John Chuckman



“Trump’s Neocons Have Always Hated Arms Control Agreements, INF Is No Different

“Pompeo trying to put the upcoming death of INF on Russia when it’s transparent this has been on the neocon agenda for a long time”


It is true that the Neocons have always disliked arms agreements.

After all, and people tend to forget or overlook this fact, one of the basic tenets of the Neocons has been that the United States should use its military muscle to get what it wants in the world.

That openly brutal concept violated traditional, official American attitudes about its military, which the country has long pretended is about defense, hence the name Department of Defense.

Of course, given all the wars and interventions since WWII, that official view has always been pretty much empty words. There is absolutely nothing defensive about any of what America’s military has done for about seven decades.

And when it wasn’t done with the military, it was done with the CIA. Eisenhower – an avuncular, much-beloved figure – gave the CIA, which had just been created shortly before his term, pretty much free rein under the Dulles brothers, that Cold War team of Secretary of State and CIA Director. “Ike” was able to be the friendly face of America while they conducted the dirty work of empire without burdening him with too many details. That’s how the CIA grew into the arrogant and formidable organization Kennedy confronted after 1960.

But still, the pretence has been maintained. Now, the Neocons have been effectively saying for some years, forget the pretence. And Washington’s power establishment has listened closely since dropping the pretence appears to serve an urgent need to re-enforce its position and will upon the globe.

Washington’s power establishment recognizes that America’s relative place in the world has been slipping for decades as postwar competitors arose and succeeded, and that, if it didn’t do something about it, it would lose the immensely privileged position it has occupied since WWII.

After all, it’s mighty nice having well-rewarded and prestigious jobs in Washington, complete with a sense of people tripping over themselves to get your attention or seek some favor. These are jobs that basically involve telling other people what to do – from openly directing small states you regard as plantation properties serving American corporations to throwing your weight around in international organizations, making sure that the ninety-five percent of humanity who are not Americans do not get the idea that they somehow are entitled to influence, as through the UN.

“But like any Trump tactic to get attention, an initial bombastic approach such as the shocking announcement of treaty withdrawal is designed to control events and seek leverage in getting the changes he seeks.”

That is an accurate assessment by the author.

When results don’t quickly fall out of his initial explosion, he is left perplexed about what to do because he is not knowledgeable and not even particularly intelligent, nor is he patient or methodical. He has a very limited repertoire, we might say.

The Neocon gang fills the void, always ready to suggest what’s next. They are ideologues with clear, if rather malevolent, ideas of what they want, and they are unified with a fairly well-ordered supporting establishment.

That pattern of Trump’s psychology likely at least in part explain how the Neocons have gained so much influence in his administration in so short a time.

Other more individualistic advisors and appointees during meetings would tend to put an unwelcome burden back onto a perplexed Trump to make a decision from their various advice and observations. We see hints at this when he tweets, as he has a number of times, that this or that former advisor or cabinet member is stupid, the bright and able Rex Tillerson being only the most recent recipient of such an accolade.

Of course, there are also the political financial arrangements with Sheldon Adelson and other very wealthy individuals, arrangements with which he hopes to support his 2020 run for re-election. Adelson and some others to whom Trump looks are quite focused on Israel.

And, not to be dismissed, is some influence from his (much doted upon, for reasons unknown since her talents remain rather elusive) daughter and her husband, whose family is well-connected in Israel.

Much of what the United States has been through in the so-called “War on Terror”- more accurately called the Neocon Wars – represents little more than a kind of intense Israelization of American foreign policy. After all, Israel has spent seventy years enforcing its presence and belligerently expanding it at the expense of neighbors. It is what they know how to do.


John Chuckman



“The New York Times as Judge and Jury”


 Response to a comment which asks, “…he [Trump] has sanctioned Russia more than the last two Presidents combined, and now he is even killing some Russians and knocking their planes out of the sky. So why do they want to impeach him?



You have a real point. Here is my explanation.

In fact, Trump has demonstrated what a weakling he is – despite his noisy self-praise and bravado all the time – by literally giving the establishment everything it wants, and then some in certain cases, leaving behind the few things he seemed originally intent on doing, things that were worthwhile – better relations with Russia, leaving Syria, and stopping some of the horror of the Neocon Mideast Wars.

He has simply left all those worthwhile concepts behind in a desperate effort to be loved and to survive. What’s left is his junk program of disparaging migrants and Muslims, a pastiche of barely-hidden prejudices, and still wanting to build a giant stupid wall plus plenty of stupid flag-kissing by a guy who avoided military service – a program that is tailor-made for the Walmart-NASCAR-gun meet-Pledge of Allegiance crowd that constitutes his base. It has no appeal for the establishment.

When he publicly criticizes (mainly black) football players who make a respectful gesture of protest, something they are entitled to do and which is none of his business as President, he is throwing still-bleeding chunks of meat to the base who adore him for it. He even goes beyond inappropriate criticism to suggesting penalties NFL management should implement, as though that were any business of a government official who is supposed to represent all the people.

The establishment types do like, at least, to appear enlightened, it’s a matter of style if not substance, and many wealthy Americans greatly benefit by the loose system of illegal migrants as cheap labor which has prevailed for years. It provides a great informal system, complete with an endless supply of labor, the opportunity to pay low wages and to get rid of any worker causing trouble. Why else does any person think it has continued for so long? Do people really believe that only the lack of a “heroic” figure like Trump has allowed this situation to happen? Yes, Trump’s base does hold to that pathetic idea, and he encourages them to hold the thought.

So, he ends in the worst possible of all worlds, a man who has just continued the policies of Obama, even intensifying them, and tearing up what little worthwhile Obama achieved. There’s irony here, because Trump loathes Obama. Well, Obama bombed every day of his eight years, and Trump just continues. Obama was responsible for the mess in Ukraine, and Trump just continues. Obama was responsible for the pivot towards China, and Trump just continues. Obama created America’s vast extrajudicial killing program, and Trump just continues, indeed, giving the CIA an even freer hand.

In another aspect of his desperate cowardice and wish to be liked and re-elected, he destroyed the Iran Nuclear Agreement – Obama’s only serious worthwhile achievement in my view – owing directly to influence from Netanyahu and Netanyahu’s biggest booster, American billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, who undoubtedly promises Trump tens of millions of dollars for his 2020 campaign. That Agreement was praised and supported by every Western statesman and by all technical experts. Now, it is replaced by threats and name-calling and instability.

Indeed, again to buy favor, he has given Israel’s lobbyists everything they ask for. It is embarrassing to see such subservience to a small state which makes huge, often inappropriate, demands. Moving the embassy illegally to Jerusalem. Ending aid program after aid program for the Palestinians, including even heartless acts like hospital support in East Jerusalem. Berating the UN constantly, despite its now weakened voice after years of American browbeating, and withdrawing from important UN agencies like UNESCO to please Israel. It is simply an appalling and chaotic set of activities.

It all reflects Trump’s very weak character, and it is all driven from a desperate effort to please the American power establishment.

He knows they dislike him. I think there are several aspects to their dislike. He is viewed as a political pirate, having no real background and having hijacked a major political party that was adrift. He is also viewed as a kind of crass nouveau riche type by all the old money. His crassness is measured by the fact that his past rickety real estate empire has only survived by endless legal maneuvering and, apparently, a big hand in the past from investments from Russian mob money.

Of course, there is also his basic awkward way of communicating, a jumble of half-thought notions that have appeal to people in Trump’s base, but these are people for whom the establishment has only contempt, nicely revealed in words characterizing them by Hillary Clinton during the campaign. The privileged who actually run America and its politics have little regard for average Americans who think they are entitled to anything just by virtue of being born in the country.

The Russian thing is important. While I think the whole Hillary Clinton claim about Russia helping him is complete crap, Trump nevertheless is where he is in part owing to Russian shady-money connections in the past propping up his shaky business empire. And if there is one thing the American power establishment can agree on, it’s viewing Russia the way Rome viewed Carthage.

Russia is loathed because it represents a serious obstacle to the current driving hormonal rage of America in asserting its dominion over the planet. The rage is a development which reflects the establishment’s unwelcome realization of America’s relative decline in world trade and economics since the glory days just after WWII. There are a lot of countries out there now looking for their place in the sun, countries which were flat on the ground in the Ozzie and Harriet’s days that encouraged the myth of the American Dream – a myth, by the way, which Trump uses on his trailer-park political base under the “Make America Great Again” slogan. It’s utter nonsense, and the big boys in Washington know that it is. They have other plans.

America is actually not able to compete with all those new competitors, and its position will inevitably further slide relative to them. That is not easily swallowed by the privileged folks who really run America and have enjoyed god-like positions for much of the time after WWII.

And their attitudes have been catered to by Washington’s influential Neocon crowd, influential people well entrenched in Washington’s establishment. The Neocons say America should just use its brute power to get what it wants. It is an “Israelized” point of view, and the Neocons have an ongoing relationship with Israel. Their advocacy for a newly aggressive United States is in part based on their belief that an aggressive United States is good for Israel.

So, we have a big aggressive drive – “full-spectrum dominance” is one of its official mottos – to literally tell people all over the planet, “It’s my way or the highway” and to use force, almost in a Mafia protection-racket style, to carve out favorable advantages that couldn’t be had by fair competition. There are many examples, but a good recent one is the effort to push out reasonably-priced Russian gas from Europe and replace it with far costlier American LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas). And now we have sanctions against people for buying Russian hi-tech weapons rather than American ones, as though that were a crime.

The establishment, given this new wave of aggression as one of its basic drives, just does not trust a Trump whose business interests in the past were “rescued” by Russian money and who talked the way he did during the campaign about normal relations with Russia, something, indeed, which is one of his only sensible views. Those establishment attitudes Trump just cannot overcome, and they have nothing at all to do with “Russia-gate.” The Russia-gate myth only exists owing to the pre-existing establishment attitudes about Russia, and Hillary Clinton has only been able to make her pathetic, half-baked claims about why she lost the election precisely because of the accepting environment of those pre-existing attitudes.

Not to defend Trump, whom I find appalling, but it is all a dirty and dangerous situation with the Democrats just as much behind the imperial drive as the Republicans. They are all establishment, with no distinctions to be made between them in foreign affairs and the aggressive imperialism.

The Trump drama only provides a kind of noisy sideshow, a sideshow unfortunately which contributes only more instability as this pathetic man struggles to survive against America’s establishment, almost trying to outbid them in the stupidities he will attempt.