Maybe.  Bill O’Reilly’s sexual misconduct may not shock Trump, but somebody using sarin nerve gas against kids sure does.

“I now have responsibility,” Trump said Wednesday at a news conference with King Abdullah II of Jordan in the Rose Garden at the White House. “It crossed a lot of lines for me. When you kill innocent children, innocent babies — babies, little babies — with a chemical gas that is so lethal … that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line.”

“It’s very, very possible that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much,” Trump said.

What does that mean?  Who knows.

We’re about to find out once and for all if he’s really an agent of Russia or a Republican, I guess, depending on what he does.  Meaning that he’s either going to ignore what Assad does, which Putin wants, or he will make an emotional decision to start bombing just to show up Obama one more time and make his worst critics in the Senate (McCain and Rubio) happy.

I have two thoughts on this.  The first is that this situation is not only why I would never want to be the President of the United States nor do I understand why anyone else would want to either.  Regardless of what Trump does or doesn’t do, kids are going to die.  Either we’ll kill them accidentally or Assad will kill them because he feels like it.

I’m pretty sure every single president since FDR, minimum, has had to send guys to kill other people or die trying.  I don’t understand how they cope with it, really.  Is there a Presidential Grief Counselor?  If so, that should be the highest paid federal employee.  Anyway, I wouldn’t be able to handle it.

The reason I say that is that I fully understand Trump’s outrage and urge to “do something”.  He is under a tremendous amount of pressure to act in Syria, both because of his feeling of “responsibility” and the incessant needling by that warmongering asshole John McCain.

My other thought is that one of the top five reasons I voted for Trump was that I thought he was less War Crazed of the two major candidates.  You can argue with me all you like, but Clinton was creaming her pantsuit in anticipation of dragging us into more international conflicts.  Trump convinced me that he wasn’t interested in any further needless military interventions and I’d prefer not to be proven wrong.

I’ve seen the images coming out of Syria.  Yeah, it’s awful.

But it isn’t our war.

It isn’t our fault either.  There’s nothing we stand to gain from it.  It isn’t even within our ability to resolve.  I’m not indifferent to human suffering, but I don’t support any war that doesn’t further the best interests of the United States.  There’s no way I support Trump if he moves forward with military action against the Assad regime.

With that, I leave you with this to ponder.

UPDATE: Oh.  He did the “I’m going to show Obama up” one.


My guess was that Trump’s hardcore supporters would be opposed to this, that it might be what finally gets them to turn against him.

You know what?  I’m not so sure it will.  I predict that we’ll see them cheerfully claiming that this proves he’s a more decisive leader than that wuss Obama.  Also, he’s clearly not a Russian stooge.  Anyone want to take bets on how we’ll see this spun in the morning?

This move benefits nobody but ISIS and al Qaeda, even if it is just a limited retaliatory strike.

Call me disgusted.  This isn’t what I voted for.


  1. I think he is itching to do something in Syria to prove he is tough and to show up Obama.
    This has nothing to do with compassion for those kids since these are the same exact kids he is refusing to let in as refugees.
    The difference with Clinton is that she is smarter than him and less impulsive. You could at least predict her hawkishness. She might have put boots on the ground in Syria, too, as he has, but she would not have gotten us in an actual war with Iran or North Korea, as he very well might. This was one of my big reasons to prefer her. He cannot stop himself, he’ll react to whatever Fox and Friends tells him is ‘bad.’
    For the record, I agree that we should not get involved.

  2. The war we’re heading for is with China. I think it’s probably unstoppable. With Trump, I at least hoped we could realign Russia with us against them. Clinton was opposed to Russia.

    We get involved in Syria on the side of overthrowing Assad, then kiss that advantage of Trump’s goodbye. Nothing good can come of it.

  3. You think we’re headed for all out war with China? Cause that’s going to be ugly if/when it happens. Nuclear ugly.

  4. Yeah, I do. I think the same forces that brought us into conflict with Japan are now at work with China.

    I don’t want war with China, but I think we’re both being “pulled” toward it by geopolitical, economic, and historical forces.

  5. My money is on Iran and or/N Korea.
    I hope that we are not stupid enough to get into it with China, even as stupid as we are. I know that China doesn’t want a war with us, so we’d have to work extra hard to provoke them.

  6. You really can’t separate North Korea from China though. Anything we do to NK is going to affect China in the form of a refugee crisis, nuclear fallout, or what have you.

    Iran would be a war of choice. I think there’s plenty we can do to keep them busy in the Middle East without them becoming a problem we have to confront anytime soon.

  7. They are all wars of choice. Literally none of the nations mentioned this far are attacking us or even our treaty allies.
    People in this administration are itching to get some revenge on Iran. This feels very much like the lead up to the Iraq war. My gut says that’s where we are heading.

  8. I know that China doesn’t want a war with us, so we’d have to work extra hard to provoke them.

    How do you figure that we have to work hard to provoke them? China’s currency manipulation is all but economic warfare.

    And activities like this sure seems like they want or at least expect war.

    “Chinese intelligence has repeatedly infiltrated US national security entities and extracted information with serious consequences for US national security, including information on the plans and operations of US military forces and the designs of US weapons and weapons systems,” a draft annual report for 2016 said, as cited by the Washington Free Beacon.

    Not to mention the islands they have built out of nothing in the south china sea to try to claim territory that isn’t theirs.

    If they don’t want war, they have a funny way of showing it. But hey, Trump better not provoke them!

  9. That’s possible, and scary to think about. In a conventional war, they wouldn’t stand a chance. Unfortunately the next world war won’t be conventional. How soon do you think it is likely to happen? With all of the moves I outlined below, it sure seems like they are provoking us, or at least seeing how far they can push before we push back.

  10. Well, the issue with Iran is the great unresolved question left over from the Iraq War: How far are we willing to go to address nuclear weapons proliferation?

    To me, it appeared that the Obama Administration believed the following:

    1. Iran was inevitably going to develop nuclear weapons.
    2. Iran is poised to become the dominant power in the Middle East
    3. We should work to de-escalate tensions with Iran and try to turn them into a partner

    That’s my opinion. Assuming I have it right, I think #1 is true, #2 is preventable, and #3 didn’t work nor will it ever until the people finally get sick of the theocracy and throw it out.

    I think our best bet is to throw our support behind Turkey and let it work toward countering Iranian influence in the region. Like I said, let’s keep them busy.

    Short of Iran directly attacking us, I’m not sure what else would justify a war. The UN isn’t going to support sanctions, much less military action against Iran.

  11. The most likely scenario with Iran is unfortunately Israel getting involved. They are absolutely against a nuclear Iran (and I don’t blame them for that posture considering the history). I think Israel will reach a point where they feel pressured to openly attack Iran to try to prevent that, which will just escalate with other countries, and it won’t end well. The only question would be how long it takes us to get involved at that point.

  12. Hard to say. I’ll say that as long as China’s hollow economy seems to be holding together, everything will be alright. I don’t think we need to worry about a prosperous China. A failing one is dangerous and bound to do something irresponsible.

    Back in the 90’s, I read this book called “The Coming War with Japan.”

    In it,the author explained how there were certain geopolitical forces that would bring us into conflict again. Well, this is back when hysteria about Japan buying us out was at its peak. Thing is that many of the circumstances he described currently apply to China rather than Japan.

    Control over the Pacific Ocean is vital to our interests. The Chinese are out to challenge that dominance. It doesn’t mean they hate us or want war, it’s just that they’re pursuing what they want and we have to decide either to give it to them or stop them.

    If you have the time, I’d recommend checking out this discussion:

    War is avoidable with China, I suppose, but I’m pessimistic. In most circumstances such as we find ourselves in, war is what happens.

  13. Also, from a Generation Theory standpoint, China is in a “Fourth Turning” and so are we. Historically, wars are much more likely to happen between competing powers when both are there at the same time.

    Russia is in a “Second Turning”, if you were curious. That’s being demonstrated by the Putin protests.

    If you’re a believer in Gen Theory like me, you start to see it lining up. It doesn’t mean I don’t think we should try to avoid war, but it does mean that we’d better pray both governments move cautiously.

  14. None of the things you describe are worth a war with China, to me.
    Especially the islands. Yes, they are building them, but who are we protecting here, Vietnam? The Philippines?

  15. Trade within the South China sea. It’s a major artery for all sorts of goods, particularly oil. The Chinese, if they can get uncontested naval control of that area, can choose to shut it down, exercise control over all of the nations in the region, and apply pressure on us as it sees fit. We can’t allow it to happen. It is a threat to us and the freedom of the seas that we’ve protected since 1945.

    It’s essential to both of us and that’s the sort of thing countries end up fighting over.

  16. This is one of the reasons I never liked McCain as the Republican nominee. Back in ’08 he was talking about supporting Georgia against Russia like it was World War Two. Now he’s one of the hawks on Ukraine and Syria. Honestly there aren’t any good options here if we do anything.

  17. Nothing McCain does ever makes sense to me. We’ll be so much better off when he leaves the Senate.

  18. If trump does decide to turn interventionalist on Syria, it’s going to give credence to the theory trending right now that bannon/breitbart were the Russian link during the election. Bannon’s has been the force in the NSC that has been the most vocal about staying out of Syria, from what I can gather. Whether he’s doing it as an “America first” isolationist or Russian marionette will probably depend on what sites you trust but if anything convinces me that trump is about to have a huge change of heart on policy it’s that firing.

    Breitbart is already under investigation by the FBI, kushner has been reported to express to his father that he believes bannon’ is a drunken lunatic and the cohn appointment to the cabinet is tipping the scales to a more conventional White House staff. This leads me to believe that the “wouldn’t it be great if we got along with Russia” trump might be on the way out.

    It would make for a great wag the dog conspiracy because the development would be delightful to globalists and the world. China restriction talks would ease, Europe would welcome our intervention there to ease the refugee crisis they have by not intervening themselves, there’s an excuse to bolster the military budget, and countries like Japan/china would love to loan us more money and buy more bonds from us.

    The only thing that wouldn’t fit with this theory is that trump is by far one of the most unpopular presidents the earliest in his career, his coalition is a mess of ideologues and do-nothings, his administration is rife with scandal already, and obama history shows that when the last president tried to appeal to the public to intervene in Syria it was met with a resounding “no fu king way!” from the American public. As much as trump keeps himself informed of his buzz through media I can’t believe he’d take a risk as unpopular as a war in Syria that potentially allies the USA with radical Islamist rebels and isis against the legitimate leader of a nation.

  19. I think too much is being made of Bannon’s removal from the NSC. It’s a bigger concern to me that Russiagate might be making it politically impossible for Trump to negotiate with Putin.

  20. None of the things you describe are worth a war with China, to me.

    Nowhere did I claim my list is “worth a war with China”, though the cyber-security attacks against our national security come closest to being such in my mind. You said China didn’t want a war, so I provided evidence to the contrary, which demonstrates a concerted effort to push towards conflict.

  21. That’s where we disagree. I don’t think the stuff you listed demonstrates a push towards war. As I said, I don’t believe they want war. They are asserting their dominance in the region, same as us.
    Choosing to see everything as an effort to push towards conflict, without any understanding of the history or the culture of your opponent, is exactly the attitude that leads to war.
    I can, maybe, see Thrill’s point about trade routes, but cyber-security? Is Germany going to attack us because we hacked Merkel’s phone?

  22. I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand. Muslim bans 1.0 and 2.0 were both pretty much crafted by bannon’s himself, he was the keystone of the republican belly flop spectacle on health care reform, and had given himself a seat on the NSC despite many critics on both sides of the aisle saying it unfairly politicized national defense- one last bastion of our government that appears (outwardly, at least) to not succumb to partisanship.

    At the very least it shows the incredible amount of trust trump has bestowed upon him and his advice, set the tone for trump’s “take it or leave it” stance on both foreign and domestic issues, and bannon’s incredible amount of influence on policy.

    We aren’t ever really going to get anywhere allying with Russia anyway, unless we’d like to shift to their axis of allies permanently. Everyone else hates them and would hate us for aligning with them so I don’t feel like it’s worth it.

  23. I don’t think we can ally with Russia, but there are areas where we need their cooperation or for them to at least not give us problems.

    Unlike China, Russia doesn’t directly threaten anything that’s vital to us. However, there are areas where they can make things more difficult (Iran) or easier (Syria) if we choose to engage. We should be engaging them, not pretending like they’re our enemies.

  24. Even if you believe this theory, it’s difficult to apply to societies like Russia and China which are very different psychologically from the Anglo-Saxon mentality that was used to construct the archetypes.
    Individualism, the relationship of the individual to family/society, these cornerstones of the theory are completely opposite almost in Asian cultures.
    Judging China, say, by your theory, would say that it’s been on a High for thousands of years.

  25. Bargaining with Russia probably isn’t the best move. I’m for just sitting Syria out because both solutions suck equally bad. Another secular Middle East dictator that gases his own people or another Islamic theocracy turned failed state.

    How could Russia make either of those options more paletable to us?

  26. No, under the theory a nation can’t be in a High for thousands of years. Doesn’t work that way.

    They resolved their last Fourth Turning Crisis (WW2 and Civil War Twin Crises) with Mao’s final victory over the Nationalists. Then they entered a First Turning High which I think came to an end with the Cultural Revolution in 1966. They entered a long 2nd Turning Awakening which I think ended around the Tienanmen Square Massacre. Since then, they’ve been struggling with growth, a push for greater economic and political freedom, environmental destruction, and other issues that have brought them to where they are now.

    They’re slightly behind us on the clock, but we’re both in Crisis.

    And if you read the book, the authors specifically mention ancient Chinese attitudes on the Saeculum and how different approaches apply at different times. There’s nothing in the theory that wouldn’t make it applicable to an Asian culture.

    To say that the young people of the Tianemen Square protests are anything like the Little Emperor generation of today just because Asia is “different” is inaccurate.

  27. Russia can moderate Assad’s behavior. He owes them and is dependent on them to guarantee his survival. I’m not convinced Assad used the sarin, FWIW, but Russia can certainly be persuaded to ensure that he doesn’t commit additional atrocities in the future.

    If Russia can help end the war and assure Syrians that it’s safe to remain or return home, then the refugee crisis gets resolved as well. I call that palatable.

    Sorry to say, Assad staying in power is the best alternative and we ought to at least stay out of Russia’s way since we obviously can’t help it happen.

  28. I think you know my stance on this, and we do agree that Assad is still better than another notch in the belt of a caliphate. This will happen without us lifting a finger anyway.

    Other than that, being nice to Russia doesn’t win us much. It’s more apt for Russia to ally with china because their projections of power are in different directions, and, well they are both communists of sorts. China wants the South China Sea and to unveil its rearry compricated pran to make Japan pay for nanking. Russia wants Eastern Europe and for everyone to shut the fuck is about the Ukraine. Russia also derives much pleasure from flying over Europe in an effort to make them piss their pants on command.

    China and Russia seem a better pairing than America and russia unless we decide Europe isn’t worth defending anymore.

  29. I don’t share the sentiment. Europe is far more valuable than Russia as a resource for innovation, and invention if only that. I think we should assert our imperial claim over them even if it was only to protect that resource. I don’t like that they’re lazy and won’t fight but it’s been their culture to just submit to domination from one superpower to another throughout their history. We can’t really expect them to man up.

    Obama is right about Russia. They’re nothing. A thigocracy that offers nothing to the world but a mafia type stranglehold on their oil industry. They’d be pretty easily defeated.

    Turkey fucks with them almost every other day and nothing comes of it. I don’t see why anyone should be afraid of them.


    It’s looking more and more that the ban on ouster will make the already erratic and dysfunctional trump cabinet unravel at the seams, if only at an ideological level. If this article is right, bannon’s wants to throw in the towel and kushner is lining up with democrats Cohn and Powell.

    I don’t know what this means for a Syrian attack or Russian diplomacy but as of right now Russia is trending #syrianhoax on twitter and trump’s nationalist base is lapping it up. So now trump is going to lose the small support base he has, further compounded by McConnell’ nuclear option blowback.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a presidency unravel in the opening months of innaguration but if it’s happening we’re seeing it right now.

  31. The only part of that I’ll agree with is that if Trump goes after Assad, he’s toast. Even his most hardcore supporters are pointedly telling him that they won’t tolerate it.

  32. Going after ISIS in Syria is one thing, but going after Assad, is …just stupid. With the Russians fully backing him. madness…
    But then again maybe its just Trump blowing smoke.
    Syria is a lost cause. every side in the Civil war is worse than the other, and there is nothing to gain from a “win”.

    As for future conflicts. who knows China is the most likely, however there are so many variables..
    If Clinton had won, i would be seriously worried about some kind of direct conflict with Russia. Sh really seemd to
    have a bug in her ass over them. and all the rhetoric the Obama adm threw around the last 2 years was suddenly unsettling.

  33. And it looks like Trump has decided what he wants to do.

    One good thing about this is that it might force Putin to publicly disavow Assad and let him hang. But we’ll see, as this has the potential to escalate very rapidly.

  34. The Russians have already started walking back their support. Earlier today they said it was ‘not unconditional’ Let’s hope this means they were at least notified before we went and bombed the joint

  35. I can’t think of a time I’ve been less happy to win.
    I want him to fail in some of his campaign promises. This was not one of them. This was my top objection to Hillary, the only thing I thought he would do better.

  36. I’m glad I didn’t have to make the call. If he had done nothing in response to the chemical weapon attack, he would have been criticized as well. Just hoping he doesn’t decide to invade.

  37. I’ll take your bet. Baked Alaska is one of those hardcore alt-right white nationalists that propelled trump. He was considered “too extreme” and disinvited from even the alt-right’s victory lap party “trumpapolooza” months ago. If he’s crying foul you can bet cernovich and the other nihilists are too.

    Stranahan’s timeline is full of anti-trump rhetoric and some of the other hardliners are too.

    It’s not too much of a bet because I pretty fairly called this one above, I believe.

  38. It’s a rock and a hard place thing (politically I mean). Trump had said that going into Syria was wrong, but also that Obama was weak not to. Which one is best for him going forward? I’d say the ‘strong man’ play as opposed to the ‘explaining the complexities of the issue’ play.

  39. Yep. Benefits nobody but ISIS and AQ. It’s now harder for coalition aircraft to get in to bomb them or for Syrian aircraft to either.

    But hey, totally worth it to show what a pansy Obama was.


    So, my tin foil hat back on:
    We’ve just dropped $90 million to not destroy a base. Putin and Trump get to say that they are not friends and the price of oil has gone up. Plus, Trump is ‘stronger’ than Obama and can claim to care about Syrian children.
    Next move – Tillerson is going to Russia. They will hammer out some “agreement” which will include lifting sanctions in exchange for no more chemical weapons attacks and a reinstatement of the Memorandum.
    End result – sanctions lifted, ratings up and the Russia story squashed. And it only cost some dead Syrians and $90 mil.

  41. Yeah, I’ve been mulling an “Is Trump a Complete Evil Genius?” post in reaction to the news.

  42. I don’t think it’s his plan. This smells like the FSB playbook to me.
    Putin benefits from this way more than Trump. If the price of oil goes up, the sanctions are lifted and he doesn’t have to give up any ground, it will help him financially and in the coming elections.
    Convenient that this would occur just as his domestic ratings were getting shaky.

  43. Just found this in regards to China.

    China will offer the Trump administration better market access for financial sector investments and U.S. beef exports to help avert a trade war, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing officials familiar with the matter.

    China is prepared to raise the investment ceiling in the Bilateral Investment treaty and is also willing to end the ban on U.S. beef imports, the newspaper also reported.

  44. I don’t think those are meaningful concessions. We were after IP protections and Nork. Lets see what the 100 day plan brings.

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