Some Thoughts on Trump – 11 July 2018

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(editorial)

1.  Trump has no policy in Syria.  He has been drifting along following donor pressure to accept Israeli policy that is driven by unreasonable tribal fears.  He is a pragmatist and deal maker.  The R+6 has pretty much won the the war against Israeli/American/Saudi backed jihadis and the ever elusive unicorn semi-jihadis of the FSA.  Trump knows when it is time to cut your losses.  "You gotta know when to hold'em.  Know when to fold'em.  Know when to walk away.  Know when to run …"  He knows.  If he gets a better deal from Putin, Israel's fantasy vision of itself as fortress Masada will be imperiled. 

2.  For Trump, there are no sacred cows.  For him. NATO and Russia are competitors for US favor, i.e., HIS favor.  The implied message is that NATO IS NOT indispensable for the US in a post-USSR world.  NATO was created to contain forcible SOVIET expansion west of the intra-German boundary.  The existence of Group of Soviet Forces German (GSFG) with 20 mobile heavy divisions of various kinds + the forces of the Warsaw Pact countries made it apparent to Western policy makers that without Allied Command Europe (ACE) and a very large US presence the risks were high.  To think that this structure and the portion of US military spending for ACE are still necessary you have to believe that Russia intends to invade former parts of the USSR and Warsaw Pact that are now in NATO.  Do the Europeans really believe that or are they just comfortable continuing as they have in the context of US protection at low cost to them, a cost that along with the trade advantages given by the US since WW2 have financed welfare states in many countries.  Yes, I know many have high taxes but they would have to spend more of the revenue on defense to achieve the current level of protection without the implied US subsidy.

3.  If Trump gets the prospect of a better deal from Putin, he might think carefully about it.

4.  Trump cares nothing for what in France is called "diplomatie au petit fours."  (cookie pusher diplomacy)  He sees diplomacy as a process that leads to winning and not to more and more futile discussion.  Nicholas Burns, a fine example of Borgist cookie pushing expressed horror this morning at the lack of diplomatic manners displayed by Trump.  But then, what did Burns accomplish in life besides politic his way to the top of the Borg?  pl

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