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Trump’s Phony War

In April 7, 2017, much of the world watched in horror as the Trump administration rained missiles down on an airbase that belonged to the sovereign government of Syria. This was an action we managed to avoid in 2013 when the Obama administration gave us time to voice our opposition (before bombing the country the following year, anyway). Back then, we understood the dangerous implications of going to war with a government over unproven claims of chemical weapons attacks, especially a government heavily backed by Russia, Iran, and to some extent, China.

But to the dismay of many, Trump did what he said multiple times in the past should never be done, and it didn’t take long for this development to blow over into nothingness. No one is talking about the attack anymore.

How can that be?

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, only 23 of the 59 missiles launched actually hit the Syrian airbase in what Russia perceived to be an inefficient strike. In fact, it was so ineffective that barely a day later, the airbase was back in action, deploying warplanes to bomb rebel positions in the Homs countryside.

Further, the U.S. actually gave Russia – Syria’s staunchest backer – prior notice of the strike before it was launched. Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said in a statement that the so-called “deconfliction” channel set up by Russia and the U.S. in Syria was used to disclose the strike to the Russian side.

“U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield,” Davis said.

According to Davis, the strikes were not aimed at Syrian personnel but the “aircraft and support infrastructure” to hinder Syrian regime’s ability to deliver chemical weapons. However, if this was the case, then the U.S. was literally bombing the very equipment (read: evidence) required to carry out an impartial investigation into any alleged attack committed by pro-government forces.

Further, as the Intercept notes:

“Although at least six Syrian airmen died in the attack, according to a Syrian military spokesman, it seems inconceivable that the Russian military personnel fleeing the base would not have alerted their allies to what was coming.”

Even if the strike was intended to hit only the infrastructure, there are two things worth noting. First, the strike didn’t damage anything of value to the Syrian government, which is unusual given the far-reaching capabilities of the U.S. military (meaning it’s possible this inefficiency was intentional). Second, the warning to Russia could have given the Syrian army ample time to move and relocate some equipment they wanted to protect anyway, putting it out of range of the strike.

To add even further, Russia wasn’t the only country warned about the strike. Considering even small, supposedly peaceful countries like New Zealand were also warned in advance, it is increasingly apparent that the strike was not the secretive, strategic blow to Assad we had expected to be on the table. In response to another Twitter user, Trump once infamously tweeted:

“I would not go into Syria, but if I did it would be by surprise and not blurted all over the media like fools.”

He wouldn’t blurt it all over the media, sure — just to Syria’s closest allies and every single ally of the U.S. led coalition.

So what was the point of the strike? (That is a topic for a separate article, but Trump’s surge in popularity within the mainstream media that so frequently denounced him previously speaks for itself.)

Regardless, not long after, our worst fears of a global conflict were increasingly heightened, but discussion of Syria barely received a mention (even though the strike led the International Committee of the Red Cross to believe that the U.S. and Syria are now officially in an “international armed conflict”). This time, the focus is on North Korea, and to some extent, North Korean ally China, whom the Trump administration has tasked with containing the Kim Jong-Un regime.

The world began to panic as it was announced that the U.S. military sent its naval strike force directly to the Korean peninsula. The deployment ran in tandem with Trump’s tweet that “North Korea is looking for trouble” and further threats of war from other government officials.

In response, North Korea’s ally, China, reportedly sent a whopping 150,000 troops to the Korean border. Not long after, reports began to surface that Russia was also sending troops and other military equipment to the region, as well.

Yet Trump’s naval fleet was actually sailing in the wrong direction. It wasn’t headed for the Korean peninsula at all, but was, in fact, heading to Australia, as was previously thought to be the case. As noted by the Corbett Report, the media was one hundred percent complicit in driving this fake narrative.

On top of this, Russia and China both denied they were preparing for war in Korea. The Chinese Defense Ministry issued a statement saying its forces were at a normal state of preparedness along its roughly 880-mile border with North Korea, according to Reuters. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying also dismissed the deployment of 150,000 Chinese troops as South Korean propaganda.

For their part, Russian authorities denied reports that they are moving troops to the border, as well.

Are we being lied to about the current escalation of wartime activities in the Middle East and Asia?

Are we being duped right now?

Following these recent developments, the focus has again switched to another adversary. The Trump administration apparently remembered that ultimately, the prize in the region is Iran, and consequently, has ramped up its anti-Iranian rhetoric once again.

Will we see a similar unfolding of events regarding empty provocations and actions — like the ones Trump demonstrated in Syria, for example — or will the U.S. genuinely be preparing for war in the Middle East and Asia?

This is not to downplay the seriousness of any of these activities. The act of striking a foreign government, whether or not prior warning is given, is a very serious act of aggression and should be rightly condemned as such. The statement by the Syrian government’s allies that they will respond with force the next time such an attack occurs is also a major cause for concern.

However, the fact remains that the government and the media are well aware of the effect that the ever-imminent war rhetoric has on the general population. By keeping us in a constant state of fear of panic and fear, they can get away with anything. In that context, the immediate endgame may not be a war in the Middle East or Asia, but a war to control us domestically.

By hyping up these fears, the media and respective governments on all sides of this equation know their populations will be much more docile, easier to control, and more susceptible to nationalism. Not to mention, many other stories will go unnoticed in the mass media while the whole world is fixated on this particular narrative. As observed by intellectual Noam Chomsky:

“I think the foreign policy is really not their concern. Like the Syria strike. I mean, it meant almost nothing. They hit an empty airbase. Within a day, it was functioning again. Planes were flying off it. It was for a domestic show, you know — ‘Show what a tough guy I am; I’m not Obama. And then go back to the “normal”’ — I think the real things that are happening are basically the Ryan budget and the Ryan legislative programs.” [emphasis added]

Chomsky added:

“All of that’s going on right under the cover of the Trump/Spicer media extravaganzas. Those guys do one thing after another to keep the media attention focused on them. And it works. Turn on CNN and that’s what you hear, and meanwhile, these legislative achievements are being made which are chipping away at anything the government has that’s of any use to anybody.”

This is where we cue the news that there is currently a secret CIA conference taking place in New Zealand this week between the so-called Five Eyes Network (the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Canada and New Zealand). This has received little media coverage in comparison to, say, North Korea.

The fear of a third global conflict has the anti-war activists among us working like madmen to discern what is really going on right now and where are we headed. That being said, behind the scenes, the powers-that-be may be using wartime activities as an excuse to pursue a different agenda altogether, which should not be disregarded.

As Anti-Media’s Jake Anderson astutely noted:

“A scared population is a controlled population, and right now the world is in lock-step, beholden to governments who seem determined to keep their defense contractors and militaries in business forever.”

Darius Shahtahmasebi
Darius Shahtahmasebi is a New Zealand-based legal and political analyst, currently specializing in immigration, refugee and humanitarian law. Contact Darius: [email protected] Support Darius' work on Patreon:

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