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Could Trump be Good for Peace?

Donald Trump is erratic.  We all know that.  It is insulting to assert, in the words of Britain’s new Foreign Secretary, the erratic Boris Johnson, that he is “frankly unfit to hold the office of President of the United States,” but he’s certainly unpredictable and says some things that are, to put it mildly, intriguing.  Lots of people agree with buffoon Boris, but the fact remains that The Donald could indeed be next president of the United States, which makes it important to look at what he might do if that comes about, especially in the light of America’s military catastrophes so far this century.

Obama followed his predecessors in brandishing America’s iron fist as self-appointed global policeman. He vastly increased the US military presence around the world and intensified the Pentagon’s aggressive confrontations with China and Russia, in which he was energetically assisted, from 2009 to 2013, by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In China’s case this has been effected by sending US Naval E-P3 electronic surveillance aircraft on missions close to the mainland, deploying EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft to Clark Air Base in the Philippines, ordering B-52 nuclear bombers to overfly the South China Sea where the US Navy also carries out extended maneuvers by massive strike groups of nuclear-armed aircraft carriers and guided missile cruisers. All this in a region where the US has not the slightest territorial interest or claim. China’s Sea is 7,000 miles, 12,000 kilometers, from the American mainland, yet Washington considers it the sacred right and duty of the United States to act as a global gendarme and give orders to China about its posture in its own back yard, where there has not been one instance of interference with commercial shipping passing through that region.

As to confrontation with Russia, Washington has ensured that its Brussels sub-office, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, will go on playing its toy-soldier games right up to Russia’s borders.  The official statement after NATO’s war drum-thumping conclave in Warsaw on July 8-9 is indicative of its determination to continue its attempts to menace Russia, which has not made the slightest move to threaten a single NATO member.  It is absurd to claim that “the security situation has deteriorated” in the Black Sea and the Baltic because of Russian action.

These regions would be perfectly calm if it were not for constant provocations by US-NATO warships and combat and electronic warfare aircraft which deliberately trail their coats in attempts to incite reaction by Russian forces.  NATO’s Warsaw Declaration is a farrago of contrived accusations compiled to justify the existence of the farcical grouping that destroyed Libya and proved incapable of overcoming a few thousand raggy baggy insurgents in Afghanistan.  So the military alliance is spending vast sums to deploy soldiers, aircraft, ships and missiles right up to Russia’s borders in deliberate confrontation.  As Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained “Russia is not looking [for an enemy] but it actually sees it happening. When NATO soldiers march along our border and NATO jets fly by, it’s not us who are moving closer to NATO’s borders.”

There’s no answer to that, but the Obama-Pentagon administration is not going to relax its anti-China and anti-Russia attitude, and if Hillary Clinton becomes president — she of the infamous “We came; We saw; He died” giggling interview in which she rejoiced in the savage murder of President Gaddafi of Libya — there will be more of the same. In fact, probably a lot more of the same, only harder, faster and of more financial benefit to US manufacturers of weapons systems who are doing very well, with record sales totaling 10.5 billion dollars last year, and lots more to come.

The writer Conor Friedersdorf put it very well in The Atlantic when he noted that there was a grisly similarity between Clinton and the egregious Dick Cheney, in that

“Using contested intelligence, a powerful adviser urges a president to wage a war of choice against a dictator; makes a bellicose joke when he is killed; declares the operation a success; fails to plan for a power vacuum; and watches Islamists gain power. That describes Dick Cheney and the Iraq War — and Hillary Clinton and the war in Libya.”

She described President Putin, who just might be reflecting on “We came; We saw; He died”, as “someone that you have to continuously stand up to because, like many bullies, he is somebody who will take as much as he possibly can unless you do. And we need to get the Europeans to be more willing to stand up.”  She is uncompromisingly confrontational.

Might The Donald be different?

He’s arrogant and impulsive, but although the Republican stance on China is predictably belligerent, it isn’t likely that The Donald will support confrontation by the nuclear-armed armadas that plow so aggressively around China’s shores.  And he isn’t likely to endorse the Pentagon’s happy fandangos concerning Russia, either.

His comments about the US-contrived shambles in Ukraine are illuminating, in that he says “we’re the ones always fighting [figuratively] on the Ukraine. I never hear any other countries even mentioned and we’re fighting constantly. We’re talking about Ukraine, get out, do this, do that.  And I mean Ukraine is very far away from us.  How come the countries near the Ukraine, surrounding the Ukraine, how come they’re not opening up and they’re not at least protesting?  I never hear anything from anybody except the United States.”

They’re not protesting because they have to bow the knee to the Pentagon and its palatial branch office in Brussels (recently built at a cost of about two billion dollars) — but The Donald made a good point :  Why on earth does the US meddle in Ukraine?  Has either country benefited economically, politically, socially or culturally from Washington’s flagrant interference? (Remember the revealing “Yats is the guy”)  As observed by James Carden, “One Democratic US senator lamented to a roomful of well-heeled donors and foreign policy experts on [July 25] that the US had “lost” Ukraine. Lost? Was it ever America’s to begin with?”

Not only that, but The Donald says that the United States has to “fix our own mess” before “lecturing” other nations on how to behave.

No matter how extreme he may be in some of his statements, that one strikes a truly sensible note.  Why does America consider that it has the right to hector and lecture China and Russia and so many other countries?  It is, of course, because, as Obama announced,  America considers itself the “one indispensable nation in world affairs.”

What crass conceit.  And then Obama labored the point by declaring that “I see an American century because no other nation seeks the role that we play in global affairs, and no other nation can play the role that we play in global affairs.”  —  This comes from the president of the country that destroyed Iraq and Libya, and is now itself in chaos caused by deliberate killing of black people by police and a surge in black protests against such slaughter.

Certainly The Donald shouts that he wants to “Make America Great Again” and such xenophobic boloney — but that’s for the sake of vote-catching.  As he rightly said, “When the world sees how bad the United States is and we start talking about civil liberties, I don’t think we are a very good messenger.”

Then The Donald went further in common sense and suggested that as president he might close some of the hundreds of US military bases abroad because “if we decide we have to defend the United States, we can always deploy” from American soil, which would be “a lot less expensive.”  How very sensible.  It would save a fortune in addition to benefitting many communities Stateside.

Hillary came back with the predictable rejoinder that the president of the United States “is supposed to be the leader of the Free World.  Donald Trump apparently doesn’t even believe in the Free World.”  This is straight out of the Cold War vocabulary of divisive confrontation — and if she becomes president, there will be even more pugnacious patronizing baloney about “leadership of the Free World” and “the one indispensable nation.”  As The Donald said in April  —  “How are we going to lecture when you see the riots and the horror going on in our own country.”

So might there be hope for the future if The Donald drops his more outlandish ideas about Muslims and Mexicans and institutes a policy of rapprochement and live-and-let-live with China and Russia?  He’s a better bet on that score than confrontational Hillary, who may well lead the world to war.  If only he wasn’t off the planet in so many other ways . . .

More articles by:

Brian Cloughley writes about foreign policy and military affairs. He lives in Voutenay sur Cure, France.

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