The articles below discuss what appears to be growing neocon influence in the Trump administration:
(1) In “Trump Bends to Neocon Pressures, Andrew Spannaus reports in Consortium News that Trump’s earlier calls for reorienting foreign policy seem to be disappearing as he appears to adopting the neocons’ hostilities toward Iran and Russia.
Spannaeus writes: “The Trump Administration’s goal of de-escalating tensions with Russia is meeting stiff resistance in Eastern Europe where many reject the notion that a diplomatic solution can be reached over the issues of Ukraine and NATO expansion.”
According to the article: “Trump’s election seemed to upend the U.S. establishment’s push for a more aggressive stance towards Russia that has been on full display since last fall in particular.”
Spannaeus points out: “The news media and political class have, in fact, focused almost hysterically on alleged Russian intervention into the U.S. elections, despite crucial gaps in the evidence presented to the public and the question of whether Russian President Putin would have taken such a risk when it appeared Clinton was a shoo-in to win.”
He reports, “The early Trump administration has sent mixed signals regarding relations with Russia. Trump’s initial comments indicated that the U.S. would seek a diplomatic deal to reduce tensions around Ukraine, including by potentially recognizing the pro-Russian referendum in Crimea, in exchange for a broader deal with Russia involving cooperation against terrorism or nuclear arms reduction.”
However, Spannaeus notes, “Trump’s United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley on Thursday vowed to continue sanctions against Russia until it surrendered Crimea.
He reports that many speakers at the recent Europe-Ukraine Forum called for an extremely aggressive stance on NATO expansion – to include not only Ukraine, but also Sweden, Finland and any other country in Russia’s neighborhood.
He writes that their view: “ignores what the West did up to 2014, such as expanding NATO towards Russia’s borders and providing support through both official sources and numerous NGOs to “pro-democracy” groups, some of which wanted regime change not only in Kiev but in Moscow.
“A prominent example,” he notes,” is the head of the U.S. taxpayer-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Carl Gershman… NED funded scores of “democracy promotion” projects in Ukraine, contributing to undermining the previous elected government and touching off the civil war between Ukrainian nationalists from the west and ethnic Russians from the east. Gershman also has called for the overthrow of Vladimir Putin in Russia.
A False Narrative
Although the West’s propaganda narrative has obscured the circumstances around the ouster of Ukrainian President Yanukovych on Feb. 22, 2014, the violent putsch has been called the “most blatant coup in history” by George Friedman, the founder of Stratfor and Geopolitical Futures. At the time of the coup, a diplomatic deal had been struck for new elections by the end of the year, but far-right militia groups stepped in to seize control of the government institutions and the coup regime was quickly declared “legitimate” by the U.S. government and its allies.
A key player in the change in power was U.S. Undersecretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who was recorded in a pre-coup phone call saying “Fuck the EU” with regard to Europe’s role as a mediator for a diplomatic solution, and also hand-picking the person who would become the new prime minister… Read full article.
(2) Daniel Larison writes in American Conservative that Trump may appoint neocon Israel advocate Elliott Abrams Deputy Secretary of State.
“Abrams’ name had been mentioned before, but it seemed hard to believe that Trump would want one of his most vehement critics in his administration. The “good” news is that Bolton won’t be getting the job after all, but in his place will be someone with an equally awful foreign policy record and similarly warped judgment. Abrams is a Bush administration veteran and one of the most committed Iraq war dead-enders. He has the added distinction of having been involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, and withheld information from Congress when they were investigating it. Putting him in an important foreign policy position gives us strong evidence that Trump and Tillerson both have poor judgment, and it tells us that we should expect that the administration’s foreign policy will become even more aggressive and meddlesome than it already has been.” Read full article.
(3) Eric Alterman discusses Abrams’ possible appointment in The Nation: “An Actual American War Criminal May Become Our Second-Ranking Diplomat: Elliott Abrams spent the Reagan years abetting genocide—now, he has been floated as Trump’s deputy secretary of state.”
Alterman writes: “It may seem small in the saga of President Trump’s first two weeks, but according to The Washington Post, there’s a good chance he’ll appoint an actual war criminal to be the second-ranking US diplomat.”
He outlines Abrams’ past actions, including:
As a member of George W. Bush’s National Security Council staff, Abrams encouraged, according to credible reports, a (briefly successful) military coup against the democratically elected government of Venezuela in 2002, poisoning the US relationship with that government once it returned to power. He also worked to subvert the results of the 2006 elections in the Palestinian territories, a move that ended up strengthening the most radical elements of Hamas and undermining—perhaps forever—the possibility of a democratic peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Alterman, after describing Abrams’ actions regarding Guatemala, writes:
since 1987. I’ve complained privately to the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, to numerous rabbis who book him to speak in their synagogues, and to the editors of Jewish newspapers who publish him. I’ve seen some regret, but never any action.I’ve been writing about Abrams and his crimes, here and elsewhere,
If Abrams had abetted genocide against Jews instead of Guatemalans, it might not have disqualified him from a top diplomatic position in the Trump administration, but he would at least have been treated as a pariah in the media, the establishment, and, one certainly hopes, the world of professional Jews. These days, however, it’s hard to be certain of anything. Read full article
(4) Peace activist Charles Carlson reported last August that Abrams condemned the Lutheran Church for passing a resolution that called for justice for Palestinians.
Carlson wrote: “Abrams is insulting, condemnatory and petty of the Lutherans.” Read full article
Related Article: “Baiting Iran: How Trump Risks Inflaming the Middle east” – Patrick Cockburn
Related Article: “Is The Trump Administration Already Over? – Paul Craig Roberts