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The Kissinger-Trump strategy to divide the China-Russia-Iran Triangle
Yesterday Trump loosened sanctions against Russia that had been imposed by Obama. This has led to the usual angry yells from certain quarters that continue to claim that Trump is a Russian stooge. Nothing can be further from the truth.

The US learned all about the divide and rule strategy from the British, who as a tiny nation in earlier centuries achieved world dominance against far larger European competitor nations by dividing France against Germany and Germany against Russia etc.

As I've stated before the Trump election victory signalled that a different elite faction had won and would pursue a different foreign policy. Out is the neocon strategy that set itself against everyone in the world that refused to bend its knee to Washington and unleashed perpetual war against them.

The Trump-Kissinger policy at the present is more nuanced. It is based on offering Russia the carrot - to break the triangle between them, China and Iran which threatens US global hegemony.

But if the carror is not swallowed whole then the stick stands ready to be unleashed. And I don't expect Putin will swallow the carrot.

The below article is by Pepe Escobar.


The hand of Henry Kissinger suggests US foreign policy will use a divide and rule' strategy with Beijing, Moscow and Tehran. But this could backfire, spectacularly ...
22 JAN 2017

[Image: 739dccce-dd51-11e6-8fcb-68eb4ed74971_128...k=uOoH_NV-]A Chinese military vehicle carrying a "carrier killer" DF-21D missile. The missiles are one reason the US cannot afford a war in the South China Sea. Photo: AFP

China, Russia and Iran are the three key players in what promises to be the Eurasian Century.
Donald Trump may be The Joker; The Fool; The Ace of Spades; the ultimate trickster. What nobody can tell for sure is how this shifty chameleon will seduce, cajole, divide and threaten these three countries in his bid to "Make America Great Again".
Considering the composition of his cabinet, as well as his motormouth twittering, the world according to Trump sees radical Islam as the No 1 threat, followed by Iran, China and Russia.
The strategy of Henry Kissinger, Trump's unofficial foreign policy guru, is a mix of "balance of power" and "divide and rule". It will consist of seducing Russia away from its strategic partner China; keeping China constantly on a sort of red alert; and targeting Islamic State while continuing to harass Iran.
WATCH: Trump versus China: winners and losers

All this has the potential to backfire splendidly. Even a real "reset" with Russia, of the non-Hillary Clinton kind, is not exactly assured.
Is a Trump-Putin bromance enough for a miracle in US-Russia ties?

Trump's pick for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, may in fact be a cipher, a privileged ExxonMobil dealmaker, or a Trojan Horse for Kissinger's views. Tillerson is a trustee of the hardline Centre for Strategic and International Studies think tank, along with Kissinger.
[Image: 673784e8-dd51-11e6-8fcb-68eb4ed74971_660...k=GCU64c2j]Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a former Exxon Mobil executive. Photo: AFP
So let's see how Kissinger's shadowplay might develop on the new geopolitical chessboard.
Trump starts out already pitted against America's vast and powerful intelligence apparatus. The American "deep state" the military-industrial complex that survives regardless of what political party is in power requires an existential threat to operate. And that threat, according to the Pentagon, is Russia.
The ever-shifting "war on terror" is dead. The new normal, as demonstrated by the Obama administration, is the second cold war.
Why China's Trump fever' has cooled so quickly

It all hinges on how and if Trump will be able to inflict pain on the US deep state, and how this might affect its "humanitarian" imperialist leanings.
Kissinger's strategy implies having closer relations with Russia, whilst cajoling Moscow to betray its Eurasian ally Iran. Moscow is unlikely to betray Iran, and pursuing that strategy will only exacerbate Trump's conflict with the deep state.
[Image: 5927252a-dd51-11e6-8fcb-68eb4ed74971_660...k=XfZiSXgM]A Russian soldier talks with Syrians in al-Qaryatain, a town in the province of Homs in central Syria. Photo: AFP
A Trumpian trade-off though is already on the cards; no more US sanctions on Russia if Moscow and Washington manage a common mechanism to smash Islamic State, as well as a new framework on nuclear disarmament.
There's guarded optimism in Moscow that Trump's business acumen will eventually lead him to discard counterproductive containment of Russia, freeing it to profit from the real deal across Eurasia: economic integration, via the Beijing-backed One Belt, One Road trade initiative to link economies into a China-centred trading network, and the Eurasian Economic Union.
Sensing a credible opening, Moscow has invited the Trump administration represented by national security adviser Michael Flynn to join the Syrian peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, alongside Iran, Turkey and the regime of Bashar al-Assad, due to start on Monday, only three days after Trump's inauguration.
[Image: 6bcd4f74-dd51-11e6-8fcb-68eb4ed74971_660...k=Pp8wK3dD]Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn has been invited by Moscow to join the Syrian peace talks in Astana. Photo: AFP
Russia and Iran are working as one in Syria. Russia has actively campaigned to bring Iran into the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the regional security group. Bilateral trade from energy to railways, mining and agriculture is booming. Russia and Iran are set to ditch the US dollar and use rials and rubles for trade. This means bypassing the usual US weapon of choice: sanctions. Thus, betraying Tehran is out of the question for Moscow.
A peek into the Chinese factory that makes a fortune from Donald Trump masks

Trump, for all his rhetoric, cannot renegotiate the Iran nuclear deal signed by the members of the UN Security Council plus Germany in 2015. Tehran has met all its obligations. Trump also cannot fulfil his campaign promise to smash Islamic State, without Iran. Instead of his army of Iranophobic generals, he would do better to listen to the National Iranian American Council in Washington, which really understands Tehran's stakes in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and the volatile Iran-Saudi cold war.
And Trump "getting tough" on China will hit a BRICS wall. The next summit between those five leading emerging market economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) is in Xiamen (廈門), southeast China, next autumn, and the hosts will press for further integration.
[Image: 6f95744a-dd53-11e6-8fcb-68eb4ed74971_660...k=IyEqT04X]A Chinese military vehicle carrying a "carrier killer" DF-21D missile. The missiles are one reason the US cannot afford a war in the South China Sea. Photo: AFP
Trump's generals will also have to inform him that America cannot afford a war in the South China Sea or the western Pacific, wars it would have no guarantee of winning.
Trump's advisers even the Sinophobes must have told him that Taiwan and the South China Sea are Beijing's top priorities.
As Beijing's foreign ministry put it: "The one-China principle… is non-negotiable."
WATCH: Xi Jinping's master class at Davos

Then there's the 45 per cent tariff that might be slapped on Chinese products, and possible import quotas. Chinese scholars have concluded it is the United States that has most to lose in a trade war.
After Xi Jinping's (ç¿’è¿‘å¹³) masterclass at Davos, is that all there is? Kissinger, 93, had better get back to the drawing board.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
Quote:[B]Trump Seeks to Repeat Kissinger's Balance of Power Strategy With Russia[/B]


[B]Trump Seeks to Repeat Kissinger's Balance of Power Strategy With Russia[/B]

OPINION04:42 28.12.2016(updated 05:07 28.12.2016)

Donald Trump's selection of veteran diplomat and strategist Henry Kissinger as his adviser on Russia indicates the US president-elect wants to seek a new version of detente with Moscow, building on the model Kissinger pioneered 40 years ago, analysts told Sputnik.

[Image: 1034244144.jpg]
Kissinger's Advice Likely to Give Trump Boost on Detente With Russia

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) "In Kissinger's day, he played China and the Soviet Union off each other, and Trump, also a foreign policy realist, would like to do the same," Independent Institute Center on Peace and Liberty Director Ivan Eland said on Tuesday.Eland observed Trump's advisers may see Russia as a valuable counterweight to a rising China in addition to being an ally against Islamic extremism.
This policy would be "the opposite of Kissinger's opening to a then weaker and more radical China to offset the more powerful Soviet Union. It is the reverse of what Kissinger did, but times are different; the spirit of the policy is the same," he explained.
Eland suggested the Trump team is probably using Kissinger to give establishment legitimacy to a policy it already wants to pursue,
"Much of the Democratic and even the Republican hierarchies are appalled by a US move to improve relations with Vladimir Putin. But Kissinger's name leads respectability to detente with Russia," Eland added.
University of Pittsburgh Professor of International Affairs Michael Brenner suggested that Trump chose Kissinger for advice because he shared the 93-year-old former secretary of state's pragmatism toward Russia and China.
"Kissinger is the classic balance-of-power realist. That is manifest is the stress that he places on dealings with foreign powers even if they are not friends. Iran is the exception hence, he agrees with Trump on that. On Russia, and China, he will urge pragmatism," he said.
Trump may also want Kissinger's experience to make his policies toward Russia more coherent and detailed than the general principles he expounded on the campaign trail, Brenner added.
[Image: 1034244144.jpg]
Russia Welcomes Kissinger's Role in Advising Trump on Bridging Gaps With Russia

"Trump's expressed attitude toward Putin and Russia during the campaign was instinctive, not thought through. That is true of ever position that he has taken. He is stuck with it, but is under enormous pressure to join the vehement hostile consensus [towards Russia]," he pointed out.Kissinger, the architect with President Richard Nixon of the US detente policy with the Soviet Union in the 1970s, now has a plan on how to reconcile Moscow and Washington that is of interest to Trump, the German newspaper Bild reported on Monday.
Bild said European intelligence agencies had concluded Trump would seek constructive cooperation with Russia and that he had already consulted Kissinger as an informal adviser on the issue.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
Quote:Is Trump Pursuing a Kissinger-Inspired Strategy'?

(Reuters photo: Jonathan Ernst)


His foreign policy seems to have more coherence than many realize. What is President-elect Donald Trump up to on foreign policy? It's a question with no clear answer. Some will dismiss his appointments and tweets as expressing no more than the impulses of an ignorant and undisciplined temperament no more premeditated than the lunges of a rattlesnake. Others may recall that similar things were said (by me, as well as many others) about his campaign strategy. But examination of the entrails of the election returns suggests that Trump was following a deliberate strategy based on shrewd insight when he risked antagonizing white college-educated voters in the process of appealing to non-college-educated whites.

Antagonizing college graduates cost him scads of popular votes but zero electoral votes in states such as California, Arizona, Texas, and Georgia. But his appeal to non-college-educated whites in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Maine's 2nd Congressional District won him just enough popular votes to capture 100 electoral votes that had gone for President Barack Obama in 2012. So maybe Trump knew what he was doing. It seems to me that like many rich men, he has original insights that, together with hard work and good luck, have made him successful, even while showing boundless ignorance or mindless delusion about other things. So let's examine Trump's actions and comments on foreign policy so far in that light and in light of the speculations of historian and Henry Kissinger biographer Niall Ferguson, who, in an American Interest article last month, sketched out what a "Kissinger-inspired strategy" by Trump might look like. Ferguson argued that Trump is pursuing what Kissinger's most admired American statesman, Theodore Roosevelt, also sought: "a world run by regional great powers with strong men in command, all of whom understand that any lasting international order must be based on the balance of power."

That seems in line with Trump's moves vis-à-vis China. He ostentatiously took a congratulatory call from Taiwan's president, and the first foreign leader to make a post-election visit to Trump Tower was Japan's Shinzo Abe. Both are signals that Trump will look askance at China's moves to establish sovereignty in the first island chain. But then he tapped as ambassador to Beijing Iowa governor Terry Branstad, whose friendship with Xi Jinping goes back to the Chinese leader's visit to Iowa in 1985. Those moves look like a "good cop, bad cop" routine. Trump wants some changes in trade relations with China and limits on its probes in the South China Sea and will build up U.S. military forces. But there's room for acceptance of China as a great power. Trump wants some changes in trade relations with China and limits on its probes in the South China Sea and will build up U.S. military forces. There's room for acceptance of Russia, too, as suggested by the secretary-of-state nomination of Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, self-proclaimed friend of Russian president Vladimir Putin's.

He may be opposed by Republican senators who, like Mitt Romney in 2012, see Russia as "our No. 1 geopolitical foe." But perhaps Trump favors Kissinger's proposal for a neutral and decentralized (i.e., dominated and partitioned) Ukraine, with an end to sanctions on Russia. Tillerson would be a good choice if that were your goal. This would make the Baltic States and Poland understandably nervous, but they could take some comfort in Trump's reaffirmation of our NATO pledge to defend them and in the fact that Pentagon nominee James Mattis has gone out of his way to honor Estonia for its sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan. As for the rest of Europe, Ferguson cited Kissinger's urging that it move "from bureaucratic introspection back to strategic responsibility." Finance ministers, stung by Trump's campaign criticisms, are ponying up more money to meet their NATO defense-spending commitments; German chancellor Angela Merkel is backing down from her disastrous decision to welcome 1 million "refugees."

Long-standing U.S. cheerleading for the European Union reached a crescendo when President Obama threatened that Britain would go to "the back of the queue" if it voted to leave the EU. Trump supported Brexit and has supported a U.S.U.K. free-trade agreement. He obviously doesn't have much use for multinational talking shops. In the Middle East, will Trump ditch the Iranian nuclear deal or police it aggressively? Will he bolster the tacit SunniIsraeli alliance against the expansion of Iranian influence? Unclear, though Mattis and Tillerson could help with both. Trump's moves and picks so far are not inconsistent with Ferguson's supposition that his strategy is to seek accommodations with regional powers led by strongmen, showing even less regard for and paying even less lip service to human rights than Obama. We'll see.

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. © 2016
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
Quote:Trump consults Kissinger on relations with China, Russia, Iran

By World Tribune on November 18, 2016
Special to

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump sought out the advice of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on China, Russia, Iran, and Europe, his office said on November 17.

Kissinger, 93, who served under former Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, is best known for opening the door to China after decades of isolating the Asian giant.

Kissinger has been willing to talk with Trump, but made no secret of favoring Trump's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, and admitted that he expected her to win the White House race.

In an interview this month with The Atlantic magazine, Kissinger said that of the 2016 candidates, only Clinton shared America's "traditional, outward-looking, internationalist model."

The rise of Trump, who repeatedly questioned longtime U.S. alliances like NATO, means that "for the first time since the end of the Second World War, the future relationship of America to the world is not fully settled," Kissinger said.

Despite Kissinger's concerns, Trump's office said they had a "great meeting."

"I have tremendous respect for Dr. Kissinger and appreciate him sharing his thoughts with me," Trump said, adding without giving details that they discussed China, Russian, Iran, Europe, and broader world affairs.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
So why the change in foreign policy with Russia? Their direct involvement in Syria followed by their victory in Aleppo.

Below Zbigniew Brzezinski debates with Carl Bernstein about the dangers of open military conflict with the Russians in Syria.

This was first broadcast 30th May 2012....
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
The deeper game - the cloaked elite.


Here's How the Trump Presidency Will Play Out

By Pepe Escobar

The Trump era starts now -- with geopolitics and geoeconomics set for a series of imminent, unpredictable cliffhangers.

I have argued that Trump's foreign policy guru Henry Kissinger's strategy to deal with the formidable Eurasia integration trio -- Russia, China and Iran -- is a remixed Divide and Rule; seduce Russia away from its strategic partnership with China, while keep harassing the weakest link, Iran.

In fact that's how it's already playing out -- as in the outbursts of selected members of Trump's cabinet during their US Senate hearings. Factions of US Think Tankland, referring to Nixon's China policy, which was designed by Kissinger, are also excited with the possibilities of containment regarding at least one of those powers "potentially arrayed against America."

Kissinger and Dr. Zbig "Grand Chessboard" Brzezinski are the two foremost, self-described Western dalangs -- puppet masters -- in the geopolitical arena. In opposition to Kissinger, Obama's foreign policy mentor Brzezinski, true to his Russophobia, proposes a Divide and Rule centered on seducing China.

Yet an influential New York business source, very close to the real, discreet Masters of the Universe, who correctly predicted Trump's victory weeks before the fact, after examining my argument offered not only a scathing appraisal of those cherished dalangs; he volunteered to detail how the new normal was laid out by the Masters directly to Trump. Let's call him "X."

The non-stop China watch

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"X" starts by doing something US deep state-connected regulars, who revere their idols, never dare to, at least in public: "It is important not to attribute too much importance to either Kissinger or Brzezinski as they are merely fronts for those who make the decisions and it is their job to cloak the decisions with a patina of intellectuality. Their input means relatively nothing. I use their names on occasion as I cannot use the names of those who actually make the decisions."

That's the cue for "X" to detail the new normal: "Trump was elected with the support of the Masters to tilt towards Russia. The Masters have their tools in the media and Congress maintaining a vilification campaign against Russia, and have their puppet Brzezinski also come out against Russia, stating 'America's global influence depends on cooperation with China.' The purpose is to threaten Russia to cooperate and place these chips on the negotiating table for Trump. In a traditional good cop-bad cop approach, Donald is portrayed as the good cop wanting good relations with Russia, and Congress, media, Brzezinski are the bad cops. This is to aid Trump in the negotiations with Russia as Putin sees the 'precarious' position of his friend and should be willing to make major concessions as the line goes."

And that brings us to how Taiwan -- and Japan -- got into the mix: "Donald shows the Russian tilt by talking to the Taiwanese, demonstrating that the shift is serious. But it was decided to throw Japan into the mix as a predator against US industry, with an attack on Toyota, thoroughly deserved. That moderated the position as the Masters became afraid that the perception of our building up Japan against China would be too much of a provocation."

So expect China -- as "not too much importance" Kissinger prescribed -- to be under non-stop scrutiny: "The Masters have decided to reindustrialize the United States and want to take jobs back from China. This is advisable from the Chinese viewpoint; for why should they sell their work to the US for a dollar that has no intrinsic value and get really nothing back for the work. China should have a car in every Chinese worker's garage and they will become a larger producer of cars than the EU, US and Japan combined, and their own nation will keep their wealth in their own country."

And why China over Russia? "Russia in this sense being a natural resource country with a gigantic military industrial complex (the latter being the only reason she is secretly respected) is exempt from any tough trade talk as they hardly export anything but natural resources and military equipment. The Masters want jobs back from Mexico and Asia including Japan, Taiwan, etc., and you see this in Trump's attack on Japan. The main underlying reason is that the US has lost control of the seas and cannot secure its military components during a major war. This is all that matters now and this is the giant story behind the scenes."

In only a few words "X" details the reversal of an economic cycle: "The Masters made money out of transfer of industry to Asia (Bain Capital specialized in this), and Wall Street made money from the lower interest rates on the recycled dollars from the trade deficits. But now, the issue is strategic; and they will make money on the return of industries scaling down their investments in Asia and returning them to the United States as we rebuild production here."

"X" remains quite fond of Henry Ford's business strategy; and that is the cue for him to address the crucial theme: national defense. According to "X," "Ford doubled the wages he paid and made more money than any other manufacturer. The reason was that a living wage where the mother can have many children on her husband's wage was psychologically good for productivity in his car plants, and that his workers could then afford his cars. He thus recognized that in a society there must be a just distribution of wealth that his admirer Steve Jobs could not.

"Henry's mass productivity was the wonder of the world and that was what won World War Two for the United States. Amazon does not contribute anything to national defense, being merely an internet marketing service based on computer programs, nor Google which merely organizes data better. None of this builds a better missile or submarine except in a marginal way."

It's the Pentagon, stupid

So yes; this all has to do with reorganizing the US military. "X" made a point to refer to a CNAS report I quoted in my initial column: "It is very important for what is visible between the lines. And that is we are in deep trouble being technologically behind Russia by generations in weapons, which is a follow-up on the Brzezinski quote that we are no longer a global power."

This is a thorough, wide-ranging analysis of how Russia has managed to organize the best armed forces in the world. And that does not even take into account the S-500 missile defense system, which is now being rolled out and arguably seals the entirety of Russian airspace. And the next generation -- S-600? -- will be even more powerful.

"X" does venture into deep state taboo territory, as in how Russia, over the past decade, has managed to leap far ahead of the US, "eclipsing it as the strongest military power." But the game may be far from over -- wishful thinking or otherwise: "We hope Secretary of Defense James Mattis will understand this and that the Deputy Secretary of Defense has advanced technological skills, organizational ability and the foresight to understand that the weapons of World War Three are offensive and defensive missiles, and submarines, and not air power, tanks and aircraft carriers."

A realist, "X" admits that the warmongering neocon/neoliberalcon status quo -- represented by most US deep state factions -- will never abandon the default posture of unremitting hostility towards Russia. But he prefers to focus on change: "Let Tillerson reorganize the State Department along Exxon efficiencies. He may be worth something in that. He and Mattis may be gutless but if you tell the truth to the Senate you may not be confirmed. So what they say means nothing. But notice this about Libya. The CIA had a goal of driving China out of Africa and so does AFRICOM. That was one of the secrets to our Libyan intervention."

Not that it worked; NATO/AFRICOM turned Libya into a wasteland run by militias, and still China was not driven away from the rest of Africa.

"X" also admits: "Syria and Iran are red lines for Russia. So is the eastern Ukraine from the Dnieper." He is fully aware Moscow will not allow any regime change gambit on Tehran. And he's also aware that "China's investments in Iranian oil and gas imply that China also will not permit Washington's overthrow of the Iranian government."

The going really gets tough when it comes to NATO; "X" is convinced Russia "will invade Romania and Poland if those missiles are not taken out of Romania and the missile commitment to Poland rescinded. The issue is not the worthless defensive missiles of the United States but the substitutability of offensive nuclear missiles in these silos. Russia will not tolerate this risk. These are not subject to negotiation."

In contrast to the "perpetual threat" perpetual propaganda by the US War Party, Moscow focuses on actual facts on the ground since the 1990s; the break up of historic Slavic ally Serbia; Warsaw Pact nations and even former USSR republics annexed by NATO, not to mention attempts to also include Georgia and Ukraine; US deployment of color revolutions; the "Assad must go" fiasco, as in regime change forced on Syria even including the weaponizing of Salafi-jihadis; economic sanctions, an oil price war and raids on the ruble; and non-stop NATO harassment.

"X," fully aware of the facts, adds, "Russia has always wanted peace. But they are not going to play a game with the Masters of the Universe that has Trump as the good guy and the Congress, CIA, etc., as the bad guy as a negotiating ploy. That is how they see it. They do not regard this circus as real."

The circus may be just an illusion. Or wayang -- Balinese puppet theatre -- as I suggested. "X" advances a crisp interpretation of the shadow play ahead from Moscow's point of view, allowing "several months to see if Putin can work out a detente with Trump that essentially creates an autonomous eastern Ukraine, a peace treaty in Syria with Assad in place, and a withdrawal of NATO forces back to their line of defense under Ronald Reagan."

Who will prevail; the Masters, or the deep state? Brace for impact.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
According to Crispin Revere, it's all about swinging between the two poles of intervention and realism - or engaging in a "smash and grab" job then lying low to count the loot while planning and assembling the team for the next caper:

Quote:Donald Trump, a Nixon-Kissinger Realist

Crispin Rovere
April 6, 2016
Printer-friendly version
In my previous post (for the Lowy Interpreter) I labeled the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump, a 'Nixon-Kissinger realist'. Since then, Trump has provided a detailed account of his worldview in an interview with David Sanger and Maggie Haberman from the New York Times.

It affirms my previous description and here I expand on what I mean.

Nixon became president in the shadow of Vietnam; the 'domino theory' had been discredited, the anti-war movement was gathering momentum, and the costs of becoming embroiled in wars that did not affect core American interests was keenly felt. In 1969, Nixon delivered a speech in Guam, and during the Q&A summarized what became known as 'the Nixon Doctrine':

I want to be sure that our policies in the future, all over the world, in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the rest, reduce American involvement. One of assistance, yes, assistance in helping them solve their own problems, but not going in and just doing the job ourselves simply because that is the easier way to do it.

This sent shockwaves through America's allies. Here in Australia, Nixon's speech, combined with Britain's retreat from east of the Suez, forced a maturation in strategic thinking and led to the development of 'self-reliance' as an Australian defense concept.

To many, 'the Nixon Doctrine' meant a return to pre-World War II isolationism. And just as with Trump, this is inaccurate. In fact, the notion of a so-called 'isolationist streak' in contemporary American culture is somewhat fallacious. Rather, since the end of World War II the U.S. has oscillated between 'interventionism' and 'realism'. At times of national greatness (such as the end of the Cold War) Americans become idealistic and are keen to export their exceptionalism to the world. When severely bitten, such as in Vietnam and Iraq, America swings towards realism, where realpolitik approaches to great-power relations prevail for a time.

Trump, and to a lesser extent Obama, is a reflection of this realist thinking. Trump isn't an isolationist, but as president he is more likely to set clear priorities and align American resources with a narrower grand strategy.

It is true that Trump's prescriptions depart, often radically, from long-standing US policy. And yet clarity about Trump's realist foundations enables us to interpret his foreign policy thinking without devolving into false notions that Trump is somehow incoherent.

In Part 1 of this series, I discuss Trump's views on NATO, and in Part 2 I'll apply the Nixon-Kissinger model to Trump's prescriptions for nuclear proliferation, alliances in East Asia and implications for Australia.

Trump and NATO:

Trump says NATO is obsolete, and complains bitterly that America does all of the heavy lifting. The second part of that claim is no overstatement: European NATO countries approximate the US in economic size, and yet America bears 75% of the total cost.

Western European powers are easily able to protect themselves, and today's Europe is of peripheral national security interest to the U.S. Moreover, the continental land forces required to defend Europe are a total mismatch for the maritime theater of the Asia Pacific, where America's key challenges lie.

Trump understands this. In his book, Crippled America, Trump is clear that the rise of China is the single greatest challenge to America's place in the world; immediately in terms of trade, but in the future as a direct hegemonic challenge to American primacy. Trump knows that policy settings must change if the U.S. is to be competitive in this long-term strategic rivalry, and that burdening the American taxpayer with being 'the policeman of the world', including through its outsized NATO commitment, is not conducive to that effort.

The problem for Trump is that there are two NATOs, and this has to be considered with respect to what a post-NATO security apparatus might look like.

First there are the 'traditional' NATO allies of Western Europe who no longer worry about a Russian invasion and see NATO primarily as a 'security promoter'. For them NATO is about undertaking interventions abroad in places like Afghanistan and Libya. These countries can (and frankly should) do more for their own defense, and could meaningfully contribute to a re-invigorated security apparatus focused on counter-terrorism. The second NATO is made up of those who joined as part of the post-Cold War expansion. For these post-communist states, NATO membership is about collective defense and protection against Russia. If NATO dissolved then some (particularly the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) could ultimately lose their independence.

For interventionist school, dissolving the only military alliance of sufficient membership to confer international legitimacy on the use of armed force seems abhorrent. Yet for unsentimental realists like Nixon, Kissinger or Trump, this is merely responsiveness to national priorities in evolving global circumstances. The underlying pressures that guide Trump's prescriptions about NATO and America's global role are nothing more than taking the Obama Administration's 'rebalance' to the Asia Pacific to its logical conclusion.

Which brings me to Nixon and Kissinger's greatest success: going to China.

Exploiting the implacable hostility between China and the Soviet Union, the Nixon Administration famously made a deal with Mao and opened relations with Beijing. This diplomatic coup shifted the geostrategic balance in favor of the West and underpinned the long period of stability enjoyed by the region since. Accordingly, some prominent foreign policy experts erroneously believe Trump will repeat this by cutting a deal with President Xi that surrenders the South China Sea.

This is not likely. Back when Nixon was president, Europe was the epicentre of strategic importance for the U.S., with the Asia Pacific a relative distraction. Now the opposite is true. Therefore Trump won't 'go to China' he'll go to Russia.

Imagine this hypothetical: Trump meets Putin and secretly agrees to dissolve NATO entirely. Instead, a new pan-European security architecture will be established focused on counter-terrorism one that includes Russia as a member. In exchange, the territorial integrity of the Baltic States is categorically affirmed, Russia agrees not to further test European borders, and to instead 'pivot to Asia' itself with regard to its security posture.

Such a coup would ensure Trump was counted among the greatest foreign policy presidents. It would also do Nixon and Kissinger proud.

HERE is the NYT's Trump interview where he discusses his foreign policy referenced in the foregoing article.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
Alaistair Crooke has just published the below article and argues that Trump's policy is not directed at breaching the Russia-China-Iran triangle, but rather is wholly focused on cutting or renegotiating trade deals that benefit the US economically instead of benefitting the perceived US defence requirements of decades past.

This has arguably have helped lead to the impoverishment of the US, an argument presented by Jack Ma at Davos when he revealed that the US have spent $14 trillion on war (see HERE).

Crooke suggests, quoting comments made by Dr, Paul Craig Roberts, that the neocons in the Pentagon and the House and Senate are putting a spoke in the wheel of Trump's realignment policy. Crooke goes on to point out that General Mattis and General Flynn may have been forced on Trump in order to "attend to US security interests" and that their role is to torpedo his realignment strategy with Russia.

Quote:Trump Veers Off Course with Iran Threats
February 2, 2017

The Trump administration has veered into dangerous territory with its threats against Iran, a danger to President Trump's larger vision of a revamped international order, reports ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

By Alastair Crooke

Donald Trump needs détente with Russia for precisely the opposite motives to those who oppose him: for the latter, tension with Russia wholly underpins the need for a U.S.-led, global defense posture that can draw on a storied, centuries-old (in the European case), legacy of hostility towards Russia.

Donald Trump speaking at the Iowa Republican Party's 2015 Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa. May 16, 2015. (Flickr Gage Skidmore)
The continuance of this global "threat" meme, in its turn, pulls Europe and other pro-Western states into a tighter hug with the U.S. And, last but not least, a globalist defense strategy is an integral component to globalism itself (together with globalist financial institutions, and global economic governance).

At the heart of Trump's critique of the post-war élites, precisely is the negative impact of globalization on U.S. production, trade and fiscal imbalances, and on the labor market. Trump cites the fact that U.S. industrial capitalism has drastically shifted the locus of its investments, innovations and profits overseas as the prime example of globalization's negative effects. To reverse the paradigm, he needs to undo America's "defense globalization," which effectively has been the umbrella under which the stealth forces of U.S. financialized globalism, and so-called, "free trade" policies, hide. Détente with Russia therefore, in, and of, itself, would help to dismantle the overarching "globalization paradigm." This would give the U.S. President a better possibility of instituting a new, more self-sufficient, self-supporting American economy which is to say, to facilitate the repopulation of the languishing American "Rust Belt" with some new, real, economic enterprise.

Détente not only would go a long way to wind back America's over-extended and often obsolete defense commitments, and to make some of those now-committed "defense" resources newly available for reinvesting in America's productive capacity needs. But crucially, taking a hammer to the globalized defense paradigm would break down what, until now, has been seen as a homogenized, single, American-led cosmos into a collection of distinct planets orbiting in a vast space.

This would allow America to cut bilateral trading deals with other states (planets), freed from the need to maintain aloft a global defense "cosmos" primordially dedicated to keeping its "enemy" out, weak and in its own attenuated orbit (with no moons of its own).

Trump's Vision

President Trump seems to view (even a U.S.-led) global defense "cosmos" as an impediment to his planned transformation of America's economy: As James Petras has pointed out:

Flag of the European Union.
"President Trump emphasizes market negotiations with overseas partners and adversaries. He has repeatedly criticized the mass media and politicians' mindless promotion of free markets and aggressive militarism as undermining the nation's capacity to negotiate profitable deals … Trump points to [previous] trade agreements, which have led to huge deficits, and concludes that US negotiators have been failures. He argues that previous US presidents have signed multi-lateral agreements, [primarily] to secure military alliances and bases, [but done so] at the expense of negotiating job-creating economic pacts … He wants to tear up, or renegotiate unfavourable economic treaties while reducing US overseas military commitments; and demands NATO allies [should] shoulder more of their own defence budgets."

In short, Trump does not particularly want defense solidarity, or even European alliances, come to that. Simply said, such groupings serve (in his view) to inhibit America's ability to negotiate, on a case-by-case, individual state-to-state, basis and thus, by using leverage specific to each nation, achieve better terms of trade for America. He would prefer to deal with Europe piecemeal and not as composite NATO or E.U. "cosmos," but as the individual recipient (or not) of U.S. defense protection: a negotiating card, which he believes has been inadequately levered by previous administrations.

Remove the "Russian threat" from the game, and then America's ability to offer or withdraw American defense shield becomes a hugely potent "card" which can be used to lever improved trade deals for the U.S., or the repatriation of jobs. In short, Trump's foreign policy essentially is about trade policy and negotiation advantage, in support of his domestic agenda.

Russian Doubts

Seen against this background, Russian fears that Trump's détente initiative cannot be trusted because his true underlying aim is to drive a wedge into the China-Russia-Iran strategic alliance may be misplaced. Trump wants détente with Russia, but that does not necessarily mean that he wants "war" with China. It is not plausible that Trump should want war with China. He wants trade; he believes in trade, but only on "equal" terms and in any case, China simply doesn't carry a legacy of China-phobia in any way comparable to the weight and longevity of the Western investment in Russo-phobia. There is no constituency for war with China.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Nov. 23, 2015 Tehran. (Photo from:
This does not however mean that Russians have nothing to fear, and that Fyodor Lukyanov's concerns about American wedge-driving, should be dismissed. They should not. But rather the fears, perhaps, should be contextualized differently.

As Paul Craig Roberts, the former Assistant Secretary to the U.S. Treasury, puts it: "President Trump says he wants the US to have better relations with Russia and to halt military operations against Muslim countries. But he is being undermined by the Pentagon. The commander of US forces in Europe, General Ben Hodges, has lined up tanks on Poland's border with Russia and fired salvos that the general says are a message to Russia, not a training exercise [see here] … How is Trump going to normalize relations with Russia when the commander of US forces in Europe is threatening Russia with words and deeds?"

And now we have General Michael Flynn, Trump's national security adviser, and well known as an Iranophobe, saying, "As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice":

Statement by the National Security Advisor

"Recent Iranian actions, including a provocative ballistic missile launch and an attack against a Saudi naval vessel conducted by Iran-supported Houthi militants, underscore what should have been clear to the international community all along about Iran's destabilizing behavior across the Middle East.

"The recent ballistic missile launch is also in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.

"These are just the latest of a series of incidents in the past six months in which Houthi forces that Iran has trained and armed have struck Emirati and Saudi vessels, and threatened U.S. and allied vessels transiting the Red Sea. In these and other similar activities, Iran continues to threaten U.S. friends and allies in the region. Iran continues to threaten U.S. friends and allies in the region…

"As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice."

Add to that statement the upsurge of violence in eastern Ukraine, most probably intentionally provoked by Kiev, and a botched U.S. military operation in Yemen that killed a Navy Seal, 8-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki and "numerous" civilians, and one might conclude that the combination of events are just too much of a coincidence.

Paul Craig Roberts further suggests that "the military/security complex is using its puppets-on-a-string in the House and Senate to generate renewed conflict with Iran, and to continue threats against China" to put a spoke in Trump's wheel:

"Trump cannot simultaneously make peace with Russia and make war on Iran and China. The Russian government is not stupid. It will not sell out China and Iran for a deal with the West. Iran is a buffer against jihadism spilling into Muslim populations in the Russian Federation. China is Russia's most important military and economic strategic ally against a renewal of US hostility toward Russia by Trump's successor, assuming Trump succeeds in reducing US/Russian tensions. The neoconservatives with their agenda of US world hegemony and their alliance with the military-security complex, will outlast the Trump administration" [… and Russia knows this].

No Free Hand

U.S. Presidents even one such as Trump (who has given very few hostages to fortune during his campaign) do not have a completely free hand in their choice of key cabinet members: sometimes circumstances demand that a key domestic interest is represented.

Defense Secretary James Mattis
The endorsement of General James Mattis from the defense and security Establishment, for example, suggests that he has been wished upon President Trump in order to attend to U.S. security interests. Trump will understand that.

The question rather is whether Trump in his choice of certain senior posts (i.e. that of General Flynn) inadvertently, has laid himself open himself to manipulation by his Deep State enemies who are determined to torpedo détente with Russia.

Professor Walter Russell Mead in a recent Foreign Affairs article underlines just how deeply contrarian is Trump's foreign policy. It runs directly counter to the two principal schools of U.S. policy thinking since WW2 (the Hamiltonians and the Wilsonians), who "both focused on achieving a stable international system with the United States as "the gyroscope of world order." It is, as Walter Russell Mead describes it, a cultural legacy that is deeply embedded in the American psyche. It is doubtful whether Generals Mattis and Flynn, or others in the team, fully appreciate or endorse the full scope of Trump's intended revolution. True belief, perhaps, is confined to a small circle around the President, led by Steve Bannon.

In any event, whether by external design or "inadvertent" happenstance, President Trump has two key members of his team, Flynn and Mattis, who are explicit belligerents towards Iran (see here on Mattis on Iran. It is however, less extreme, than the explicit manicheanism of Flynn).

Paul Craig Roberts says that "Trump cannot simultaneously make peace with Russia and make war on Iran and China." That is true. But neither can Trump pursue his war on Islamic radicalism the principal plank of his foreign policy platform and in parallel, pursue a Flynn-esque antagonism towards Iran.

Trump will not co-opt Russia as an "aerial bombing" partner in such a regional war, while America is simultaneously attacking the only "boots-on-the-ground" security architecture that now exists in the Middle East capable of confronting Takfiri jihadism: the Syrian, Iranian, Hashad al-Shaabi and Hezbullah armed forces. There is none other.

It seems that President Trump's weekend phone call to President Putin has quieted some of Russia's concerns about the direction of America's foreign policy, according to Gilbert Doctorow, but Rex Tillerson (now that he has been confirmed as Secretary of State) will need to have a serious discussion with Trump and his inner circle, and colleagues Mattis and Flynn, if Trump does not want his discreet dismantling of globalization disrupted by Russo-phobes or his own Irano-phobes.

This assumes, of course, that Tillerson is not himself at least partly culturally embedded in the zeitgeist of America as the "gyroscope of the world order," identified by Walter Russell Mead.

The problem for visionaries of any new order is that inevitably they start with such a tiny base of followers who really "get it." President Putin likely does "get it," but can he too dare build from such a narrow base? Can Putin convince colleagues? Most Russians still recall the very bad experience of the Yeltsin détente with America. Can Trump and Tillerson pull this together?
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

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