MAGA

Trump’s Message to the World: “Try Me.”

Last Thursday night, news broke that President Trump ordered a drone strike on an airport in Baghdad that killed a high-ranking Iranian Military official named Qasem Soleimani.

You have probably seen Soleimani’s picture once or twice in past news stories. He looks like a Bond villain, or a prototypical Hollywood Middle Eastern Bad Guy.

Soleimani is–was–the commander of the Quds Force, described on Wikipedia as “a unit in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) directed to carry out unconventional warfare and intelligence activities. Responsible for extraterritorial operations, the Quds Force supports non-state actors in many countries, including Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Yemeni Houthis, and Shia militias in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.”

Interestingly, “al-Quds” is the Arabic word for Jerusalem, so “Quds Force” actually means “Jerusalem Force,” as in dedicated to the liberation of Jerusalem. He was most certainly at or near the top of Israel’s enemies list.

Solemani was basically Iran’s equivalent of the Director of the CIA–establishing, funding, arming, supporting and even directing foreign paramilitary groups to advance Iran’s interests. So it’s a very big deal that we assassinated him. For those saying that this was somehow not an act of war, imagine if Iran assassinated our CIA Director. Would that be an act of war? Of course it would be. But more on this in a bit.

Soleimani, while accurately described as an enemy of the United States, is different from Bin Laden and Al Baghdadi in that he was an actual government official, and not the leader of a rouge terror group or “non-state group.” That’s what makes this different from the others.

That said, just because he was a legitimate state official does not mean he shouldn’t be categorized as a “terrorist,” or at the very least a terror orchestrator. What do you think “unconventional warfare” means?

Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of many of Americans in Iraq, at least according to former US General Stanley McChrystal, via a New Yorker piece from 2013:

“Suleimani took command of the Quds Force fifteen years ago, and in that time he has sought to reshape the Middle East in Iran’s favor, working as a power broker and as a military force: assassinating rivals, arming allies, and, for most of a decade, directing a network of militant groups that killed hundreds of Americans in Iraq. . .

In 2004, the Quds Force began flooding Iraq with lethal roadside bombs that the Americans referred to as E.F.P.s, for “explosively formed projectiles.” The E.F.P.s, which fire a molten copper slug able to penetrate armor, began to wreak havoc on American troops, accounting for nearly twenty per cent of combat deaths. E.F.P.s could be made only by skilled technicians, and they were often triggered by sophisticated motion sensors. “There was zero question where they were coming from,” General Stanley McChrystal, who at the time was the head of the Joint Special Operations Command, told me. “We knew where all the factories were in Iran. The E.F.P.s killed hundreds of Americans.”

However, others claim Soleimani was the man behind the eradication of ISIS, and that we just killed a guy who had actually done a lot of our dirty work for us–even though our invasion of Iraq is what led to the creation of ISIS in the first place.

And that last part–American involvement in the Middle East being the root of all this–is the rub, isn’t it? After all, had we never invaded Iraq under false pretenses, “hundreds of Americans” wouldn’t have been killed by Iranian-made explosives in the first place.

It is not as if Soleimani sought out a fight with America. He hasn’t killed Americans on American soil. He became our enemy because we were meddling in his backyard.

***

My best guess as to Trump’s motives here is that it was a combination of pressure from his Beltway Neocon advisers and his own desire to project American strength. We’ll focus more on that latter part first.

Trump has a long and documented history–as a public figure, as a Presidential candidate, and as President–of opposing the Endless, Pointless Wars In the Middle East Beltway Foreign Policy Consensus. But he also wants to make it clear that nobody fucks with the United States and gets away with it.

For years Trump has been saying nobody respects the United States anymore and that Obama was a weak president. It’s no secret that Trump has made it a point to reassert American strength globally and remind everyone that the USA is the alpha nation. Snuffing out a major player like Soleimani is a highly audacious move by Trump that sends a message not just to Iran but to other nations in the world with designs on supplanting America as the top dog–China, Russia–as well as nations that give us a hard time–North Korea, Iran itself.

It’s a very clear statement: this is what happens when you fuck with America, so do not fuck with us.

At first I figured the Soleimani hit was an effort to promote the “Madman Perception,” as taken from the “Madman Theory” adopted by the US during the Nixon administration:

“The madman theory is a political theory commonly associated with U.S. President Richard Nixon’s foreign policy. He and his administration tried to make the leaders of hostile Communist Bloc nations think Nixon was irrational and volatile. According to the theory, those leaders would then avoid provoking the United States, fearing an unpredictable American response.”

But this goes well beyond that. The Madman Theory cultivated the perception that Nixon was a loose cannon that might decide to do something drastic if pushed. In other words, “Don’t even try.” It was about deterrence–a bluff, really.

Nixon merely promoted the belief that he might do something audacious and shocking, Trump, however, actually did something audacious and shocking. No bluff.

In Nixon’s days, the US could bluff because the US was still universally feared and respected. But some 50 years hence, we cannot bluff so easily. America’s words alone could not strike fear into the hearts of our enemies around the world.

So Trump let his actions speak for him, and for America. He went and did it.

***

I am opposed to the idea of the Forever War. I think we should get out of the Middle East and never return. Let them sort out their own affairs and hopefully, one day, we can just leave each other alone for good.

I certainly do not want war with Iran, or any other country for that matter. In my view the true enemy of all that is good and pure is here at home, for instance:

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Uniparty Globalists have done far more direct harm to America than the Iranians could ever dream of. But this is a whole ‘nother can of worms to get into, and I’d prefer to stay on topic here.

So while I’m obviously strongly opposed to yet another pointless war in the Middle East in which young American men will be sent do die on sand dunes in a country that poses no direct threat to our safety, I also realize Great Power Politics is messy business.

When you are the Apex State like the U.S., you have to keep your enemies in check. You have to periodically remind them what happens when they step out of line. From time to time, you have to show them Who’s The Boss, just in case they forget.

There’s a scene in the Sopranos Season 6A (second-to-last season) where Tony, the boss of the family, has recently recovered from surgery and awoken from a long coma in which he was very near death. He begins to worry that perhaps his guys don’t fear him anymore, and that they view him as vulnerable. So one day, while all the guys are together shooting the shit, and seemingly for no reason at all, Tony picks a fight with his new bodyguard Perry Annunziata, a younger bodybuilder-type who is clearly the toughest-looking guy in the room. It takes a lot out of him, but Tony wins, and all the guys look on in a sort of bewildered unease. The message was clear: Tony Soprano is still the boss. Don’t any of youse get any fucking ideas. Capish?

You have to reestablish dominance every so often. When the crown starts to slip, you have to remind everyone who is in charge, or else you won’t have the crown for long.

Most people don’t have the stomach for this type of thing. Most of us are not prepared to kill to assert dominance, and that’s a good thing, because otherwise this world would be a much more violent place than it is already.

This is not unique to America. Every great power in history has had to do things like this. Running an empire is unavoidably a violent and messy business, and it takes rough men who are willing and able to carry out acts of violence, when it is necessary, to effectively maintain the status of great power nations.

No matter how much they try to pretend otherwise, with their tailored suits and speeches filled diplomatic jargon, and their “international forums” and “summits,” all great leaders of nations since the dawn of human civilization have been killers.

I say all this because I want to make it clear that while acts of violence like this may not seem acceptable to us civilians, we must understand that there are instances where violence is necessary. If you don’t believe this, then never watch a movie again, because most movies end with the bad guy getting killed by the good guy.

This is why most people cannot lead nations. Most people–thankfully–are not killers. But never forget: we only enjoy lives of luxury and peace because the men in charge of our country are killers who are feared by those who wish us harm.

Against Trump’s Soleimani hit because you personally don’t have the stomach for violence and killing? That’s good. You’re entitled to your opinion. And you’re right: in an ideal world there would be no violence or killing at all.

But we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in the real world where sometimes, men who are tougher than you and I have to commit acts of violence and kill in order to maintain our way of life. If the only reason you oppose this violence done on our behalf is because you personally don’t have the stomach to do such a thing, then you are not helping us at all. Just because you personally couldn’t do such a thing doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

If the only reason you oppose it is because you believe Violence Is Bad, then please shut the fuck up before your weakness gets us all killed.

Weakness and passivity lead to war just as often as belligerence and aggression do. In fact those polar opposites are often the main ingredients in war, as perceived relative weakness in one nation will naturally invite bellicosity and aggression by others.

Bullies prey on the weak. Only strong good guys can stop strong bad guys.

Whether the assassination of Soleimani was one of those instances of necessary violence is of course up for debate. But sometimes, in the the Great Game of foreign policy, you have to kill your enemies. There’s no way around it. This is why the unbending pacifists are almost equally as dangerous to American national security as the bloodthirsty neocons.

Still, the idea of assassinating a foreign power’s high-ranking military official just does not sit well with me. That was my initial gut reaction to hearing this news. For some the first thought that crossed their heads may have been “Hell yeah! We got him!” I did not react that way, personally.

It’s no secret that he Beltway Neocons have been agitating for war with Iran for some time now. Isn’t it curious that somehow, anytime Trump gets us closer to pulling out of the Middle East, something happens to pull us back in? The recent (and likely CIA-orchestrated) US Embassy riot in Baghdad was said to be the work of Iran, specifically Soleimani’s Quds Force operatives.

Attacking Iran like this plays into the Neocons’ hands. They’ve been itching to go to war with Iran for 20 years now. George W. Bush included Iran in his infamous “Axis of Evil” speech. A sizable contingent of the Permanent National Security Apparatus has wanted to take down Iran for two-decades plus now. All the other names on their Regime Change Wish List have basically already been checked off by now (other than North Korea): Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria.

I trust Trump’s judgement. I do not trust the hardcore Neocons who have infiltrated his White House and administration. I do not trust the Pentagon. I would not for a second put past them the idea of feeding the President false or misleading intel in order to guide him toward the neocons’ preferred goals. It is heartening to hear of the many times in the past when Trump has overruled his warmongering advisers–especially that bit about how he wanted to hear from the soldiers themselves about how the war in Afghanistan was going themselves rather than the generals–so he does deserve some leeway here. We should give him credit especially for when he resisted the calls for full-blown war in Syria over a supposed Assad chemical weapons massacre that we now know was totally fabricated for the express purpose of ensnaring America in another war.

But still: if we end up going to war with Iran, it will not only be a devastating and costly slog that will likely last over a decade (if our previous Middle Eastern wars are any indication), but it will be one of the final nails in the coffin of American democracy.

Trump going to war with Iran would prove it beyond a reasonable doubt: the American people have no say in foreign policy. Both parties will deliver Forever War whether you like it or not. If even the great populist outsider Trump can succumb to the will of the Neocon Foreign Policy Establishment, then who can actually overcome them?

At the end of the day, I seriously doubt this Soleimani assassination will lead to a war between the US and Iran, primarily because Iran does not want a war with America. Plus, Trump knows he will lose in 2020 if he starts a war–which the American public has zero appetite for–with yet another country that does not pose a direct threat to our safety.

Normie Social Media is abuzz over the prospect of “World War III,” but this, to me, is a ridiculous notion–not because I doubt Iran would be able to muster a network of allies anywhere close to the one that would confront them in such a conflict, but because Iran would be foolish to even retaliate against us. Iran’s government would be decimated in short order, and the Iranian government is fully aware of this fact.

In other words, no shit this was an act of war. We brazenly murdered one of Iran’s most important military leaders.

But what can Iran actually do about it? I’d argue that an “act of war” is not the same thing as starting a war. Because if the other side has neither the ability nor the will to engage in a war with you, your “acts of war” will not lead to war.

But we can’t keep doing this. Eventually a cornered animal will attack you, whether it has any shot of winning or not.

And even if, as I expect, nothing comes of this, and it does not lead to war with Iran, was this really necessary? Did Soleimani genuinely pose a threat to American lives here? Does this make Americans safer? I really don’t buy it. In my view, all it does is further alienate us from Iran, one of the most powerful countries in the Middle East. It only gives them further reason to hate us.

I simply don’t buy the narrative that everyday Iranians are actually happy we killed Soleimani and that most Iranians hate the ruling regime in their country. Neocons can cherry-pick jubilant testimonials from Iranians as supposed proof that what we did to Soleimani has actually gone over well with the Iranian masses, but I don’t believe it. America was already unpopular in Iran before the Soleimani strike. Now we’re even less popular in Iran. It’s not just the Iranian regime that despises America; I’m willing to bet a sizable majority of Iranian people do, too. And it’s mostly our fault.

It’s obviously bad and unacceptable that Soleimani was said to be responsible for the deaths of many Americans, but those Americans should never have been in the Middle East in the first place. We need to pull out of there for good.

The longer we stay over there, the more enemies we make, the more we will find ourselves in situations like this: going after some Middle Eastern “terror leader” for the crime of killing Americans who should never have been over there in the first place.

Whoa: Might Trump Ditch VP Mike Pence for. . . Tucker Carlson? (!)

Via Curt Mills of the Spectator (US), there is “well-placed chatter” in Washington that Trump is considering replacing Vice President Mike Pence on the 2020 Presidential ticket with none other than Fox New’s Tucker Carlson:

“Will President Trump switch up his ticket in 2020? The Wall Street Journal editorial page, bastion of the establishment right, certainly hopes so. A little over a week ago, it called for former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley to replace the dutiful Mike Pence as vice president. But there’s well-placed chatter in Washington that suggests the president will take a different route. Trump does indeed feel he needs VP change, but it is not Nikki Haley he is considering. It is Fox News host Tucker Carlson.”

Trump must resist the urge to appoint Nikki Haley as VP. He beat Hillary without a woman on the ticket and he can beat whoever the Democrats throw at him in 2020 without a woman on the ticket again. Resist the urge to virtue signal and play the Democrats’ identity politics game. You will never win.

They will never stop calling you a sexist or a misogynist because you appoint a woman as your VP. In fact they’ll just start calling Haley herself a sexist. They don’t care.

Republicans tend to play this ridiculous game where they decry identity politics at every opportunity, yet turn around and want credit for going out of their way to base hiring decisions on little more than a candidate’s identity (i.e., race, gender, sexual orientation).

Republicans: “Identity politics is terrible for our country and wrong! The job should go to the best available candidate, period, regardless of their identity!”

Also Republicans: “Give me credit for hiring this woman solely because she’s a woman!”

Republicans both decry and play the identity politics game simultaneously. Stop trying to play a game that is designed by the left specifically for you to lose.

Let Democrats be the party that takes only race, gender and sexual orientation into consideration for hiring decisions. Let them be the ones who consider someone a good candidate merely because they’re black, or Hispanic, or female, or gay.

We’re supposed to be the ones who don’t think gender or race or sexual orientation alone qualify someone for office.

We have no obligation to play by their rules. They will never give us credit even if we do.

“Carlson, who just turned 50, was with the president on his trip to the Korean demilitarized zone over the weekend. His interview with 45 will air Monday night. This all while Trump’s national security adviser and fierce Carlson foe, John R. Bolton, was exiled, literally, to outer Mongolia. In some ways, Trump has already made the move, ex officio.”

I’ll link the Trump-Carlson talk at the bottom, but I didn’t know Trump sent Bolton off to Mongolia while he visited North Korea with Tucker. It’s true, though. Hopefully it’s a sign that Tucker is in and the neocons are out.

“Here’s why it would make sense for the president to just go all the way— and name Carlson his running mate.

First, Tucker gets Trump. The duo have personal chemistry far exceeding the rapport that Pence or Haley enjoy. Haley bitterly opposed Trump during the 2016 primary and a former senior administration official has long informed me that her hiring during the transition was a ‘keep your enemies closer’ affair. In Carlson, Trump would get to anoint an heir apparent he actually likes.”

Yes yes yes. Trump owes Nikki Haley nothing. She opposed him in 2016, and I’m sure I’m not the only Trump supporter who still to this day questions her loyalty and motives.

Where Tucker would bolster the MAGA agenda, Nikki Haley would undermine it.

“Second, Tucker gets Trumpism, and Trumpism gets Tucker. He is eminence grise of a new intellectual right befitting the Trump era, and appeals to people who have started to become disgruntled in President Trump.

It’s been speculated before that Carlson might enter a 2024 race, but Trump might want to bring him into his fold sooner than that. Trump often complains of ideological clashes with his own officials. That’s partly why he already relies on a shadow cabinet, anchored by Carlson, as proved by last week’s called-off strikes on Iran.”

No more “shadow cabinet.” Make it official with Tucker.

“Trump in his first term has had to appoint Bush-era officials who have no idea what drives Trump’s movement. Carlson knows Trumpworld far better.”

Not only does Tucker know “Trumpworld” very well, he’s a part of it. He’s the real deal. He actually believes in MAGA and America First. The guy just gets it.

“Third, it would work. As evidenced by his conquering of Bill O’Reilly’s time slot on Fox, Carlson is a fearsome debater and fearless operator. Far from being ‘just a talk show host,’ as he often says of himself, Carlson is becoming a political force. Close friends of his say his recent bestselling book, Ship of Fools, represented a fairly comprehensive political platform: ‘a manifesto, of sorts,’ says one.”

Tucker would kill it on the campaign trail. He’d be unstoppable in debates. And apparently he’s already been thinking about how to turn his views and ideas into a real political platform, meaning he’s ready to make the jump from commentator to politician.

“Pressed on the matter of presidential politics before, Carlson, like any savvy pol, has not explicitly ruled it out. Inside Fox News, those close to Carlson insist he’s unlikely to ever pull the trigger. But in the apparatus of devotees in Washington he’s cultivated, Carlson commands the respect of infantrymen waiting for a returning general. ‘He’s the guy,’ a prominent conservative close to Carlson told me.”

Great analogy. The MAGA movement is begging him to take up the mantle and lead, like General Washington in the American Revolution.

“Carlson would refocus a Trump campaign that’s straying in a quixotic direction: one which has decided it wants to win over the Sun Belt states, never mind the Rust Belt that delivered the presidency.

More than anything: it’d be fun — which shouldn’t be dismissed. It would drive CNN and MSNBC and left-liberal America completely wild.

It would put a rogue element back into Trump’s otherwise professional-yet-plodding 2020 campaign. It would provide precisely the wild energy that won Trump the presidency in 2016. Carlson could give Trump his mojo back.

If Trump is going to continue to get flak for making Carlson his peacetime consigliere, he may as well formalize the arrangement.”

This would be great for a number of reasons. I fully endorse this idea:

  1. Tucker is now the voice, and arguably the soul, of the MAGA movement. While Sean Hannity beats the drums for war with Iran, Tucker Carlson has for two years been calling out the neocon chicanery trying to push Trump to war. Tucker was skeptical from the start of the supposed Assad chemical weapons incident, and he has been one of the strongest voices against war with Iran. Tucker is firmly in-tune with the American people. He knows the last thing the American people want is another war, but the Political Establishment does and it’s trying to push Trump into one. Trump has been doing a great job resisting the neocons around him, but Tucker as VP would make it even more unlikely we end up in any Swamp-orchestrated wars.
  2. It’s no secret that Trump has been seriously isolated in Washington since taking office. This is because there are very few true MAGA Nationalists who could get confirmed to high-level government jobs. I’ve remarked in the past that Trump himself could only get into government by running for President, in other words by the American people themselves putting him there. He couldn’t get confirmed to a Cabinet post by the Senate. In order to get genuine MAGA Nationalists into government, we need to take the decision out of the Swamp’s hands and put it directly to the American people at the ballot box. The Senate would never allow a true MAGA Man like Tucker Carlson to be appointed to a high-level government post, meaning the only way to get him into government is by putting him there ourselves at the ballot box.
  3. Tucker would steer Trump in the right direction. While Trump’s White House is filled with globalists and neocons and Establishment parasites because they’re the only ones “qualified” for those top jobs, Tucker would be the voice of the MAGA movement in Trump’s ear at virtually all times. He would be able to steer Trump in the correct direction whenever the Neocons and Globalists come to the President with one of their new schemes. The Swamp has been trying (and in many ways succeeding) to commandeer the Trump presidency. Tucker would bring an end to that quickly.
  4. Tucker has his priorities in line: he knows what Trump’s base wants and he will be able to effectively steer Trump towards those ends. Currently, Trump is surrounded by Swamp Creatures who are trying to steer him away from his base. Outside of war with Iran, another major–major–issue Tucker would push Trump in the right direction on is Big Tech censorship. Lately Trump seems to be paying more attention to the fact that his supporters are being silenced and deplatformed online, but Tucker Carlson would make that issue front-and-center for the President. Tucker would be Trump’s direct line to the millions of Americans who rallied to him in 2016, something Trump has been sorely missing since taking office.
  5. Naming Tucker as his running mate for 2020 would not only be of immense benefit to Trump in terms of implementing his political agenda and staying on the right track, it would also rally his base immeasurably. This move would make a major splash, in a good way. Excitement levels on our side would go through the roof. Trump-Tucker 2020 would be the MAGA Dream Ticket. It would be like pairing LeBron James with Kawhi Leonard.

For those of you who don’t believe this is possible because Tucker Carlson is just a cable news personality with no experience in government: hello? Did you forget where Donald Trump himself came from?

Trump needs a true ally by his side for the long fight ahead–for both the 2020 election and his second term. Trump cannot do it alone. There is no better person than Tucker Carlson for this role. We need Tucker, representing the MAGA movement and the American patriots who put Trump in the White House, to be installed as President Trump’s right-hand-man ASAP.

Plus, as mentioned in the article, this would obviously set Tucker up beautifully for a run at the Presidency in 2024.

But that’s a long way off. We still have to focus on 2020.

Now, all that said, do I think it’s likely Trump will make this move? No, not particularly.

To my knowledge it’s never been done in modern American history. In 1972, Democratic nominee George McGovern originally chose Thomas Eagleton to be his running mate, but reports came out that Eagleton underwent electroshock therapy to treat his depression earlier in life, and eventually the controversy caused McGovern to replace him with Sargent Shriver. Today is a different situation because it would not be a scandal forcing Pence off the ticket, but rather a straight-up political decision in favor of a better running mate.

I think the only time a President ever replaced his Vice President was Lincoln ditching his first-term VP Hannibal Hamlin for Andrew Johnson in 1864. This would be a similar type of situation, of course minus the Civil War backdrop.

So it’s a really big deal for a President to switch running mates–with or without scandal. It would be more or less unprecedented.

That’s why I’m skeptical that Trump will actually go through with this.

However, if there was any presidential candidate with the balls to make a move like this, it’s Donald Trump. So don’t count it out entirely. Just because it’s unprecedented doesn’t mean it can’t happen. There’s a first time for everything.