President Trump made an unexpected trip to Iraq on the day after Western Christmas, flying in secret on Air Force One with the lights blacked out and military escort jets alongside. The eleven-hour journey concluded with the President speaking to the US troops stationed there, but his message was intended for the whole world to hear. In that message, he delivered several messages that may well have been conciliatory towards both Russia and Iran, while also fiercely – and effectively defending his “America First” viewpoint of the US’ involvement in foreign affairs, particularly those involving armed conflict.
The American media, as well as most Western outlets, are almost sure to miss this because of their desperate pivoting to find ways to be critical of the unwanted resident of the White House. However, for those who listen and read the actual news, there is some very interesting information that the President spoke about.
The video of the speech is made available here.
The White House website has the transcript of the President’s full speech here. As with all news of this nature, the most assured way to have an accurate picture of what is going on is to read or listen to all of the information concerning a subject, as the full picture changes everything.
We are going to point out certain points in the speech. They will be preceded with the timestamp at which the remarks occur so anyone who wants to can listen directly to the point. We are also going to offer some possible interpretations of these points. While this is speculative work, there is context to support our speculations.
[06:00] The courageous men and women at Al Asad Air Base are on the leading edge of our fight to vanquish America’s terrorist enemies. You know that.
The other reason I’m here today is to personally thank you and every service member throughout this region for the near elimination of the ISIS territorial caliphate in Iraq and in Syria. (Applause.)
[06:28] Two years ago, when I became President, they were a very dominant group. They were very dominant. Today, they’re not so dominant anymore. (Applause.) Great job. I looked at a map, and two years ago it was a lot of red all over that map. But now you have a couple little spots. And that’s happening very quickly. That’s happening very quickly. You’ll be seeing that.
I want to just say great job. And we’ll be watching ISIS very closely. We’ll be watching them very, very closely — the remnants of ISIS.
This is a well-crafted comment. While the US forces in Syria were ostensibly there “to defeat ISIS”, we at The Duran have countless accounts of other motives by the American forces, namely to defeat and remove Bashar Al-Assad from power. As President Trump began his term, this latter narrative was firmly in the lead, with ISIS a secondary consideration. However, one may note that references to removing Assad from power are all but gone in American news coverage. Further, last week’s announcement that the American troops are leaving Syria also featured the President making absolutely no reference to Assad.
[07:12] No enemy on Earth can match the awesome strength of American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. Nobody is even close. And nobody is even close, in terms of our equipment. We make the greatest equipment in the world. Whether it’s missiles or ships or anything you want to name, we have the greatest in the world. The jet fighters, the new F-35, the Super F-18s — we have the greatest fighter jets in the world. We make the greatest equipment in the world.
But you strike fear into the hearts of our enemies and bring comfort to all of our allies and those who cherish peace. And we want peace. And the best way to have peace is strength. When we’re strong, we’re going to have peace. If we’re not strong, you know what happens. So we’re stronger than ever. And very soon, when it all comes in, when that equipment keeps flowing — it’s being made, much of it now — there will be nobody ever in history that’s even close.
[08:18] American and coalition forces have had one military victory after another over the last two years against ISIS, including the retaking of both Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria. We’ve liberated more than 20,000 square miles of territory. Think of what that is — 20,000. Twenty thousand acres is a lot; think of what twenty thousand square miles is. It’s a lot. This was all formerly held by ISIS — and liberated more than 3 million civilians from ISIS’s bloodthirsty control.
The men and women stationed at Al Asad have played a vital role in the military defeat of ISIS in Iraq and in Syria. Because of these gains, our service members in Syria can now return home to their families. Some will come here for a stay, but a lot of them are going to be going back home, where they want to be, with their families. They’ve done a fantastic job.
[09:32] Originally, years ago, they came here. And it was supposed to be for three to four months, and that was a long time ago. That was many years ago. But what a job you have done. What a job they have done. I made it clear from the beginning that our mission in Syria was to strip ISIS of its military strongholds; we’re not nation building. Rebuilding Syria will require a political solution. And it’s a solution that should be paid for by its very rich neighboring countries, not the United States. Let them pay for it. And they will. They will.
In fact, Saudi Arabia yesterday — you probably read — stepped up to the plate and has already made a commitment of substantial funds for development. And President Erdogan of Turkey has also agreed to take out any remnants of ISIS, and we’ll be working with them. We’re going to be working with them.
Our presence in Syria was not open-ended, and it was never intended to be permanent…
One year ago, I gave our generals six more months in Syria. I said, “Go ahead. Get them.” And it turns out it was really a year and a half ago. I said, “Go get them.” “We need six months.” “Go get them.” Then they said, “Give us another six months.” I said, “Go get them.” Then they said “Go — can we have one more, like, period of six months?” I said, “Nope. Nope.” I said, “I gave you a lot of six months.” And now we’re doing it a different way. And we’re doing it. And you’re doing it, folks. You’re doing it. Just the remnants.
This again is a very carefully and well-crafted comment. By not naming any particular nations at first, the President steps away from any particular endorsement of Russia, but he also does not block it. Since he is still encumbered by the Russiagate witch-hunt – er – investigation, with its apparently endless supply of money and resources, all dedicated to removing the unexpected and unwanted Trump from office, he really cannot make a reference to Russia and expect to be able to do the rest of his job for the American nation.
This is an uncomfortable fact, but it is the truth. The only way to get the US president clear to do the policymaking changes to repair the globalist-caused damage to the US and Russia relations is to strengthen his post with a Congress that is also willing to take the fight to the globalists and continue to move the US towards the position Mr. Trump desires – that of a strongly sovereign nation, with strong borders, and a complete break from globalist policies. Until that happens, the President has to outmaneuver the embedded globalists, or their policies has held by the hapless Deep State.
Consider that President Recep Erdogan is a NATO ally that is also getting more and more cozy with Russia, and that Saudi Arabia is an American ally. Both are local to the Syrian region though.
This is a fact that is slowly gaining recognition in the US, particularly with journalists and pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham, but perhaps most clearly understood by Tucker Carlson. It cannot really be said that the 2018 midterms featured globalism as a campaign issue, but it ought to become one.
[11:34] The men and women who serve are entitled to clear objectives, and the confidence that when those objectives are met they can come home and be with their families. Our objective in Syria was always to retake the territory controlled by ISIS. Some people said we’ve already retaken 99 percent. That’s a number that comes up a lot. And if you look at the map, before and after, it looks like 99 percent.
This bold-type statement will almost assuredly win the President’s 2020 campaign with the military. It signals a much bolder set of moves than President George W Bush’s 2003 “Mission Accomplished” statement which resulted in the revelation that the mission was far from accomplished. The reason why President Trump’s attempt here is different already was noted by his clearing the decks, so to speak, for the local and regional powers to get involved.
[12:02] Now that we have done so, the nations of the region must step up and take more responsibility for their future. And also, they have to confront those remnants of ISIS and take them out very easily — if, after we’re totally finished, they’re even left at all.
There will be a strong, deliberate, and orderly withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria — very deliberate, very orderly — while maintaining the U.S. presence in Iraq to prevent an ISIS resurgence and to protect U.S. interests, and also to always watch very closely over any potential reformation of ISIS and also to watch over Iran. We’ll be watching.
This, of course, is already fodder for many armchair strategists, who write of disbelief that the US will ever truly withdraw its presence from any place it sends its forces to. To be sure, at this time we can only watch and see. However, President Trump’s resolve was firm enough for him to get resignations from Defense Secretary Mattis and the Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Brett McGurk. This suggests a lot more than a powerless political statement took place.
The comment of “watching over Iran” is perhaps a very well-crafted statement. This can be read aggressively, which fits the US narrative that Iran is a vicious enemy, and the American troop presence in Iraq is a strong strategic move in this area since Iraq borders Iran. However, the Iranians are in a quandary over the American withdrawal from the JCPoA (also known as “the Iran deal”) and the country is back under American sanctions. However, they also know that President Trump is a deal maker, and has in fact hinted at the possibility of making a deal with Iran when they express interest.
After clearing the global issues, the President went on to address the big problem at home – the security of the American Southern border. In this he made use of the audience, who clearly enjoyed his visit and his speech, to show the world, and the Democrats, that the argument for the construction of a border wall is in his favor:
[14:40] We will honor — you’re welcome. You’re welcome. (Laughter.) We will honor your service by doing everything in our power to defend our homeland and to stop terrorists from entering America’s shores. And that includes the strengthening of our borders.
I don’t know if you folks are aware of what’s happening. We want to have strong borders in the United States. The Democrats don’t want to let us have strong borders — only for one reason. You know why? Because I want it. (Laughter.) If I said — you know, I think, just standing here looking at all these brilliant, young faces — these warriors. You’re warriors. You know, you’re modern-day warriors. That’s what you are.
But you gave me an idea, just looking at this warrior group. I think I’ll say, “I don’t want the wall.” And then they’re going to give it to me. (Laughter.) I’ve figured out the solution, First Lady. (Laughter.) Tell Nancy Pelosi, “I don’t want the wall.” “Oh, we want the wall.” And then we get the wall. (Laughter and applause.) That’s another way of doing it. (Applause.) That’s another way of doing it.
No, we have to have it. And, you know, not only human trafficking; drugs; illegals; a lot of criminals — bad records. We’ve seen murderers come in through the — you saw what happened with the caravan, as we call it. A caravan of thousands of people.
And, by the way, our Border Patrol did an incredible job, and our military did an incredible job. And local law enforcement on the various parts of the border did an incredible job. And those caravans are slowly breaking up, and they’re going back where they came from, and they have to come into our country legally. Legally.
This last comment, that the caravans are breaking up, is not being reported by anyone to any extent. But it is the logical outcome of not being able to gain access to the US.
There was much more to this speech, such as making sure that anyone wanting US military help pays the US for that help, and great honor given to the soldiers who gave their lives in service to the country. There is enough here to write a great deal more analysis.
As usual, the essence of a speech by President Trump and the media’s handling of his speeches are totally different matters. The President was ruthlessly positive, and very solidly able to connect to the soldiers in the audience. Whether on script or off script, the message is genuine. Perhaps the mainstream media’s problem is that they are too smart to grasp plain speech when they hear it.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.