Over the last few weeks an interesting story has been playing out on various levels and in different areas of the national political scene. While the events may seem unrelated, that could not be further from the truth. The events are all tied together and they weave a rich tapestry of political intrigue and gamesmanship.
Here are the separate events we’re speaking of:
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- Steve Bannon loses power and influence in the Trump White House. Bannon was the architect of Trump’s presidential victory and his one constant theme was – be anti-establishment. Being anti-establishment led Trump to victory, and also formed the foundation of the Trump campaign philosophy. However, as time has gone on the anti-establishment figures have all fallen away from team Trump and now only Bannon is left and his time may be short.
- The rise of Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller. Kushner is a liberal Democrat, and the son-in-law of Trump, Miller is an establishment Republican who worked for then Senator Jeff Sessions and helped to craft the hated Gang of 8 immigration (amnesty) bill.
- Trump launches attacks on Syria and ISIS in Afghanistan. President Trump swiftly did the one thing that President Obama never had the cojones to do, he smacked Syria for crossing a red line and then he dared Russia to get involved. Then, President Trump dropped the “Mother of All Bombs’ (literally) on ISIS in Afghanistan reportedly killing more than 100 ISIS fighters and sending a powerful message to the cave-dwelling terrorist cowards.
- Trump praises NATO. President Trump campaigned on getting the USA out of the ineffectual treaty organization and maybe even doing the same with the United Nations. Now? Now, Trump is praising NATO for falling in line and getting with the Trump program.
At Mediate John Ziegler explains about a few of the extraordinary Trump moments from this past week:
Now, even after all the back-wrenching flip-flops of his fledging administration, the changes have come at an accelerated pace in past few days. Trump has altered his entire persona as if he is a man in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Like Madonna or Lady Gaga, he has suddenly reinvented himself into an almost completely new character, without even a hint of concern for what he consistently promised previous to taking office.
The campaign version of Donald Trump is officially dead. Having catastrophically crashed against the jagged rocks of reality, not even 100 days into his presidency, Trump is clearly abandoning his original ship and setting a new course in a vastly different direction.
Just this week Trump drastically altered his position on:
- China and the prospect of his promised a trade war with them
- The importance of NATO
- Steve Bannon’s role in his White House
- Whether Wikileaks is good, or bad
All of this was quite shocking, even to media veterans who have been highly skeptical of Trump in the past. Meanwhile his press secretary, taking a page right out of George Orwell’s 1984, actually claimed, with a straight face, that Trump isn’t the one who is “evolving,” but rather, it is the issues that are moving towards him!
On top of all of this, the man who ran of a platform of “America First” and who routinely mocked an interventionist foreign policy, specifically in Syria, has instigated immediate military action in… Syria, apparently at the behest of his… daughter. He has also gotten credit (dubiously) for dropping a huge bomb on Afghanistan and has been rattling his saber with regard to North Korea.
Oh, and apparently Russia is now our enemy again and we even seem to be bragging about how horrible relations with them suddenly are.
As Bannon lost power, Jared Kushner’s influence increased. As Kushner’s influence grew, Trump’s foreign policy moves grew more aggressive and his rhetoric shifted quickly to the left. If Bannon leaves the White House there will be no one left to advise the President to buck the establishment, and all of Trump’s advisors will be firmly entrenched in the mainstream of the right and the left. This is not the White House many of the presidents supporters expected to see less than 100 days into the Trump era.
So the question has to be asked; is President Trump still a non-interventionist? Or is he toeing a traditional GOP/Democrat line and embracing neocon foreign policy?
On Sunday, several of Trump’s mouthpieces were doing the rounds on the Sunday talk shows and for the most part they all echoed each other saying that the President was NOT an interventionist. On ABC, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said that the USA would not be intervening in North Korea. On Fox Business, White House advisor Sebastian Gorka told Maria Bartiromo that the President had not changed his mind in getting involved in the business of other nations saying, “The president is not an interventionist commander-in-chief.”
As much as the White House protests, I think the true answer is probably still up in the air. This past week former Presidential candidate Pat Buchanan argued that if Trump takes another step in Syria he’ll never get out, I think the same can be said for his foreign policy forays. If the President continues to involve us and our military in the affairs of other nations it will grow harder to stop and before he realizes what has happened… he will be the latest in a string of “neocon” interventionist presidents.