’ offered by Macron in a speech Monday night, where he also planned to hike France’s minimum wage.

Of course, when Brussels inevitably objects, perhaps Macron could just show them this video of French police tossing a wheelchair-bound protester to the ground.

Already, the Italians are complaining.  Speaking on Tuesday, Italian cabinet undersecretary Giancarlo Giorgetti said Italy hasn’t breached the EU deficit limit. “I repeat that from the Italian government there is a reasonable approach, if there is one also from the EU a solution will be found.”

“France has several times breached the 3% deficit. Italy hasn’t done it. They are different situations. There are many indicators to assess.”

Still, as one Guardian columnist pointed out in an op-ed published Tuesday morning, the fact that the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) organizers managed to pressure Macron to cave and grant concessions after just 4 weeks of protests will only embolden them to push for even more radical demands: The collapse of the government of the supremely unpopular Macron.

Then again, with Brussels now facing certain accusations of hypocrisy, the fact that Macron was pressured into the exact same populist measures for which Italy has been slammed, the French fiasco raises the odds that Rome can pass any deficit measure it wants with the EU now forced to quietly look away even as it jawbones all the way from the bank (i.e., the German taxpayers).

“Macron’s spending will encourage Salvini and Di Maio,” said Giovanni Orsina, head of the School of Government at Rome’s Luiss-Guido Carli University. “Macron was supposed to be the spearhead of pro-European forces, if he himself is forced to challenge EU rules, Salvini and Di Maio will jump on that to push their contention that those rules are wrong.”

While we look forward to how Brussels will square this circle, markets are less excited.

Exhausted from lurching from one extreme to another following conflicting headlines, traders are already asking if “France is the new Italy.” The reason: the French OAT curve has bear steepened this morning with 10Y yields rising as much as ~6bp, with the Bund/OAT spread reaching the widest since May 2017 and the French presidential election. Though well below the peaks of last year, further widening would push the gap into levels reserved for heightened political risk.

As Bloomberg macro analyst Michael Read notes this morning, it’s hard to see a specific near-term trigger blowing out the Bund/OAT spread but the trend looks likely to slowly drift higher.

While Macron has to fight on both domestic and European fronts, he’ll need to keep peace at home to stay on top. Remember that we saw the 10Y spread widen to ~80bps around the May ’17 elections as concerns of a move toward the political fringe played out in the markets, and the French President’s popularity ratings already look far from rosy.

And just like that France may have solved the Italian crisis.

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Watch: Democrat Chuck Schumer shows his East Coast elitism on live TV

Amazing moment in which the President exhibits “transparency in government” and shows the world who the Democrat leaders really are.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency was because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – against Democrat policy decisions and “stupid government” in general.

One of the reasons President Donald Trump is reviled is because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – in the American political scene.

In other words, there are two reactions to the same characteristic. On Tuesday, the President did something that probably cheered and delighted a great many Americans who witnessed this.

The Democrats have been unanimous in taking any chance to roast the President, or to call for his impeachment, or to incite violence against him. But Tuesday was President Trump’s turn. He invited the two Democrat leaders, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and then, he turned the cameras on:

As Tucker Carlson notes, the body language from Schumer was fury. The old (something)-eating grin covered up humiliation, embarrassment and probably no small amount of fear, as this whole incident was filmed and broadcast openly and transparently to the American public. Nancy Pelosi was similarly agitated, and she expressed it later after this humiliation on camera, saying, “It’s like a manhood thing for him… As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

She didn’t stop there. According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Queen Bee took the rhetoric a step below even her sense of dignity:

Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn’t enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he’s scared to run away with his tail between his legs.

“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

This represented the first salvo in a major spin-job for the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat. The rhetoric spun by Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was desperate as they tried to deflect their humiliation and place it back on the President:

With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be “proud” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.

Pelosi told Democrats that Trump’s boisterousness will be beneficial for them.

“The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said. “That was an accomplishment.”

The press tried to characterize this as a “Trump Tantrum”, saying things like this lede:

While “discussing” a budgetary agreement for the government, President Donald Trump crossed his arms and declared: “we will shut down the government if there is no wall.”

While the Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are sure to largely buy these interpretations of the event, the fact that this matter was televised live shows that the matter was entirely different, and this will be discomfiting to all but those Democrats and Trump-dislikers that will not look at reality.

There appears to be a twofold accomplishment for the President in this confrontation:

  1. The President revealed to his support base the real nature of the conversation with the Democrat leadership, because anyone watching this broadcast (and later, video clip) saw it unedited with their own eyes. They witnessed the pettiness of both Democrats and they witnessed a President completely comfortable and confident about the situation.
  2. President Trump probably made many of his supporters cheer with the commitment to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his border wall funding. This cheering is for both the strength shown about getting the wall finished and the promise to shut the government down, and further, Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would be “proud” to shut the government down, taking complete ownership willingly, reflects a sentiment that many of his supporters share.

The usual pattern is for the media, Democrats and even some Republicans to create a “scare” narrative about government shutdowns, about how doing this is a sure-fire path to chaos and suffering for the United States.

But the educated understanding of how shutdowns work reveals something completely different. Vital services never close. However, National Parks can close partly or completely, and some non-essential government agencies are shuttered. While this is an inconvenience for the employees furloughed during the shutdown, they eventually are re-compensated for the time lost, and are likely to receive help during the shutdown period if they need it. The impact on the nation is minimal, aside from the fact that the government stops spending money at the same frenetic pace as usual.

President Trump’s expression of willingness to do this action and his singling out of the Dem leadership gives the Democrats a real problem. Now the entire country sees their nature. As President Trump is a populist, this visceral display of Democrat opposition and pettiness will make at least some impact on the population, even that group of people who are not Trump fans.

The media reaction and that of the Democrats here show, amazingly, that after three years-plus of Donald Trump being a thorn in their side, they still do not understand how he works, and they also cannot match it against their expected “norms” of establishment behavior.

This may be a brilliant masterstroke, and it also may be followed up by more. The President relishes head-to-head conflict. The reactions of these congress members showed who they really are.

Let the games begin.

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