As the United States prepares for the White House transition from 45 to 46, it must be reiterated once and for all; Yes, Donald Trump is just as much a warmonger as his predecessors.
Time and again when carousing the comments of any number of political posts, particularly as they may pertain to Americas many wars, one may come across a number of comments espousing the narrative that the Trump Administration is "anti-war" — either by claiming that he is bringing the troops home, hasn't dropped as many bombs, or most often claimed, that he "hasn't started any new wars".
Especially now during election season these claims gain even more fervor as elected officials across the board pump up their constituents with any number of empty promises, and political apologists stand far too willing to guzzle down any level of grandstanding that makes their preferred team look favorable. However, when held up to the flame of critical analysis and empirical data, this narrative crumbles as it always does.
Below, I will shed some light on the facts, an elaborate upon the grisly details of a foreign policy all too familiar with the establishment status quo.
A REVOLVING DOOR OF TROOP DEPLOYMENTS.
Firstly, the notion that the President is bringing any swaths of troops home in grand fashion is an outright lie. Periodically there have always been announcements that "X" number of troops are coming home. These are usually conveniently timed to look good for current sitting officials, but it is simply because their deployment has come to an end and they must be cycled out for a fresh batch of troops to take their place.
The most recent example comes as many excite over the fanfare of a supposed troop reduction in Afghanistan (the third time that I recollect that this promise has been made by this Administration). Yet unscrupulously amongst the clamor there was a less noticed announcement, in October The New York Times reported on an announcement from the Pentagon of a new US troop deployment to Syria.
As the Times stated:
"The reinforcements, which add about 100 troops to the more than 500 U.S. forces already there, represent a show of force in response to the clash last month that caught American commanders off guard. They are also likely to escalate tensions between the two rival powers in the country’s hotly contested northeast." ...... "The new deployment came on the same day that President Trump declared that American troops “are out of Syria,” except to guard the region’s oil fields. 'Other than that, we are out of Syria,' Mr. Trump said at White House news conference", The Times said.
Do you see the doublespeak tactic being applied? "We're out, except in the places we're actually in". It is a complete misdirection. We aren't fully removing our presence anywhere, Syria, or Afghanistan, or anywhere else.
Notwithstanding the fact these deployments pale in comparison to that of 2019, which saw the Department of Defense send a contingent of 14,000 troops to Saudi Arabia, and 23,000 to the South Pacific to bolster land forces congruently with the excessive provocative Naval deployments taking place in the South China Sea. In fact Trump has made it a point to remain in Syria specifically to pillage the nation's resources just as he promised on the campaign trail he would do and has done, partly on behalf of Israel.
As exemplified by his 2017 declaration placing Syria's Golan Heights under control of Israeli forces just at the same time that Israeli owned energy company Genie Energy, also heavily tied to globalists such as Dick Cheney, the Rothschilds, Rupert Murdoch, and even Trump's own son-in-law Jared Kushner, was preparing to violate international law by drilling in the region.
While the President mulls over reducing our forces in Afghanistan once again in what is likely "pie-in-the-sky", the fact is thousands of troops still sit in country. Just this January there were rumors of reduction in Afghanistan, and a week later news of an additional 4000 to Iraq. Now there's talk of pulling some from Iraq, but more going to Syria. Articles can be found published within the same week just last month one saying one thing the other saying the opposite. As with most mentions of troop withdrawal it's a classic case of say one thing and do another. The same tactic used by administrations in the past — every time Trump mentions bringing the troops home it is almost always shortly thereafter accompanied by a much quieter announcement of increasing troop deployment to another region, or conflicting statements from any number of cabinet officials.
One may say that these comparisons are hyperbolic, and that the scales are uneven. Deploying an extra couple hundred or so troops in one place doesn't offset bringing home another few thousand from somewhere else. But the problem is that few thousand haven't come home yet, it's been contemplated but not executed, not permanently. But those extra hundreds have indeed been sent overseas. The scales are definitely uneven, because as the going-away party has already shipped off the welcome home party is still awaiting their return. The headlines are dominated by the prospect of it happening, while nothing actually happens — effectively just shuffling the fighting men and women around like disposable mercenaries.
However bluster with regard to troop reductions and deployments, the fact that Trump has overseen yearly increases of the defense budget consecutively since gaining office and signed off on arguably the most bloated military budget in this nation's history, or even the fact that he has packed his cabinet with neoconservative Bush-ites like Mike Pompeo, Gina Haspel, John Bolton, & Mark Esper is far from the only point need mentioned about the current administration's interventionist policies.
A BLOODY INHERITANCE.
The next primary claim regularly touted is that the Trump Administration hasn't started any new wars. These sentiments, for those of us with some tenure in political analysis, are similar to the claims made by fans of Obama that he "just inherited the wars of the Bush years". These statements are meant to be deflective and apologetic, running around the actual fact that regardless of who inherited what the United States Empire is in fact very much still in the midst of several savage, mostly illegal, military conflicts & proxy wars around the globe. Continuing and expanding the already existing conflicts is just as worthy of condemnation.
Chief among these condemnatory practices would be Trump's unfettered support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Arguably the regime with the most egregious track record in all of the Middle East. It was mentioned earlier the 14,000 troops sent to the region to support Saudi aims but that was far from the only support given to the kingdom.
Once upon a time on the campaign trail, candidate Trump boasted about holding Saudi Arabia accountable for their role in the September 11th Terror attacks that the two previous administrations had covered up. However upon assuming the presidency the tone quickly changed, and shortly thereafter President Trump brokered the most expensive arms deal ever cut in the history of our two nations, ultimately supplying the kingdom largely responsible for the worst terror attack to take place on US soil with upwards of 350 billion dollars worth of armaments. Although these weapons and soldiers weren't just for sitting around, they were meant to be used, and used they have been.
The main purpose for funneling so many weapons and manpower to the Kingdom is a quite abhorrent one, that Peace organizations have staunchly criticized. It is yet another ugly blemish on the Trump administration's foreign policy record, working congruently with his unbridled support for the Saudi Kingdom is the consequential US facilitation of the genocide taking place in Yemen.
In addition to the military aid provided inflicting untold amounts of suffering to the civilian population, the President has continued actively enabling said suffering by vetoing any legislation meant to curtail the devastation in the region. Thus far President Trump has vetoed five bipartisan resolutions that would have dialed back US support for the Saudi slaughter.
THE CIVILIAN COST.
Unfortunately though, despite the already destitute state of affairs, Yemeni civilians are not the only ones that have been devastated by the wrath of Trump. By every measurable statistic civilian casualties are skyrocketing, not just in Yemen but globally wherever the American war machine is in contact; in Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and so on.
According to data collected from the watchdog group Airwars, an international non-profit that monitors civilian casualties in military engagements, in 2017 alone there were an estimated 6000+ casualties from bombings by the U.S. coalition, a staggering 200% increase from the year prior. According to data unclassified by the US Air Forces Central Command, in 2019 alone a record 7,423 bombings were carried out. 7,362 in 2018 before that, showing a clear continued escalation.
That however was merely the body count from the direct action, the lesser mentioned indirect cost sickeningly far exceeds that number. In March of 2017, coalition forces began the siege to retake the city of Mosul, Iraq. Disparagingly, non-combatants were not spared the courtesy of disengagement. The events that followed infamously became known as the Mosul Massacre.
As as some may remember, on the campaign trail, Trump's rhetoric about defeating the Islamic State Terror organization by any means necessary took a gut-wrenching turn when he publicly announced that in addition to killing terrorists they should also go after their families, no matter how innocent they may be.
"Wipe out the families" he said. In June of 2017, just that was done to horrific effect and beyond. Iraqi forces under the direction of the US Coalition carried out an operation to retake Mosul from Islamic State combatants that resulted in the death of several thousand civilians. According to an article by The Independent - “Kurdish intelligence believes that over 40,000 civilians have been killed as a result of massive firepower used against them, especially by the federal police, air strikes and Isis itself."
Amnesty International has rightfully referred to this massacre as a war crime. Quotes from Iraqi soldiers who took part in the battle describe that they were under orders to indiscriminately "kill everything that moves". One Iraqi soldier is quoted as saying "we killed everyone. Daesh (ISIS), men, women, children, we killed everyone"..... The streets of Mosul ran red with rivers of blood from tens of thousands of civilians, and the Trump Administration touted this as a victory with zero mention of the disgustingly unnecessary loss of innocent lives resulting from the reckless action of the US coalition.
ECONOMIC WARFARE, COVERT ACTION, & IRAN.
Sadly enough, aside from the brutality of direct conflict, the Trump administration also continues just like its predecessors to exude more subtle ways of causing damage to its enemies. The use of economic sanctions against any myriad of targets bring their own unique type of destruction.
As World Finance has noted - "Aside from this question of effectiveness, a significant ethical debate also surrounds the use of economic sanctions. As history has shown, such measures can have unintended, catastrophic consequences, often creating widespread suffering among the populace of a targeted state. Even when sanctions are employed in an effort to discourage human rights abuse, their severe humanitarian impact can in fact cause further harm to the vulnerable populations they originally set out to protect."
While the argument that imposing sanctions assist in avoiding violent confrontation is speculative and one that should be discussed, using them with reckless abandon can have a wide array of negative or even counterproductive consequences. According to information from Foreign Policy, an escalated use of sanctions is the case with the Trump Administration as well.
"The first trend is an unprecedented level of aggressiveness. Data compiled by the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher shows that in 2018 the United States added nearly 1,500 people, companies, and entities to Treasury Department-managed sanctions, nearly 50 percent more than in the second-highest year on record—2017, also under Trump.", said FP.
This Administration has maintained the practice of utilizing sanctions against any nation with which it feels the need to throw its weight around. Notably among them being Venezuela, the destitute conditions are exacerbated even more so by the economic turmoil, which the Trump Administration has implemented on the country in its bid to oppose the Maduro presidency for daring to resist capitulation to the American Empire. Effectively using sanctions as a form of economic warfare, these tactics also aid this administration's continued practice of covert regime change coups, proliferated in numerous locations where the United States has no business flexing its influence.
Of all of the assumed targets, none are quite possibly more notable among them than Iran.
— Before going forward I must mention the tumultuous history of US - Iranian relations is a bit of a complex one that requires some thorough research itself to grasp. Beginning with the US/UK backed coup that overthrew the Iranian government during Operation Ajax in 1953, until the Iranian Revolution of 1979. However, cutting to the chase with regard to modern relations, Iran is one of the primary targets of several western sanctions against the nation for a myriad of allegations; from allegedly funding terrorist groups (which may or may not be the case, but the blatant hypocrisy given the United States' relationship with Saudi Arabia cannot be ignored. And given that the Saudis and Iranians are staunch rivals, is likely the actual reasoning behind this), or the alleged breaking of the JCPA — better known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, as a response to alleged US aggression.
Still though the American Empire never falls short of excuses to vilify the only superpower that challenges their supremacy in the region, being spearheaded with constant salacious rhetoric by none other than US Secretary of State, and former CIA director, Mike Pompeo — who has made a point to capitalize on every available opportunity to take a verbal shot at the nation.
The heated relationship between the United States and Iran reached its apex on January 3rd, 2020, when President Trump authorized a drone strike at Baghdad Airport in Iraq that assassinated Iranian Lieutenant General Qasem Soleimani, as he was visiting the nation on a peace mission. This was an action highly decried by the international community for violating international law, that in spite of bringing the world to the precipice of World War 3 was defended by Secretary Pompeo as a "defensive action".
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Despite these initial claims from the United States Secretary of State, this was also ultimately revealed to be salacious propaganda as Secretary Pompeo himself revealed days later on the Laura Ingraham show, saying "We don't know precisely when and we don't know precisely where (the attacks might take place), but it was real,". To date, this was likely one of the most blatant acts of Orwellian doublespeak used by this Administration. As apparently the definition of "imminent" for Trump and Pompeo, are starkly different from the definition understood by the rest of us within arm's reach of a Webster's dictionary.
A NEW DRONE KING TAKES THE THRONE.
At the mention of General Soleimani, it seems only appropriate to mention of the recent wanton reckless expansions of the Drone Wars as a whole. Since the President assumed office he has not only exceeded the amount of drone strikes carried out from the Obama Administration, which in and of itself were of a horrendous amount. Trump has also extended the program's ability to forgo accountability and transparency.
Foriegn Policy remarks of the Trump Administration's expansion of battlefield designations –
"by 2017, the Trump administration was already working on rolling back its predecessor’s rules about airstrike transparency. Obama’s 2013 Presidential Policy Guidance (PPG) designated looser targeting restrictions for battlefields and tighter ones for nonbattlefields. The intent was to allow Pentagon drones more freedom providing support fire for soldiers in firefights in places such as Afghanistan, while holding tighter restrictions for targeted killing flights in places where the United States did not actively deploy troops on the ground, such as Yemen or Somalia.
While keeping within the letter of the rule, the Trump administration simply expanded battlefield designation to areas of Yemen and Somalia, rendering the whole of the distinction all but meaningless."
This hawkish administrations propensity for increasing the tempo of drone bombings has escalated significantly. The consequences therein alluded to in earlier sections with regard to the exponential rise in number of bombings, and subsequently, civilian casualties. Though this may be nowhere more apparent than in the aforementioned Somalia, where the campaign has taken an exceedingly ruthless uptick. Despite this there is no indication that efforts in the area have done anything to actually increase security either domestically or abroad.
This was best elaborated by Elizabeth Shackelford in a recent article for Responsible Statecraft, “Here, as elsewhere, we have no evidence to suggest that our increased counterterrorism activity hasn’t in fact had the opposite effect. But in the current foreign policy climate in the United States, forging ahead with our military is reflexive, so forge ahead is what we do.”
Upon analyzing information from the United States Africa Command, it can be found that between the years of 2007 to 2016 - between two separate presidential Administrations - the US launched 42 airstrikes in Somalia. Comparatively, by just over the halfway point in 2020, Donald Trump single-handedly presided over 43, beating out both of his predecessors. Furthermore, throughout the entirety of operations in the horn of Africa, and Somalia specifically, AFRICOM has repeatedly stated that their strikes have inflicted the minimum amount of Civilian casualties possible. However, independent investigations from groups such as Amnesty International has found that quite often the toll is much higher.
Due to his relentless resume of strikes, President Obama earned the moniker of 'Drone King'. By escalating the conflict while simultaneously ditching transparency, Trump was not only adorned with a blood-soaked crown, but also ensured that he sat upon a throne of lies to boot. Looking at the statistics amidst his bombing campaign, the grotesque accolades of the current murderer-in-chief have surpassed even the two most insidious neoconservative / neoliberal warmongers that came before him, in stride.
One may one may hope, exhaustedly so, that is the extent of American intervention in the small strife ridden African nation. Yet begrudgingly enough this is not the case. In addition to Unmanned Ariel Vehicles the United States in fact has troops on the ground there as well, undergoing steady expansions since the beginning of the DJT admin, with the President signing an executive order in regard to the matter as recently as April 2019.
Somalia has been described as America's least noticed war, but little do many realize this is just the tip of the iceberg to a whole host of ongoing conflicts most Americans have never even heard of.
AMERICA'S SECRET WARS IN AFRICA.
Despite the reluctance of government and military officials to acknowledge engagements in these areas of operation as "theaters of war", anytime you have boots on the ground engaging conflict with "the enemy", that is indeed warfare, regardless of any other characterization.
Ask any average American citizen on the street to name the current wars our pseudo-empire is involved in and most responders may simply name off Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. The obvious answers. More astute observers may include Libya, perhaps Yemen or Somalia. But rarely would you find someone mention the Sudan, Niger, Mali and the like. The activities in these nations are predominantly kept out of the headlines because they are typically more clandestine in nature. In any case, the sons of America's warfare generation are fighting – and dying – in these nations as well.
The fact is, there are approximately 6,000 military personnel deployed on the continent of Africa. Recently, a report published in The Mail and Guardian, a daily newspaper based out of South Africa, has revealed that US Special Forces have a regular active presence in 22 African nations. While commanders contend that these operations go no further than "AAA" (advise, assist, & accompany) missions, every once in a while information surfaces allowing us to peek through the clandestine curtain to see that the true scope of involvement does tend to go beyond the "official story". Surprise surprise.
Though Washington's official narrative is that these forces are in country combating the rise of "extremist groups", when revisiting the history of America's covert operations that line becomes a tad redundant when comparatively contextualized with the fact that the War on/of Terror arguably creates more terrorists than it defeats. Who would have guessed waging unparalleled unilateral death and destruction radicalizes more than it eradicates, right?
That also notwithstanding the Central Intelligence Agencies' historical propensity to literally create the very terror groups it ends up fighting later; such as the birth of Al-Qaeda and the rise of Osama bin Laden resulting from the CIA's clandestine warfare program from the 1970s dubbed Operation Cyclone; or the similar rise of the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria via Operation Timber Sycamore. Though those conversations should be the one's withheld for a more in-depth discussion on another occasion.
The fact is, the presence of Special Forces on the continent of Africa does more to galvanize the resistance of locals rather than to stabilize the region. This was best recounted in an article by Dr. Mark Levine, professor of history at the University of California, Irvine, in 2013 -
"The large-scale and still expanding militarisation and securitisation of US policy makes the development of such truly free-market mechanisms that much more difficult to realise, precisely because the strengthening of capacities of militaries and security/intelligence sectors invariably strengthens the power of elites and states vis-a-vis ordinary citizens, exacerbates economic conflicts and inequalities, and strengthens the position of those groups that are violently reacting to this process.
In that sense, the networks that are linking al-Shabab in Somalia to jihadis in Libya or the surrounding countries are ultimately derived from, parallel to and intersecting with the “official” inter- and transnational economic, political and strategic networks sponsored by the US".
A sane person would hope that these kind of observations from years passed would be taken into account, policy adjusted accordingly to prevent a cyclical repeat of events. However as evidence shows us with any Administration, including this one, common sense isn't so common — because even as the Trump Administration has seemingly dialed back it's number of boots on the ground on the continent (to bolster them elsewhere, of course. Though it "reserves the right to unilaterally return"), it seems even as Covid-19 devastates its way through third world African nations, they cannot help but continue to stuff the coffers of weapons manufacturers by keeping the bombs dropping. Call me crazy, but I don't believe continuing to obliterate nations already ravaged by every other imaginable destitute condition is going to make them like us....
A BOON FOR ZIONISM.
Finally, one last but most assuredly not least point of contention, this report would not be complete without mentioning the tremendous benefits beholden to the apartheid state of Israel. Whether it be Jared Kushner's ties to multinational Israeli corporations, or the president himself receiving his largest donations from renowned zionist and globalist Sheldon Adelson, one not need look far to encounter it's leeching tentacles.
Firstly upon mentioning Trump and Israel his supporters may immediately leap towards his "historic" peace deal between Israel & The UAE, however upon further dissection it shows to be anything but. This supposed peace deal serves only as a changing of the guard as the Trump / Netanyahu alliance cajoles other Arab states to abandon efforts seeking bilateral negotiation for true peace.
If the exclusion of Palestinian leaders wasn't impudent enough, a key factor of the deal praised by its supporters was the included clause to prevent annexation of the West Bank — yet during the very conference announcing the deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rubbed salt in the wound even further by confirming that despite this, annexation was "still on the table" and was a policy he was "committed to". Instilling "order" by promoting conquest is not "peace". In reality the deal is nothing more than a newly gained seal of approval for further subjugation, occupation, devastation, and human rights violations.
Hapless enough as these developments are, this still only comes after the last four years of strengthening US support for the apartheid state in instances such as relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, or the previously mentioned theft of Syria's Golan Heights combined with granting permission to Israeli corporations to pillage resources from occupied territory.
Even more boldly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo openly threatened the International Criminal Court and their families for attempting to investigate war crimes in occupied Palestine. These among many other acts have earned Trump the moniker of "The Most Pro-Israel President Ever", as he continues to bolster the State's aspirations of regional dominance with billions of dollars in new military equipment, and the most expensive increases to aid packages ever signed, allocating millions more in American taxpayer dollars to facilitate Israeli agendas.
Among further encroachments on human rights, and heinous acts committed by the IDF in occupied Palestine increasing in frequency abetted by enhanced US support. Under Trump's hardline Judeo-Christian supremacist philosophies influencing his particular brand of American interventionist imperialism, expansions of Israeli abuses have now been allowed to stretch far beyond Gaza and the West Bank in ways unseen before.
In conclusion, after all the evidence is laid to bare, empirical data scrutinized, critical analysis conducted — those capable of individual thought and accepting evidence can only come to the one rational conclusion; that despite all of the bluster, the tough talk, grandstanding & doublespeak, President Donald J Trump hasn't deviated in the slightest from any of his Deep State predecessors he claims to oppose in maintaining the status quo for the military industrial complex.
In the realm of identity politics, President Trump has been propped up in one echo chamber to be presented as the anti-establishment anti-hero, a rough around the edges but golden hearted true Patriot the people deserve. Whereas in the other echo chamber he has been firmly painted is the antithesis of all that is good and decent, the ultimate super villain. These are the same mind games of old cranked up to new levels of absurdity.
Of course the mainstream media is just as complicit in fostering such tribalism on the path to full-spectrum dominance, as well as total public apathy for our relentless forever wars. Serving as the state-sponsored disseminator of propaganda it is their soul function to craft public opinion and shape narrative. Despite their constant barrage of anti-Trump coverage. Those lackadaisical hit pieces of yellow journalism are nothing more than a show of smoke & mirrors to reinforce the false paradigm of identity politics, working for the same establishment, pushing the same agenda of keeping the people divided against themselves.
Not once do they ever speak out or condemn presidential warmongering, to the contrary that seems to be the only time the media actually likes Trump is when he's dropping bombs on civilians in other countries. I am reminded of the infamous incident when even amongst a constant clamor or RussiaGate hysteria and impeachment puppeteering, they didn't hesitate to change their tone 180° to cheer the President's bombings in Syria following the 2018 false flag chemical attack in Douma that was lazily and incorrectly attributed to the Assad government.
The media now, just as it has been for the past seven decades, is still operating as the Mockingbird mouthpiece for the CIA / military industrial complex bolstering propaganda to manufacture public consent for more acts of imperialism.
This is the same social engineering process that has been carried out by the American (s)electoral process for centuries, now to the maximum degree. This is made even more apparent by the fact that throughout the entire 2020 debate cycle, there was zero mention of foreign-policy whatsoever. Not once. The omittance is indicative that the Empire has resigned to not even pretending anymore, whomever is in charge the war machine will continue to slaughter innocents abroad with ubiquitous impunity.
So as President Trump prepares to take his leave and Joe Biden preemptively stacks his transition team chock-full with the same class of war hawks — we can expect from the coming Administration exactly what we we received from the last 4 years. More of the same.
So while Trump may rile audiences at his rallies with powerful speeches and notions of ending the endless senseless wars, his actions show that just like every other politician these are merely empty promises. Whether it be a career conman or New York Democrat Turn Republican, a statist by any other name is still a statist. Clearly no matter which side of the political cult is in power the revolving door of senseless carnage and perpetual war keeps on turning.
As Orwell stated, "the war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous".
About the author - Don Via Jr. is an independent researcher and journalist from central Virginia, who has for the last ten years dedicated his time to studying history, political science, geopolitics, and covert operations, and raising awareness about government corruption and abuses. He is the founder of the up-starting independent media page Break The Matrix, where more of his work can be found as well as on associated social media on MeWe, Twitter, and Minds.