Skip to comments.Trump's Canny Diplomatic and Psychological Feints on the International Stage
Posted on 12/04/2019 5:40:58 AM PST by Kaslin
Three years ago, Donald Trump began a rhetorical offensive targeting the governments of NATO nations that chronically failed to meet their allied defense financial commitments. With bombastic huff, Trump intimated that allies pay their share or America might walk.
It's 2019. Few NATO members currently meet the 2% GDP defense commitment. However, several once-laggard NATO nations have increased military spending, and the alliance is stronger for it. The era of blithe freeloading has ended. Cheapskates like Germany pay a price in lost prestige. America not only hasn't walked; it is modernizing its forces.
Earlier this year, President Trump began grousing about endless wars and publicly mulled removing U.S. military forces from Syria. Then, in mid-October, he abruptly ordered military advisers to leave northern Syria, a predicate to a complete U.S. skedaddle. Trump's critics cratered. Syria's civil war is a dirty, fractious bloodbath where regional and global powers collide amid homicidal tribes. With the U.S. gone, Turkish forces would slaughter Kurds.
Ah, but in late October, American commandos killed the truly evil Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was hiding in a Syrian village not far from the Turkish border. The Pentagon had spent months planning the raid. Alas, The New York Times reported Trump's withdrawal decision "disrupted the meticulous planning and forced Pentagon officials to press ahead with a risky, night raid ..."
Don't buy that. The raid was intricate and its execution meticulous. Special operations helicopter crews train to operate at night. Nighttime is commando time. Turkey knew U.S. helicopters were flying along the border and didn't mention it.
Now in December 2019, U.S. military forces remain in southern Syria. Fighting continues in the north between Turkish forces and various Syrian factions. But in retrospect, Trump's withdrawal antics look more than a bit like strategic political camouflage and psychological preparation that gave the raid that killed an operational boost.
Trump's withdrawal bombast sent a psychological message to Islamic State terrorists: The coward Americans are going home. We don't need to worry about Delta Force.
I have sketched two cases where President Trump likely employed diplomatic and psychological feints to advance American security interests. Though Trump's critics won't admit it publicly, the NATO example is documented. The al-Baghdadi example is speculative.
But why would a Pentagon leaker tell The New York Times Trump had "disrupted" the raid? I often served as a plans officer during tours of active duty with the U.S. Army, and I have an answer to that question: so the Pentagon could use the ruse to mask a future operation.
If The New York Times is willing to consciously or unwittingly provide media cover for future American commando raids that remove from planet Earth mass-murdering rapist terrorists like al-Baghdadi, good deal.
Though every operation is different, Trump appears to be using a modified "goodbye NATO" shtick on the U.N. The U.N. is a morass of a mess. However, U.S. dollars talk, and so do U.S. Air Force transport aircraft that support U.N. peacekeeping, emergency relief and developmental aid operations.
Trump is using diplomatic and psychological feints to gain operational leverage in the U.S.-China trade war. Critics bewail his compliments of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Xi is a communist murderer running a prison state. But consider the big game. Personal compliments can serve as psychological political buffers. A personal door to dialogue with Beijing remains available as Washington tightens the economic screws.
Which led me to mulling the psychological targets of Trump's threat to treat Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.
Actually, designating Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations could have severe political consequences for U.S.-Mexico bilateral relations.
The threat bluntly tells the Mexican government to improve its own security efforts in northern Mexico.
However, the threat clearly targets the sick psyches of the drug lords running the cartels. Ambush Americans on Mexican highways and they pay. Jail? No. A visit from Delta Force and its dogs, or a 2,000-pound Air Force joint direct attack munition.
Trump is suggesting narco-comandantes reconsider their criminal behavior.
It’s been 30 years since the fall of the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain. There is no reason for NATO to exist anymore except for the usual one - no bureaucracy has ever willingly gone out of existence. Never mind asking the likes of Germany to pay for NATO - why is the US still participating in NATO?
These poor excuses for leadership have grown up and are accustomed to being told what they want to hear, no differing opinions, everyone lying to their faces, spending other people’s money without a care in the world, shaking hands, smiling, getting drunk, having their asses kissed...all the while not having to deal with any of the consequences of their decisions. They get rich in office, leave office and then go live extremely comfortable lives in the nicest and safest parts of the world.
President Trump shows up, tells them all to kiss his lily white ass, talks to them straight and tells them what he expects of them to work together otherwise he puts the hurt on them.
They have no earthly idea how to deal or respond to the man.
Same can be said for about 99% of our federal employees, especially the SES clowns and about 99.99999% of the US Dept of State, FBI, CIA, NSA, DIA, DOJ.
The author is probably correct. I had guessed as much regarding China trade negotiations and Xi. However, I think it’s best to keep quiet about this. Let our opponents get their news from WaPo, CNN, and the NY Times..
At the risk of sounding stupid, what’s DIA?
The Defense Intelligence Agency.
Thanks! I had no idea that even existed.
Its the military version of the CIA.
Defense Intelligence Agency
...designating Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations could have severe political consequences for U.S.-Mexico bilateral relations. The threat bluntly tells the Mexican government to improve its own security efforts in northern Mexico. However, the threat clearly targets the sick psyches of the drug lords running the cartels. Ambush Americans on Mexican highways and they pay. Jail? No. A visit from Delta Force and its dogs, or a 2,000-pound Air Force joint direct attack munition.
The toothless single party state (although the party changes from time to time) running the corrupticracy of Mexico is unable to do anything to stop the cartels, the bribery -- their whole political system runs on it -- or the US from striking the cartels themselves. AMLO may piss and moan about it, but the US threat is something everyone knows he can't do anything about, which gives him some leverage with the violent gangsters.
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