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5 reasons why Donald Trump’s missile strike was a massive blunder

By launching his missile strike the President has destroyed his reputation for consistency, emboldened his enemies and dismayed his friends.

Alexander Mercouris

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Following Napoleon’s murder in March 1804 of the Duc d’Enghien, Napoleon’s chief of police, Joseph Fouché, said of the murder C’est pire qu’un crime, c’est une faute” –“It was worse than a crime; it was a blunder.”  President Trump’s missile strike on Sharyat air base in Syria was like the Duc d’Enghien’s murder, not just a crime but a blunder.

Reasons given for why President Trump ordered the missile strike differ.

President Trump himself claims it was due to his revulsion at the horror of the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun, which he insists – but which no independent investigation has confirmed – was carried out by President Assad’s air force.

US Secretary of State Tillerson and President Trump’s National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster say the same thing, but also say the missile strike was a signal of the President’s toughness and his unwillingness to tolerate the crossing of his red lines.

Others more cynically claim it was to distract attention away from Russiagate and to secure the President’s position in Washington.

There is probably truth to all these claims.  However none of them change the fact that the missile strike was a big mistake.  Here’s why:

(1) All of the evidence suggests that the missile strike was a demonstration of force and that the President does not intend it to escalate into a campaign for regime change in Syria.

Not only was that what Tillerson and McMaster said at their joint news conference but the strike itself – with the Russians and the Syrians given hours of warning time before it happened, and with the strike itself limited in scope and carried out on a far smaller scale than the one President Obama apparently envisaged in 2013 – suggest the same thing.

That suggests that the President still does not want to become bogged down in a regime change war in Syria.

If so he will soon find that he has put himself on the slippery slope.

Just as the sacking of General Flynn emboldened the President’s critics in the Russiagate affair, causing the scandal to escalate far beyond the point it had reached before, so the missile attack on Sharyat air base has fed red meat to the regime change hardliners in Washington and elsewhere.  They will certainly come back for more, and having given them red meat once the President is now in a much weaker position to refuse them.

Moreover regardless of what exactly happened at Khan Sheikhoun, the Jihadis in Syria now know that all they have to do is stage a chemical attack and the President will oblige them by launching missiles on President Assad’s forces without an investigation and without seeking Congressional or UN Security Council approval.  That all but guarantees that staging more chemical attacks is precisely what the Jihadis will now do.

One does not have to be a prophet to see how this situation could escalate from now on, even if that is not the President’s wish, and how he is now in a much weaker position to prevent that happening.

(2) The President started his Presidency by saying he wanted to improve relations with Russia.  Not only has he instead enraged the Russians, making relations with Russia even worse than they already were, but the Russians are certain to see the missile strike as a challenge and will respond accordingly.  Already they are talking about beefing up Syria’s air defences and have closed down the hotline between their military in Syria and that of the US.

Not only will that complicate the US’s anti-ISIS operations in Syria, but it magnifies the risk of a dangerous confrontation with the Russians in Syria, which is precisely.what the President and his officials – as shown by their tip-off to the Russians before the strike – obviously want to avoid.

(3) Then there is the key issue of trust.

Within just a week, following reports of a single attack, the President has reversed course, going from a position where he appeared to be accepting the reality that President Assad will remain the leader of Syria to one where he is attacking him and where his officials are once more talking of the importance of removing him.

Not only will the Russians conclude that this President is someone who cannot be trusted, but governments around the world – including many of the US’s key European allies – will be shocked at how easy it is for this President to reverse course and to do the opposite of what he said he would do before, and do so moreover without any proper discussion or consultation, and without even pretending to observe the forms of international and domestic law.

In international relations consistency is the quality which more than any other is the one that is most prized.  Governments need to be sure that a Great Power like the US follows consistent  policies.  That way other governments can adjust their own policies to take into account those of the US.

It was for this reason, because launching the attack so completely trashed the President’s reputation for consistency in his conduct of policy, that before the missile attack I doubted it would happen.

Governments around the world – including the government of China, whose President the US has just hosted – now know that with this administration the US can reverse policy at the drop of a hat.  Not only will that worry them but they now also know that whatever this President says cannot be trusted because he can go back on it so quickly.

That will inevitably make international affairs more unstable, since governments now know that this President cannot be fully trusted, something which will make it more difficult for him to cut the deals he craves.

(4) If the President believed when he launched his missiles that it would end criticism of him and obstruction of his administration by his opponents, then he will be quickly discover that it has done no such thing.  The President’s opponents have far too much invested in the narrative of Donald Trump the new Mussolini or Caligula to back off from it now.  I doubt they will even back off from the Russiagate allegations, absurd though those are.

Within a few days, once the plaudits for the missile strikes have faded, the President will quickly find that the view of him of his opponents in Washington is the same as always, and that if anything, by launching his missile strike without first consulting Congress, he has given them another stick with which to beat him with.  I note that Nancy Pelosi – one of the President’s most vehement critics – is already calling for a full debate in the House to discuss the issue of authorisation for the President’s action.

(5) By contrast, if the President has not won over his critics, he has beyond question upset and demoralised the most intelligent and vocal part of his own political base.

One of the most interesting facts about the events of the last few days is that whilst Barack Obama’s liberal supporters continued to back him even as he went back entirely on the anti-war stance he appeared to hold before he was elected, Donald Trump’s supporters take their anti-war and anti-interventionist position extremely seriously, and are not prepared to compromise on it.  The result is that far from defending the President for what he has done, they have turned on him and feel betrayed.

Donald Trump himself senses this.  This is shown by the fact that since the missile attack, far from assuming a triumphalist tone, he has only mentioned the attack twice in tweets, one a token tweet congratulating the military for the success of the operation, the other a highly defensive tweet in which he tried to explain away the lack of damage to the runway.  Otherwise, except in formal statements such as his letter to Congress, he has avoided talking about it.

Indeed it is not impossible that the result of the missile attack – especially if it is followed by others – will be to revive a moribund anti-war movement which had all but disappeared during Obama’s Presidency.  It is easy to see how the right and left wings of this movement might now come together – as happened during the Presidency of George W. Bush – in the case of the anti-movement’s right wing because it genuinely opposes interventionist wars, in the case of the anti-war movement’s left wing because some of its members sincerely oppose interventionist wars but mainly because it hates a right wing Republican President.

Needless to say if such a thing does happen then the President’s political problems will multiply a thousand-fold.

The first law of politics – in the US as everywhere else – is to look after your own base.  All successful politicians understand this.  On Friday Donald Trump shocked and upset his base, and once the temporary afterglow of the missile strike wares off (which it quickly will) he will pay the political price.

What the events of the last week show is that almost a hundred days after his inauguration Donald Trump remains an amateur who continues to be out of his depth.  Instead of making carefully judged decisions he makes his decisions on impulse, in a hurry and on the fly.

Sometimes, in the short term, some of these decisions help him.  More often they cause him problems.  Over time, because of the ill-judged and hurried way he makes his decisions, they will make more and more problems for him.  Moreover there doesn’t seem much evidence so far of his learning from his mistakes.  The missile strike on Syria was the biggest one by far, but it is all too likely that more and worse will follow.

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Putin, Trump meet in Helsinki for first bilateral summit

The Helsinki summit is the first ever full-fledged meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Their previous encounters were brief talks on the sidelines of the G20 and APEC summits in 2017.

Vladimir Rodzianko

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump are meeting in the Finnish capital of Helsinki for their first bilateral one-on-one meeting.

Trump arrived in the Finland capital a day early, while the jet of Putin, who wrapped up his nation’s hosting of the World Cup Sunday, touched down around 1 p.m. local time and the Russian president’s motorcade whisked him straight to the palace where the two world leaders are meeting.

Trump signed an August 2017 law imposing additional sanctions on Russia. The law bars Trump from easing many sanctions without Congress’ approval, but he can offer some relief without a nod from Congress.

Almost 700 Russian people and companies are under U.S. sanctions. Individuals face limits on their travel and freezes on at least some of their assets, while some top Russian state banks and companies, including oil and gas giants, are effectively barred from getting financing through U.S. banks and markets.

The agenda of the summit hasn’t been officially announced yet, though, the presidents are expected to discuss global crises, such as the Syrian conflict and Ukraine, as well as bilateral relations.

Stay tuned for updates…

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“Foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails (Video)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx): Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails was hacked by foreign actor, and it was not Russia.

Alex Christoforou

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A stunning revelation that hardly anyone in the mainstream media is covering.

Fox News gave Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) the opportunity to explain what was going on during his questioning of Peter Strzok, when the the Texas Congressman stated that a “foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Aside from this segment on Fox News, this story is not getting any coverage, and we know why. It destroys the entire ‘Russia hacked Hillary’ narrative.

Gohmert states that this evidence is irrefutable and shows that a foreign actor, not connected to Russia in any way, intercepted and distributed Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via Zerohedge

As we sift through the ashes of Thursday’s dumpster-fire Congressional hearing with still employed FBI agent Peter Strzok, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller plucked out a key exchange between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) and Strzok which revealed a yet-unknown bombshell about the Clinton email case.

Nearly all of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her homebrew server went to a foreign entity that isn’t Russia. When this was discovered by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), IG Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Ruckner and an attorney to notify Strzok along with three other people about the “anomaly.”

Four separate attempts were also made to notify DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to brief him on the massive security breach, however Horowitz “never returned the call.” Recall that Horowitz concluded last month that despite Strzok’s extreme bias towards Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump – none of it translated to Strzok’s work at the FBI.

In other words; Strzok, while investigating Clinton’s email server, completely ignored the fact that most of Clinton’s emails were sent to a foreign entity – while IG Horowitz simply didn’t want to know about it.

Daily Caller reports…

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok.

Gohmert continued..

“It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.”

Strzok admitted to meeting with Ruckner but said he couldn’t remember the “specific” content of their discussion.

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

According to Zerohedge “Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call,” Gohmert said – and Horowitz wouldn’t return the call.

And while Peter Strzok couldn’t remember the specifics of his meeting with the IG about the giant “foreign entity” bombshell, he texted this to his mistress Lisa Page when the IG discovered the “(C)” classification on several of Clinton’s emails – something the FBI overlooked:

“Holy cow … if the FBI missed this, what else was missed? … Remind me to tell you to flag for Andy [redacted] emails we (actually ICIG) found that have portion marks (C) on a couple of paras. DoJ was Very Concerned about this.”

Via Zerohedge

In November of 2017, IG McCullough – an Obama appointee – revealed to Fox News that he received pushback when he tried to tell former DNI James Clapper about the foreign entity which had Clinton’s emails and other anomalies.

Instead of being embraced for trying to expose an illegal act, seven senators including Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) wrote a letter accusing him of politicizing the issue.

“It’s absolutely irrelevant whether something is marked classified, it is the character of the information,” he said. Fox News reports…

McCullough said that from that point forward, he received only criticism and an “adversarial posture” from Congress when he tried to rectify the situation.

“I expected to be embraced and protected,” he said, adding that a Hill staffer “chided” him for failing to consider the “political consequences” of the information he was blowing the whistle on.

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Donald Trump plays good cop and bad cop with a weak Theresa May (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 55.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK was momentous, not for its substance, but rather for its sheer entertainment value.

Trump started his trip to the United Kingdom blasting Theresa May for her inability to negotiate a proper Brexit deal with the EU.  Trump ended his visit holding hands with the UK Prime Minister during a press conference where the most ‘special relationship’ between the two allies was once again reaffirmed.

Protests saw giant Trump “baby balloons” fly over London’s city center, as Trump played was his own good cop and bad cop to the UK PM, outside London at the Chequers…often times leaving May’s head spinning.

Even as Trump has left London, he remains front and center in the mind of Theresa May, who has now stated that Trump advised her to “sue” the European Union to resolve the tense negotiations over Brexit.

Trump had mentioned to reporters on Friday at a joint press conference with Theresa May that he had given the British leader a suggestion that she found too “brutal.”

Asked Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what that suggestion was, May: “He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them.” May added…

“What the president also said at that press conference was `Don’t walk away. Don’t walk away from the negotiations. Then you’re stuck.”‘

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris summarize what was a state visit like no other, as Trump trolled the UK PM from beginning to end, and left London knowing that he got the better of a weakened British Prime Minister, who may not survive in office past next week.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via CNBC

It wasn’t exactly clear what Trump meant. The revelation came after explosive and undiplomatic remarks Trump made this week about May’s leadership — especially her handling of the Brexit negotiations — as he made his first official visit to Britain.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper published Thursday — just as May was hosting Trump at a lavish black-tie dinner — Trump said the British leader’s approach likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. He said he had told May how to conduct Brexit negotiations, “but she didn’t listen to me.”

He also praised May’s rival, Boris Johnson, who quit last week as foreign secretary to protest May’s Brexit plans. Trump claimed Johnson would make a “great prime minister.”

The comments shocked many in Britain — even May’s opponents — and threatened to undermine May’s already fragile hold on power. Her Conservative government is deeply split between supporters of a clean break with the EU and those who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner.

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