Sunday 5 March 2017

‘President Trump’s biggest error was sparing Hillary' (Sunday Guardian)

By M D Nalapat | Singapore

According to the analysts spoken to, ‘had the investigation of Hillary Clinton including the Clinton Foundation, begun, that would have filled the news cycle for months’.

Analysts assisting policymakers in the United States are dismayed at the “speed with which the Donald Trump administration is being pushed back into the same policy box as the past administration” by an “expertly implemented campaign designed to throw the President off-balance and reduce him to lame duck (i.e. ineffectual) status at the very start of his tenure”. Candidate Trump’s freeing himself of Cold War (Atlanticist) shackles that have bound US policy since the 1950s, alarmed the traditional establishment, which profited hugely from such a policy. “Contingency plans had been prepared by the Atlanticist establishment to insulate existing policy from Trumpian changes”, and these were brought into operation, hours after it became certain on 8 November that the New York-based billionaire would on 20 January 2017, become the 45th President of the US.
“A decisive victory (over President Trump) was won early on, by convincing incoming Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in mid-November itself that it would be a statesmanlike gesture to (in effect) pardon Hillary Clinton”. This would be through the new administration declining to investigate the conduct of her and her aides during both the nomination process as well as during the campaign itself. It was informally promised “more than once”, according to an analyst, that such a gesture would lead to “cooperation between the Democratic Party and the Trump administration on several initiatives that are at the top of the agenda” of the 45th President. Such expectations were subsequently proven to be false once Hillary Clinton escaped the investigative dragnet that was being prepared for her by select members of the Trump team (who thereupon came into the Clinton crosshairs). According to the analysts spoken to, “had the investigation of Hillary Clinton including the Clinton Foundation, begun, that would have filled the news cycle for months”. Instead, the reprieved Clinton machine (which has been assiduous in diverting blame towards Barack Obama for their own actions) has “used the reprieve to let loose a volley of accusations against President Trump, as well as those within his team who they regard as implacably opposed to Hillary Clinton and understand the machinations of her backers”. Thanks to the virtual free pass gifted to Hillary Clinton by the incoming administration, “it is President Trump rather than the former First Lady who is having to defend himself and is being discussed in a negative way on a daily basis”.
Acting through their contacts in the incoming administration, the Clinton machine “created such a climate of fear within the Trump administration that a prime target of theirs, dismissed National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, was brought down “unexpectedly in a panic reaction”, once orchestrated insinuations were made that he was an agent of influence of President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation. “Even if Flynn met the Russians and persuaded them to drop reciprocal action against US diplomats in reaction to President Barack Obama’s expulsion of Russian diplomats from the US, that was in the US interest and was nothing to get alarmed about”, an analyst tracking relations with Russia claimed, adding that “discussions on possible future policies are routine in any post-election environment in Washington” and that therefore, Flynn’s discussions were not different from the Washington norm. However, “the reach of the Clinton machine in US media was partnered with a corresponding toxicity in European media to create a perception of criminality where none existed”. The Trump team “panicked at the orchestrated clamour and sacrificed Flynn, showing itself to be a soft nut to crack”, a senior analyst said.
Why this campaign against the new President? On the other side of the Atlantic, it was evident that there was uneasiness that Donald Trump, with the hard-headed logic of the successful businessman, had understood that the overpowering hold of the Atlantic Alliance on US policy, which has been in operation since 1945 needed to give way in to an Indo-Pacific Alliance, in view of the geopolitical changes that have occurred during that period. Asia now accounts for three times more trade with the US than Europe, and Russia since the 1990s has ceased to be a threat to US supremacy, that role being increasingly filled by China, which will within a decade become the world’s largest economy and in five more years after that, its strongest military and space power, given present US policies.
The analysts concerned about the orchestrated effort to create a meltdown in the Trump administration warn that “Clinton-linked individuals within the intelligence and investigative agencies have (since Trump won the Republican Party Presidential nomination) been selectively disclosing information that has been scissored and curated in a manner that portrays Moscow as a much bigger threat and perpetrator of evil than is the case”, the object being to divert President Trump away from his stated objective of working with Russian President Putin in a collaborative way as mandated by the needs of the Indo-Pacific Century. The way in which “National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was pushed under the bus by the Trump administration rather than supported has conveyed an impression of weakness across the globe”. It has led to the perception that Donald Trump is a boss who is willing to instantly sacrifice even those closest to him to save himself from inconvenience, an impression that those who have worked with the President when he was a private citizen say is untrue. “Donald Trump stands by those loyal to him”, an individual in contact with Trump Tower in New York claimed, adding that “getting rid of Flynn was clearly a panic reaction of the White House that was brought about by worry among aides that the President would be the next target if the (then) NSA was spared”, an analyst familiar with the national security establishment
However, “this forced resignation of a loyal and competent assistant with a healthy contempt for the ‘policy as usual’ mindset of the Beltway exposed the vulnerability of Trump confidants. This has been caused by their complete unfamiliarity with the ways of the Beltway.” The claiming of Flynn’s scalp “ensured that the green light got flashed to launch an attack on another known foe of Hillary Clinton”, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose sought after resignation would energise the Clinton machine to move on to their next targets, Counsellors Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Bannon, two others regarded as being “too loyal to President Trump to play along with those within both the permanent as well as the political government who seek to retain the centrality of the (anti-Moscow) Atlantic Alliance”, rather than follow the President’s lead and transition to an Indo-Pacific Alliance that has China, and not Russia, in focus as the primary challenge to US global primacy. Why Flynn, Sessions, Bannon and Conway are toxic to the Clintons is because of their distaste for the Clintons and their ways. Also, equally importantly, “they would put the interests of President Trump first, above that of the (heavily Atlanticist) permanent establishment”. A colleague added that “Flynn as NSA would have warned the President if trouble was heading his way from any source, whereas the Clintons hope his successor will not perform such an early warning function, as they regard him as 100% committed to the geopolitical line of Clinton-Bush-Obama. However, a source familiar with General McMaster’s way of functioning says that “this general is 100% loyal to his chief and can be counted upon to refuse to play along with any of the shenanigans of the Beltway”, of which Hillary Clinton remains the acknowledged empress, almost daily meeting key media persons and officials in contrast to (former) President Obama, who is enjoying his freedom from responsibility for high policy, and is yet being tarred by carefully-directed salvoes from the Clinton machine as being responsible for the barrage of attacks on President Trump and his confidants.
An analyst claimed that an investigation into the Clintons (who remain the most influential couple in Washington because of the extensive network of sympathisers they have built up within the permanent government) would have revealed “numerous meetings between those close to Hillary Clinton and the family foundation and diplomats from the Chinese embassy in Washington”. How did the Clintons acquire such power? “Because of the way the couple have systematically promoted the careers of those who obey their instructions and who report information to them”, an analyst revealed, adding that “the careers of most of those who oppose them very soon get blighted, which is why few in the permanent government dare to challenge the Clintons”. Also, “the Clintons stand by those loyal to them, which is why even today Huma Abedin remains a constant (if private) presence in their midst despite the embarrassment she caused during the campaign” . Had Hillary Clinton been elected on 8 November, “within her first term the Clinton machine would have ensured its domination over most processes of government for at least a decade more”. Of course, although Hillary Clinton may not get another chance at the world’s top job, her charismatic and brilliant daughter Chelsea is seen by many as a potential future candidate for the US Senate and thereafter the White House. The former First Daughter may however face competition in charm and ability with another outstanding near-millennial, Ivanka Trump, who is known to have an idealistic streak that is at variance with the focus on business opportunities of brother Eric. The current First Daughter of the United States is regarded as having a strong influence over the 45th President, and is pressing for an inclusivist and tolerant direction in policy that is wholly congruent with the tenets of her adopted Jewish faith.
According to a top policy source, “during the 2016 (Presidential) campaign, future policies and approaches were discussed in meetings between Clinton associates and Chinese diplomats as well as academics known to be members of the Chinese Communist Party”. Another analyst revealed that “meetings (also) took place almost every week between European diplomats and office-holders of the Clinton campaign at which promises were made” of a continuation of the hard-line policy towards Russia and the retention of primacy of the Atlantic Alliance in a future (Hillary) Clinton Presidency. However, “the Trump team has been either unwilling or unable to reveal details in the possession of the investigative agencies of meetings between Clinton associates and foreign diplomats, including several with those from the Middle East, whose interests often diverge from that of the US. In particular, the smoothly functioning public relations infrastructure of the Chinese embassy has ensured that there has so far been zero coverage of meetings between Clinton associates and diplomats of a country that is far more powerful than Russia in the present century, and which is challenging the US across the world in a way that would be impossible to replicate for President Putin, even if he had the desire to do so.
Indeed, the influence of Beijing even within the Trump administration quickly became obvious by the about turn of Donald Trump on Taiwan, from being the first President-elect to talk directly to a Taiwanese President for the past 40 years, to repeated and public acceptance of the “One China” policy. It remains to be seen if President Trump will continue on this “approved by the Beltway” course, or follow his own instincts in the matter and come closer to the Japanese view, which leans towards Taipei.
Not only concerning China, but in the case of other countries as well, there has not been any media coverage of the numerous meetings during the last four months of 2016 between Clinton staffers and even the Democratic Party candidate herself with European diplomats, in which future policies were not just discussed but, according to analysts, promised. However, as the target of the Atlantic Alliance partners (whose diplomats have unmatched access to the Washington Press Corps) is Russia and in particular Vladimir Putin (who has disappointed EU chancelleries by being wholly unlike both Boris Yeltsin as well as Dmitry Medvedev), US media has not reported on any meetings other than those of Trump campaign officials with Russian diplomats, and neither has the Trump White House demonstrated the will needed to ensure that details of such meetings (including those of Democratic Party notables with Russian diplomats) get revealed to media outlets in order to take the focus away from the high-octane effort by the Clinton machine and its Atlanticist allies to pin President Trump in a subsidiary role to Vladimir Putin, an individual the new US head of state has “not had a one on one meeting with throughout his career in either business or politics”, according to an analyst familiar with records of meetings between important US citizens with foreign dignitaries. The Clinton-Atlanticist alliance is apparently working at high speed to make official contacts with Russia so toxic that President Trump will remain anchored to the Russo-phobic Atalanticist policy they wish to see continued even in what is clearly the Indo-Pacific century.
Anxious at the increasing chances of success of National Front candidate Marine Le Pen in the May 2017 Presidential polls in France, backers of the Atlanticist policy framework are flooding the media, warning voters in France not to support her “or the chaos in Washington will spread to Paris”. This despite the fact that much of the “chaos” is in carefully planted media reports designed to destabilise the Trump administration. The EU bureaucracy is now seeking to prosecute Le Pen for the “crime” of making available details of the barbarity of ISIS and its ideological cousins in the Middle East, several of whom are getting assistance from (as yet) the US, France and the UK even as they continue to murder hundreds of Christians, Druze, Yazidis and Alawites. Even killers outed in internet images (which the EU bureaucracy seeks to hide from the world) are being given money, weapons and other assistance to battle the Russia-Iran-Syria triumvirate. Turkey, in particular, is performing the function of a safe haven for such fighters, the way Pakistan has been for the Taliban since that militia were driven out of Kabul in 2001. The panicky and thus far amateurish response of the Trump administration has played into the ongoing campaign by the Clinton-Atlanticist alliance to discredit them into a state of policy paralysis. The purpose of this is to ensure that the Cold War basket of policies continues to be followed by the new administration, as indeed some of its prominent appointees seem eager to do. Meanwhile, those working towards removing President Trump from office before a thousand days has passed in his present term seem to have the upper hand over the shrinking number of those loyal to him and his 21st century vision of what the US needs in order to retain its geopolitical primacy well into the Indo-Pacific century in the face of the challenge posed by the “China Firsters” working under PRC President Xi Jinping.
According to the analysts, the effort is to set up either a “Bipartisan” Congressional Commission (that would from the Republican side be loaded with known critics of Trump) or a Special Prosecutor to probe the linkages between the Trump administration and the Kremlin. The Clinton machine is confident that either body would ensure that the circus of daily allegations continues into the next two years, in the course of which they expect that the White House would actually be thrown into chaos. The expectation is that the operation to reduce President Trump’s stay in the White House to a thousand days or less is proceeding successfully, in fact at a faster pace than originally conceived. Clearly, President Trump needs to break free of the web of insinuations and charges thrown daily at him, if he is to escape the fate of Richard Milhous Nixon in his very first term. The analysts spoken to, who belong to what they claim is the silent majority within sensitive agencies of the US Government, back President Trump and his drive for fresh policies. They are looking to the US President to “show the same courage and grit in office” that he so often displayed during the 2016 Presidential campaign, rather than “get sandbagged by the Beltway coterie determined to protect their privileges from being obliterated” by the new sheriff in town. However, with every day that passes, such a fightback is becoming more difficult. What sustains them in their confidence is that Donald Trump seems to have mastered not only the Art of the Deal but the Science of the Miracle, as shown by his ascent to the office he now holds.

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