An Inauguration Day Surprise?

Is the Obama administration out to provoke a military conflict with Russia in the days before Donald J. Trump takes the oath of office?

In July of 2014, the US announced the start of “Operation Atlantic Resolve” in response to the vote by Crimea – which took place nearly three years ago — to rejoin the Russian Federation. Now the Obama administration has announced that 6,000 more US troops will be deployed, initially in Germany and Poland, and eventually fanning out to Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Romania, and Slovakia. Accompanying them will be 144 Bradley fighting vehicles, 87 M1A1 tanks, heavy artillery, and aircraft.

Europe hasn’t seen such an increase in the US troop presence since the fall of the Soviet Union. Coming as it does with mere days left in Obama’s term of office, this action invites all sorts of speculation: however, one need not speculate as to whether this is a political move. Clearly it is: the idea is to box in President-elect Trump, who has expressed his desire to improve relations with Russia.

The mere expression of such a view has provoked a storm of abuse from the War Party, and a relentless campaign of calumny orchestrated by the CIA to the effect that Trump is “Putin’s puppet.” The deranged Democrats, looking for some way to excuse why their weak and widely disliked candidate lost the election, have explained it all away by claiming that a Russian conspiracy “stole” the White House from Hillary Clinton by revealing truthful and embarrassing information via Wikileaks. It doesn’t matter that there’s no evidence for this contention: in alliance with anonymous “US officials,” spooks, and “journalists” who believe everything the CIA tells them, this has become the elite consensus.

This sets the stage for what may be Trump’s first foreign policy crisis. If President Trump, upon taking office, withdraws the troops, the anti-Russia hysterics will scream bloody murder. If he doesn’t, the risk of an “incident” occurring on the border with Russia increases – as does the risk of an all-out conflict with a nuclear-armed adversary.

This underscores the recklessness of the Obama administration and the NeverTrumpers: they are willing to risk World War III in order to sabotage Trump’s peace agenda. Despicable is too mild a term to describe their actions.

In an editorial decrying this precipitous move, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette avers that “The deployment of U.S. personnel and military assets should not be used by anyone as a domestic political tool.” That’s a nice sentiment, but one that betrays an alarming degree of naiveté: not only this administration, but practically every administration in our history has formulated US foreign policy almost exclusively in response to political pressures, both domestic and foreign. Facts on the ground have little if anything to do with how and why policy is made.

This decoupling of policymaking from the facts of reality not only increases the danger of war – it makes conflict virtually inevitable. By either failing to see or deliberately ignoring what is actually occurring, rather than what their propagandists would like us to believe is happening, the warlords of Washington run the risk of accidentally sparking World War III.

So what are the facts on the ground in Eastern Europe?

As thousands of US and NATO troops mass on the Russian border with Poland, the Russians have deployed S-400 anti-aircraft missiles around Moscow and also in Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave that borders Poland and Lithuania. In response to the development of missile defense systems in Eastern Europe — which could quickly be converted into offensive cruise missiles — the Russians earlier reinforced Kaliningrad with nuclear capable Iskander missiles. These have a range of 440 miles – enough to hit Berlin.

The injection of thousands of US troops into the volatile Balkans region could easily lead to a conflict with Russian troops in, say, Transnistria, a breakaway province of Moldova, which borders Ukraine. A slice of territory between Transnistria and Ukraine could be the tripwire that catapults US troops – hundreds of whom are in Ukraine on a “training” mission – into action against the Russians.

The Ukrainians, who actively intervened in the US election to prevent Trump from taking the White House, have every reason to cause trouble, and every opportunity to do so. They continue their covert operations in Crimea, sabotaging infrastructure as well as escalating their attacks on the rebellious eastern provinces. A provocation on Kiev’s part could easily throw the whole region into crisis mode and greet incoming President Trump with the prospect of a runaway conflict set into motion before he even takes the reins in Washington.

The CIA, with its long tentacles stretched out into every hotspot on earth, is engaging in open warfare with the President-elect. Is it really impossible to imagine that they would arrange for a nice little crisis to “celebrate” President Trump’s inauguration?

These people are reckless, treasonous, and utterly without conscience. They are, in short, capable of anything. With four days left until Trump becomes the forty-fifth President of the United States, the threat of war has never loomed larger. UN Ambassador Samantha Power, on her Twitter feed, declared: “We are not going gently into the night.” We may be in for an Inauguration Day surprise.


You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.

I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).

You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].