US Politics: Trump Just Turned the United States Into a Mideast Country – Bradley Burston | Haaretz

By killing his kindred spirit Soleimani, Trump’s ample figure assumes a closer and closer resemblance to the profile of the Middle Eastern despot

 — Bradley Burston | Haaretz

From here in the Middle East – home to many of the world’s wealthiest, most autocratic, most dangerously, self-righteously erratic of fundamentalism-driven shithole countries – one of the most shocking aspects of U.S. President Donald Trump’s assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was how oddly familiar it felt. 

Donald Trump just turned his – your – United States of America into a Middle Eastern country.

AND HE DID IT BY KILLING A KINDRED SPIRIT.           

Day after day, Trump himself provides the best evidence of this.             

On Sunday, as his chief minister Mike Pompeo insisted to world leaders that “the United States remains committed to de-escalation,” Trump warned from his far-from-the-capital Winter Palace that, should Iran retaliate against Americans or American assets, the United States has its crosshairs on 52 sites, some of them highly important to “the Iranian culture”, which will be hit, he continued in a tweet, “VERY FAST AND VERY HARD”.

“The USA,” Trump concluded, with the blithe lack of self-awareness characteristic of a Middle Eastern dictator, “wants no more threats!”

THERE IT IS. ALL OF IT. REVENGE – symbolic, grudge-immortal revenge – for Iran’s having taken 52 American hostages more than 40 years ago. And, no less, Trump’s jihadist-grade, international and U.S. law-flouting explicit threat of attacking cultural or heritage sites.

BUT IT DOESN’T STOP THERE. As with any self-respecting Mideast potentate, Trump appears in public only at mass rallies held at sites carefully chosen for the fiery homogeneity of the minority of citizens in his country who support him as Supreme Leader. While at the rallies, he whips up hatred – ethnic, political, cultural, religious, US often misogynist – against the majority in his country who oppose him.

THE DAY AFTER SOLEIMANI’S ASSASSINATION, Trump took to the rostrum of the King Jesus International Ministry south Florida megachurch, to address some 7,000 cheering worshippers during the launch of the Evangelicals for Trump 2020 campaign. “I really do believe we have God on our side,” Trump said of 2016 election, “or there would have been no way that we could have won.”

On the pulpit, in a scene which recalled the Last Supper, a roster of  high-profile pro-Trump pastors stood with palms facing the president at their center, as one intoned:

“Lord, do something so great in Trump and in this nation, that the pundits on TV and the news anchors will be amazed at how great America is, and how great God is, because God Is Great In America Again! – In Jesus’ name we pray – Amen.”

AND THE LIST GOES ON. As the absolute ruler of his country, Trump embraces war criminals within his own armed forces, extolling them as heroes and presenting them as key supporters of his own policies.

The fact is, that everything about Trump has been leading to this moment, to this consequence, to governance in the worst stylings of the Middle East.

TRUMP HAD ALL THE MAKINGS OF A MIDEAST DESPOT FROM THE VERY START. He rose to public consciousness on the strength of a ruthless, racist father’s ill-gotten gains. As a high schooler, he led a parade in his bogus, gilt-braided military uniform, only to evade actual service to his country by the covert pulling of privileged strings.

Everything about Trump the politician has the corrupt, mendacious stamp of the Middle Eastern autocrat, from the gold-sprayed Hafez Assad-revival furniture of his Trump Tower throne room, to his nasty, cruel, endangered species-murdering heirs, raking tens of millions into their own pockets every year their dad remains in office.

Meanwhile, in true Middle East style, Trump hails his historic victory in an election which he and his allies have carefully and furtively rigged in his favor, only to find that in a country of 231 million eligible voters, only 62 million actually voted for him. THE ONLY MINORITY THAT MATTERS.

And what of his kindred spirit?

Like Soleimani, Trump has a singular gift for exploiting heretofore undetected weaknesses in his enemies. Like Soleimani, Trump is willing to order measures so literally unthinkable that they cannot be reasonably anticipated and defended against. And Trump, like Soleimani toward the end, has developed a heightened sense of ironclad invincibility, a global version of his January 2016 Iowa campaign comment that “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose voters.” 

In the end, it just might be that as Trump’s ample figure assumes a closer and closer resemblance to the profile of the Middle Eastern despot, the American president may also have a terminal case of the hubris that has blinded many a regional tyrant to the very factors which ultimately led to their overthrow. 

Even without Soleimani, Iran knows where Trump is vulnerable. Oil prices and anti-corporate cyber offensives could have a telling effect on Trump’s vaunted stock market. And Iran can announce new steps toward creating a nuclear weapon.

ALL WITHOUT FIRING A SHOT.   

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  • Clyde Duncan  On January 7, 2020 at 12:58 am

    Opinion: DONALD TRUMP JUST DELIVERED IRAQ INTO IRAN’S HANDS

    The abruptness of Trump’s decision to target Qassem Soleimani – who deserved his fate – benefits Tehran, burdens Israel and is another blow to U.S. strategy and interests in Iraq and Syria, if NOT the wider Middle East

    Daniel B. Shapiro | Haaretz

    General Qassem Soleimani had the blood of many thousands on his hands:

    American troops killed in Iraq, Israelis murdered in terrorist attacks, and untold thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, Lebanese and others dispatched by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Quds Force and its network of proxies. After years of lurking in the shadows, in more recent times he was given to smug, smiling selfies with terrorists across the region.

    That a man this evil deserved his fate, a fate he authored for so many others, is not in question. The ability to carry it out was also an impressive American intelligence and operational achievement.

    IT WAS NOT, HOWEVER, PART OF ANY STRATEGY.

    The assassination had been included as an option on his briefing slides as a “throwaway”, an extreme step designed to make other options seem more reasonable. That much became clear in the aftermath of the attack when it was reported, first by David Cloud in the Los Angeles Times, that President Trump’s most senior national security advisers were shocked by his decision to authorize the operation.

    Subsequently, Trump and his advisers have offered a range of conflicting explanations for the strike:

    IT WAS in response to the violent assault on the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad. OR IT WAS to disrupt imminently planned large-scale attacks against American targets. OR IT WAS to establish deterrence against additional Iranian attacks.

    The last explanation may, in a way, prove accurate. A president whose decision making is impulsive and wholly unpredictable, even to his closest advisers, may well achieve a measure of deterrence against adversaries who do not seek a full-scale conflict.

    IRAN HAS UNDOUBTEDLY BEEN ROCKED BACK ON ITS HEELS BY THIS SUDDEN BLOW.

    Soleimani occupied a unique place in Iran’s leadership, at once a strategist and tactician, the builder of a network of Shia allies in half a dozen countries, a confidant of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and an ideological inspiration.

    But he is not irreplaceable. And Iran will not be without tools to respond to his death. Which raises not moral questions, but strategic ones.

    If Iran has learned anything about President Trump, it is the following:

    His one red line is attacks on American personnel and facilities. As Iran lashed out in response to crushing sanctions imposed by the United States following its withdrawal from the nuclear agreement, Trump chose not to react. Attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, on a Saudi oil facility, and even the downing of an American UAV, passed quietly. In Syria, the United States was content to let Israel manage the threat posed by Iranian forces.

    The U.S. strikes on bases of the Iraqi Shia militia, Kitaib Hizballah, following the death of an American contractor and the wounding of U.S. soldiers last week, and the elimination of Soleimani after the embassy attack, reinforce this conclusion.

    So do Trump’s wild tweets Saturday night threatening to destroy 52 Iranian sites – including cultural sites, a war crime – if Iran attacks additional U.S. targets is hardly the de-escalation called for by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

    So, a smart Iranian response will be to avoid direct confrontation with the United States and escalate elsewhere, with U.S. allies and partners left to deal with the fallout on their own. For Israel, it could mean Iranian-sponsored terrorist attacks on Israeli facilities or citizens overseas and efforts by Tehran to stoke tensions between Israel and Russia in Syria, in hopes of facilitating greater Iranian freedom of operation.

    But Iran has another opportunity at hand. They can try to exploit Trump’s other clearest, if contradictory, conviction: THAT HE WANTS OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST.

    YES, as tensions have risen, additional U.S. forces have been sent to the region, to help protect U.S. facilities and to be prepared for emergency contingencies. But if Trump has been consistent on anything, it is his belief that the United States should not engage in additional wars in the Middle East, where U.S. forces face only “sand and death”.

    A patient, strategic Iranian response will be to generate pressure on the Iraqi government to expel U.S. forces from Iraq. Already, there is a move in the Iraqi parliament to vote for expulsion, amid many Iraqis’ outrage about U.S. military operations conducted on Iraqi soil without the consent of, or even informing, the host government. Stoking those tensions will not be difficult for Iran, wired as it is within Iraqi society.

    Iran may not even have to act to achieve this objective. After the elimination of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Trump seized on the achievement as a justification to abruptly reverse policy and declare the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, shocking the United States’ Kurdish and Israeli partners. Trump later partially retracted the decision, leaving a smaller contingent of U.S. forces focused on protecting Syrian oil fields.

    No one should be shocked, then, if Trump, with a similar claim of victory in the wake of the Soleimani strike, announces the end of the U.S. military presence in Iraq. And once those forces leave – whether by an Iraqi or an American decision – the remaining U.S. troops in Syria could not stay without being deeply exposed.

    Whether a U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, or civilian personnel working with the Kurds of Northern Iraq, could function safely would also be very much in question.

    In any of these scenarios, the ironic second and third order effects of the U.S. strike on Soleimani would be a significant increase in Iranian influence in Iraq and Syria, hardly a positive outcome for U.S. interests or those of its regional allies.

    Were any U.S. strategists tasked to game out these scenarios and come up with mitigations to the abrupt change of policy represented by eliminating Soleimani?

    OF COURSE NOT.

    And it would make little difference if they had. TRUMP DON’T DO STRATEGY. — TRUMP DOES IMPULSE. For better and, frequently, for worse.

  • Clyde Duncan  On January 7, 2020 at 12:59 am

    If USA Elections were held TODAY – Traitor Trump would lose by a landslide.

    Just Saying!!

    • kamtanblog  On January 7, 2020 at 3:29 am

      Disagree
      It would have the opposite effect !
      Wars win elections.
      Thatcher falklands
      Tony Blair George w Iraq

      Hitler Churchill scenario re-invented/re-incarnate. Both war mongers.
      Good v Evil propoganda.
      Neccessary evil.

      Q
      The evil that men do
      Lives after them
      The good buried with their bones

      A
      The good that men do
      Lives after them
      The bad buried with their bones

      My take

      Kamtan

    • Emanuel  On January 7, 2020 at 8:20 am

      Brother Clyde, your words may very well turn out to be prophetic. I very strongly agree with your prediction.

      Emanuel.

  • Clyde Duncan  On January 7, 2020 at 11:38 am

    “It would have the opposite effect !
    Wars win elections.
    Thatcher falklands
    Tony Blair George w Iraq …”

    Compton:

    The Iraq War did NOT help George H.W. Bush
    He was a one-term President after the Iraq War

  • Clyde Duncan  On January 7, 2020 at 7:26 pm

  • Clyde Duncan  On January 8, 2020 at 3:28 am

    President Obama said: “There is a bias in this town towards war …!”

    Colonel Wilkerson said: “You think? – and Mister Trump has just been ensnared in that bias.”

  • Clyde Duncan  On January 8, 2020 at 3:28 am

    • kamtanblog  On January 8, 2020 at 5:25 am

      Disagree…
      The war is an ongoing military operation.
      The Middle East testing grounds for the
      military establishment under the guise of
      Political/religious agendas.
      A tinder box for fanatics on both sides.
      Muslim Jew !

      Many innocent young persons lives will
      be sacrificed to appease the gods.

      Will do the Pilate
      Wash my hands and let the “illiterate” led
      by their jackasses decide!

      QED
      RIP

  • Clyde Duncan  On January 8, 2020 at 5:49 am

    Iran Launches Missiles at Iraq Airbases Hosting USA and Coalition Troops

    Iraq, the UK, Australia, Canada and the US said none of their personnel had been killed or injured and both Donald Trump and the Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, appeared to signal they did not wish to escalate further.

    [This goes without saying: ‘this is just to satisfy the region’s quench for blood]

    Zarif wrote on tweeter: Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens and senior officials were launched.

    We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any further aggression.

    Iranian officials told state media that at least 80 US personnel had been killed or injured in the strikes and that the toll was being hidden from the public.

    Responding to the strikes, Dominic Raab, the British foreign secretary, said: “We condemn this attack on Iraqi military bases hosting coalition – including British – forces.

    “We are concerned by reports of casualties and use of ballistic missiles. We urge Iran not to repeat these reckless and dangerous attacks, and instead to pursue urgent de-escalation.

    “A war in the Middle East would only benefit Daesh [ISIS] and other terrorist groups.”

  • Clyde Duncan  On January 8, 2020 at 7:27 pm

  • Clyde Duncan  On January 8, 2020 at 10:56 pm

  • Clyde Duncan  On January 8, 2020 at 11:26 pm

    MIKE LEE is a Republican

  • Clyde Duncan  On January 8, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    And about the OBSESSION with President Obama …. What about dat, eh???

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