Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Moon of Alabama — The War Hawks Rolled Donald Trump

Lt. Gen. H. R. McMasters may be better than Ambassador John Bolton as national security advisor but Moon of Alabama doesn't think by much. 

And now that Flynn has been disposed of, Bannon is next on the list.

Moon of Alabama
The War Hawks Rolled Donald Trump


Peter Pan said...

John McCain approves of this guy, what else is there to say?

Trump/Bannon can cut a deal whereby they are allowed to proceed with their domestic agenda. But foreign policy will be prosecuted more or less the way Neocons would have planned it.

No detente with Russia.

Tom Hickey said...

I don't think it will get in Trump and Putin's way. The Very Serious People want a policy that confronts Russia on several issues, e.g., Crimea. Trump known that those issues are off the table for Putin anyway and not available for negotiation. Trump and Putin will figure out if they can come to terms over what is negotiable and ignore what is not.

People don't seem to get Trump's negotiating strategy. For example, take his putting the one China policy on the table, only to remove it. There were also sorts of analysis but the obvious one to anyone that understands negotiating. Trump threatened to take something away that he could plausibly take. Obviously, the Chinese were upset. In the call with Xi, Trump gave it back. It was a win-win. China got something back, and Trump didn't give up anything. China didn't loss anything but neither did Trump and Trump increased his leverage without actually creating an incident. From the reporting it seems that most can't understand that. I don't doubt that the Chinese got it though.

Peter Pan said...

Depending on perspective, what Trump did with China is to return to square one.

Europe is key to forcing Washington towards a more reasoned approach to Russia. I don't believe Trump is willing to go to bat for Putin, his focus is on domestic issues, which is what his supporters expect of him. A cold war with Russia is just as good an excuse to build up the military. Trump wants to build up the military. Win-win.

Dan Lynch said...

I tend to agree with Tom. Trump's management style is different than most politicians. You can't take everything Trump says and does, like choosing McMasters, at face value.

McMasters will be politically useful because he is non-controversial. Compared to the other candidates, McMasters was probably a lesser evil. Trump will still have the final say on foreign policy.

Expect Trump to make the occasional hawkish statement about Russia, to placate his critics and to set the stage for negotiations with Putin. Any major breakthroughs with Russia will have to wait until the controversy has died down.

Tom Hickey said...

The US and Russia have two common interests that might be negotiable.

The first is arms control. Putin will want NATO to back off as a non-negotiable condition. Trump may not be in a position to deliver much on this. And with arms control the devil is always in the details. These are inevitably lengthy negotiations.

The second is confronting "radical Islamic terrorism" centered in ISIS. Probably room to work on this, but Russia will draw the line at partitioning Syria, which is a Saudi-Qatari priority, or replacing the Iran-friendly Syrian government, even with a Sunni Islamist one.

Noah Way said...

take his putting the one China policy on the table, only to remove it

Some see this as cold calculation, I see it as a political blunder, or at best on-the-job training. On the other hand, I agree that Trump uses misdirection to expose his adversaries.

As to McMasters, this guy is just one of the many pointed spears of the MIC. Trump may have the final say on policy but how (or whether or not) it is carried out is subject to the Deep State. It wasn't that long ago that the military disobeyed BO's order to work with the Russians - clear grounds for a court-martial that never happened.

MRW said...

As active military, Mcmasters knows his CiC is the President. He is also smart enough to know that the President is also Head of State (in addition to being Head of Government) and the Constitution gives the President the absolute right to act unilaterally without consulting Congress (unless he's asking for a treaty). Nixon went to commie China in secret with Kissinger to open relations with the Chinese, and there was absolutely fucking zip that Congress could do about it. The Prez is under no obligation to inform anyone in his government about what he is doing with respect to foreign policy, except the aforementioned treaty.

Peter Pan said...

Yeah, he knows that the Bone-Spur-in-Chief must be respected.