Trump Falls in Line with Interventionism

By Robert Parry, the investigative reporter who many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. Originally published at Parry’s Consortium News (republished with permission).

In discussing President Trump, there is always the soft prejudice of low expectations – people praise him for reading from a Teleprompter even if his words make little sense – but there is no getting around the reality that his maiden address to the United Nations General Assembly must rank as  one of the most embarrassing moments in America’s relations with the global community.

Trump offered a crude patchwork of propaganda and bluster, partly delivered as a campaign speech praising his own leadership – boasting about the relatively strong U.S. economy that he mostly inherited from President Obama – and partly reflecting his continued subservience to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

However, perhaps most importantly, Trump’s speech may have extinguished any flickering hope that his presidency might achieve some valuable course corrections in how the United States deals with the world, i.e., shifting away from the disastrous war/interventionist policies of his two predecessors.

Before the speech, there was at least some thinking that his visceral disdain for the neoconservatives, who mostly opposed his nomination and election, might lead him to a realization that their policies toward Iran, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere were at the core of America’s repeated and costly failures in recent decades.

Instead, apparently after a bracing lecture from Netanyahu on Monday, Trump bared himself in a kind of neocon Full Monte:

–He repeated the Israeli/neocon tripe about Iran destabilizing the Middle East when Shiite-ruled Iran actually has helped stabilize Iraq and Syria against Sunni terrorist groups and other militants supported by Saudi Arabia and – to a degree – Israel;

–He again denounced the Iranian nuclear agreement whose main flaw in the eyes of the Israelis and the neocons is that it disrupted their plans to bomb-bomb-bomb Iran, and he called for “regime change” in Iran, a long beloved dream of the Israelis and the neocons;

–He repeated the Israeli/neocon propaganda about Hezbollah as a terrorist organization when Hezbollah’s real crime was driving the Israeli military out of southern Lebanon in 2000, ending an Israeli occupation that began with Israel’s 1982 invasion;

–He praised his rush-to-judgment decision to bomb Syria last April, in line with Israeli/neocon propaganda against President Bashar al-Assad and partly out of a desire to please the same Washington establishment that is still scheming how to impeach him;

–He spoke with the crass hypocrisy that the neocons and many Israeli leaders have perfected, particularly his demand that “all nations … respect … the rights of every other sovereign nation” — when he made clear that he, like his White House predecessors, is ready to violate the sovereignty of other nations that get in Official Washington’s way.

A Litany of Wars

Just this century, the United States has invaded multiple nations without U.N. authorization, based on various “coalitions of the willing” and other subterfuges for wars of aggression, which the Nuremberg Tribunals deemed the “supreme international crime” and which the U.N. was specifically created to prevent.

Not only did President George W. Bush invade both Afghanistan and Iraq – while also sponsoring “anti-terror” operations in many other countries – but President Barack Obama acknowledged ordering military attacks in seven countries, including against the will of sovereign states, such as Libya and Syria. Obama also supported a violent coup against the elected government of Ukraine.

For his part, Trump already has shown disdain for international law by authorizing military strikes inside Yemen and Syria. In other words, if not for the fear of provoking American anger, many of the world’s diplomats might have responded with a barrage of catcalls toward Trump for his blatant hypocrisy. Without doubt, the United States is the preeminent violator of sovereignty and international law in the world today, yet Trump wagged his finger at others, including Russia (over Ukraine) and China (over the South China Sea).

He declared: “We must reject threats to sovereignty, from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow.”

Then, with a seeming blindness to how much of the world sees the United States as a law onto itself, Trump added: “The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue regimes that violate every principle on which the United Nations is based.”

Of course, in the U.S. mainstream media’s commentary that followed, Trump’s hypocrisy went undetected. That’s because across the American political/media establishment, the U.S. right to act violently around the world is simply accepted as the way things are supposed to be. International law is for the other guy; not for the “indispensible nation,” not for the “sole remaining superpower.”

On Bibi’s Leash

Despite some of his “America First” rhetoric – tossed in as red meat to his “base” – Trump revealed a global outlook that differed from the Bush-Obama neoconservative/liberal-interventionist approach in words only. In substance, Trump appears to be just the latest American poodle on Bibi Netanyahu’s leash.

For instance, Trump bragged about attacking Syria over a dubious chemical-weapons claim while ignoring the role of the Saudi/Israeli tandem in assisting Al Qaeda and its Syrian affiliate; Trump threatened the international nuclear agreement with Iran while calling for regime change in Tehran, two of Netanyahu’s top priorities; and Trump warned that he would “totally destroy North Korea” over its nuclear and missile programs while making no mention of Israel’s rogue nuclear arsenal and sophisticated delivery capabilities.

Ignoring Saudi Arabia’s ties to terrorism, Trump touted his ludicrous summit in Riyadh in which he danced with swords and let King Salman and other corrupt Persian Gulf monarchs, who have long winked and nodded at ideological and logistical support going to Al Qaeda and other Islamic terror groups, pretend their governments were joining an anti-terror coalition.

Exploding the myth that he is at least a street-smart operator who can’t be easily conned, Trump added, “In Saudi Arabia early last year, I was greatly honored to address the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations. We agreed that all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and the Islamist extremism that inspires them.”

No wonder Netanyahu seemed so pleased with Trump’s speech. The Israeli prime minister could have written it himself while allowing Trump to add a few crude flourishes, like calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man … on a suicide mission”; referring to “the loser terrorists”; and declaring that many parts of the world are “going to hell.”

Trump also tossed in a plug for his “new strategy for victory” in Afghanistan and threw in some interventionist talk regarding the Western Hemisphere with more threats to Cuba and Venezuela about escalating sanctions and other activities to achieve more “regime change” solutions.

So, what Trump made clear in his U.N. address is that his “America First” and “pro-sovereignty” rhetoric is simply cover for a set of policies that are indistinguishable from those pushed by the neocons of the Bush administration or the liberal interventionists of the Obama administration. The rationalizations may change but the endless wars and “regime change” machinations continue.

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  • ThereisaGod

    Yup. Depressing. Trump’s sole beneficial effect seems to be Peace in Syria (maybe) … oh … and keeping Hillary out of the White House.

  • WillDippel

    Here is an article that looks at U.S. arms sales to developing nations between 2008 and 2015:

    The United States thinks that it is impregnable so it does whatever it wants and, as such, sows the seeds of war around the globe. It seems to make very little difference which party or individual occupies the Oval Office.

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  • Spiritof42

    I’ll never forget when candidate Trump gave a speech before AIPAC. It was like Israel had soverign authority over the USA. I nicknamed him “Bibi’s puppet.” Now he’s living up to his name.

    He had to be vetted before he was allowed to run for president. I think from the time of his inaugural, he needed time to get adjusted.

  • Nexusfast123

    To my mind the US had one opportunity to save itself based on Trumps campaign promises. This has turned out to be an illusion and no more than the extravagant promises of a flim flam man. The future of the US is either a full on economic collapse or destruction as a result of war. If the US starts a global conflict there will be no where to hide.

  • cstahnke

    I voted for Trump for the following reasons: 1) to oppose Clinton and discredit the right-wing Democrats who are the most toxic force in American politics; 2) to send a land mine into Washington and allow the American people to see Washington for what it is–a corrupt nest of vipers uninterested in the country; and 3) to make a mockery of U.S. leadership in the world because the unipolar approach to world is not working–U.S. policies the world are horrible in theory and in practice and must be opposed since they are based both on deep corruption and incompetence.

    No President can go up against the whims and policies of the complex network that is the Deep State that rules the Empire. He is not and can never be in charge of the U.S. government at this time–this is obvious. The best he can do is to manipulate the balance of power within the Deep State and gradually craft a coalition that will insure that he gets to stay in office and in the land of the living.

    The problem is not with Trump or even the PTB. The problem is that Trump honestly represents the true face of the American people. Our culture is horribly toxic at this time. We are filled with hallucinations, fantasies, addictions, and a nearly complete flight from reason. Hopefully this will lead to sanity down the world but the breakdown must happen I just hope the PTB are insane enough to start WWIII. If this is just a drama meant to, once again, fool the American people into supporting our trillion dollar a year National Security State racket then so be it we can survie it–but if they make any mistake in this insane inside Washington ongoing power-struggle between at least half-a-dozen factions then the world is in trouble.

    Thanks for existing and caring about the truth.

    • sometime

      very decent in description of our times. Speaking of truth, I want to add….what’s the sense of being in elective national politics if one is not prepared to die for doing the right thing? I’ve gone through JFK’s murder. I’ve gone through being forced into war in Nam, against my will and survived. I’ve gone through all the rest of the governmental backed political murders in the US during the 60’s. I have voted for Trump. He’s gone through the 60’s although not Nam….but he knew before getting elected, what to expect….And here he gets in office and then turns coward….and I mean big time. The only thing that will turn the USA into getting on an honest footing is some one like JFK who gets in and says………you son’s of bitches in this government, the deep state and all, here is the way it is and then fire every damn son’s a bitch within one’s power who gets in the way and lead….THAT’s RIGHT LEAD…..Pretty soon the whole of the American People, including the presstitutes of MSM will if not fully get on board, will at least acknowledge the leadership of a President who is going in the right direction….Without the leadership of the highest office in the land, our country is doomed to nasty, further self destruction…in a way not experienced by anyone alive in our country today…..There is no leadership on the President side of our gov. That’s the problem………NONE….no leadership…..Trump’s recent UN speech, written by some jack off, know nothing, was pitty full and what’s trump do?….read the god damn thing as though he can’t think but only be a mouthpiece for idiots…..We are in deep doo doo…..

      • cstahnke

        Well, I don’t think you’re going to get a President with leadership chops. The democratic moment is kind of over–it would take a lot for it to return because the people, despite not trusting the media, still believes most of what the mainstream tells them. I don’t believe an economic crash in in the works any time soon because the game is rigged–there are few honest enough markets to create a crash. The trouble is that the elites are in disarray some strong faction needs to dominate and I haven’t seen one emerge yet. We are an oligarchy and only a change within the oligarchy will make any difference in the direction of this country.