May 20, 2017

`Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.’ The witches in Macbeth.

President Trump’s administration is now at a high boil as he faces intense heat from all sides. The Republican Party has backed away from their embattled president. US intelligence agencies are baying for his blood. The US media plays the role of the witches in ‘Macbeth’ as it plots against Trump.

One increasingly hears whispers about impeachment or the wonderful 1964 film about a military coup in Washington, ‘Seven Days in May.’

As in Shakespeare’s King Lear, Trump stands almost alone on a blasted heath, howling that he has been betrayed. The world watches on in dismay and shock.

One thing is clear: the US presidency has become too powerful when far-fetched talk of possibly Russian involvement in Trump’s campaign could send world financial markets into a crash dive. And when Trump’s ill informed, off the cuff remarks can endanger the fragile global balance of power.

Trump has made this huge mess and must now live with it. Yes, he is being treated unfairly by appointment of a special prosecutor when the titanic sleaze of the Clintons was never investigated. But that’s what happens when you are widely detested. No mercy for Trump, a man without any mercy for others.

Trump is not a Manchurian candidate put into office by Moscow though his bungling aides and iffy financial deals often made it appear so. His choice of the fanatical Islamophobe Gen. Michael Flynn was an awful blunder. Flynn was revealed to have taken money from Turkey to alter US Mideast policy. Who else paid off Flynn? Disgraceful.

But what about all the politicians and officials who took and take money from the Saudis and Gulf emirates, or Sheldon Adelson, the ardent advocate of Greater Israel? What about political payoffs to the flat-earth Republicans who now act as Israel’s amen chorus in Washington?

The growing scandals that are engulfing Trump’s presidency seem likely to delay if not defeat the president’s laudatory proposals to lower taxes, prune the bureaucracy, clean up intelligence, end America’s foreign wars, and impose some sort of peace in the Mideast.

By recklessly proposing these reforms at the same time, Trump earned the hatred of the media, federal government, all intelligence agencies, and the Israel lobby, not to mention ecologists, free-thinkers, cultured people, academia and just about everyone else who does not raise cotton or abuse animals for a living.

No wonder Trump stands almost alone, like Rome’s Horatio at the Bridge. One increasingly hears in Washington ‘what Trump needs is a little war.’

That would quickly wrong-foot his critics and force the neocon media – Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and CNN – to back him. We already saw this happen when Trump fired salvos of cruise missiles at Syria. It would also provide welcome distraction from the investigations of Trump that are beginning.

Trump has appeared to be pawing the ground in a desire to attack naughty North Korea or Syria, and maybe even Yemen, Somalia or Sudan. A war against any of these small nations would allow the president to don military gear and beat his chest – as did the dunce George W. Bush. Bomb the usual Arabs!

The Pentagon wants 50,000 more troops for Afghanistan. US warplanes are buzzing angry North Korea. In Syria, the US and Russia are a falafel’s length from open clashes. Now is the time for extreme caution, but an enraged President Trump, who avoided military service in his youth, is ready to lash out.

For Trump, next week’s visit to the Mideast should prove a welcome respite after the madness of Washington. But isolated and besieged as Trump is, he may have to depend more on support from Israel and its American partisans rather than forcing a Mideast peace settlement. Israel insists there be no change to the status quo that leaves Palestine an open air prison.

America has not so far become great again.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2017

This post is in: USA


  1. I do not know if our well respected writer analyst and former or current war correspondent’s words can have enough impact to change the world. And yet I am always reminded by how ignorant I have been and naive in my thinking. Mr Eric Margolis as always have managed to say it as it is with little hope and much needed realism. Americans Africans Arabs, Europeans and every nation on this wonderful earth can never predict what Donald is capable of doing to make life easier or much worse that it already is.

  2. More ramblings:
    “Seven Days in May” was an eye-opener, considering it was done 30 years ago… almost like “1984” all over again (with apologies to that American baseball guy)… Trump is almost like the classic Shakespearean tragedy. A ‘noble’ person brought down by serious character flaws.
    With Trump, one doesn’t know where to start with his flaws. A person in such power with such a lack of understanding of almost everything. It’s almost unfathomable that a person with such wealth can be that ignorant. I refrain from using the term stupid, because, I suspect ‘his dice’ do not have all the ‘dots’. I guess its the American way.
    He’s in the process of ‘gutting’ that poor health care the Americans enjoy. He’ll be cutting social programs by 2% per year. For a nation of such wealth, poor Americans have little to look forward to… and little chance of lifting their heads from the gutter. They are, however, better off than their counterparts in Africa. To improve the general lot of Americans, it is essential that the government be ‘re-built’ starting from the top down, and unless there is a serious social disorder, it will not happen with the current crowd (or the type of government they displaced); the rot starts at the top. The only way it can be fixed is to start taxing those with the financial resources as well as ‘cleaning the stables’. Trump has started to ‘drain the swamp’, but, has replaced the critters with his own type of critter. This will likely be to the detriment of the Americans.
    His guest from Turkey, Erdogan, led to protests and the protesters were set upon by Turkish ‘goons’. No effort was made to stop this, and it occurred on American soil.
    I’m surprised Assad (or the Russians) haven’t closed Syria’s airspace to everyone, except those invited.
    He’s promised the Israelis that Iran will never have nuclear weapons, but says nothing about the American aid in helping the Israelis maintain their nuclear arsenal.
    He’s just closed business deals with the Saudis for $100B in war equipment.
    He’s pushed North Korea to the wall… I think their leader is dangerous, but, ‘poking him in the eye with a pointed stick’ will not improve matters. The North Koreans continue to improve their delivery systems for warheads and are not sitting back. I don’t have the diplomatic skills that are necessary to extricate the Americans from this problem (of their own doing), and, I’m afraid the Donald doesn’t have them either. The Americans have to be cautious; Russia and China will not ‘sit back’. Notice how the Chinese are establishing their sovereignty over the South China Sea.
    The Americans were whining about the Chinese airforce intercepting a couple of their planes that were testing for radiation (or whatever). The planes were, apparently, in international airspace. The Chinese have put nations on notice that they require Chinese approval prior to ‘trespassing’. The actions were ‘illegal’ by international law and as established by the UN. The press noted that the Chinese were in the wrong. It’s OK, however, for the Americans to intercept Russian fighters (a month ago), in international airspace, off the coast of Alaska… and a week or so later, Canadians did the same thing. Newspaper columnists do not see the similarity, or failed to comment. The press failed to note that the Americans/Canadians were in the wrong. One almost wonders who is scripting newspapers these days.
    His man, Flynn, is taking the 5th on his/Trump’s? dealings with Russia and is refusing to cooperate. It’s a legal right that should be exercised by more Americans so its more commonplace and does not imply guilt by using it.
    The man, Trump, never fails to amaze me.
    PS: We’re glad you’re back… hope your venture was successful

    • Arithmetic’s bad… more like 50 years ago…


    • Mike Smith says:

      While I do not profess to be an expert on the failings of ObamaCare, I do not see how that program can survive. Obama tried to please everyone building it, unfortunately that meant not standing up to the insurance / medical corporate interests that continue to ” profiteer ” on the backs of the sick. Costs for ObamaCare are insanely high, and will only increase… Trump is right to attack it.
      Unfortunately, I doubt Trump will have either the balls or the clout to really reform the system by taking the private insurers out of the picture, placing price controls for procedures, taking a swing at price controls for big pharma, etc.
      As with other issues, I think Trump starts with the right idea, then goes sideways as the people around him start advising him.

  3. Mike Smith says:

    Trump is going the wrong way with his ” deal making ” in the middle east. Will the US economy collapse without weapons exports ? His is only putting money in the pockets of his opposition.
    If Official Washington is saying what Trump needs is a little war… maybe he should look to the war at home.
    Perhaps he should embrace the prosecution of General Flynn, and take it one step further. A open Justice Department Task Force to examine, investigate and prosecute influence peddling. Surely there is some incorruptible Elliot Ness type that could run this with the mandate of looking at anyone who served in Government the past twenty years. Surely that would cause fear in many of his detractors. Public hearings about AIPAC, Saudi Money, and other ” donators ” would not only silence any questions about Russian influence, but rip open a even bigger can of worms.
    Another great idea would be to reestablish the Truman Committee. If somebody in the Senate could be found to run it a new “Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program” with a mandate to publicly rout out wasted spending, and with the power to declassify anything they feel should be in the public light, such a move could be the hammer with which to fix both the Pentagon and the Intelligence services…
    and even further yet, ratify the Rome Statute and begin a systematic review and investigation of records, turning them over to the ICC. Extradition and trial of some high level scum like Henry Kissinger, Madeline Albright, Paul Wolfowitz, etc should send the rest of Trumps domestic enemies running for non extradition countries.
    Any of these three moves would give the talking heads in the media something else to talk about, as well as shoring up his ” drain the swamp ” political base. Doing all three would either guarantee a second term or lead to an assassination… but it likely is the last best hope to fix what is wrong with the US.

    • I think Trump is too selfish to want to mobilise your three fronts. His political base has likely been ‘slimed’ and his party could suffer considerably… he’s not interested in ‘draining the swamp’, but, in repopulating it with lizards of his own choosing.

      • Mike Smith says:

        Trouble is Trump is pretty hamstrung in choosing people to put in … between the polarization of the US, picking somebody he trusts, and picking somebody the senate will actually confirm…. the list gets shorter and shorter. I think he should put people in and then tell them exactly what to do, but then that takes time and with the distractions to the agenda lie FBI probes, etc … likely not possible.

  4. As a Canadian I watch what is happening in America with all the feelings of being on the docks of Halifax on December 6th 1917 watching the Mont Blanc drifting on fire to the shore.

  5. Steve_M. says:

    “One increasingly hears in Washington ‘what Trump needs is a little war.’”. Interesting observation. I once read a column by Diane Francis (herself an American) that when Americans are not at war with an external enemy, they turn on each other. This is one explanation for the US going to war against Iraq in 2003. Eric is probably right to suggest that Trump wants to start a war, especially given that he no doubt remembers the messes that Bill Clinton found himself in, perhaps for not having started a war during his presidency.

    • Mike Smith says:

      Bill Clinton started more than a few wars in his day, bombing Sudan, Iraq Sanctions ( a continuation, but one that killed millions ) and was the guy whose foreign policies led to 911.

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