Trump a servant of the military-industrial complex

By Glen Argan

The April 7 U.S. attack on a Syrian military airfield again raises the question of who is Donald Trump and what does he stand for. Is he a sterling white knight who has ridden to the rescue of beautiful Syrian babies killed in an alleged poison gas attack three days earlier? Is he a chameleon who will suddenly go against his long-held principle of non-intervention in other nations and Syria especially after seeing TV images?

The latter hypothesis seems dubious. Trump has been surprisingly consistent with the principles that got him elected in the 10 weeks since his inauguration. Why would he so quickly reverse field on this one?

What is perhaps even more stunning is the rapid way mainstream media and think tank analysts have accepted without question the view that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was behind the poison gas attack.

After all, no investigation has been done into the bombing or explosion or whatever it might have been that killed 40 Syrian civilians. Three Syrian Catholic bishops criticized the U.S. missile attacks citing the lack of such an investigation. Are those bishops stooges of Assad or do they have a legitimate concern?

Of course, Assad is perceived as guilty as charged because he ordered the August 2013 gas attack on Damascus which killed hundreds of people. If he used poison gas once, he would be the prime suspect if another gas attack should occur. The problem is the premise is wrong. Although Assad was quickly blamed for 2013 attack, subsequent investigations by noted journalists laid the blame on rebel forces aided by Turkey.

One question raised over the 2013 gas attack – which probably did not employ sarin – applies to this week’s attack: Why would Assad take action sure to create international outrage at a time where he appeared to be winning the war? Syrian victory now appears to be assured with mopping up operations taking place in the countryside against the al Qaeda and ISIS rebels.

Independent journalist Eva Bartlett quotes former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren as stating, “‘We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to those who were backed by Iran.’ In short, Israel prefers al Qaeda or ISIS or, better yet, the conflict to continue so that both sides are destroyed.”

At that point, we reach the nub of the story. The U.S. attack on Syria has been described as a tactic without a strategy. But when does the U.S. ever take foreign military action without a strategy? It may be a lousy strategy, but there will always be a strategy. In this instance, the need for a strategy is doubly needed to explain the actions of Trump whose own repeatedly-stated principle is the opposite of the one he implemented April 7.

U.S. strategy in the Middle East always favours the interests of Saudi Arabia and Israel. Israel’s fear of Iran is hardly a secret, which makes one wonder why it is now being ignored in mainstream media. If Assad is an ally of Iran then Assad must be destroyed. Even a victory by al Qaeda or ISIS is to be preferred to a stable government run by Assad. Better yet, destroy stability and ensure permanent destabilization.

So, what does this say about Trump? First, he is not acting as the white knight. Nor did the sight of dead Syrian babies bring about reform in U.S. foreign policy. Trump is, like every president before him in living memory, the pawn of the military-industrial complex against which President Dwight Eisenhower warned with his last words as president.

If Trump wants to remain president, he had better not try to push the big guys around. It appears the “commander-in-chief” has already seen the limits of his power. He’s a servant to the real commanders.

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