The Trump Doctrine – CBS News & WSJ


"The president embarked on his first foreign trip with a clear-eyed outlook that the world is not a “global community” but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage. We bring to this forum unmatched military, political, economic, cultural and moral strength. Rather than deny this elemental nature of international affairs, we embrace it."  McMaster & Cohn


This oped appeared in the WSJ on 30 May.  I missed it.

Listen up, pilgrims!  This is important!  Even Fareed Zakariya, the ultimate Globalist took note of this paragraph on his weekly Sunday call to the faithful to rally to the left.  It is interesting to watch him discuss Islam as though knew little of it.  It is interesting because his father is a Sunni 'alim back at the home ranch in IndiaDoes anyone know anything of Zakariya pere? 

The sentiments expressed in the McMaster/Cohn oped are a radical departure from globalist internationalism.  Wow!  The world is an "arena" and not a "community?"  No wonder DJT talked trash to the NATO bosses!  He sees them as his competitors, not his henchmen.  Yo momma!   He's from NY City.  He could have "gone there."

Logically, this set of attitudes leads to competitive mercantilism and withdrawal from blocs that do not directly improve US economic and military power positions.  Israel is probably safe.  They have a stranglehold on both major political parties, but all the other people looking for love in the US had better be useful in this brave new world.

Will the American people like this phenomenon?  I think they will outside the territory of the bi-coastal elites.  Fox News interviewed some people in a diner in Plainfield, Connecticut, a town of 15,000  in the NE part of the state.  SWMBO (my genealogist) tells me that some of my ancestors founded the place in the early 17th Century.  I took an internet tour of the town.  There doesn't seem to be any source of employment in the town except for the Connecticut Turnpike (toll takers and maintenance) and a little company that makes cast iron wood burning stoves for the cutesy crowd in Boston. etc. who probably voted for Clinton.  The old folks in the diner all voted for Trump.  pl

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80 Responses to The Trump Doctrine – CBS News & WSJ

  1. Laura says:

    Col. — Did you see this in Slate? The fact that Trump disregarded his team does not bode well for any form of “policy.” New, old, or off-the-wall. This will keep the military leaders up at night…right?

  2. robt willmann says:

    Something new as well is that Saudi Arabia and others have, at least on the surface publicly, broken ties with Qatar, as of yesterday or today: “Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut relations with Qatar in a coordinated move. Yemen, Libya’s eastern-based government and the Maldives joined in later.”–
    Saudi Arabia says that it “has decided to sever diplomatic and consular relations with the State of Qatar, close all land, sea and air ports, prevent crossing into Saudi territories, airspace and territorial waters, and start immediate legal procedures for understanding with fraternal and friendly countries and international companies to implement the same procedure as soon as possible for all means of transport to and from the State of Qatar for reasons relating to Saudi national security.”
    A recent rumor is that in Yemen, on the Arabian peninsula, there were clashes between the Saudi Arabian military or its associates, and the military of Qatar, in Aden, on the southwestern coast of Yemen on the Gulf of Aden, but I have not seen confirmation of it–

  3. ked says:

    At least McMaster & Cohn can articulate a clear argument. Lotsa clean-up required after the circus parade.
    I don’t find their pov to be new news. When has competitive mercantilism been out of favor? Globalist private enterprise has not given it up… nor will they, even as the Buy Local Movement proceeds. Is there really a contradiction between Ginormous Global Enterprise and Cute Stove Craftworks? Are they not distinct models for distinct markets? I see manipulating of populist angst for political gain more than real change in the Way Things Work in the Modern World. As long as folks are happy, I’m all for it.

  4. LondonBob says:

    Good, too many of his advisers are morons and should be disregarded as much as possible. He should trust his instincts.

  5. LG says:

    Fareed Zakaria’s father, Rafiq Zakaria was for many years a high-up in the Indian National Congress, close to Nehru and Mrs Gandhi, several years an MP, and representative of India at the UN. He seemed a decent sort, from what I remember of the time. That nasty, time-serving son of his, must take these traits from his mother perhaps.

  6. Jack says:

    I’m curious what role Gary Cohn, previously President of Goldman Sachs, is playing in Trump’s administration.
    When I read this oped when it was first published I thought this was cover for the big arms deal with the Saudis. On reflection not sure what it means in terms of tangible actions and who is driving policy strategy at the White House.
    Then this story about break in relations between Qatar and the Saudis. What is the real back story here?

  7. Fredw says:

    The father appears to be pretty well documented, with a number of books on Islam and Indian politics.

  8. b says:

    When I read that op-ed I lauded Trump’s honesty:
    The U.S. has done no different than what he says he wants to do. It had only covered it up with talk of “human rights”, “common values” and lots of other empty words. Threats were made and carried out in the dark by the CIA and a myriad of “NGOs” and proxy figures. Coups were arranged, even in “western” countries, and then papered over and forgotten.
    I am happy when that behavior comes out into the open. Large parts of the CIA and the other entities (NED, RFE/RL) that have lived off the scam will of course dislike it.
    Local politicians in Europe and elsewhere will now have to take responsibility instead of hiding behind U.S. “leadership”. A great win for mankind when seen from my perspective.

  9. The Beaver says:

    As far as I remember reading (when he was caught for plagiarism) father was an Indian politico and a religion theologian (or something to that effect)
    From Wikipedia:

  10. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    From the URL of the link you supplied, it appears that the article was sourced from Huffington Post and Medium. So, rather unsurprising that it adopted the tone that it did.
    What is truly surprising to me was that they didn’t manage to include some innuendo concerning his “tiny hands” in this Chicken Little excrescence.
    That we are may not all be incinerated in some Götterdämmerung brought on by a false flag staged in Estonia is actually a relief to me, and I rather suspect, to large numbers of citizens of European members of NATO. It is often said that “The Constitution is not a suicide pact”; I think it equally desirable that our membership in NATO not be a suicide pact. But with NeoCons and Russophobes (some of whom are involved in high levels in the current national security “team”) doing their damnedest to maneuver our nation into a Showdown at High Noon with Russia, I am rather pleased that the unconditional affirmation of “the so-called Article 5 provision” was stricken from the speech. But of course, if you subscribe to the “thousands of Russian hackers” theory of Hillary’s loss, you probably find this odious. À chacun son goût.

  11. robt willmann says:

    Regarding Trump’s recent NATO speech, this article from the Politico website claims that a part of his speech that supposedly reaffirmed the Article 5 intervention part of the NATO treaty was removed by Trump himself: “… the president also disappointed — and surprised — his own top national security officials by failing to include the language reaffirming the so-called Article 5 provision in his speech. National security adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson all supported Trump doing so and had worked in the weeks leading up to the trip to make sure it was included in the speech, according to five sources familiar with the episode.”–
    Politico has an obvious slant on things, and reached out in the article to Strobe “I Am a Citizen of the World” Talbott to criticize Trump’s exclusion of the Article 5 language. My thought was that Hillary Clinton would likely nominate Talbott to be Secretary of State had she won the election.

  12. turcopolier says:

    Your hatred for the US is impressive. pl

  13. c says:

    indignation seems to me closer to it
    thanks for letting differring voices have their say

  14. eakens says:

    Trump cuts a $450b deal with Saudis, ISIS getting it handed to them in Syria, and now this.
    This is a far-reaching cutting of ties. Seems to me that the pressure on Iran is about to be ratcheted up significantly, and perhaps Qatar didn’t want any part of it given their proximity and vulnerability in a hot war.
    Not sure what the back story is here but I think I’ve seen enough and need to start buying some oil futures!

  15. Mark Logan says:

    FT has a piece which claims Qatar earned their place on the Saudi S-list by paying about $700 million to Shia militias which were holding a couple dozen Qatari princelings in Iraq. The princelings are reported to have been snatched in Iraq while on a “hunting trip”. Someone educate me on Iraq safaris. Sounds positively thrilling!

  16. turcopolier says:

    Old thing. Don’t know how long you have been here but “b” has been bitching about the US on SST for about ten years. pl

  17. Laura says:

    Jersey, I did miss the source. Politico not Slate. Sorry, my bad. You can scoff all you want but consider the morale issues. I don’t know what line of work you are in but how would you respond if your boss walked into a major meeting and completely changed your agreed upon approach? And what if he did that routinely? Would you stay? Would anyone — other than a shill — stay?
    Today’s news brings more of the same — Trumps Justice Department is defending his travel restrictions before several courts (including the Supremes) and what does “the boss” do? Completely undermine their argument ON HIS BEHALF by stating the policy IS A BAN and NOT STRONG ENOUGH. This has to be pretty demoralizing to those attorneys. It’s like having the worst client ever!

  18. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I think this is a desirable first step, but only a first step.
    The trouble with US foreign policy, to a large degree, is not that other countries and non-state actors around the world are “competitors,” per se, but many of them are parasites–they may compete, but they compete for the right to con and to steal from whoever that is gullible enough to leave valuable assets exposed, and often, it is us. Ditching the do-gooderism, often no more than excuse for giving warlords, cheats, and global conmen millions and billions in aid so as to assuage the multiculturalist guilt of our overinsulated elites, is a good thing. But changing the metaphor from that of “community” to an “arena” seems as misguided as before: we are not “competing” with many of the globalist bozos and their foreign friends, no more than a farmer does with rats.

  19. different clue says:

    If the TrumpAdmin contains people who reject Free Trade as a concept, and wish to position America for eventual abrogation and rejection of all the Free Trade Agreements going all the way back to GATT Round One if necessary in order to repatriate America’s production-held-captive in foreign countries; then our policy is set for a genuine actual shift.
    For the last few decades, the American Government served the International Free Trade Conspiracy against the American people. If the TrumpAdmin and future Admins which come after it reverse course and decide to support the American people against the International Free Trade Conspiracy, that will be a genuine reversal.
    Ideally, it would mean repatriating as much production of as much of everything as possible and exporting as little as necessary in order to import the least and lowest amount of imports which we can not absolutely abolish completely. Ideally, the United States will become a NON TRADING nation. If we could achieve that, you would experience it as a change. Whether you would like it or not would not be my concern.

  20. Simplicius says:

    The fact that Trump’s World view is essentially Hobbesian should not be news to anyone except the purest of snowflakes. However, the schoolboy ‘you are either with us or against us’ tone of the piece does appear to me to be somewhat self-defeating. There is a new kid on the block and this crass ally bullying comes across as ever-so-slightly desperate.
    McMaster and Cohn want to be friends only with “those societies that share our interests” (America First, presumably – so rather few, I guess). And notice “interests” not “values”.
    Yes, removing the veneer of moral leadership and replacing it with explicitly transnational terms of partnership is going to change things. Former allies may now calculate that either 1) they need to go it alone (Germany) or 2) if forced to choose, they are better off throwing it their lot with China (ASEAN countries & maybe Japan). Either way I find it hard to see how articulating this ethos in such a way will ultimately “…extend American influence around the World”, I’d expect it to do the exact opposite. But, I agree, it will probably be a hit with the good people of Plainfield, CT.

  21. lally says:

    Israeli news site Walla adds some perspectives to the Qatar quashing. (trans):
    …..”Along with all this, it is worth pausing on what appears to be a perfectly coordinated move with the White House. The Donald Trump administration is in no hurry to join the Saudi round on Qatar, but it can be assumed that such a move was made by Washington. The new wind blowing from the US administration, including Trump’s warm embrace of Riyadh, apparently gave the Saudi king the feeling that the time had come to liquidate accounts with the Qatari “fifth column” – a Sunni state that has done quite a bit to attack and even undermine its neighbors in the Gulf.
    The move was apparently fabricated with the knowledge of Washington.
    And it is impossible without the Israeli-Palestinian context: The electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip is more difficult than ever, and it was Qatar that helped solve it six months ago, with its agreement to finance the fuel for the Gaza power plant. However, Qatar now refuses to do so, even though the amount required is not considered an expense that the Qatari Treasury will not be able to meet. Doha is working to distance itself from Hamas in order to improve its image somewhat. Thus, several Hamas military wing leaders, Salah al-‘Urri and Musa Dodin, have been expelled from Qatar in recent days, known for their ties to terrorist cells in the West Bank.
    One can guess that this move was also done not only because of Israeli pressure, but also because of some American demand. But these cosmetic procedures are too little and too late. Qatar, which for years tried to act as a Western business partner, has invested tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars in terrorist organizations that have hit the West and Israel at every opportunity. Now, it seems that the Qataris will have to find out the price of the fickle conduct of the royal family in Doha.”
    In a JPost article today, a new challenger for leadership of the Labor party (and >Bibi) MK Omer Bar-Lev, is also linking to direct pressure from the Trumpettes in pushing the
    The recent revelations via hacked UAE Amb Otaibi’s uber-cozy relationship with Kushner and the administration-embedded Iran (and of late, Qatar) obsessed think tank FDD suggest that Qatari non-compliance in that arena is the prime mover in smashing Qatar’s notions of sovereignty.

  22. walrus says:

    I saw the op ed and was going to write it up, but events intervened. My take on the editorial and President Trumps speech to NATO members as well as his Paris Climate accord withdrawal, is that they are “unfortunate” for America as a whole. By that I mean that the attitudes expressed, if not walked back, do not advance American interests at all. Instead, they will cost jobs and create new and expensive foreign policy headaches. What Trump and his advisors have done, in a fit of emotional hubris, is to create the conditions for an anti – American alliance to form as well as starting the process of driving the non American people of the world in that direction. President Macron of France sums this direction up perfectly: “make the planet great again”.
    On one level, Cohn and Mc Master are stating the obvious; the world is an arena in which nations compete tooth and claw for resources and power, this is as it should be. However there is another level that Trump and his advisers appear to have failed totally and completely to understand and accordingly have trampled. That is the level where nations collaborate together to manage risk in all its forms.
    Simple examples? The refusal of President Trump to enumerate NATO Article 5 increases perceived risks to European countries that they may have to fight alone. While this may have the desired effect of getting them to increase defence spending, in my opinion it is difficult to see how that increase will not be spent on local production, so no jobs for Americans from that avenue. Furthermore a growth in European self defence capability is going to automatically reduce American influence on European foreign policy. Europe for example may not wish to hate Russia as much as America seems to want to. Do we want that? What is the risk of Europe acting independently of American strategic interests, for example, in the Arctic?
    Then of course there is the little matter of how we might wish to advance the cause of Nuclear non proliferation. If America cannot be relied on, why wouldn’t Germany, Japan, South Korea and Australia start thinking about acquiring their own nuclear deterrents? How is that reducing risk of nuclear confrontation?
    On the public level, which of course billionaires of all political persuasions ignore, President Trump and his advisors are perceived to have thumbed their noses at the rest of the world by their “America first and devil take the hindmost” attitude to climate change and industry development. It is important to explain here that this is not a matter of the rights and wrongs of climate science which may well be debatable, it is about the worlds perception that the Trump Administration doesn’t give Two hoots for the risk to the rest of the planet. What Trump has done is given permission to the people of the world to hate America and their are plenty of ideologues that can be counted on to use the evidence provided to grind this axe. Doesn’t this increase the risk that nations are going to elect Governments that are not friendly to American interests?
    As for American jobs and industry development, President Trumps alleged comments about the German auto industry sales success in the US are pathetic. The Germans make damn fine cars and people will buy them. I have experienced industry protection as I grew up in Australia. The ONLY effects of industry protection are featherbedding rotten management and unions,, a decline in R&D and new investment and an increasing cost burden on the rest of the economy from the free riders. To put that another way, 30% tariffs on Asian steel imports may feel good if you are a steel worker, but what about all the American manufacturers who just saw their steel raw material costs increase by 30%???? How is Trump going to manage the increased GLOBAL business risk and the inevitable reduction in GLOBAL business investment that inevitably follows? How attractive does the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) look now compared to remaining in the American economic sphere?
    I note in passing that Trumps disavowal of the Paris Climate accord protects Virginia coal miners and their bosses, but how many jobs are going to be lost , or will never be created locally? I was taught by an American businessman that pollution is wasted money. The least polluting company is the most profitable. Wouldn’t you run your business , your house and your car on free energy from sunlight if you could? Where is the virtue in burning coal and oil? What is the risk that solar powered economies are going to outstrip fossil fuel based systems?
    Now for the disclaimer. You can all label me as an America hater and say “screw you and the horse etc., etc.” but I really mean what I say. President Trumps actions are not in the best interest of the USA. While I am not an HRC supporter, President Trump is also a disappointment. He is playing to the grandstands, he forgets hubris and nemesis. He does not understand that the rest of the world can make more trouble for America than America can make for the rest of the world.

  23. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Col. Lang, SST;
    For an early exposition on “Globalization”, may I recommend “The Disappointments Of War” section of Freud’s essay “Reflections On War And Death” ( written about WW-I.Here is an excerpt:
    “Trusting to this unity of civilized races countless people left hearth and home to live in strange lands and trusted their fortunes to the friendly relations existing between the various countries. And even he who was not tied down to the same spot by the exigencies of life could combine all the advantages and charms of civilized countries into a newer and greater fatherland which he could enjoy without hindrance or suspicion… The new fatherland was to him also a museum, filled with the treasure that all the artists of the world for many centuries had created and left behind. While he wandered from one hall to another in this museum he could give his impartial appreciation to the varied types of perfection that had been developed among his distant compatriots by the mixture of blood, by history, and by the peculiarities of physical environment. Here cool, inflexible energy was developed to the highest degree, there the graceful art of beautifying life, elsewhere the sense of law and order, or other qualities that have made man master of the earth….
    The enjoyment of this common civilization was occasionally disturbed by voices which warned that in consequence of traditional differences wars were unavoidable even between those who shared this civilization. One did not want to believe this, but what did one imagine such a war to be like if it should ever come about? No doubt it was to be an opportunity to show the progress in man’s community feeling since the days when the Greek amphictyonies had forbidden the destruction of a city belonging to the league, the felling of her oil trees and the cutting off of her water supply. It would be a chivalrous bout of arms for the sole purpose of establishing the superiority of one side or the other with the greatest possible avoidance of severe suffering which could contribute nothing to the decision, with complete protection for the wounded, who must withdraw from the battle, and for the physicians and nurses who devote themselves to their care. With every consideration, of course, for noncombatants, for the women who are removed from the activities of war, and for the children who, when grown up, are to become friends and co-workers on both sides. And with the maintenance, finally, of all the international projects and institutions in which the civilized community of peace times had expressed its corporate life.”

    In Freud’s global world, civilization was for “the great ruling nations of the white race”. He expected that: “there would be wars between primitive and civilized nations and between those divided by color, as well as with and among the partly enlightened and more or less civilized peoples of Europe… (but) We expected that…the leaders of mankind…would find some other way of settling their differences and conflicting interests.” He then observes that in reality things turned out different: “(This new war) is at least as cruel, bitter, and merciless as any earlier war… It hurls down in blind rage whatever bars its way, as though there were to be no future and no peace after it is over…” In essence Freud states that, in complete contrast to his earlier expectations, “civilized states” and “individuals of the highest culture” could and did exhibit extreme “brutal behavior”. He then goes ahead and states that to live in civilized society requires one to suppress these elemental impulses, and thus become a “ hypocrite”, stating further that “There are therefore more civilized hypocrites than truly cultured persons”.
    It seems that, for whatever reason, Trump is less of a hypocrite when compared to traditional “elites”. Freud suggests psychotherapy to deal w/ hypocrites. I do not think this would work with the current bunch.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  24. Dr.Puck says:

    Thanks for this pithy view. “those societies that share our America-First interests.”
    I wonder just how violently US FP will enforce this new regimen–should it ever get totally on track?

  25. John LeDell says:

    I don’t understand why people think our current trade deficit is such a huge problem that it’s okay for Trump to anger our allies and other countries of the world. Our current trade deficit with the entire world is about $750 billion, with China responsible for half of the deficit.
    The $750 billion trade deficit represents 4% of our GDP, or 2% without China. Blowing up free trade will create a lot of problems. First, inflation will increase as consumers pay more for goods that were formerly relatively cheap.With unemployment a little over 4%, how confident are we that we can find workers to make the $2.1 trillion in goods we previously imported. Given that consumers don’t have a ton of extra money, can they afford to buy $2.1 trillion in goods with inflated prices.
    Our top exports are computers,electronic stuff, cars, and oil. How much more of this type of product can the US consumers purchase. There can be negative results if we get into another Smoot-Hawley tariff fight.

  26. Tom Cafferty says:

    You are so right!
    But there are two models at work here:
    1.Gangs of New York:
    Mobbed up with the Italians and the Russians. Now that’s some globalism. Let’s get every mob on the planet working together. One Mob, One Tong.
    2. East India Company model: Not too different from item 1.
    The Prinz boy, Betsy DeVos’ little brother wants to establish Afghanistan as an American protectorate under Trump, a la the East India company.
    Outsource it, just leave the uniform military for parades on the Mall.
    This is gonna work out so well.
    Isn’t Afghanistan that place where empires go to die?

  27. BraveNewWorld says:

    I am curious about how your going to support a $20T debt with out trade? Also if you do that kiss good bye the biggest club you have in the bag. Control of the world banking institutions.

  28. Lemur says:

    The eloi in charge of Europe don’t have the stones to go it alone in actuality. They’ve been fooling themselves for years their world historic gay pride parade is sustainable without the muscle and will to power of Washington. Since the pride parade is far more important to EU elites than national or even continental independence, their fate is an eternal return to the United States.
    China will be no less transnational. The reality is the ASEAN states are far more implicated in China’s economic orbit than they are in America’s.
    In perspective, the Trump doctrine is a recognition of an emerging multi-polar world. In this world, America is no longer on top, so whatever she wants to do internationally will require more hard-nosed and less soothing bromides about developing the ‘international community’. The long term question is whether America will fight on this stage for the common good of her people like the Great Powers of old, or for the ruinous “values” of the French revolution.

  29. Marcus says:

    People can’t be globally minded and compete with each other? I don’t see a big departure here except bellicose posturing. No cohesive ideas coming from this president, just bellicose posturing to play to his true believers. He’s a TV guy. Critical analysis is out of his reach.
    Looking for a globalist conspiracy? You got it, the world united against the US.

  30. Brunswick says:

    There is no Deal with Saudi Arabia.
    It’s all offers and letters of intent, with no money changing hands, dating to the Obama Administration.
    On the other hand, NAFTA talks start in August, Canada has a team of experts assembled, Mexico has a Team of Experts assembled, there is no Team Trump, there’s not even a Commerce Secretary Nominee or a Trade Representative Nominee.
    If the Trump Doctrine is going to as the McMaster’s/Coen Op-Ed suggests, judge every Treaty/Alliance/Trade deal on the basis of the cost/benifit ratio, as analized by people who can’t do basic math in a budget and routinely ignore or lie about facts and figures,
    America first is very quickly going to become America Alone.

  31. Brunswick says:

    Yup, Article 5 for example,
    Why would South Korea continue defence treaties with the US, that when push comes to shove, it’s worthless?

  32. bks says:

    Last month, President Trump visited Saudi Arabia and his administration announced that he had concluded a $110 billion arms deal with the kingdom. Only problem is that there is no deal. It’s fake news. …

  33. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I do not expect this to outlast this presidency. Are the puritans who crushed CSA and then proceeded to go from strength to strength going to give up on their imperial project now?

  34. The Porkchop Express says:

    I agree with your premise. We have long advocated ideas that are diametrically opposed to or act as a masking agents for our actual, implemented policies.
    But devil’s advocate: what’s the alternative? Isn’t that just human nature writ large?

  35. Sam Peralta says:

    “…extend American influence around the World…
    What happens if the US chooses to not extend influence around the world anymore? What would that do the security and standard of living of Americans?
    There is an assumption by many that if the US stops intervening in the internal affairs of other nations, and solely focuses on the security of its borders and lanes of trade, that it is inherently bad for the American people. Let us assume for a moment that the US does exactly that, and closes all its overseas military bases and returns all its military forces back home. And further, that China, Russia, Japan, Britain, Germany, France seek to extend their influence all over the world. How would that situation disadvantage the US in any meaningful way in furthering the standard of living and security of the American people?

  36. Sam Peralta says:

    This must have been brewing for sometime for it to be this draconian. There is more than meets the eye here.

  37. Bandit says:

    I think many people misread the McMaster and Cohn article and put their spin on it as if it was a new development, brutally honest or whatever; much like the non-story of the Merkel and Trump divorce, which is just political theater. My personal opinion, is that it is, at least, refreshing to see language that most accurately defines US motives in setting foreign policy. However, aside from the frank appearance, I cannot see any real “change” in the effect or consequences of past policy and this, the most recently stated one. Correct me if I am wrong.

  38. JJackson says:

    I too was wondering what had precipitated this and was hoping someone here had some insights and was willing to share.

  39. Mathiasalexander says:

    I think b just hates certain parts of the US state apparatus and its associates, rather than the US as a whole.

  40. Ante says:

    different clue
    I’m sorry to tell this to you, but Trump has made clear (as clear as he makes things) that they plan on bringing back the TPP, but on a bilateral, country by country, basis. And Trump recently said “that NAFTA will remain, but he plans to ‘renogotiate.'”
    I have my doubts that his trade deals will be any friendlier to the average American worker than those of the Obama and Bush and Clinton years.

  41. turcopolier says:

    bandit, b et al
    “I cannot see any real “change” in the effect or consequences of past policy and this, the most recently stated one. Correct me if I am wrong.” Some of you think that the US has never acted from anything other than selfishness and rapacity. You are enemies of the US through and through. Therefore you simply see this revolutionary statement of policy as a confession of an eternal truth. pl

  42. Simplicius – is it not an advance that Trump seems to be moving away from the neocon pretence that cloaked a predatory foreign policy in the language of freedom and democracy and R2P?
    Putin’s world view is that each country should pursue its own interests robustly – he’s no Utopian – but should do so within the framework of a moral order that excludes predatory excesses. I don’t know if that’s genuine but it sounds good and is winning hearts and minds in a lot of places. Since only the top few percent in the West truly benefit from neocon predatory excesses – tell me how many of us deplorables are better off for the Ukrainian or the ME debacles – Putin’s approach might even be winning hearts and minds in the West itself.
    Anything that edges Trump in that direction can only be good news, and perhaps dropping the Soapy Sam R2P pretence might be a step that way. But he’s got the swamp and the Israeli lobby like chains round his neck so even if he is edging that way he may not make it.
    Our lot are easier to read. The European mini-neocons yapping furiously because the big dog might have found other games to play. That wasn’t a noble Transatlantic alliance we had going for us, it was a hunting pack and if it should get broken up that can only be for the good.
    So Hobbesian sounds depressing, I do agree with you, but Hobbesian in R2P and hands across the ocean disguise was worse and offered less hope of progress.

  43. turcopolier says:

    The real lefties here either have never been in business or are so eager to propagandize that they ignore how large scale business works. I will play along with the game and ask if you think checks should have been signed and handed over at the meeting in SA. pl

  44. Annem says:

    I note that this globalized world was set up to support the interests of American capital and, to some degree, production. One only need look at the overall pattern of WTO decisions that MAKE even developing countries open their economies to our goods and investments whether or not that helps the development of the country. That is shy “economic growth” is a crock. Meanwhile, we have littered the world with military bases to enforce our and other Western prerogatives. We look at threats from China and Russia, but which country is surrounding each of these with military bases or exercises, threatening them? Of course, there are silly aspects of this, like saying that we have bases in the Gulf to ensure the flow of oil to other countries when the real reason is to protect these states from Iran. The orders are issued by Western powers. The EU head of foreign affairs informed Serbia recently that it will join the EU whether they like it or not! No independent foreign or domestic policies allowed. If they try to avoid this demand, they will find themselves at the receiving end of another “color” revolution led by neo-liberal parties, like Ukraine.
    Yes, the way that Zakaria feigns ignorance of Islam or even foreign affairs when it comes to the Middle East is VERY disingenuous. Of course, to do otherwise would compel him to ask more probing questions to his “expert” guests and in the process, bring down the wrath of the keepers of the narrative within the mainstream media.

  45. turcopolier says:

    Countries do not go to war for pieces of paper. It is a matter of their interests requiring war. DeGaulle correctly understood that the US would not necessarily fight for France because of Article Five and for that reason withdrew control of France’s forces from ACE although not from NATO itself. For the same reason France developed the Force de Frappe (boomers) The same kind of realpolitik would cause the US to consider fighting for S. Korea. Pieces of paper mean little except as “markers” in the game of nations. pl

  46. turcopolier says:

    We seem to live at opposite ends of the DC metro area. In your view the US created the UN, the WTO, NATO, etc with the objective of controlling the world? Just, to clear things up was it the “MIC,” the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderbergers, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Wise Men of Zion, the freemasons, or maybe the Catholic Church who organized all this? Or maybe the whole US government has been a conspiracy to accomplish world domination? pl

  47. Morongobill says:

    It appears to me that some in Nato have gotten very close to getting a response from the Russian bear with all this encroachment business and would love nothing more than to have said response trigger this article 5.
    Trump, to his credit, seems to have seen through the gambit and is sending a strong signal that he won’t fall for it.

  48. c says:

    I value both your efforts to dissect current situations and their background and the way you offer your point of view (even if they are diametrically opposed) for about ten years plus.

  49. Most economists see it your way too. Using the cheapest labour going must mean prices go down, which is good for all of us. Particularly for those of us who’ve already made it and have houses and savings and all the rest of it, or who have safe jobs.
    When considering a first world economy such as the US that’s only half the story though. How do you feed the resultant unemployed? Where’s your purchasing power when most consumers have less money? What about the resultant social unrest as those at the bottom lose out?
    Using local workers and paying them fairly is of course far more expensive than using cheap foreign labour so prices will rise. Not in proportion, for obvious reasons, but they will rise substantially. Therefore the workers at the bottom must be paid more.
    Maybe as the local economy grows the cake will get bigger to accommodate that pay increase, but that’s most unlikely and even if the cake does get bigger it won’t get big enough. So as the workers at the bottom get more those at the top get less. A lot less. Doesn’t work else.
    Better do it quick, because there’s automation to be factored in very soon, if not now. Good luck.
    As for the economists, put them to digging holes somewhere out of the way and filling them in again. They understand that sort of thinking.

  50. turcopolier says:

    “even if they are diametrically opposed” What are “diametrically opposed?” My opinions and analysis? Or is it your opinion which are opposed to mine? pl

  51. Heros says:

    You wrote:

    “Correct me if I am wrong.” Some of you think that the US has never acted from anything other than selfishness and rapacity. You are enemies of the US through and through. Therefore you simply see this revolutionary statement of policy as a confession of an eternal truth.”

    As a southern sympathizer and a secessionist, I think you are tying people who think the US lost course long ago with “enemies of the US through and through”. It was Lincoln, the Freemasons, and the War of Northern Aggression that killed the Republic. They were the enemy of everyone who still believed in the Constitution in 1860 and we cannot undo what they have done.
    No one knows for sure who is in charge of the deep state and the empire since then, but it is manifestly clear than it isn’t Trump now. If we are to regain a sustainable path forward, we have to get to the truth about the past and the present. The US deep state, and the US puppet show state, are both impediments to finding out what the truth is. So yes, the US government and its plenipotentiaries are the enemy of the truth and hence the people.
    That the state hates people who seek the truth is clear from the Clinton Body Count.

  52. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel, Wow, an adult viewpoint in the house. Never thought I would live to see the day. Is it too much to hope for internal-consistency.

  53. turcopolier says:

    “As a southern sympathizer and a secessionist,” I presume you are describing yourself. pl

  54. b says:

    I bet you Pat that for any event where you can point to some non-selfish act of the U.S. (in international policy) I can find at least three that were driven completely by presumed U.S. selfishness (and also catastrophic for the other side).
    It is simple historic fact that applies to all empires.
    (You, as a life long soldier who thought of himself as working for the “good cause” will naturally have a different view on this.)
    The U.S. is still a quite revolutionary country that often sees its task as remaking the world in its own image. As long as it does it will create huge damage to the world and the people who live in it. If Trump can change that a bit it is fine with me. (I do not have to live with the internal damage he will create within the U.S.)

  55. LondonBob says:

    Alliances control action only when they embody a nation’s vital interests. The Italians had been a member of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austro-Hungary when their territorial interests lay in southern France, however when the Germans started WWI their interests lay in Austro-Hungarian territory and aligned themselves accordingly.
    Nations enter into alliances and understandings because they see mutual advantages and interests are served by them. For NATO these have ceased to exist, Trump is just crystallising this reality. Ironically these divergent interest are centered upon recent US actions in MENA and rivalry with Russia, something Trump has opposed alongside many Europeans. However inarticulately Trump might express it but the ‘Independent America’ option for US foreign policy as enunciated by Ian Bremmer is right choice.
    I think De Gaulle was also irritated that elements in NATO and the CIA had far too many links with the OAS and their many attempts to murder him.
    As for South Korea it makes no sense for the US to pay to protect them at the same time allowing them to undercut the US on trade.

  56. Simplicius says:

    Many past Presidents (including the last one) clearly felt their role was to provide moral leadership to the World & directed the US to act selflessly to promote what they considered to be the summum bonum. Humanity has undoubtedly been the better for it in aggregate, despite the somewhat schizophrenic nature of US foreign policy.
    Elements in the USG clearly are selfish & rapacious, but when these elements took over foreign policy in 2003 everything changed. Iraq destroyed so much of the goodwill the US had previously enjoyed that it is natural that some view US history through this lens. Many of America’s “enemies” just feel let down and want their great friend back. I count myself among these.
    But for now the moral high ground is vacant and the current Administration seems even to deny it’s very existence.

  57. c says:

    “I value both your efforts to dissect current situations and their background and the way you offer your point of view (even if they are diametrically opposed) for about ten years plus.”
    “your point of view”, which should have been “both your points of view”, as plural for yours and b’s opinion and/or analysis which are sometimes but not always opposite to each other. The latter especially in framing the workings of the United States government, military and intelligence communities.

  58. turcopolier says:

    “b” is an excellent analyst of military affairs but with regard to US government, the US military and US intelligence he knows nothing that you cannot learn in a library in Belgium. His opinions on these subjects are informed by nothing but anti-American literature and prejudice against the US. pl

  59. turcopolier says:

    “when these elements took over foreign policy in 2003 everything changed.” I am well known for agreeing with that. IMO the accession to power of the neocon cabal (including Cheney) and their tool, GW Bush marked the great change. the neocons had worked for many years to attain that power and they finally achieved it. pl

  60. turcopolier says:

    I am sure you will choose to interpret anything we have done to be selfish and evil actions, but:
    1. What was the selfish motivation for the US Declaration of war in WW1? We were already producing at maximum industrial capacity supporting the war against the Axis Powers. We had very little reserve industrial capacity, and could not build our own tanks, airplanes or artillery.
    2. What was the evil motive for our entry into WW2 Japan attacked us in the midst of negotiations over supplies of scrap metal, rubber and oil and Germany foolishly honored its treaty obligation to the Japanese and declared war on us.
    3. The US fostered creation of the European Coal and Steel community after WW2 In so doing we created competitors for ourselves.
    4. How did the Marshall Plan benefit the US rather than the Europeans? More competitors in manufacturing and trade.
    5. What was the selfish US motive for joining the UN operation in Korea in 1950? Did we desire a dependable supply of kimche or did we wish to control the Korean patrimony of agriculture that extensively employed human excrement for fertilizer? Was American agriculture failing at that point?
    6. the same thing is true of Vietnam. We wanted their rubber plantations? They all had French owners and we never interfered with their ownership. Maybe we wanted a dependable supply of nuoo mam?
    I am curious to know if you think the formation of NATO in the late 40’s was a selfish American grab for power. In other words do you think the USSR was not a threat to Western Europe/ pl

  61. Putin has sure won my heart and mind.

  62. Swamp Yankee says:

    I’m not sure my of verdict on the Trump doctrine yet; that said, I wanted to echo the domestic, as it were, side of your comments, Colonel.
    First off, I really love the northeast corner of Connecticut. Beautiful country. Very similar to my own SE Mass.
    Here, too, the divide between the Hillaryista Summer People* and/or other invasive metropolitan conspicuous consumption types vs. more or less everyone else is stark. The thing is, “flyover country” (hate that term), places of poverty, deindustrialization, agriculture and fishing, etc, occur often right next to, or across the bay, from some of the wealthiest ZIP codes in the nation.
    The inhabitants of these latter really don’t seem to know, at all, the rest of us. I’ve been working on some town committees with them (volunteer), and though I’ve known it all my life, the automatic quality of the contempt for those of us who aren’t on the right side of the tracks, or the bay, or the river, etc., has only gotten starker after 2016. I do fear for the long-term viability of our society in a number of ways. People are dropping like flies left and right from heroin while across the bay some of the richest people on Earth sip champagne and laugh. This cannot go on forever.
    As you, Col. Lang, and others have said on this blog — a new civil war would take place as much within states as between them. The good people of Plainfield, CT, see how Fairfield County hedge-fund people regard them, and they don’t like it.
    I’m still hoping it doesn’t come to that.
    Thanks as always to the members of the committee for all your work and comments.
    * “Summer People — some are not.” Graffito on the drawbridge at Woods Hole, Falmouth, MA.

  63. Mark Logan says:

    Sam Peralta,
    I believe the main issue is the Saudis are cracking the whip now that their leadership of the ME has been formally approved by Trump. Qatar, it has been reported, has a reputation of not quite viewing Iran as the root of all evil. It appears the Saudis will be highly intolerant of such fence-straddling.

  64. bks says:

    Lawfare is a conservative source.

  65. Fred says:

    “..they compete for the right to con and to steal from whoever that is gullible enough to leave valuable assets exposed, and often, it is us…”
    The same thing applies to the millions now bearing the noble title of “immigrant” and “refugee”. Let them build their own civilizations on their own continents.

  66. Fred says:

    “The Germans make damn fine cars and people will buy them….”
    VW spent a decade committing fraud on a global scale. ” I was taught by an American businessman that pollution is wasted money. The least polluting company is the most profitable. ”
    It was damned profitable fraud:
    If I recall recent events correctly Australia no longer builds automobiles, including electric ones.

  67. Fred says:

    Swamp Yankee,
    I believe big blue CT finally taxed one of Hartford’s biggest employers enough to leave the state, that won’t help the city budget any. Trump didn’t have anything to do with this one but I think the opposition to tax and spend government is coming to a head one more time.

  68. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I don’t disagree with that statement at all. Why do you presume that you need to make that statement?

  69. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Also Somalia – under GHWB

  70. Cee says:

    You’re a prophet. ISIS,MEK or both attacked Iran today.

  71. Lurker says:

    Re the Trump doctrine. There was no billion $ deal with the Saudi leadership. Trump is visiting every former ally to tell them them they must pay more, to MAGA of course. The Saudis presented what amounts to a wish list of weapons systems and letters of intent. But the Saudis are near broke by their standards. The Oil price war against Russia and Frackers has left them with budget deficits requiring deep cuts. The Jihadism in Syria and Yemen is not going well. Thus, the Saudis have engaged in their blockade of Qatar with an ultimate attempt to raid its coffers. Same thing happened to Saddam. After waging war against Iran on behalf of the Saudis, Israel and USA, Saddam thought he had a US nod to invade Kuwait and make them pay more of their share. Big mistake. History repeats itself. The Saudis are trying to do the same to Qatar. It stands to be seen if they would be allowed in the end.

  72. turcopolier says:

    “letters of intent” As an international “business developer” I can tell you that “letters of intent” is what you get until individual contracts are signed. pl

  73. AshTheLightningFan says:

    Mr. Lang,
    It feels like we are at the moment where “the broken clock” is right. If only because President Trump views the world as the “economic determinists” do…even if he acts on that analysis differently.
    I know you previously dismissed the “economic determinists”, because your experience revealed the cultural/emotional/ideological basis for the actions of politicians. But you also warned that President Trump has no precedent. He views governing as a cold & voracious CEO.
    In the piece above, you describe how he has ushered in an age of “competitive mercantilism”. I suppose the Saudi’s are an example of this. He & his minions insinuate things about Saudi financing…until the Saudi’s agree to finance their economic plans.
    But a more worrying example is dawning on me. I looked into “b” out of curiosity. In a month-old post about Al-Tanf, he considers:
    “A U.S. move from the south up towards the Euphrates would cut off the Syrian government from the whole south-east of the country and from its people in Deir Ezzor. While that area is sparsely populated it also has medium size oil and gas fields and is the land connection to the Syrian allies in Iraq.”
    People did not take candidate Trump seriously, and lived to regret it. Well, candidate Trump promised to seize Syrian oil to recoup U.S. “costs” associated with fighting ISIS.
    Should we not take him seriously? He would view the Al-Tanf situation as a “twofer”:
    1) Satisfy Israel for domestic political benefit, by blocking the Damascus-Iraq road link to frustrate the Shia.
    2) Move north and seize Syrian oil/gas fields, so as to claim proceeds for domestic economic benefit.
    Honestly, I am worried he sleep-walking into a World War 3 scenario. As I don’t foresee the Iranians or Russians absorbing this kind of humiliation.

  74. Lurker says:

    Thank you Colonel, I appreciate your international business development experience. Yet, I have observed that even after contracts are signed and partially executted the delivery of the goods might be blocked by political forces. For example: Charles deGaulle blocked the delivery of 50 Mirage 5 to Israel in the late 1960’s and Hollande blocked the delivery of the Mistrals helicopter ships to Russia last year.
    I am entertained by seeing Norwegian forces at the army base for coalition forces training Syrian rebels at the al-Tanf border crossing while at the same time Norsk Hydro’s ( or YARA) massive fertilizer joint venture investments with Qatar are being called into question. If I was the Norwegian government, I would be pulling out if al-Tanf pronto to demonstrate my displeasure with TPTB. It seems TPTB are either interested in: A) incremental LNG Shipments to Europe ex America B) Increased desirability of NG off shore Israeli operated Leviathan in the Mediterranean basin or a combination of A and B.

  75. Lurker says:

    Something else might explain the Saudi row with Qatar besides the Saudis and the forty thieves coveting the coffers of Qatar and its gargantuan Natural Gas reserves. Qatar supports the MB (al Qaeda) but the Saudis support ISIL / ISIS (Daesh). According to quoting:
    Asharq Al-Awsat, the Pan-Arab daily edited in London, has revealed that the leaders of Al-Qaeda and Daesh are currently negotiating in Iraq for their coming together as one entity.

  76. Lurker says:

    I think I got it right this time. If the South Eastern border of Syria is wrestled from the Syrian Arab Army and from the Iraqi PMU then a Qatari – Saudi – Golan Heights Natural Gas Pipeline could be secured. This sidelines:Turkey, Syria, Russia, Iran and even the Kurds. Hence the need to force the Qatari leadership to abandon their support for their independent course and ditch the MB (Turkey). Norway will be given a piece of the pie for their loss in Nork Hydro’s Qatari joint ventures. Hence, their special forces present at al Tanf.

  77. turcopolier says:

    No. You do not “have it right.” You still need to work on map reading. To run a pipeline to the Golan Heights you must first destroy the Syrian government. pl

  78. b says:

    You, Pat, always argue against economic determinism, especially in war decisions.
    Now you are asking me if the U.S. fought for economic advantages in WWI, Korea and Vietnam?
    I agree with you. Economic advantage is probably a factor in war but only ONE factor and not necessarily the biggest.
    The ideological factor, fervent anti-communism, and the urge to build a U.S. empire to replace the British one were much more decisive in committing to those wars.
    The U.S. saw the embracement of communism in more and more countries (even when it was only an expression of nationalism) as danger to its developing empire as well as a danger to its (puritanical) libertarian economic ideology. That was the reason for the wars in Korea and Vietnam.
    It was the reason for the Marshall plan. (Which was also rather small in comparison to modern programs and more marketing than content.) Western Europe could not be allowed to “fall into communist hands” and had to be propped up for that reason. That was also the reason for the U.S. program of creating a European Union (i.e. European Coal and Steel).
    (For the other side of the same coin see the anti-communist coups led by the U.S. in Greece and Italy.)
    The entry into WWII is a bit more complicate but basically also driven by the selfish motives of replacing Britain as world power and countering the Russian led block.
    In Europe the U.S. waited with its serious entry on the continent until Britain was exhausted and indebted enough to diminish it as a competitor and until the Russian armies had bled enough and had thoroughly defeated the German Wehrmacht.
    So yes, the motives in all cases were selfish. But they were not immediate economic ones. They were ideological (with a very long-term perspective of economic advantage being behind the U.S. ideology.)

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