The Democratic Party remains hopelessly divided in a raging primary after the frustration of impeachment failure. But President Trump failed to plan for the moment and seems destined to drop his foreign policy promises from the 2016 campaign.
Despite signing a peace agreement with the Taliban at the end of February, U.S. forces carried out airstrikes against the Taliban just days later.
Leaving Afghanistan is not only an easy political decision, it’s imminently practical and economical as the Federal Reserve stokes fears of economic downturn with its largest rate cut since the 2008 recession last Tuesday.
Trump can’t seem to help himself though and will stick with the military-industrial complex and general direction of the swamp establishment he promised to take head-on.
“NATO is obsolete,” Trump said in March 2016 before adding that he wanted to “readjust” the collective security treaty. Unfortunately, the status quo that President Obama expanded is being managed quite similarly by the alleged billionaire of TV and tabloid fame.
As Trump hasn’t started any new wars, there often is a glimmer of hope, but it always diminishes. Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, North Korea, and yes, Russia, are all places the U.S. empire remains stubbornly hostile, whether it’s a hot or cold war.
Remember that Trump trounced Jeb Bush and more than a dozen other Republican rivals before dismantling the presumed unstoppable Clinton political machine. He blew it shortly afterward.
There may never be a better chance than what he had in 2017 to implement real reforms or rollback the establishment’s direction of U.S. foreign policy, if not domestic policy. But where he stands right now is about the best position he’s had since inauguration day 2017.
Yet, Trump seems poised to blow it again.
His 2021 budget proposal boosts military spending, calling for a $740.5 billion defense budget, which could only be defended on “America First” grounds if he were at least slashing globalist commitments. Instead, Trump continues the European Deterrence Initiative, an Obama-era response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, according to U.S. News.
This anti-Russian program initially ran on a budget short of $1 billion. Seven years later, Trump favors $4.5 billion for whatever it’s supposed to accomplish now. In fairness, Trump signed off on a $6.5 billion budget for the program two years ago, so this represents a “cut” in swamp talk.
That program also includes the hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine that notoriously was at the center of the impeachment political theater of the last half of 2019. The president’s defense argued that there was no quid pro quo, that American taxpayers sent their money to Ukraine for nothing in return! That’s “America First” for ya.
Trump also is overseeing unprecedented spending on Eastern European defense in other ways, reports the Wall Street Journal. That’s why there’s little to believe in what Trump’s ex-national security advisor John Bolton told NATO supporters shortly after he was fired. Trump could “go full isolationist” if he wins a second term, he warned.
Don’t hold your breath.
Trump prides himself on going over the heads of the mainstream press, with his Twitter account usually, speaking directly to the American people. When it comes to NATO, however, he acquiesces to the mainstream narrative.
His way of covering up for this is performing for the media, especially when hosting foreign leaders or attending summits overseas. Trump is good at creating moments that do genuinely and rightly embarrass the heads of state in Canada, Germany, and other perceived allies.
One reason Trump may not feel compelled to follow through on his campaign promises is simply because most Americans don’t know the difference anyway.
Americans largely consume what the military-industrial complex propaganda feeds them, especially when it comes to NATO and Russia. Take a look at a recent Pew Research Center poll, which shows 60 percent of Americans believe the U.S. military should use force against Russia if it gets into “a serious military conflict” with a fellow NATO member country.
Set aside that most Americans probably don’t know more than a couple NATO member states. The Pew poll shows that a plurality or majority of citizens in 11 of 16 NATO countries wouldn’t reciprocate if America was attacked by Russia.
We can pray something comes of a Politico report, citing anonymous U.S. officials and various unnamed sources, which says that the Trump administration is seeking a high-level negotiator to hold denuclearization talks with Russia and perhaps even China as well.
But then again, all one needs to do is read the daily news out of northeastern Syria at Antiwar.com to realize that Trump continues to play with matches. American troops, estimates say 500 of them, are patrolling the region to “take the oil” as Trump would put it. They are running up against Russian forces who are actually welcomed by the Syrian government to secure the country.
Nonetheless, as the U.S. empire persists, Trump is looking like a sure bet in the 2020 election.