Third Party & Independents Archives

​Syria & Trump's Foreign Policy - Tactics or Strategy?

Does President Trump have the blood on his hands of those 40 people reportedly killed by Assad’s forces in a gas attack near Damascus? Because that’s what James Hohmann basically said in Monday’s Daily 202.

Of course Hohmann couched the accusation within an analytical quick march through various decisions that presumably sent the wrong kinds of signals to America's enemies: from Dean Acheson in 1950 declaring that Korea was outside the periphery of American interests, through to Obama's red line in the sand in Syria back in 2012.

But those were tactical mistakes (on Acheson's part) or tactical posturing (on Obama's part) within some sort of broader strategy. In the case of Trump's administration, the announcing of a possible troop drawdown is more of a strategical decision to withdraw from places like Syria and focus more resources (equivalent not equal resources seeing it involves the National Guard) on geographically closer concerns like the southern border.

That is, it is a strategic decision if the White House's foreign policy is in fact one that actually reflects Trump's America First doctrine, as much as that doctrine has not really been applied by either the military or the State Department. Until recently, perhaps. So while the media mostly paints a picture of an improvising president who ignores his advisors (a not unbelievable scenario admittedly), it may also be that Trump has strategically wanted out of Syria for some time, but has been hampered by resistance within the foreign policy community both inside and outside government, and by tactical events like the latest atrocity committed by al-Assad's forces.

So if President Trump authorizes an attack on Syrian forces in retaliation for this latest attack, the foreign policy wonks can cheer, or breathe a sigh of relief, but they might very well be mistaken. Such an attack, if launched, would be a tactical - or transactional - response from the president of the we'll-hit-you-back-twice-as-hard variety. And not a shift towards a more interventionist foreign policy strategy.

Now, it would hardly be shocking if the foreign policy officials within the administration who favor a more robust interventionism, understand this contradiction perfectly and are trying to nudge the president from one tactical response to another, along a glide path towards their preferred strategic vision. If this is the case, how aware would President Trump be of such attempts to guide him towards a more orthodox foreign policy? Perhaps more aware than many assume.

And who is taking over as National Security Adviser as this game gets played out? John Bolton will be a key figure in determining how interventionist this administration will be. Maybe he will succeed in convincing Trump to act decisively but sparingly. Which perhaps will fit, a little uncomfortably but in a workable fashion, with an America First foreign policy strategy.

Watch for Bolton to make his mark on Syria, in more ways than one.

Posted by AllardK at April 10, 2018 4:29 PM
Comment #426096

Is Bolton used to dealing with an idiot? Does his experience with W count? If not, he may be gone soon. He was in a meeting already where he had no business. Commenting on Fux TV doesn’t qualify anyone for anything. He has a recess appointment as UN ambassador because even the right wing party wouldn’t accept him.

Bolton and the M E K, Mujahideen-e Khalq :

Posted by: ohrealy at April 10, 2018 5:04 PM
Comment #426152

A missile attack on Syria would be the perfect cover for firing Rosenstein.

Meanwhile, Speaker Ryan retired. He doesn’t want to be around for what happens next year. Ryan’s signature accomplishment was the tax cuts. The former Chair of the Fed, Janet Yellen, warned those tax cuts will create trillion dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see.

Then again, Ryan may not want to be blamed for losing the House. There have already been a record number of GOP Congressmen stepping down this session, 41, and it is only April.

Or, Ryan may not want to deal with the blow back from the way the Russians used Citizens United & shell corporations to funnel money into GOP PAC’s. Whoops! The NRA is already under investigation by the FBI for doing just that.

With any luck at all, Ryan will get to oversee impeachment proceedings against Trump. But belonging to a party that supported crooks and traitors is probably not what he had in mind when he originally ran for office.

Posted by: phx8 at April 11, 2018 3:56 PM
Comment #426153

To be clear, Ryan will retire at the end of this session.

Posted by: phx8 at April 11, 2018 3:57 PM
Comment #426155

So, the theory today,is that President Trump spends his time brooding, eating and just watching TV, but found time to plan an attack on Syria, which could have major implications, all so that he can fire Rosenstein, who has proof of President Trump colluding with the Russians to win the election.
And Trump wants to fire this guy so bad so that he doesn’t release his proof of Russian collusion, he is willing to turn on his best friend Putin, the Russian who Trump colluded with to become President.

Following that logic, it’s easy to see that Ryan isn’t really retiring so that he can spend more time with his kids before they are grown and gone. Who the he11 wants to spend time with their kids?
I bet Putin told Trump to tell Ryan to retire because he wasn’t nazi enough.

Posted by: kctim at April 11, 2018 5:38 PM
Comment #426158

Thanks for the laugh kctim.

I recall how reluctant Ryan was to accept the leadership position for the very same reasons he cites for leaving. Phx8 and his budddds don’t understand plain language. They have to be spoon fed by their handlers before they can respond to anything. Gad…what a waste of time sparring with mostly brain-dead Liberals.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 11, 2018 6:51 PM
Comment #426159

I read the statement by China’s leader today in which he capitulates to the demands of President Trump on trade, copyrights, patents, and more. Another success for this president. Man, is he good! Can’t wait for more good developments on the Korean Peninsula.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 11, 2018 6:57 PM
Comment #426162

Isn’t it remarkable, how many politicians who are in political trouble step down to spend time with their families? That may be the case with Ryan. But I guarantee, if things were going well, Ryan would not step down. Here are some facts:

Janet Yellen, possibly the most successful Chair in the history of the Federal Reserve, said the tax cuts would result in huge, trillion dollar deficits. And by the way, today so-called deficit hawk Senator Corker said his vote for the tax cut was one of the worst he ever cast.

Again, it is only April, and the number of GOP Congressmen stepping down has set a record. But not Democrats. Gee. I wonder why.

The Russians put money into GOP campaigns using shell corporations. That is not exactly a surprise. Thanks to Citizens United, the system practically begs for it. And according to reports, the NRA was a recipient, through a Russian oligarch named Alexander Thorsin, the same one who met with Trump Jr. at the NRA convention in the summer of 2016.

And I am certain no GOP legislator wants to participate in a Trump impeachment, but it is almost certainly coming their way. It may be the result of violations of campaign finance laws. It may be the result of Obstruction of Justice charges. There are a lot of possibilities.

GOP Congressman Trey Gowdy said if Trump was an innocent client, he should act like it. Trump has acted like he is guilty all along.

Do you really think Trump ‘plans’ for something like an attack on Syria? I doubt it. He rarely takes his PDB and he does not read… well, anything. He just doesn’t.

The other day, Trump said the US would be leaving Syria. He has consistently been SUBMISSIVE to Putin. If you can find an example showing otherwise, please post. Putin and Syria took advantage of Trump’s weakness with an especially horrific gas attack. Trump tweeted this:

“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!
3:57 AM - Apr 11, 2018”

He also tweeted this:



“attorney-client privilege is dead”

And he characterized the FBI search of Cohen’s house, business, and hotel room as “an attack on our country.” He characterized the investigators as Democrats and former Obama people, and demanded an investigation of Hillary Clinton.

Are you even paying attention? Very little of what Trump said is true, but that does not make it any less threatening.

Posted by: phx8 at April 11, 2018 8:34 PM
Comment #426173

Since when does the government ransack lawyer’s offices in search of evidence? Has he been charged? Is Cohen even a suspect? What’s the crime he’s suspect of? Is the proof “soon to be announced”?

This is the first step toward doctor-patient(guns) and spousal confidentiality being swept away in favor of the government. Only the government can benefit from this. If the government can raid a lawyer’s office in search of evidence against a client, then, yes, attorney-client privilege is dead.

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 12, 2018 9:28 AM
Comment #426175

Of course I am paying attention, Phx8. That’s why I don’t accept the opinions that you all are trying to pass off as being facts.

There is no reason to believe that President Trump does not meet with his people to plan what they believe to be a proper response to an incident such has occurred in Syria.

So, Putin ordered a weak submissive Trump to leave Syria so that he and Assad could gas Syrians? Jesus, I knew you guys would blame the gas attacks on Trump, but I was hoping you wouldn’t go into conspiracy.

Did you really just ask for proof of Trump not being submissive to Putin and then immediately post a freakin tweet of Trump telling Putin he shouldn’t be supporting Assad and threatening him with missiles?


We have gone from supposed absolute proof of Russian collusion resulting in an investigation, to getting him on obstruction of justice, to being satisfied if we can pin anything from his civilian life on him, to it being good enough to just get him like we did General Flynn.
Throw in the lefts new found morality and the resulting claims, and some people are going to see a ‘witch hunt’ going on.

“an attack on our country.”

Hate to tell you this, but if there isn’t any evidence of actual Russian collusion found, the investigation will look like an attempt to take down a sitting President and many many people will see that as “an attack on our country.”

This is why we should wait for facts BEFORE determining guilt or innocence.

Posted by: kctim at April 12, 2018 9:56 AM
Comment #426177

Good riddance to Ryan. His neighboring congressperson, Mark Pocan is a weekly guest on The Thom Hartmann Show. He holds town hall meetings in Ryan’s district, since Ryan doesn’t.

Randy Bryce, the Democratic candidate for Ryan’s seat, is claiming Paul Ryan’s retirement as a victory. Racine and Janesville are in the same district, but that will probably change. I think the right wing candidate is going to be another nazi.


1. the state or quality of being congruous; harmony; appropriateness


The Effect of Advertising Schema-Congruity on Emotional Response By Christyne E. Ferris May 2004(U.Florida):

“The results can help advertisers determine when to use unexpected, or incongruent, information in their advertising messages.”


The Effects of Incongruity, Production Pacing, and Sensation Seeking on TV Advertisements by Hyo Jin Pak August 2007 (Cornell U):;sequence=1

“It was found that the mental capacity or cognitive load required to process incongruent fast-paced ads exceeded study participants’ cognitive capacity to process the information in such ads. “


The Dumptyfire administration, like the propaganda that preceded it in the election cycle, used incongruous messaging, their inspiration coming from “professional” “wrestling” and fictional stories like those broadcast on the Fux “news” network, or the soap operas that had been broadcast for many decades, rather than the types of advertising techniques that have been commonplace since the Nixon era.

Dumptyfire isn’t golfing enough. They never should have been giving him security briefings, since the information is transmitted to whoever is on the line in the next phone call he makes.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 12, 2018 10:20 AM
Comment #426179

Why would you use the word you’re trying to define in the definition? That leaves you with no definition at all.

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 12, 2018 11:10 AM
Comment #426191

Sorry phx8…Yellen and Corker are simply wrong. And my Pal, so are you and your projections on debt and deficits.

Every single president that has reduced taxes has caused revenue increases for our nation. Liberals simply will not, or can not, accept or understand this simple and verifiable concept. It is a mental block and nothing will remove it.

“…The CBO now expects GDP to be $6.1 trillion bigger by 2027 than it did before the tax cuts.

The CBO report also makes clear that this faster-growing economy will offset most of the costs of the Trump tax cuts.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 12, 2018 5:10 PM
Comment #426197

Yep, it happens every time, from Kennedy to Reagan, to BushII, to Trump. Tax cuts boosts the economy.

What destroys a good economy is Democratics getting up in front of a fawning media and continually beat the “Worst economy!, the war is lost!” montra for years on end.

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 12, 2018 6:49 PM
Comment #426199

Conservatives understand why Liberals and Socialist decry anything that brings good jobs, higher wages, and fiscal responsibility, both to the nation and our citizens.

Quite simply, when times are tough, people look to more government help. More government help means more government control over the lives of citizens.

More government control over the private lives of citizens translates into power. Power begets money, more money berets more power.

Our Liberal Pals on WB don’t understand this cycle of doom for our Christian Democratic Republic. They erroneously believe they can destroy the “Christian”, “Democratic” and “Republic” parts and still have a country worth living in.

Poor fools and useful idiots swallow the bait every time.

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