Perhaps we have missed something: Like the possibility that the canyons of Wall Street are actually located on another planet several light years from earth!
Otherwise, how can you explain the equipoise of a stock market sitting at the tippy-top of a nine-year bubble expansion and confronted with the potential outbreak of World War Three?
Folks, like some alien abductors, the Deep State has taken the Donald hostage, and with ball-and-chain finality. Whatever pre-election predilection he had to challenge the Warfare State has apparently been completely liquidated.
Trump’s early AM tweet today, in fact, embodies the words of a man who had more than a few screws loose when he took the oath, but under the relentless pounding of the Imperial City’s investigators, partisans, apparatchiks and lynch-mob media has now gone stark raving mad. To wit:
"….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!
Yes, maybe Wall Street has figured out that the Donald is more bluster than bite. Yet when you consider the broader context and what the Russian side is now saying, it is just plain idiotic to own the S&P 500 at 24X. After all, earnings that have been going nowhere for the past three years (earnings per share have inched-up from $106 in September 2014 to $109 in December 2017), and now could be ambushed by a hot war accident in Syria that would rapidly escalate.
Indeed, did the robo-machines and boys and girls down in the casino not ponder the meaning of this message from the Kremlin? It does not leave much to the imagination:
#Russian ambassador in beirut : "If there is a strike by the Americans on #Syria , then… the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired," Zasypkin told Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV, speaking in Arabic.
Sure, the odds are quite high that the clever folks in the Pentagon will figure out how to keep the pending attack reasonably antiseptic. That is, they will bomb a whole bunch of places in Syria where the Russians and Iranians are not (after being warned); and also deploy standoff submarine platforms to launch cruise missiles and high-flying stealth aircraft to drop smart bombs, thereby keeping American pilots and ships out of harm’s way.
Then, after unleashing the Donald’s version of "shock and awe" they will claim that Assad has just received the spanking of his life and that the Russians and Iranians have been messaged with malice aforethought.
But our point is not that Douma is Sarajevo, and, besides, this is still April, not August. What should be scaring the daylights out of Wall Street is that we are even at the point where the two tweets quoted above are happening.
For crying out loud, there is a brutal, bloody and barbaric civil war raging in Syria where both sides are bedecked in black hats; both sides have committed unspeakable atrocities; and where it is a documented fact that the rebels possess chemical weapons and have launched false flag gas attacks in the past – even as 1,30o tons of Assad’s inventory, which may or may not have been the totality of it, was destroyed according to the certification of the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
In that context, who can tell whether the alleged chlorine gas release last Saturday in Douma originated in a bomb dropped by Assad’s air force or came from a rebel stockpile that was hit by a bomb? Or whether it was another deliberate false flag attack staged by the jihadists or perhaps that it never happened at all.
The evidence comes mainly from rebel forces opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. One of these was the Violations Documentation Center, a virulent anti-Russian organization funded by George Soros. Another was the White Helmets, a completely comprised operation financed by the US and UK and which has operated only in rebel held territories – often check-by-jowl with the al-Nusra Front and other terrorist elements.
Indeed, Washington’s fabled spies in the sky and taps on every node of the worldwide web can read your email and spot a rogue camel caravan anywhere in a Sahara sandstorm. But they can not tell whether dead bodies are the victims of bullets, bombs, collapsing buildings or chlorine gas. You need to be on the ground and perform chemical tests for that, and Washington just plain isn’t there.
Besides, even if a careful investigation – like the one proposed by Sweden and which the US and UK vetoed at the UN – were actually completed, why is it Washington’s prerogative to administer a spanking to the culprit?
For one thing, if you are in the spanking business owing to bad behavior, then just within the region you would also need to administer the rod to al-Sisi in Egypt and Erdogan in Turkey; and also to Washington’s on and off wards in Baghdad and to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia for his genocidal attacks on Yemen. While you were at it, why would even Bibi Netanyahu be spared the birch – given his periodic "lawn mowing" exercises on the Gaza strip?
The point is, Assad has never attacked, threatened or even looked cross-eyed at the United States. So you would have thought that administering spankings to international malefactors is the business of Washington’s permanent War Party, not the leader of America First.
To be sure, the only evidence we have to date is the gruesome images posted on the internet by the "Douma Revolution", which we don’t credit because it is a tool of the good folks of Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam), who were holding 3,200 pro-Assad hostages in cages when the attack happened. But even if Assad is culpable, why is the Donald getting out the birch switch if he doesn’t mean to effectuate regime change?
Yes, inconstancy is his middle name. But how in god’s name could even the Donald have rearranged the modest amount of gray matter under his great Orange Comb-Over so quickly and completely with regards to Syria?
As a reminder, this is what the Donald said just last week:
“We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon,” Trump said on Thursday, “Let the other people take care of it now. Very soon, very soon, we’re coming out….We’re going to get back to our country, where we belong, where we want to be.”
The fact is, it’s way too late to drag Bashar Assad behind the Moammar Khadafy Memorial Jeep to be ritually sodomized by his enemies. That’s because he’s already won the civil war (red area in map below).
What’s left is not remotely conducive to regime change because the majority Arab population of Syria (regardless of Alawite, Shiite, Sunni, Christian, Druse etc. religious affiliation) would never consent to be ruled by the small minority of Kurds (who control the yellow, largely desert areas). And besides, a Kurdish Syrian state in part or whole would guarantee a Turkish invasion and a blue (Turkish controlled areas surrounding Afrin in the northwest) versus yellow war where Washington would be on both sides.
Indeed, the only thing that a regime change attempt at this late date would accomplish is a resurrection of the remnants of ISIL (small black specs) or an upwelling of chaos from the three or four islets (green areas) that warring gangs of rebels, jihadists, salafists and bloodthirsty warlords now nominally control.
So the map below, in fact, tells you what is really going on. To wit, the neocons and deep staters around Trump – with the Walrus Mouth (Bolton) now literally shouting in his ear – are really about picking a fight with Iran and Russia. These are really Imperial Washington’s designated enemies, and the purpose of the impending attack on Syrian military installations is to intimidate them into backing down – even as they issue hostile warnings and rhetorical fulminations (especially the Iranians) against America.
Stated differently, the Orange Comb-Over is being lured not so much into an Assad spanking exercise or regime change maneuver as into a Proxy War with Iran and Russia. The latter is literally manna from heaven for the Warfare State.
Indeed, with the defense budget already cranked up to the absurd level of $720 billion, the Deep State and its military/industrial/surveillance/congressional complex allies would like nothing better than maximum rhetorical belligerence (and occasional provocative acts) from Russia and Iran in order to keep the national security gravy train inflating toward the $1 trillion funding mark.
Needless to say, the contractual droppings from these staggering budget levels will keep the beltway think tanks, NGOs and pro-war lobbying apparatus in clover for years to come, thereby fueling the ugly secret of Imperial Washington.
Namely, since America lost its only real enemy in 1991, Washington has become an unhinged war capital. It is now endangering the entire planet in a doom-loop of expanding military muscle, multiplying foreign interventions and occupations, intensifying blowback from the victims of Washington’s aggression and an ever greater chorus of Empire justifying experts, apparatchiks and politicians getting fat on the banks of the Potomac.
Nevertheless, the extent of the Donald’s capture by the Deep State and its partisan auxiliaries could not be more dramatically evident than in the last seven days of events in Eastern Ghouta.
As shown in the map below, after a bloody two-month long campaign the Syrian Army – backed by the Russian Air Force – had captured most of the rebel strongholds in the Eastern Ghouta district outside of Damascus. And that meant that the civil war was tantamount to over because what remained of the armed opposition could no longer rain artillery attacks and guerrilla assaults down on the Assad government in its own backyard.
After the renewed government offensive in February, Eastern Ghouta had been split into three pockets of resistance.
The rebel groups in two of these pockets had finally capitulated after punishing battles that caused upwards of 1,200 military and civilian casualties on both sides. Under terms of the rebel/government negotiated deals, however, opposition fighters and their families were evacuated in buses to rebel-held territory in the northern Syrian province of Idlib (green area in the map above).
Only the small enclave of Douma (dark pink in the map below) held out because the Salafist fighters from the “Army of Islam” (Jaish al-Islam) refused to surrender.
By April 5, however, the situation had deteriorated so badly inside Douma that this last cohort of rebel fighters also agreed to negotiations. This too was supposed to end in a convoy of evacuation buses heading north, but the discussions had broke down when, according to some reports, the rebel negotiators were recalled and executed by a faction that wished to keep fighting.
So last Friday, the Syrian military resumed its offensive and the purported gas attack occurred the next day, when it appears that it was all over except the shouting.
We will leave for others to explain the unexplainable. To wit, why in the world would Bashar Assad, who was on the verge of a complete victory over the last redoubt of rebel enemies that could threaten his regime, use chemical weapons on civilians and children when all except a few hard-core fighters had already agreed to get on buses and evacuate Douma entirely?
Yet here is the even more unexplainable part of this sorry episode that amounts to the Deep State waging the Donald. The remaining rebels capitulated on Sunday and the government re-upped the evacuation deal. That is, the remnants of Jaish al-Islam are now all dead or have boarded busses – along with their families – and are already in Idlib province.
That’s right. There is no opposition left in Douma and it has been liberated by the Syrian army, including release of the 3,200 pro-government hostages who had been paraded around the town in cages by the Saudi Arabia funded warriors of Islam who had terrorized it.
According to the Syrian government, no traces of chemicals or even bodies have been found. They could be lying, of course, but with the OPCW investigators on the way to Douma who in their right mind would not wait for an assessment of what actually happened last Saturday?
That is, if you are not caught up in the anti-Russian hysteria that has engulfed official Washington and the mainstream media. Indeed, the Syrian government has now even welcomed the international community to come to Douma, where the Russians claim there is absolutely nothing to see:
Speaking with EuroNews, Russia’s ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizov, said "Russian military specialists have visited this region, walked on those streets, entered those houses, talked to local doctors and visited the only functioning hospital in Douma, including its basement where reportedly the mountains of corpses pile up. There was not a single corpse and even not a single person who came in for treatment after the attack."
"But we’ve seen them on the video!" responds EuroNews correspondent Andrei Beketov.
"There was no chemical attack in Douma, pure and simple," responds Chizov. "We’ve seen another staged event. There are personnel, specifically trained – and you can guess by whom – amongst the so-called White Helmets, who were already caught in the act with staged videos."
In short, if they are lying, it would not be hard to ascertain. Presumably, the Donald could even send Jared Kushner – flack jacket and all – to investigate what actually happened at Douma.
Alas, the Donald has apparently opted for war instead in a desperate maneuver to keep the Deep State at bay.
Either way, we think he’s about done, and next time we will explore why what’s about to happen next should be known to the history books, if there are any, as "Mueller’s War".
David Stockman has agreed to send every Antiwar.com reader a free copy of his newest book, Trumped! when you take his special Contra Corner offer. Click here now for the details.
David Stockman was a two-term Congressman from Michigan. He was also the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street. He’s the author of three books, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America and TRUMPED! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring It Back. He also is founder of David Stockman’s Contra Corner and David Stockman’s Bubble Finance Trader.