The Geo-Political Poker Game: Where’s the ‘Off-Ramp’? by Alastair Crooke


At the beating heart of Trump’s Presidency lies the notion of the Art of the Deal.  It is said that Trump has few convictions, but his notion of how to negotiate – with a big stick, maximum leverage, and with credible, fear-inducing ‘threats’ -  is central to his whole Presidency.  It underlies his tariff and American job protection platform; his fiscal profligacy  that has to keep giving a fiscal quid pro quo to social programmes, in return for escalating ‘big stick’ defence expenditures; and – of course – it underlies his whole geo-political approach, particularly in respect upping the stakes toward China, North Korea and Iran.

This underlying notion of the ‘deal’ is transactional in essence, best practiced as a one-to-one operation, rather than in a multilateral context.  But in the sphere of geo-politics this is not so easy.  In the next months, but climaxing in May (other things being equal), Trump will put his negotiating theory to the test in a very different ambit to that of New York real estate. The North Korean summit should be held; the verdict on the nuclear agreement with Iran is due to be pronounced then; the US Israeli-Palestinian determination is scheduled to be ‘handed down’ in May; the Sunni states’ Iran containment roles to be set; and any punitive tariffs on China will be decided, and enacted.  Although apparently disconnected issues, their clustering together in May will inter-connect them: Success or failure in one, will leach into parallel spheres.

And in the background – of course – will grind on the western Intelligence Establishment’s determination to cut down President Putin and Russia (the Salisbury Skripal affair) to size – and through slapping down Putin, to wound Trump too, naturally.   

Russia has said that it will respond proportionately to the collective diplomatic expulsions.  Plainly, some in the Deep State fraternity are hoping that Russia’s response will serve as pretext for a further round of decrying President Putin, with the added possibility to push Russia out of the SWIFT clearing system.   

Such then is the confluence of issues, but what happens if someone calls the bluff?  (We can ignore South Korea caving-in on trade). What happens, more importantly, if the bluff is shown for what it is – a bluff, widely and publicly?

What happens if the Chinese, the North Koreans, the Iranians and the Russians understand the concept behind the Art of the Deal, and furthermore know that the US is not really in a position to make good on the bluff – on its full-throated threats of military or trade actions – at least?  Trump may be ready for a demonstrative missile ‘tweet’ such as the 57 Tomahawk missiles launched at Syria. But the principal global actors are unlikely to ‘quake’ at that.  Times change.  American military might is now seen in its limitations, as well as in its substantial capabilities.

Trump likely, is not the only one who knows how to play high-stakes poker:  You do not become the undisputed leader of either China or Russia without knowing a bit about high-stake, risk-taking.

There are further problems too with this Art of the Deal strategy.  President Trump has recruited a team of foreign policy war-hawks, and trade hawks, around him.  It has been termed, by some, a ‘war cabinet’.  In part, it may have been assembled to wrap the President in a cloak of American muscular nationalism as he moves against Robert Mueller and the allegation of Trump’s disloyalty to the American interest.  But, also it is clearly intended to lend credence to the image of America ‘carrying a large stick’.

John Bolton is convincing as a war-hawk for sure, however, it is likely that his very (public) bellicosity may undermine the ‘other party’s’ conviction that America is at all sincere about negotiations and, rather, promote the contrary notion that America is merely going through the negotiating motions, primarily in order to make a subsequent pre-emptive attack seem somehow more ‘legitimate’. 

Bolton is a choice that – rightly or wrongly – says ‘regime change’ in bright lights (Bolton favours it for North Korea, Iran and Russia).  Regime change may not be being spoken of in terms of China, but the latter fully understands that it is at the top of the Bolton-Pompeo-Trump ‘hit list’, and that its standing as ‘revisionist threat, number one’ enjoys bipartisan support in America.

Strengthening the other party’s ‘hawks’ is a real danger to this type of ‘big stick’ gambit.  Indeed, it is not easy to imagine what advice Mr Bolton can give the President for his summit with the North Korean leader (assuming that such a meeting takes place).  Bolton has said many times that he does not believe that North Korea would voluntarily relinquish its nuclear weapons (and he may be partly right on this), and in answer to the question on what might be the American ‘carrots’ offered, Bolton has said absolutely no peace treaty, and no economic relief, either.

Which brings us to the question of an ‘off-ramp’.  After having warned of military action, and after having raised the stakes sky high, what if Kim Jong Un just says ‘no’. Or, rather ‘yes’, but only if America de-nuclearises too: i.e. withdraws its nuclear shield from the Korean Peninsula, and insists on an American forces exit from northeast Asia altogether?  What does President Trump do then?  Go to war, killing hundreds of thousands, if not millions? 

Maybe Trump is bluffing, but it will prove to be a highly dangerous bluff if Trump, egged on by Bolton, paints himself into a tight corner.  What then will be his ‘off-ramp’ – except a demonstrative ‘bloody-nose’, militarily inflicted on Kim Jong Un? And will not Iran, China, Russia and the whole Middle East not be watching intently, to judge whether Mr Trump is bluffing, or he's serious?  And if America is forced to back down, all the world will draw their own conclusions. 

This is the risk to geo-political ‘poker’: the risk attaches as much – if not mot more – to the bluffer as to those who are the target of the bluff (for the stakes here are not bankruptcy, as in Trump’s earlier business experience, but nuclear conflict): i.e. ultimately, he is betting the globe.

Some sense of the outrage that this ‘hard nose’ approach already has induced, can be seen from yesterday’s editorial (27 March 2018) in the Global Times of China, an organ that accurately reflects official Chinese thinking: 

“Diplomat expulsions [following from Skripal affair] signal crude western intention … the fact that major Western powers can gang up and "sentence" a foreign country [Russia] without following the same procedures other countries abide by, and according to the basic tenets of international law, is chilling … Such actions are nothing more than a form of Western bullying that threatens global peace and justice … It is beyond outrageous how the US and Europe have treated Russia. Their actions represent a frivolity and recklessness that has grown to characterize Western hegemony that only knows how to contaminate international relations. Right now is the perfect time for non-Western nations to strengthen unity and collaborative efforts among one another. These nations need to establish a level of independence outside the reach of Western influence” (emphasis added).

Whilst some Europeans élites are congratulating themselves on the coordinated expulsion of Russian diplomats, the Global Times editor, speaking for the leadership, is saying that this act has made China not more amenable, but rather, more determined to resist western bullying and threats.  It has served to make China and Russia yet more determined to work closely together – and “outside the reach of western influence”.  This expulsion ‘stick’ – supported by only just over half of EU member states – paradoxically has made both states less amenable to western influence, this extraordinarily tough editorial would imply. (It has incidentally, also widened divisions in Europe too, as there is substantive minority support there for détente with Russia).

In their eagerness to demonstrate #Resistance to Trump (and to target his alleged ‘weak spot’ towards Putin), the ‘professional’ security officials in the US and Britain, worked together to conjure up the concerted expulsion ‘slap down’ to President Putin. Former Pentagon spokesman (in the Obama Administration), Admiral John Kirby explains that the expulsions were:

 “… embraced by our European allies because they’ve been worried that with some of the things they’ve heard or haven't heard from this president [i.e President Trump] about Russian President Vladimir Putin means he might be soft on Moscow. But this tells them that the national security professionals they’ve been talking to behind closed doors really have held sway and the US policy is following what they have always promised, which is to crack down.”

It was, as a Western diplomat told Robin Wright, “a muscular message from the West to President Vladimir Putin that he can’t attack one Western country without generating a broad response from them all”. Separately, another US diplomat (and former Ambassador to Russia), William Burns described the message as being:

“… in many ways, the end of an illusion—[Trump’s] illusion of some sort of grand bargain with Putin, under which Trump has seemed to operate for so long”. Today was a pretty extensive set of measures. We’ll see what Russia does in response,” he said. “We and our allies are constantly talking to each other about how we deal with this strategic threat. The locker is not empty.” 

The Anglo fraternity of national security ‘professionals’ talking ‘behind closed doors’ have leveraged – by virtue of intensive EU lobbying, rather than any quality of evidence – the poisoning of a former Russian intelligence defector into a European Union ‘narrative’ that now must be maintained, irrespective of any subsequent investigation or evidence. The evidence is beside the point: here was the opportunity to close-off Trump’s ‘illusion’ of a possible détente with Russia.  The narrative is all.  We will likely never know the full story.

And the British government has taken the ‘narrative’ beyond mere attribution of the apparent poisoning of this defector to Russia (and to President Putin personally), but has couched it in the apocalyptic terms of a chemical weapon attack in, and on, Europe.  Britain has deliberately sought further to suggest a parity with alleged chemical weapons attacks on civilians in Syria. Mrs May, in short, in an attempt to contrive domestic UK national unity – in the face of Brexit domestic political polarisation and fragmentation – risks severing the whole of the west's relations with Russia.  Using a chemical weapon, an act of war, in Europe, brooks no mediated repair of relations.  It is, and is intended to be, final.

There is an air of desperation – both British, and from the global élite – to this saga. Russia cannot be treated in this way, as if it is some mere minor ‘regional power’ with ‘a GDP less than the New York metro area’, to be pushed, and pushed, and pushed again, until it either collapses, or backs down. William Taylor, a former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, gives an example of this, saying that the West can somehow “force Russia to rethink its strategy. It [Russia], faces a growing economic morass, troubling demographic trends, the cost of foreign military interventions in Crimea and Syria, and diminished international standing. Putin literally can’t afford another Cold War”. 

With language inflamed by disdain, and visceral #Resistance to Trump (more even, than to Putin), the relationship with Russia will worsen, and may spin out of control – especially as these efforts against Russia (as well as against China, Iran and North Korea) practically invites, (as the Global Times so well illustrates), some American rival to call out The Art of the Deal as nothing more than elaborate bluff.

“At the moment, it’s a game of chicken with no off-ramp,” Tom Pickering, another former US Ambassador to Russia, has said. “And we need to be looking at the off-ramp.”

This entry was posted in Alastair Crooke, As The Borg Turns, Current Affairs, Russiagate. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to The Geo-Political Poker Game: Where’s the ‘Off-Ramp’? by Alastair Crooke

  1. SmoothieX12 says:

    William Taylor, a former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, gives an example of this, saying that the West can somehow “force Russia to rethink its strategy. It [Russia], faces a growing economic morass, troubling demographic trends, the cost of foreign military interventions in Crimea and Syria, and diminished international standing. Putin literally can’t afford another Cold War”.
    Mr. William Taylor is a case a point of a complete lack of professionalism and of awareness of the subject matter he writes about. I will reiterate–most American elites, apart from not knowing Russia, have no background whatsoever in proper geopolitical and military analysis–they simply have no reference points and do not grasp the natura and application of a military force (power). The quote of Taylor above is a concentrated demonstration of a strategic delusion. It is impossible to explain to American “diplomat” what are actual forces and economies (real ones) relations which makes Taylor’s “assessment” even more bizarre, granted that he does have some military background. But then again, US so called “Russian Studies” field is mostly a joke.

  2. egl says:

    Two thoughts. First, Trump has repeatedly shown that he doesn’t hold firm positions. If what he’s saying now doesn’t work or becomes inconvenient, he’ll change without concern for being consistent or trustworthy. You also have no idea what he really thinks. Second, he favors short-term wins over long-term relationships.

    International relationships usually work the other way: you articulate a position, try to convince people that you will stick to it indefinitely, and give guidelines about how to guess what will happen in situations not explicitly stated. Trump has upset a lot of people by saying he won’t play by those rules. We’ll see whether he can do it differently.

  3. Eric Newhill says:

    This article lays out the downside of Trump’s approach quite clearly. It all makes sense to me.
    However, what is the alternative? Roll over and play dead? The USA becomes a door mat?
    If putting down the big stick and playing nice/diplomacy is the answer, then all of the international issues should have been worked out during the eight years of Obama.
    I know The Left would be happy if the USA just surrendered to some global One World Utopia. Problem is, I don’t see Russia or China joining the glorious oneness of all humanity. So the One Worlders would have us at war with major powers too.
    China and Russia can deal with Trump or they can face his wrath because sans Trump they will face the One Worlders’ wrath.
    All of the countries in question are going to have to deal with Trump or it’s just going to be war. At least with Trump there is a chance of peace.

  4. Castellio says:

    Clear article. Well thought through. And, like it or not, accurate.
    The quote from The Global Times of China is to the point.

  5. EEngineer says:

    Like tectonic stresses, the imbalances in the world’s financial, economic, and political order has been building for a very long time. Even if this particular contrived trigger does not set off an earthquake, some other event in the near future eventually will. I would suggest that those pushing this confrontation know this and are trying to make this climax happen sooner rather than later on their own terms since “CRIN” get stronger with every passing day and the US and its camp get weaker.
    PS: Thucydides’ “The History of the Peloponnesian War” was a most appropriate suggestion (from a few post back) for this weekend’s reading…

  6. SmoothieX12 says:

    should have been worked out during the eight years of Obama.
    Obama and his so called “national security” apparatus is primarily responsible for destroying Russian-American relations. Obama also allowed, in fact helped, Al Qaeda and ISIS to unleash a mayhem in Syria. Libya also happened on his watch. Trump, for all his major faults, from the go was sabotaged by Obama (and HRC) establishment especially on the account of relations with Russia. I will reiterate–we literally, be it Obama or Trump Admin, have people who have no clue of Russia nor of US situation vis-a-vis Russia. Take out few sober and professional US military people out of Trump Admin and there is a chance it all goes kaboom because people literally have no clue. In fact, track record and overwhelming empirical evidence support my simple thesis.
    Russia can deal with Trump or they can face his wrath because sans Trump they will face the One Worlders’ wrath.
    This is precisely an example of what I am talking about. And what this wrath could be against Russia? Another Hollywood movie? You evidently have no idea what happened culturally in Russia over the last four years. I will omit purely economically and militarily. Nobody is afraid of NATO or US be it economically let alone militarily. It seems this simple fact goes constantly missing on anyone in US political top. It is no surprising–the only sources in Russia which they have is a narrow strata of Russian so called “liberals” who, apart from being totally incompetent in any serious military-political or economic matter, tell only what their Western benefactors want them to say thus echo-chamber for non-stop delusion. But that is also why it is so dangerous.

  7. Lyttenburgh says:

    “a former Russian intelligence defector “
    Skripal never defected – he was caught spying for Britain in Russia in 2004, judged and sentenced and then exchanged in 2010. He is a traitor who got caught. Not a defector.

  8. Eric Newhill – hate to disagree with you but the Drone King really wasn’t “putting down the big stick and playing nice/diplomacy” during his eight years. Some of the most dangerous extensions of neocon foreign policy occurred during that time and unless Obama just wasn’t told what was being done, there was precious little playing nice to be seen.

  9. Chiron says:

    How the Petro-Yuan figure in this? Can China and Russia pushback against American hegemony?

  10. FourthAndLong says:

    I agree with Mr. Crooke. And especially with Pickering when he says there must be an off ramp. But I guess it needs further thought. It hinges around the characterization that this resembles a game of chicken. Is that really so?

  11. Peter VE says:

    “If putting down the big stick and playing nice/diplomacy is the answer, then all of the international issues should have been worked out during the eight years of Obama.”
    Perhaps you could check with the people of Ukraine, of Libya, or Yemen about how Obama put down the big stick. Or maybe the thousands whose relatives were assassinated by drones throughout the world. The foreign policy of the current resident is the same as the policy of the Obama administration, which was a continuation of the policy of the lesser Bush Administration. Mr. Trump promised a different policy on the campaign trail, but has chosen / been maneuvered into continuity.

  12. turcopolier says:

    In the intelligence trade in the West he would be called a “defector in place.” pl

  13. turcopolier says:

    “Obama also allowed, in fact helped, Al Qaeda and ISIS to unleash a mayhem in Syria” I have been a close observer of this process throughout and I would say that the “help” was an unintended consequence of ineptitude and an inability to understand the situation. pl

  14. Barbara Ann says:

    Thank you Mr Crooke for this excellent description of the dangerous current state of affairs.
    I have thought for some time that the increasingly belligerent actions of the US and those of its coerced European and other allies, are in the end likely to bring about an outcome the opposite of that desired – i.e. a swifter change to a multi polar World. Either that, or if the PNAC crazies hold sway, America may indeed prove itself exceptional when it destroys us all, rather than cede to an otherwise inevitable new World order.
    If we do somehow keep finding the off ramps, it surely cannot be long before China, Russia and other Asian powers do indeed call America’s bluff. Throw Russia out of SWIFT? Well that will just hasten the advent of an Asian alternative. Likewise with the ever increasing use of sanctions. Russia & Iran are learning to live with them and in the end may be obliged to immunize themselves thru trade within a bloc that no longer includes the US and its diminishing set of friends. That bloc will certainly include China and many other nations who recognize where the future of Eurasia lies.
    Bullying only works if the other kids are obliged to share the same playground. If pushed around enough, one fine day we may find they have up and formed their own gang, moved elsewhere and learned to play exclusively among themselves (and to paraphrase Mr Trump; their playground is bigger). The Global Times editorial is astonishing in its honesty. To me it reinforces the fact that the bullied are getting closer to just such a breaking point.

  15. luke8929 says:

    One of the most interesting phenomena in the west are these coming together vigils after major incidents with candles, hand holding and speeches about how we are all together and can’t be bullied. Of course at the first loud noise, firecracker, backfire etc they all stampede and couldn’t care less who they run over to save their own skins. I think we are seeing this on an international level, watching the west and NATO try to convince themselves they aren’t intimidated by the Russians. Of course we haven’t seen that loud noise coming from the Russian military yet, I will be interested to see the result when it finally happens.

  16. Eric Newhill says:

    Just to be clear, I’m not saying any of these games that are being played are necessarily good for the US or anyone else. I’m just saying that with Trump there is a chance for a peaceful arrangement if the other players are willing to concede to the US what it needs (albeit perhaps not everything it wants). With regards to China and NoKo, something has to be done. With regards to Russia, I don’t get it at all and apparently neither does Trump. He’s just being cajoled into antagonizing Russia by the Borg – and I hope he and Putin have reached an understanding, privately, on how to handle that situation.
    I’m guessing as much as anyone else, but I think that Trump is willing to drive reasonable deals with sovereign countries. The Neocons/Borg/One Worlders appear to not be reasonable because they do not respect other countries’ nationalistic urges.
    What are they or we going to do about it? That’s the $20trillion question; isn’t it? A rational actor like Putin has to see that The Neocons/Borg/One Worlders will accept nothing short of “regime change” in his country as well as a change of his nation’s character and they will push renlentlessly and stupidly beyond reasonable limits. He must also see that Trump just wants a good deal for the US and is willing to live and let live beyond that (I think). So it’s either a) sell out his country b) WW3 at some point or c)negotiate with Trump.
    Some people have called me out for suggesting that Obama wasn’t a big stick kinda guy (no double entendre intended). Fair enough, but I’d say he personally had a big stick lite approach. IMO, he moderated the will of the true big stick types; including Clinton.

  17. Lyttenburgh says:

    “In the intelligence trade in the West he would be called a “defector in place.” pl”
    If true – this is wrong, because broadens the possible definition of term, basically annihilating any sense in it.

  18. turcopolier says:

    the haughty Russian nationalist scorn ill becomes you. “Defector in place” is a term of art. What do you think we should call him or others recruited by us or you, “our traitor?” pl

  19. Sasha S says:

    I was told once by a senior strategist that at intelligence work one has to be “precise”, and to be precise, Skripal was a “double agent” caught red-handed…
    Thus, “defector in place” is all but precise…

  20. Amir says:

    President Hopey-Changey Obama as a peacenik?!
    This would be a novel interpretation of aspirations of the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who managed to attack 7 countries, expanded JSOC operations through out the globe as well as pursued a widening use of “droning” as a death nail into the coffin of Westphalian sovereignty principal as outgrowth of Treaty of Westphalia.
    Please do not call him a lefty, it is an insult to the militancy and radicalism of the left. Obomba should be judged by his actions not his sweat talk & jive.

  21. Babak Makkinejad says:

    pre-American & novo-Russ, respectively.

  22. Lyttenburgh says:

    “the haughty Russian nationalist scorn ill becomes you”
    “Nationalist”? What is “nationalist” in what I’m saying?
    Defector – a person who abandons a cause or organization usually without right
    The defector requested political asylum.
    Synonyms of defector:
    apostate, deserter, recreant, renegade
    The corect term for Skripal is therefore “double agent” (absolutely valid term that’s already in use), because he conducted his betrayal while still being a member of the GRU. Or you can call him and the people like him “Susan”, for all I care.

  23. SmoothieX12 says:

    the “help” was an unintended consequence of ineptitude and an inability to understand the situation.
    Agree, the incompetence factor was a major one in all that mess.

  24. turcopolier says:

    A true “double agent” is run by opponents at the same time with both thinking they have control. the process is delicate since enough information must be given to the other side through the “double” for the game tp be convincing. The aim of such an operation is to make the other side believe really destructive information when it is passed. either your mentor did not understand the trade or you did not understand what you were told. Skripal seems to have been a British penetration of the GRU. pl

  25. Eric Newhill says:

    And yet President Hopey-Changey Obama made a deal with Iran and retreated from the “red line” he drew in Syria.
    A lot of people here are comparing Obama to some ideal peacenik they have in their heads – the wet behind the ears guy that was awarded a Nobel Peace prize, I guess. If, OTOH, he is compared to the Bush Jr administration, he looks like he’s all love and rainbows.
    Again, the choice presented, in reality, is deal with Trump and perhaps avoid war for the next eight years, or face the wrath of the Borgists. The Borgists are truly crazy and are capable of deluding themselves into anything; including that they can push and push and still avoid WW3, or they could win WW3 if it happens.
    These are the same people that believed there would be flowers and candy and happy happy democracy following the invasion of Iraq and that there would be more of the same in the subsequent invasions of Syria and Iran. Ok? These same people also preach that a man who puts on a dress is actually a woman. And so on and so forth. And if you don’t accept it you will be thrown in prison. They think the Muslim invasion of Europe is a good thing and hope for something similar in the US. What more evidence is required to prove that they are out of control delusionally insane? I’m sure Putin, et al recognize the madness and its terrible potential.

  26. Jony Kanuck says:

    Where is the off ramp indeed.
    If I was advising ‘rocket man’ & tension was rising, I would advise him to fire two empty missiles into Tokyo. Then just sit back & watch the world economy fall on it’s face. If Iran is attacked they don’t need my advice to close the Straits of Hormuz; they have all sorts of ways to do that. Oil would instantly hit $200/barrel & the world economy would fall on it’s face.
    Wall St. has grown another bubble, wanna guess how leveredged some of those big banks are!
    The big stick is a really bad idea, even before we think about that nuclear stuff. Off ramps have never looked so good!

  27. Laura says:

    Eric — Bush, Cheney, and Runsfeld thought there would be flowers and candy. Those of us that support diplomacy over pre-emptive war on false pretenses and fear-mongering (and who studied history and international relations in college) were under NO illusions. I NEVER thought Iraq would love us…unless we had gotten out within 2 months and left their military and security forces in place.
    Do NOT blame folks who support diplomacy for the bill of goods sold to justify the Iraq War. EVER!

  28. turcopolier says:

    jony canuck
    My WAG is that an attack on Tokyo would be responded to with an all out onslaught on NOKO and that Russian and China would do nothing in the correct belief that the US had enough left over to destroy them. Trump’s cast for “the show” would preen and call the bookers on TV. pl

  29. turcopolier says:

    I am curious as to what you learned from International Relations. It has always seemed an empty subject to me. pl

  30. Eric Newhill says:

    The list of people supporting the Iraq was a lot longer than the immediate Bush admin. Most of Congress, including Clinton, passed the buck. I don’t know if they actually believed in flowers and candy, but if they didn’t, they sure as hell shouldn’t have abdicated their responsibility to be the ones to declare war, especially when inspectors were in Iraq busy finding no WMD. These same people get all kinds of hot bothered over SJW issues like the ones I mentioned in my previous comment, but have no critique nor, more appropriately, a mea culpa over the Iraq war they voted for. So, please, spare me the indignation.
    BTW Libya was Hillary’s war, as they say. More purple thumbs and smiling faces were expected.
    I’m just not seeing hordes of diplomacy minded people in DC – I’m sure there must be some, but they must be very quiet.

  31. Fred says:

    International community organizing the Chicago way, or the NYC way, is not statecraft. Judging by what the Chinese and Rusians are doing jointly our diplomatic bear gap is even bigger than our military one. What we need is a guy like this:

  32. Henshaw says:

    How, if at all, do the Mid-term elections figure in any of this?

  33. LondonBob says:

    When I was last in Russia a friend was talking about his job and all the business he was doing in China.
    Trump is a high end property developer, the Russians and Chinese have been the saviours of that business in recent years. As a businessman Trump probably frames the rise of China and Russia as economic opportunities, unfortunately I don’t think many others in DC see the win win scenario.

  34. Jony Kanuck says:

    Whether the US attempts to flatten NOKO or not, but especially if: That area of Japan/SOKO/China contains most of the busiest shipping routes, harbours & airports in the world. Insurance would skyrocket, just-in-time production would collapse & it would take down Wall st right away. Straits of Hormuz much the same. Any big use of major power military is likely to set off an economic conflagration.
    One bad thing the Trumpster has done is put fools in charge of banking regulation: If one of the big boys gets into trouble, it may ignite a chain reaction. I don’t believe that the Fed can bail out Wall st. a second time.

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