Despite trying to give the appearance of boundless confidence in his foreign policy, President Trump appears very aware that a lot of Americans, including parts of his political base, are profoundly uncomfortable with the war-mongering tone of recent months.
Between Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela, the US has seemed on the brink of a huge war for months now. With the polls turning against him, President Trump is now talking up diplomacy, and how he’s not seeking regime change in Iran.
This is fueling criticism from hawkish pundits, who like their president the way he was: shaking his fists with rage and promising great suffering the world over. They are accusing Trump of showing weakness and undercutting his previous “maximum pressure” strategy.
Trump may struggle to complete this shift in tone, with top members of his cabinet heavily committed to the more hawkish language. It is hard to envision John Bolton, for instance, advocating something that doesn’t involve a region-wide war.
Indeed, John Bolton is in the United Arab Emirates at the same time, and continues to talk up the need for a “strong response” to Iran, accusing Iran of doing things that there is no evidence they did, on the grounds that “who else would you think is doing it?” Trump’s attempts to convey a sense of calm in the Middle East are clearly and dramatically being undercut by Bolton.
Some analysts are downplaying the Trump-Bolton split, even though Trump is openly seeking consultation with Sheldon Adelson on how to deal with him. They are suggesting the differences are deliberate, and meant to be a good cop, bad cop strategy. In reality this is a war Bolton has wanted for decades, and it seems like he’s not going to allow facts or policy to get in the way of his advocacy.
12 thoughts on “Facing War-Weary Base, Trump Shifting to a More Diplomatic Approach”
The president has reportedly poked fun at his chief foreign policy adviser, lacerating his famed bellicosity. “If it was up to John, we’d be in four wars now,” a senior official recalled Trump saying.
Ah yes, poking fun. Good to know Trump has a sense of humor. Also good to know he’s seeking the advice of Adelsen. And I thought that bastard was dying?
Sooooooo, are we out of Syria yet? Have we stopped participating in the “very stupid” Mideast wars yet? Do we have better relations with Russia and China yet? Or was it all just a big con to get elected?
I wonder, too, Caliman? Have US troops left Syria yet? Have we yet stopped participating in the very stupid Mideast wars? Do we yet have better relations with Russia and China, or was it all just a big con to get elected?
Next year is the Quadrennial Freak Show and DJT will be running for re-election. He knows quite well that he has to quit participating in these stupid wars in the Mideast, or he won’t get re-elected. Period. He also has to fire both Bonkers Bolton and Pompous Pompass and replace them with competent experienced diplomats, or face defeat in next year’s QFS.
Indeed, Eileen. It’s a real life cliffhanger.
While I’ve been — and continue to be — a Trump supporter, my vote in 2020 is riding on the end of those wars, and the end of Bolton, Pompeo, and Abrams. It is impossible that Trump isn’t aware of the reelection challenge he faces. The economy is good, but that won’t get him over the finish line, no matter what Fox says. And for sure, a war in either Ven or Iran will be the end of Trump and the failure of his presidency.
So I’m waiting to see how this story ends, and it’s a nail-biter.
If Trump’s the guy I think he is, he will instinctively — which is to say unconsciously, almost accidentally — execute a gut-wrenching emotional whipsaw, and in an act of perfect dramatic timing just before 2020, dump the Neocon villains of this drama and dial down the wars. But don’t expect the least bit of relief until the very last second.
OMG, the suspense is a killer.
I am not sure. I always thought that a coup occured the weak he announced mire troups for Afghanistan. He had to accept changes in State Department and get a new consigliere.
He at times, unconvincingly acted like this was his idea — and at times said things his minders did not approve of. He is driving them crazy, as no policy of agression can solidify. But he is just a man. He would luke to get out if this with his and his family’s lives safe, and with his money not in danger.
Whatever we want is irrelevant. Sociopathic elite is looking at us the way lion looks at the prospect for a meal. And keeping us docile and believing we are something more then a free range chicken on a farm.
They do not care. They care only for money making ventures, and all if them are in imperial goose stepping around the globe. It us not about suceeding or winning — it is about rolling out a multi-decade money making nachine every time a conflict is initiated. Send troups (more money), equipment (more money), drones (money), civil society (money), activists (money), insurgents (money), terrorists (money), containing someone (big money), developing new weapons (mega money), selling weapons (taxpayer funded, for private profit), using government officials and president for sales force (easy money), and on, and on. What kind of money can you make improving education? Seriously, waste of lion’s time and talent.
Until we, the taxpayers do not start keeping track of money, they will throw it away. And authorize more money borrowing for their fun projects, then tell us social security must be cut to pay for our debts! We are the stupidest nation on earth.
I love you Bianca, because you are so consistently “no bullsh*t” right on target, and so fierce …. and even though you mercilessly dump cold water on my silly hopefulness.
I don’t think a war with Iran or Venezuela, especially Iran, will be the end of Trump. Just because this echo chamber is against war, I wouldn’t say that’s the case elsewhere. If he times a war right he’ll get a huge surge in popularity immediately and if it goes well for enough time, he’ll get re-elected in a landslide. The more time between war and the election will doom him because it won’t go well for long.
It’s pretty much been a con with most who run for prez.
Diplomacy and Trump are like oil and water. They do not mix–no way!
One would be forced to look long and hard to find any diplomats in this admin-they surely do not exist anywhere in the state dept as pompass’ purge has been complete.
Trump definitely does not qualify to practice “diplomacy.”
Consulting Sheldon Adelson on Bolton – over Iran? Seriously? What can we expect from that meeting? An instant war with Iran?
I sense that Jason is one of those people who still have some idea that Trump is basically an “anti-war President” – rather than simply a buffoon – and also harbors an inability to really comprehend the fact that war with Iran is virtually inevitable due to Israel’s influence over US Middle East policy in both US political parties.
Well, but it is inevitable. There is no way either Israel or the US is going to allow Iran to continue to function as a “Resistance” to Israeli and US hegemony in the Middle East. Iran is not Russia – it doesn’t have nuclear weapons – and therefore the US is going to beat on it (unsuccessfully ultimately, but nonetheless) until Israel and US get their regime change, if it takes decades to figure out how to do it. And nothing Trump can do – regardless of his ultimate, along with Congress, authority to prevent it – is going to stop it. And if he manages to finagle a way not to do it – and there is absolutely zero evidence that he wants to – as Obama did, the next President will do it.
If Trump fires Bolton, that won’t stop it because his next adviser will be equally a hawk, even if not such a crazed hawk as Bolton.
Get serious. War with Iran is inevitable. If not this year, or next year, or the next five years, then at some point in the comparatively near future. The only people who could stop it would be Russia and China deliberately threatening WWIII over an Iran war. And that is unlikely to occur.
Finally, as I’ve said before, if Israel can foment an incident with Hezbollah in Lebanon, does anyone really think that Trump can’t be persuaded to “come to Israel’s defense”? If a false flag incident causes conflict with Iran, does anyone really think that Trump is not going to support retaliation against Iran? Seriously? How hard is it going to be for his son-in-law, his daughter, and 99 percent of his advisers to convince him that he would be a shoe-in for re-election if he “saves Israel from terrorists” or attacks the “biggest terrorism sponsor in the Middle East” (yes, we know it’s Saudi Arabia, but he wants to sell those scum more billions of weapons?)
So why do we keep hearing this nonsense about “what Trump wants”? It’s irrelevant what Trump “wants”. Allegedly no one knows what he will actually do – and this is considered a *Good Thing*? That he has even bragged about?
When you try to ride two or more horses simultaneously you may end up in the dust. The recent downward trend of the 538 approval rating of Trump suggests that his hard-line policies on Venezuela and Iran were not received well among his supporters. Now he must switch to the diplomacy horse at a time when neither Venezuela nor Iran show the slightest interest to start any negotiations with him and China is beginning to hit back. In international affairs one cannot declare bankruptcy and walk away.
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