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National Security Advisor McMaster accused of undermining Trump

It appears that Donald Trump is powerless to surround himself with those who might support his policies and manner of executing those policies.

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New claims from two former National Security Council officials implicate the current US National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster as an individual attempting to sabotage Donald Trump’s foreign policy.

According to the Daily Caller, one of the officials stated,

“Everything the president wants to do, McMaster opposes.

Tump wants to get us out of Afghanistan — McMaster wants to go in. Trump wants to get us out of Syria — McMaster wants to go in. Trump wants to deal with the China issue — McMaster doesn’t. Trump wants to deal with the Islam issue — McMaster doesn’t. You know, across the board, we want to get rid of the Iran deal — McMaster doesn’t. It is incredible to watch it happening right in front of your face. Absolutely stunning”.

The source continued,

“I know that the president isn’t a big fan of what McMaster’s doing. I don’t understand why he’s allowing a guy who is subverting his foreign policy at every turn to remain in place.

I just fear there is a real creeping of status quo thinking that is taking over the place. I was upset while I was there in seeing how empowered Obama holdovers under McMaster were to essentially perpetuate Obama-era policies”.

There are several important points this story raises. First of all, the source is a so-called anonymous former official. As is the case with both pro-Trump and anti-Trump anonymous sources, some of what they say might be the full truth, some might be a half truth and some might be total fiction, either authored by the source or authored by a journalist pretending to be the source. I am not challenging the credibility of the journalist who wrote this particular piece, but merely pointing out a general and unavoidable trend in modern American political discourse and reportage.

However, once one accepts this cautionary prism through which any such story must be viewed, one can attempt to piece together bits of what are known facts in order to interpret the veracity of the initial claim.

It is widely known that McMaster favours a traditional ‘deep state’ approach to geo-politics. The idea that he is more of this ‘Obama mindset’ than that of Donald Trump or apparently the pragmatic Rex Tillerson seems beyond question.

At this point it helps to break things down on a case by case basis.

The anonymous source accuses McMaster of being opposed to withdrawal from Afghanistan and Syria. Such views are consistent with the Obama line on foreign policy which remained firmly committed to an indefinite, however ineffective presence in Afghanistan as well as to regime change in Syria.

In respect of China and Iran, the statement from the anonymous sources appears to be more contrived. Practically, Donald Trump’s view on China and Iran does not differ greatly from that of the Obama administration. In both cases, the US sought to provoke China in the South China Sea, voice opposition to the One Belt–One Road initiative and cause trouble along various points in China’s belt and road, including Iran.

The main difference is one of rhetoric, as Obama’s subtle insults to China have been replaced by overtly insulting statements to China under Donald Trump.

In respect of Iran, the Obama administration eventually signed the so-called Iran nuclear deal to save face. Even the perennial war party in Washington realises at some level that a traditional war with Iran would be a disaster for the US and one that the US does not need.

Therefore, the Iran deal ought to be seen as Barack Obama’s moment to declare that he solved a crisis which was of America’s making in the first place. Put another way, America was able to avoid a war that only America could have begun in the first place.

This seems to irk Donald Trump due to his low level of respect for Obama. Apart from this rhetorical difference, the broader pro-Israel and anti-Iran sentiments in Washington have not change to any great degree since the Obama years. The difference between Democratic and Republican on Iran are largely a difference of style rather than substance.

Thus,  the statement about McMaster having different views from Donald Trump on Iran and China seems tailor made for a pro-Trump audience, which is that the Daily Caller’s readers generally are.

That being said, many have hinted at the fact that McMaster represents a ‘business as usual’ attitude in Washington, one that was bound to clash with Donald Trump’s outsider style in one way or another.

If this is indeed the case, the question that becomes important is as follows: Why does Donald Trump continue to surround himself with those who undermine his policies and challenge his credibility? This leads to an even more important question: Why is Donald Trump seemingly powerless to remove such people from his White House?

The most pessimistic answer to this question is that the deep state runs the show and that the President is merely an advisor to those who are supposed to be advising him. A slightly less pessimistic answer is that Trump is simply hamstrung by the environment in Washington which is manifestly opposed to his style of government and even to his policies.

There is sadly no optimistic answer, even if the report from the Daily Caller is fictional.

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Trump Has Gifted “No More Wars” Policy Position To Bernie Sanders (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 148.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss how US President Donald Tump appears to have ceded his popular 2016 ‘no more wars’ campaign message and policy position to Bernie Sanders and any other US 2020 candidate willing to grad onto a non-interventionist approach to the upcoming Democrat primaries.

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“Is Bernie Stealing Trump’s ‘No More Wars’ Issue?” by Patrick J. Buchanan…


The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016.

“The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars… I agree with that,” Bernie Sanders told the Fox News audience at Monday’s town hall meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Then turning and staring straight into the camera, Bernie added:

“Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”

Sanders was talking about a War Powers Act resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the five-year civil war in Yemen that has created one of the great humanitarian crises of our time, with thousands of dead children amidst an epidemic of cholera and a famine.

Supported by a united Democratic Party on the Hill, and an anti-interventionist faction of the GOP led by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee of Utah, the War Powers resolution had passed both houses of Congress.

But 24 hours after Sanders urged him to sign it, Trump, heeding the hawks in his Cabinet and National Security Council, vetoed S.J.Res.7, calling it a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

With sufficient Republican votes in both houses to sustain Trump’s veto, that should be the end of the matter.

It is not: Trump may have just ceded the peace issue in 2020 to the Democrats. If Sanders emerges as the nominee, we will have an election with a Democrat running on the “no-more-wars” theme Trump touted in 2016. And Trump will be left defending the bombing of Yemeni rebels and civilians by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Does Trump really want to go into 2020 as a war party president?

Does he want to go into 2020 with Democrats denouncing “Trump’s endless wars” in the Middle East? Because that is where he is headed.

In 2008, John McCain, leading hawk in the Senate, was routed by a left-wing first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who had won his nomination by defeating the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, who had voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

In 2012, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who was far more hawkish than Obama on Russia, lost.

Yet, in 2016, Trump ran as a different kind of Republican, an opponent of the Iraq War and an anti-interventionist who wanted to get along with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and get out of these Middle East wars.

Looking closely at the front-running candidates for the Democratic nomination of 2020 — Joe Biden, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker — not one appears to be as hawkish as Trump has become.

Trump pulled us out of the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and reimposed severe sanctions.

He declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, to which Iran has responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist organization. Ominously, the IRGC and its trained Shiite militias in Iraq are in close proximity to U.S. troops.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy there, closed the consulate that dealt with Palestinian affairs, cut off aid to the Palestinians, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967, and gone silent on Bibi Netanyahu’s threat to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Sanders, however, though he stands by Israel, is supporting a two-state solution and castigating the “right-wing” Netanyahu regime.

Trump has talked of pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the troops are still there.

Though Trump came into office promising to get along with the Russians, he sent Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and announced a pullout from Ronald Reagan’s 1987 INF treaty that outlawed all land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

When Putin provocatively sent 100 Russian troops to Caracas — ostensibly to repair the S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system that was damaged in recent blackouts — Trump, drawing a red line, ordered the Russians to “get out.”

Biden is expected to announce next week. If the stands he takes on Russia, China, Israel and the Middle East are more hawkish than the rest of the field, he will be challenged by the left wing of his party, and by Sanders, who voted “no” on the Iraq War that Biden supported.

The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016. And the anti-interventionist wing of the GOP is growing.

And when added to the anti-interventionist and anti-war wing of the Democratic Party on the Hill, together, they are able, as on the Yemen War Powers resolution, to produce a new bipartisan majority.

Prediction: By the primaries of 2020, foreign policy will be front and center, and the Democratic Party will have captured the “no-more-wars” political high ground that Candidate Donald Trump occupied in 2016.

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Over 200 killed, hundreds injured in series of blasts at Sri Lankan hotels & churches

A series of bombings hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people.

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Via RT…


A series of eight explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with over 200 killed and hundreds injured, media reported, citing police.

The blasts started at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted. At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed.

Two more explosions happened later in the day, targeting two more locations in Colombo. All attacks appear to have been coordinated.

At least 207 people were killed, Reuters reported, citing police. More than 450 were injured in the attacks.

Alleged footage of the aftermath, shared on social media, showed chaos and large-scale destruction inside at least one of the churches.

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Mike Pompeo reveals true motto of CIA: ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 147.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at a Texas A&M University speech, and subsequent interview, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The former CIA Director admitted, ‘as an aside’ to the question asked, that the Intelligence agency he headed up before being appointed as the top US Diplomat had a motto “we lied, we cheated, we stole”…which, according to Pompeo, contained entire CIA training courses based on ‘lying, cheating and stealing.’

Pompeo finally speaks some truth.

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