April 8, 2017

It seems that every new US president has to prove his machismo…or make his bones, as wiseguys say…by bombing the usual Arabs. By now, it’s almost a rite of passage. The American public loves it.

So we just saw the US launch 59 or 60 $1.5million apiece cruise missiles at a western Syrian airfield to express President Trump’s outrage caused by seeing injured children allegedly caused by a Syrian government toxic gas attack.

But what, Mr. President, about all those Iraqi, Syrian and Afghan babies killed by US B-52 and B-1 heavy bombers? Or the destruction of the defiant Iraqi city of Fallujah where the US used forbidden white phosphorus that burns right to the bone?

Washington claimed its radar had conclusively identified Syrian warplanes dropping chemical weapons. This sounds to me to be unlikely. Where was the US radar? Hundreds of miles away aboard ships? Was the info from Israel or Turkey, both with axes to grind? Is US radar so sharp that it can tell the difference between a chemical and high explosive bomb at great distance? Sounds highly fishy to me.

The cruise missile strike was planned well in advance and the missiles programmed accordingly. This was likely done before the alleged chemical attack. What a hell of a rude act to launch the attack just before China’s leader, Xi Jinping, sat down to dinner with Trump in Palm Beach. This was the most important China-US meeting since President Richard Nixon went to meet Chairman Mao in 1972. What a monumental loss of face for Xi and for China. He was made to look small and irrelevant. Was this planned in advance? Xi should have walked out, gotten onto his plane and returned to China.

Couldn’t Trump have waited till Xi’s visit was over, a mere additional day? What was so urgent about bombing a Syrian air base? Do we not think that Russia, China and Iran, all Syria’s ally, will take some negative action? Trump had actually blasted former President Barack Obama for even thinking about attacking Syria…and now here he goes and does the same thing.

While the new president was showing how tough and decisive he is by bombing the usual Arabs, the US is openly threatening war against North Korea. Washington’s most urgent objective in the Florida summit was to somehow convince, cajole or coerce China into lowering the boom on irksome North Korea and ending its nuclear programs.

The huge insult to Xi will hardly motivate China to invade North Korea and depose Kim Jong-un. In fact, North Korea is quite useful for China in spite of its eccentric ways and offers no threat to them. The DPRK helps protect China’s sensitive northeast region and Manchuria from US/South Korean intervention. Collapse of the Kim regime would drive millions of starving refugees to China, South Korea and Japan.

Worse, a now threatened US attack on North Korea could cause it to fire nuclear-armed missiles at Japan, South Korea and US bases in Japanese Okinawa and Guam. Two nuclear warheads would be enough to turn Japan into a vast wasteland. There are some 88,000 US troops and large numbers of dependents in the region. South Korea’s 20-million people capitol, Seoul, is partly in range of Kim Jong-un’s 170mm heavy guns dug in on the Demilitarized Zone.

An accidental naval or air clash over the South China Sea between the US and China seems inevitable. The US is making a big fuss over atoll airbases that China has created there, but are these really so different from US Navy aircraft carriers cruising the China Sea?

The US has lost its old strategic superiority over China in the western Pacific. China’s land, air, naval and rocket forces are near parity with those of the US and well advanced in plans to drive the US far from its coasts. Any clash would see US forces fighting half a world away against home-based Chinese forces. US military officials are struggling to invent new strategies while cautioning the White House to avoid a fight it could lose.

As if potential wars against China and North Korea are not enough, the US is kicking sand into Russia’s face and beating the war drums over eastern Ukraine and Crimea, two regions utterly unknown to Americans. There seems collective amnesia that Russia has thousands of nuclear-armed missiles, many pointed at the US. Anti-Russian hysteria in the US has assumed epidemic proportions and makes the US look silly.

The US is also broadening its little wars in Yemen and Somalia in an effort to dominate the Red Sea. The hottest new US command is the new Africa Command.
This while being at bayonets drawn with China and Russia. Amazing strategic stupidity that would make old Bismarck turn in his grave. Add America’s forgotten, foolish war in Afghanistan and northern Pakistan, and its provocations of Iran.

Trump likely views these issues through the eyes of a businessman, not realizing that Empire has its costs that do not fit on a balance sheet. Sure, the US pays more for NATO than other members. NATO is an organ of the US Empire, not a simple partnership. Ruling the globe costs lots of money. Even worse, much of it is being borrowed. Interestingly, America owes more money to Comrade Xi Jin-ping’s China than anyone else.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2017

This post is in: China, Syria, USA


  1. I’m a bit disappointed at the over-the-top analysis in this article. Babies were gassed and hospitals that took in the victims were intentionally bombed to demoralize the sunni Syrian civilians. A brutal dictator supported by the equally brutal regimes of Russia and Iran supported these actions. Clearly, a red line was crossed and the US did the right thing by retaliating.

    • The Americans just used an ‘air’ bomb in Afghanistan… with many casualties. If this is what is usually referred to as a ‘fuel air device’ it works by depleting oxygen and the people in the area of the detonation are suffocated by lack of oxygen. This is almost like a nerve agent and the manner of death is no different… people suffocate!
      The device causes high casualty with little physical damage and can have a very large affected area, killing many people. The Americans might hope that those killed were the enemy… but knowing their thoughtfulness and past performance, likely a lot of women and children died, too.
      The source of the nerve agent hasn’t been determined yet and Assad says it wasn’t him, and the Russians are saying they had no part. The Americans, Brits and Canadians are sure Trump is correct, and wouldn’t lie. ISIS is suspected of having nerve agent supplies… but, none and all may be the perps.
      Nerve agents are against God, as acclaimed by the Donald and his tribe… but it’s OK to use Air Bombs… just another twist to the Donald’s funny games.

      • I’m mistaken, most of the damage is caused by the extended overpressure in the blast area.

      • From another article, “According to a 1993 study by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency:
        The [blast] kill mechanism against living targets is unique–and unpleasant…. What kills is the pressure wave, and more importantly, the subsequent rarefaction [vacuum], which ruptures the lungs…. If the fuel deflagrates but does not detonate, victims will be severely burned and will probably also inhale the burning fuel. Since the most common FAE fuels, ethylene oxide and propylene oxide, are highly toxic, undetonated FAE should prove as lethal to personnel caught within the cloud as most chemical agents.(8) “

    • Mike Smith says:

      It is by no means clear where this gas came from … some theories have the gas being in a ” rebel ” dump that an aerial bomb destroyed … Besides which, if killing children is such a bad thing, why is Bill Clinton and Madeline Albright walking free ? Their policys killed somewhere between 250,000 to a million over lies about WMDs. In addition you have the Saudis bombing hospitals in Yemen with the support of the US ( another pairs of brutal regime right ? ) The US needs to not be involved at any level anymore, they have lost any reasonable credibility, have aligned themselves with some seriously evil groups, and have accomplished little other than chaos where ever they have stuck their nose in this century.

  2. Donald is aware of the ratings boost a president gets when he bombs Arabs. Here is one of Donald’s tweets when Obama was in power:
    Clearly he knows what he was doing.

  3. Mike Smith says:

    It seems to me that the US has become what it had previously vilified the Soviet Union of during the cold war. Deploying forces around the globe, supplying arms in efforts to overthrow non aligned governments, forcing its allies to raise puppet armies, attacking anyone who resists them ( within their ability ) controlling the media and using propaganda to justify their actions. When will the world rise to fight this new evil empire ?

  4. I think there is a huge difference between aircraft carriers projecting power into the South China Sea and building islands to basically claim the South China Sea. Gunboat strategy at its finest.

    Despite the takeover of Tibet and the effective invasion of Chinese into that country, China has traditionally be benign for centuries.

    Now it is aggressively pursuing resources in other countries all over the world and extending its territorial claims with its military. There is a national strategy at play here and it has to be of concern to world leaders.

  5. Steve_M. says:

    Has it occurred to anyone that the US attack on Syria has provided a welcome diversion for Trump and his supporters. Obviously, they are getting tired of (and maybe worried about?) the bad press and the Congressional investigations into the dealings by his officials and possibly Trump himself with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. These days, there are almost no headlines about that investigation and many about the attack on Syria. There’s definitely method to the madness…

  6. lpapoff@bell.net says:

    The Donald did give the Russians some warning about the attack. How much isn’t clear. But Russian traffic leaving the base would have been enough to alert the Syrians. Still, some Syrians did die. No doubt, the attack affects relations between Putin and Assad. But how? And how does it affect relations between Washington and Moscow? Who knows? One thing is clear, tho, it improves The Donald’s approval ratings at home. Killing some people in a place most Americans couldn’t find on a map always does that. Maybe, that was what this was all about.

  7. After the gas attack in 2013, when the British Parliament refused the government authority to bomb Syria, Obama had the choice of going it alone or go along with the Russian-UN plan to dispose of Syria’s chemical weapons.

    Before going along with the Russian-UN plan, he went to the Republican controlled US Congress seeking authority to embark on that Act of War. At that Time, Trump insisted he go to Congress for that Authority. The Republicans refused it. Then the hypocrites called him the do nothing President.

    The same band of Republicans doubled down on that hypocrisy and joined in praising Trump for this ineffective attack costing the US taxpayer some $75 million for nothing.

    Americans spend so much more money on the military and the weapons of Death and Destruction than Russia, China and many other Nations combined, they have a collective orgasm when they’re used.

    Where was the outrage 2 weeks ago when a US plane dropped bombs killing up to 200 civilians, including women and children in Mosul?

    Where is the outrage when Saudi Arabia uses US planes and bombs to kill women and children in Yemen?

    Watching CNN and MSNBC from CanaDa, it’s obvious they have no integrity speaking Truth to Power, but speak for the power. They the chief propagandists inciting for war, non stop all day and night, as if they and their families will be immune from the consequences.

    Where is the outrage for this 4 year old child when US bombs killed her mother in Mosul? The spineless CNN & MSNBC do not show the damage US bombs do.

  8. Jacek Ka says:

    I started doing some research and wanted to add the following to the above:
    On 20 August 2012, President Barack Obama used the famous phrase “red line” in reference to the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Two months later, on October 17, 2012, the French sources reported the first chemical attack in Syria, in Salqin. No other details as to what agent was used or about the victims was announced.
    In December 2012, the chemical plant SYSACCO 29 kilometers east of Aleppo was taken by rebel fighters from the Al-Nusra Front. The factory produced chlorine (among other chemicals). Exactly at the same time, on 10 December 2012, the U.S. designated Al-Nusra a foreign terrorist organization.
    On March 19, 2013 – sarin attack against Syrian army (Khan al-Asal).
    On April 13, 2013 – sarin attack against Kurdish forces.
    On 1 June 2013, the Syrian Army seized two cylinders holding the nerve agent sarin in an area controlled by opposition fighters. On 14 June 2014, the Joint OPCW-UN Mission confirmed that the cylinders contained sarin.
    On August 21, 22, 24 and 25, 2013 – sarin attacks in Ghuta against civilians and against the Syrian army in Al-Baharijah and in Jobar.
    The UNHRC commission also found that the sarin used in the Khan al-Asal attack bore “the same unique hallmarks” as the sarin used in the Ghouta attack and indicated that the perpetrators likely had access to chemicals from the Syrian Army’s stockpile.
    On September 6, 2013, a bill was filed in the US Senate to authorize the use of military force against the Syrian military, mainly in response to the use of sarin in the Ghouta attack on 21 August 2013 (although the Syrian army appeared to be a victim in some of these attacks).
    On June 28, 2015, 24 projectiles with mustard gas were used against Kurdish forces.
    I find the above facts at least puzzling. Since the Kurds and the Syrian Army are fighting on the same side, I would not expect them to bomb each other with chemical weapons. I might be naïve, but should not one suspect the Qatari and the Turks who support Al-Nusra just as much as one tends to suspect the Assad’s regime?

  9. Jacek Ka says:

    On April 3, 2017, we read this in the media: “President Bashar al-Assad has no future in post-conflict Syria but his fate is ultimately up to the Syrian people, EU foreign ministers said on Monday in response to an apparent shift in US policy. The United States and the European Union have consistently demanded Assad stand down in any peace deal. But last week Washington signalled it would no longer focus on Assad’s ouster as it concentrates on the wider fight against terror groups such as Islamic State. Asked what this meant for EU policy, bloc foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said she believed it “would be impossible” to return to the status quo in Syria.“ Suddenly, only a day later, April 4, 2017 – Khan Shaykhun – the most recent attack with sarin.

    Wow, what’s with this timing? Each time the West calls for Assad’s head he seems to find it appropriate to immediately start throwing about some chemical bombs. Does it give anyone a pause??? He may be a monster, but he certainly does not strike me as suicidal. Au contraire.

  10. As usual I’ll believe you Eric and not the BBC. And I do hope one day to inform one or two of their zero risk stenographers of my preference in such matters. Rather bluntly.

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