Trump’s Global Military Aggressiveness Comes Clearly Into View

Two days ago, it was obvious that Trump and Tillerson were increasing instability in northern Syria by their plans to form a U.S.-trained 30,000 man force or army inside Syria and uninvited by Damascus. It has taken only 2 days for that instability to have been realized.

This Trump plan is but one of his foreign policy steps that have brought his global militancy clearly into view.

It was only a matter of time before Trump’s foreign policy moves would come into view more clearly. A year in office has provided enough time and motion for us to see that his policy is at least as aggressive as Obama’s; and his moves more or less approximate the prickly Hillary Clinton agenda. In Syria, he’s after a U.S. enclave. This was presaged by his support a year ago for safe zones. One month ago, the news was that the “Trump administration OKs sale of lethal arms to Ukraine“. Kiev has become more militant about regaining its lost territories, including Crimea. Trump supports this. Trump has clearly taken a militant stand against Iran. If he walks out of the nuclear agreement, that spells war with Iran. Trump’s North Korea policy is one long broken record of militancy, up to and including nuclear threats. After 7 months of heightening tensions, Trump refuses to move on a reasonable de-escalation plan:

“The plan would see North Korea suspend its ballistic missile program and the United States and South Korea simultaneously call a moratorium on large-scale missile exercises, both moves aimed at paving the way for multilateral talks.”

Trump continues to bait and taunt China. Witness the latest episode of a U.S. destroyer sailing close to a Chinese-claimed shoal. This militancy does nothing to bringing the U.S. and China together to address their important differences.

What about relations with Russia? “In the space of a week, the Trump administration has named Russia a ‘rival power,’ sanctioned a close Putin ally, and decided to give Ukraine anti-tank weapons to help in its fight against Moscow-backed militias. It’s a series of steps that has been paired with tougher rhetoric from the State Department about Moscow’s destabilizing activities in eastern Ukraine, and serious charges from the Pentagon that Russia is intentionally violating de-confliction agreements in Syria.”

Trump seems to think that he can use American military assets to back up his power plays, or that these forces are enough to intimidate his targets. He makes threats or dares others to resist as if he holds the upper hand. He’s naive, and he’s badly mistaken. In Afghanistan, where he has added troops, the Taliban is not going to cave in or back down. Iran is not going to alter its policies significantly because of Trump’s threats. Russia and China are going to continue to find ways to run circles around the U.S., despite threats and sanctions, because they know that outright war between nuclear powers is out of the picture.

But even beyond choosing policies that won’t get him what he wants, which is a U.S.-fashioned world, Trump is actually hastening the demise of the U.S. empire while making the world a much more dangerous place. Trump and any future president would do well, if they are seriously interested in peace and progress, to retrench the empire significantly while making Russia and China into allies.


1:33 pm on January 20, 2018