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Sayonara, ‘America First’! We Hardly Knew Ye!

The Kerch Strait incident will serve as another pretext for sanctions that will soon be added with the predictability that night follows day.

Jim Jatras

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Authored by Jim Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


President Donald Trump’s cancellation of his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Buenos Aires G20 is another sign of the now almost certain demise of his declared “America First” agenda – and perhaps of his presidency. Supposedly decided in response to a Ukraine-Russia naval incident in the Kerch Strait, dumping the meeting is universally and correctly seen as a response to the guilty plea of his former lawyer and “fixer,” Michael Cohen, to lying to Congress (notice that James Clapper isn’t forced to plead to his perjury before the Senate) and Cohen’s disclosure of Trump’s fruitless business dealings in Russia.

Keep in mind that this comes at a time when grand inquisitor Robert Mueller is on thin ice – or would be, if Trump and his team had a clue. Consider: in just the past few days Jerome Corsi, Roger Stone, and belatedly perhaps even Paul Manafort have delivered what amounts to a case against Mueller’s underlings, including subornation of testimony they knew to be false – a felony punishable by five years in the slammer (18 US Code § 1622 – Subornation of perjury). Is Trump or any of his lawyers thinking of having the victims swear out a complaint and instructing the Justice Department actually to prosecute these miscreants? No, of course not, even though at least Corsi appears to be willing.

Likewise Trump threatens to declassify “a wide swath of ‘devastating’ documents related to the Mueller probe, which he had initially planned to do in September before changing his mind” on the beseeching of British Prime Minister Theresa May. Britain’s worst prime minister ever is desperate to hide the fact that at its root there’s nothing Russian about “Russiagate” but there’s lots and lots of British MI6, GCHQ, and other Five Eyes skullduggery aimed at subverting the 2016 US election and preventing any possible rapprochement between Washington and Moscow. With respect to both goals this massive PSYOP and political warfare campaign by the US-UK Deep State has been a smashing success.

Trump has the goods on them but just sits on his hands and threatens. (He should heed that great philosopher Tuco from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: “When you have to shoot, shoot – don’t talk.”) For those patiently waiting for Trump’s “4D chess” game to unleash QAon’s “Storm,” here’s a news flash: the cavalry is not coming to the rescue. The following are just a few names that will never be brought to justice: Rod Rosenstein, Peter Strzok, Bruce Ohr, Andrew McCabe, James Comey, Lisa Page, Andrew Weissmann, Stefan Halper, Christopher Steele, Joseph Mifsud, Richard Dearlove, Andrew Wood, Susan Rice, Loretta Lynch, Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, Samantha Power, Sally Yates, Jeannie Rhee, Eric Holder, James Clapper, John Brennan, and Barack Hussein Obama. Oh, and Hillary Clinton of course (while the whistleblower on her corrupt activities gets raided by the FBI).

These august personages are not subject to the laws binding on ordinary mortals like thee and me. These scoundrels will skate. All of them. That’s why a smug, world-class criminal like Brennan can mock Trump’s complaints as similar to how “corrupt authoritarian leaders abroad behaved before they were deposed.” He already anticipates dancing on Trump’s (probably figurative) grave.

Back to the Cohen plea, it’s entirely likely it was timed to have precisely the result of scuttling the Trump-Putin meeting. There can be no better illustration of the weakness of Trump’s position than his inability to engage in even a semblance of statesmanship with respect to the leader of the one power on the planet with which the US absolutely must have some minimal working relationship.

With the Democrats set to take over in the House of Representatives in just over a month, we’ll soon see intensified investigations coordinated with Mueller to find any possible pretext for impeachment in Trump’s business or private life. It’s conventional wisdom that even if the Democrat-controlled House can find something to support articles of impeachment the GOP-held Senate will be Trump’s firewall. Bunk. Democrats rallied around their president Bill Clinton but it was Republicans who threw Richard Nixon to the wolves. Are there a dozen or so Republican Senators who would be ready to dump Trump and install Mike Pence in the Oval Office? You betcha. Start with Mitt Romney.

As the noose around Trump’s neck continues to tighten, his response will be to keep on carping about how unfair it all is, that there was no collusion with Russia, that it’s a “total witch hunt” that should be ended. All true, all meaningless. He has the weapons to fight back but lacks the knowledge or personnel to use them. So he complains. He tweets. Meanwhile, on substance he’s jumping up and down like a monkey on a string.

Which leaves us asking: Why?

One of the burdens carried by those of us Deplorables who early in 2016 declared our support for the then-improbable candidacy of Donald Trump has been the taunts of those who “knew better.” Trump was a fraud, they said, “just a BS-ing con man who would say anything to get elected.” He was a stalking horse to help usher in President Hillary (what other Republican could she possibly beat?). He was crude, impulsive, irritable, egotistical, dyslexic, and incapable of and uninterested in learning anything he doesn’t already know. He was a flimflam artist who had cheated everyone he’d ever done business with or been married to and would abuse his lumpen Murican political supporters in Flyover Country accordingly. He was just another globalist neocon flunky of the Israelis, the Saudis, and the Deep State who was only mouthing populist rhetoric to get elected. He was a shyster on the make whose only goal was to enhance his “brand” to get even richer. He was a huckster with big assets in Russia, Saudi Arabia, China, and other nasty, nasty places, who just wanted to make a killing on his investments. And so on …

Those of us who supported Trump (and who still struggle to support him) point to his repeated use of America First and national interest language even when it was politically counterproductive and only served to subject him to vilification by Democrats and establishment Republicans alike. Ditto his repeated appeals for better relations with Russia, even at the cost of being accused of treason by the same antagonists and their media shills. Ditto the claim from a hostile source like Bob Woodward that behind doors Trump repeatedly tries to do the right thing, like get the US out of Afghanistan and Syria, but then is overruled by “experts” who are his nominal subordinates. Ditto his seeming “art of the deal” transformation of his bluster and threat competition with “Little Rocket Man” into the best chance for peace on the Korean peninsula in seven decades. From his unscripted comments and tweets, there always seems to be a little 2016 Candidate Trump fighting to get out of President Trump but never quite succeeding…

But how then to explain his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad national security team? His beeline to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and NATO headquarters in his maiden foreign policy trip to reaffirm mindless hostility to Iran and America’s suicide pact with useless so-called “allies” in Europe? His authorization of lethal weapons to Ukraine? His two cruise missile strikes on Syria on transparently bogus claims of chemical weapons use? His ever-tightening of sanctions on Russia and nonstop expansion of NATO? His continued naval provocations against China?

To characterize as “low” expectations of any Trump-Putin sidebar meeting that might have happened at the G20 is putting it extremely mildly. (Who knows, maybe they’ll still manage to steal a few sweet moments for a quick tête-à-tête, like a secret tryst of illicit lovers. Maybe Strzok and Page can provide some pointers.) Even laying aside the endless navel-gazing about what President Trump really wants, and why his administration’s foreign policy bears almost no resemblance to his 2016 America First platform, it’s pretty clear that in practice the US course will remain essentially a continuation of the failed policies of the past three decades: a futile attempt to maintain US global hegemony indefinitely at any cost. That can have only one hideous outcome.

With regard to Russia, the Kerch Strait incident will serve as another pretext for sanctions that will soon be added with the predictability that night follows day. The ongoing trade war with China (on purely economic grounds not wrong in itself) serves as a backdrop for continued dragon-baiting in the South China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, and Xinjiang, all places where the US has no actual interests. Even Trump’s minimal potential as a wrecking ball to disrupt the dysfunctional commitments he inherited doesn’t seem to be working out. The Swamp-critters to whom he’s entrusted his administration dance along their merry way as though Mitt Romney or ¡Jeb! Bush were president, with little or no interference from their nominal boss.

On top of hastening the bankruptcy of the US, the danger of war with Russia, or China, or both will continue to increase. Neither Russian President Putin nor Chinese President Xi Jinping can still have any illusions about that and are planning accordingly. No one knows exactly when or where we will reach the point of no return.

Russian and Chinese officials have warned the US about their preparedness for war in so many words. No one in Washington is listening, except to the extent that the new report of a Congressionally mandated commission has concluded that despite spending on our military ten times what Russia does and three times China’s outlays, we still might lose a war to either of those powers.

So what do the Swamp-critters draw from that? We need to spend even more! And Trump will accommodate them.

The one bright spot so far has been on the Korean peninsula – for which Trump deserves great credit, though his minions are working overtime to avert the horrid prospect that peace might break out and we’d no longer have an excuse to keep troops in South Korea. On everything else, even where developments favor disengagement from involvements not conducive to American interests, Trump’s administration insists on digging back in.

For example, France’s “Little Macro” wants a European army. It’s a ridiculous pipe dream, especially since Europe faces no external threat except migration, against which a conventional force is mostly useless. But Trump should be thrilled to take him up on the offer and turn European security over to Europeans. Instead he’s trying to sink the idea.

Likewise, in the Syrian conflict it’s clear that with Russian and Iranian help President Bashar al-Assad’s government has beaten the jihadists sicced on that unfortunate land by the US and our so-called allies, but Washington won’t admit it and still hopes to leverage Assad’s departure. Why, because of ISIS, which Trump said was the sole reason we have thousands of US troops (illegally) in that country? No, but because of the need to oppose Iran and impose regime change in Tehran, as well as denying Moscow a “win.”

Iran (an Israeli obsession having no bearing on US security) is also the reason Trump declined to take the exit ramp the Khashoggi murder offered from our unnecessary commitment to the despicable Wahhabist regime in Riyadh. Instead he has doubled down on US support for Mohammed bin Salman while absurd plans for an “Arab NATO” proceed, as though one NATO weren’t already bad enough.

None of this is America First. In a sane policymaking world, Trump should be looking to cut a spheres of influence deal with Putin (and with Xi and maybe with India’s Narendra Modi). Maybe that’s what Trump really wants, maybe it isn’t. Or maybe someone just gave him The Talk: “Do what you’re told, Mr. President, or you and maybe your kid will end up like Jack Kennedy.”

In the final analysis, it doesn’t seem to matter much what Trump wants. It would be only a small exaggeration to say that with respect to foreign and security policy Trump is now a mere figurehead of the permanent state. Even if Trump and Putin do happen to meet again, what can the latter expect the former to say that would make any difference?

As a signal of the approaching end of the short-lived hope of America First, cancellation of Trump-Putin is the penultimate act but not yet the final one. The fat lady’s aria will be when Julian Assange is dragged to Washington in chains, like some barbarian chieftain paraded in a Roman triumph.

Ultimately, as Anne Coulter writes (with respect to the Mexican border crisis, where Trump is at least doing slightly better than in foreign affairs but not by much), Trump might “only be remembered as a small cartoon figure who briefly inflamed and amused the rabble.” If so, his failure will have frittered away the only peaceful chance to avert the looming death of our nation at the hands of the Cultural Marxist duopoly as well as to turn aside from the real prospect of a world war – one from which America cannot emerge undamaged as we did from the first two.

P.S. I would be genuinely thrilled to be wrong about all of the foregoing.

 

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john vieiraPlatonJim JatrasRaymond ComeauOlivia Kroth Recent comment authors
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JNDillard
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JNDillard

“Are there a dozen or so Republican Senators who would be ready to dump Trump and install Mike Pence in the Oval Office? You betcha. Start with Mitt Romney.” Mitt Romney is not a Senator. Duh. Other than that irrelevancy, Petras provides an excellent analysis. An apt comparison for Trump would be to Commodus, if not Caligula, two Roman dictators and Caesars who squandered both their Empire’s riches and their own opportunity to make a difference by a simple lack of vision, combined with compulsive attachments to their own addictions. The appropriate response of Russia and China is for them… Read more »

Olivia Kroth, author and journalist
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Dobroe utro! Russia first! Russia everywhere, especially in Argentina …

Raymond Comeau
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Raymond Comeau

Perhaps when Trump sees that he is being used to the limit by Deep State, et al, he may suddenly disappear and reappear in Russia where he will be just another plain non-genius, but hopefully free from the world’s worst terrorist Country The USA. And, Trump will be protected by his friend Putin.

Platon
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Platon

All of the Washington Regime players and their agents do just enough to keep the electorate thinking that there are two parties and, therefore, hope for anything different.

john vieira
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“I would be genuinely thrilled…” So would about half the population on the planet…not too sure about the other half!!!

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EXPLOSIVE: Michael Cohen sentencing memo exposes serial liar with nothing to offer Mueller (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 38.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at the Michael Cohen sentencing memo which paints the picture of a man who was not as close to Trump as he made it out to be…a serial liar and cheat who leveraged his thin connections to the Trump organization for money and fame.

It was Cohen himself who proudly labelled himself as Trump’s “fixer”. The sentencing memo hints at the fact that even Mueller finds no value to Cohen in relation to the ongoing Trump-Russia witch hunt investigation.

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Via Axios

Special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in New York have each submitted sentencing memos for President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, after Cohen pleaded guilty in two different cases related to his work for Trump and the Trump Organization.

The big picture: The Southern District of New York recommended Cohen serve a range of 51 to 63 months for four crimes — “willful tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, illegal campaign contributions, and making false statements to Congress.” Mueller, meanwhile, did not take a position on the length of Cohen’s statement, but said he has made substantial efforts to assist the investigation.

Southern District of New York

Mueller investigation

Michael J. Stern, a federal prosecutor with the Justice Department for 25 years in Detroit and Los Angeles noted via USA Today

In support of their request that he serve no time in prison, Cohen’s attorneys offered a series of testimonials from friends who described the private Michael Cohen as a “truly caring” man with a “huge heart” who is not only “an upstanding, honorable, salt of the earth man” but also a “selfless caretaker.”

The choirboy portrayed by Cohen’s lawyers stands in sharp opposition to Cohen’s public persona as Trump’s legal bulldog, who once threatened a reporter with: “What I’m going to do to you is going to be f—ing disgusting. Do you understand me?”

Prosecutors focused their sentencing memo on Cohen as Mr. Hyde. Not only did they detail Cohen’s illegal activities, which include millions of dollars of fraud, they also recognized the public damage that stemmed from his political crimes — describing Cohen as “a man who knowingly sought to undermine core institutions of our democracy.”

Rebuffing efforts by Cohen’s attorneys to recast him as a good guy who made a few small mistakes, prosecutors cited texts, statements of witnesses, recordings, documents and other evidence that proved Cohen got ahead by employing a “pattern of deception that permeated his professional life.” The prosecutors attributed Cohen’s crimes to “personal greed,” an effort to “increase his power and influence,” and a desire to maintain his “opulent lifestyle.”

Perhaps the most damning reveal in the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing memo is that Cohen refused to fully cooperate. That’s despite his public relations campaign to convince us that he is a new man who will cooperate with any law enforcement authority, at any time, at any place.

As a former federal prosecutor who handled hundreds of plea deals like Cohen’s, I can say it is extremely rare for any credit to be recommended when a defendant decides not to sign a full cooperation deal. The only reason for a refusal would be to hide information. The prosecutors said as much in their sentencing memo: Cohen refused “to be debriefed on other uncharged criminal conduct, if any, in his past,” and “further declined” to discuss “other areas of investigative interest.”

 

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Canada to Pay Heavy Price for Trudeau’s Groupie Role in US Banditry Against China

Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Huawei CFO Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


You do have to wonder about the political savvy of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government. The furious fallout from China over the arrest of a senior telecoms executive is going to do severe damage to Canadian national interests.

Trudeau’s fawning over American demands is already rebounding very badly for Canada’s economy and its international image.

The Canadian arrest – on behalf of Washington – of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, seems a blatant case of the Americans acting politically and vindictively. If the Americans are seen to be acting like bandits, then the Canadians are their flunkies.

Wanzhou was detained on December 1 by Canadian federal police as she was boarding a commercial airliner in Vancouver. She was reportedly handcuffed and led away in a humiliating manner which has shocked the Chinese government, media and public.

The business executive has since been released on a $7.4 million bail bond, pending further legal proceedings. She is effectively being kept under house arrest in Canada with electronic ankle tagging.

To add insult to injury, it is not even clear what Wanzhou is being prosecuted for. The US authorities have claimed that she is guilty of breaching American sanctions against Iran by conducting telecoms business with Tehran. It is presumed that the Canadians arrested Wanzhou at the request of the Americans. But so far a US extradition warrant has not been filed. That could take months. In the meantime, the Chinese businesswoman will be living under curfew, her freedom denied.

Canadian legal expert Christopher Black says there is no juridical case for Wanzhou’s detention. The issue of US sanctions on Iran is irrelevant and has no grounds in international law. It is simply the Americans applying their questionable national laws on a third party. Black contends that Canada has therefore no obligation whatsoever to impose those US laws regarding Iran in its territory, especially given that Ottawa and Beijing have their own separate bilateral diplomatic relations.

In any case, what the real issue is about is the Americans using legal mechanisms to intimidate and beat up commercial rivals. For months now, Washington has made it clear that it is targeting Chinese telecoms rivals as commercial competitors in a strategic sector. US claims about China using telecoms for “spying” and “infiltrating” American national security are bogus propaganda ruses to undermine these commercial rivals through foul means.

It also seems clear from US President Donald Trump’s unsubtle comments this week to Reuters, saying he would “personally intervene” in the Meng case “if it helped trade talks with China”, that the Huawei executive is being dangled like a bargaining chip. It was a tacit admission by Trump that the Americans really don’t have a legal case against her.

Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland bounced into damage limitation mode following Trump’s thuggish comments. She said that the case should not be “politicized” and that the legal proceedings should not be tampered with. How ironic is that?

The whole affair has been politicized from the very beginning. Meng’s arrest, or as Christopher Black calls it “hostage-taking”, is driven by Washington’s agenda of harassment against China for commercial reasons, under a legal pretext purportedly about Iranian sanctions.

When Trump revealed the cynical expediency of him “helping to free Wanzhou”, then the Canadians realized they were also being exposed for the flunkies that they are for American banditry. That’s why Freeland was obliged to quickly adopt the fastidious pretense of legal probity.

Canadian premier Justin Trudeau has claimed that he wasn’t aware of the American request for Wanzhou’s detention. Trudeau is being pseudo. For such a high-profile infringement against a senior Chinese business leader, Ottawa must have been fully briefed by the Americans. Christopher Black, the legal expert, believes that Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

What Trudeau and his government intended to get out of performing this sordid role for American thuggery is far from clear. Maybe after being verbally mauled by Trump as “weak and dishonest” at the G7 summit earlier this year, in June, Trudeau decided it was best to roll over and be a good little puppy for the Americans in their dirty deed against China.

But already it has since emerged that Canada is going to pay a very heavy price indeed for such dubious service to Washington. Beijing has warned that it will take retaliation against both Washington and Ottawa. And it is Ottawa that is more vulnerable to severe repercussions.

This week saw two Canadian citizens, one a former diplomat, detained in China on spying charges.

Canadian business analysts are also warning that Beijing can inflict harsh economic penalties on Ottawa. An incensed Chinese public have begun boycotting Canadian exports and sensitive Canadian investments in China are now at risk from being blocked by Beijing. A proposed free trade deal that was being negotiated between Ottawa and Beijing now looks dead in the water.

And if Trudeau’s government caves in to the excruciating economic pressure brought to bear by Beijing and then abides by China’s demand to immediately release Meng Wanzhou, Ottawa will look like a pathetic, gutless lackey to Washington. Canada’s reputation of being a liberal, independent state will be shredded. Even then the Chinese are unlikely to forget Trudeau’s treachery.

With comic irony, there’s a cringemaking personal dimension to this unseemly saga.

During the 197os when Trudeau’s mother Margaret was a thirty-something socialite heading for divorce from his father, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, she was often in the gossip media for indiscretions at nightclubs. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards claims in his autobiography that Margaret Trudeau was a groupie for the band, having flings with Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood. Her racy escapades and louche lifestyle brought shame to many Canadians.

Poor Margaret Trudeau later wound up divorced, disgraced, financially broke and scraping a living from scribbling tell-all books.

Justin, her eldest son, is finding out that being a groupie for Washington’s banditry is also bringing disrepute for him and his country.

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US Commits To “Indefinite” Occupation Of Syria; Controls Region The Size Of Croatia

Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005.

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Via Zerohedge


“We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation” — a Syrian resident in US-controlled Raqqa told Stars and Stripes military newspaper. This as the Washington Post noted this week that “U.S. troops will now stay in Syria indefinitely, controlling a third of the country and facing peril on many fronts.”

Like the “forever war” in Afghanistan, will we be having the same discussion over the indefinite occupation of Syria stretching two decades from now? A new unusually frank assessment in Stars and Stripes bluntly lays out the basic facts concerning the White House decision to “stay the course” until the war’s close:

That decision puts U.S. troops in overall control, perhaps indefinitely, of an area comprising nearly a third of Syria, a vast expanse of mostly desert terrain roughly the size of Louisiana.

The Pentagon does not say how many troops are there. Officially, they number 503, but earlier this year an official let slip that the true number may be closer to 4,000

A prior New Yorker piece described the US-occupied area east of the Euphrates as “an area about the size of Croatia.” With no Congressional vote, no public debate, and not even so much as an official presidential address to the nation, the United States is settling in for another endless occupation of sovereign foreign soil while relying on the now very familiar post-911 AUMF fig leaf of “legality”.

Like the American public and even some Pentagon officials of late have been pointing out for years regarding Afghanistan, do US forces on the ground even know what the mission is? The mission may be undefined and remain ambiguously to “counter Iran”, yet the dangers and potential for major loss in blood and treasure loom larger than ever.

According to Stars and Stripes the dangerous cross-section of powder keg conflicts and geopolitical players means “a new war” is on the horizon:

The new mission raises new questions, about the role they will play and whether their presence will risk becoming a magnet for regional conflict and insurgency.

The area is surrounded by powers hostile both to the U.S. presence and the aspirations of the Kurds, who are governing the majority-Arab area in pursuit of a leftist ideology formulated by an imprisoned Turkish Kurdish leader. Signs that the Islamic State is starting to regroup and rumblings of discontent within the Arab community point to the threat of an insurgency.

Without the presence of U.S. troops, these dangers would almost certainly ignite a new war right away, said Ilham Ahmed, a senior official with the Self-Administration of North and East Syria, as the self-styled government of the area is called.

“They have to stay. If they leave and there isn’t a solution for Syria, it will be catastrophic,” she said.

But staying also heralds risk, and already the challenges are starting to mount.
So a US-backed local politician says the US can’t leave or there will be war, while American defense officials simultaneously recognize they are occupying the very center of an impending insurgency from hell — all of which fits the textbook definition of quagmire perfectly.

The New Yorker: “The United States has built a dozen or more bases from Manbij to Al-Hasakah, including four airfields, and American-backed forces now control all of Syria east of the Euphrates, an area about the size of Croatia.”

But in September the White House announced a realignment of its official priorities in Syria, namely to act “as a bulwark against Iran’s expanding influence.” This means the continued potential and likelihood of war with Syria, Iran, and Russia in the region is ever present, per Stripes:

Syrian government troops and Iranian proxy fighters are to the south and west. They have threatened to take the area back by force, in pursuit of President Bashar Assad’s pledge to bring all of Syria under government control.

Already signs of an Iraq-style insurgency targeting US forces in eastern Syria are beginning to emerge.

In Raqqa, the largest Syrian city at the heart of US occupation and reconstruction efforts, the Stripes report finds the following:

The anger on the streets is palpable. Some residents are openly hostile to foreign visitors, which is rare in other towns and cities freed from Islamic State control in Syria and Iraq. Even those who support the presence of the U.S. military and the SDF say they are resentful that the United States and its partners in the anti-ISIS coalition that bombed the city aren’t helping to rebuild.

And many appear not to support their new rulers.

We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation,” said one man, a tailor, who didn’t want to give his name because he feared the consequences of speaking his mind. “I don’t know why they had to use such a huge number of weapons and destroy the city. Yes, ISIS was here, but we paid the price. They have a responsibility.”

Recent reports out of the Pentagon suggests defense officials simply want to throw more money into US efforts in Syria, which are further focused on training and supplying the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (or Kurdish/YPG-dominated SDF), which threatens confrontation with Turkey as its forces continue making preparations for a planned attack on Kurdish enclaves in Syria this week.

Meanwhile, Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005:

Everyone says the streets are not safe now. Recent months have seen an uptick in assassinations and kidnappings, mostly targeting members of the security forces or people who work with the local council. But some critics of the authorities have been gunned down, too, and at night there are abductions and robberies.

As America settles in for yet another endless and “indefinite” occupation of a Middle East country, perhaps all that remains is for the president to land on an aircraft carrier with “Mission Accomplished” banners flying overhead?

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