(ANTIMEDIA Op-Ed) Last month, Anti-Media reported on leaked intelligence that forcibly ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn from the Trump administration. Flynn’s successor, General H.R. McMaster, is far more hawkish, and in comparison to Flynn, takes a much more anti-Russian stance. It isn’t too much of a stretch to assume McMaster’s job will be secure if he continues to perpetuate the anti-Russian narrative we have become so familiar with in recent decades.
Despite this, the media still perpetuates anti-Russian hysteria and repeated claims regarding the Trump administration’s ties to Russia — despite the fact that Flynn, Trump’s supposed go-between with Russia, has already relinquished his power.
Why would this be?
As most people are aware, Trump was able to secure his seat in the White House by offering a markedly different vision for America than Hillary Clinton, who largely mirrored Obama’s presidency. Both Clinton and Obama had very hawkish approaches to Russia and Russia’s strategic allies in the Middle East. In contrast, Trump was clear that he respected Russia’s president and wanted to forge closer relations.
The first thing to note is that Trump has been keeping most of his campaign promises to date — even the most outlandish ones. The second is that Flynn was actually in the process of offering a deal on economic sanctions against Russia and a ceasefire in Ukraine, suggesting there was substance behind Trump’s pro-Russia rhetoric. The issue with this, of course, is that ultimately, there are people within the intelligence community who view a warming of relations with Russia to be a deal breaker with the Trump administration.
Evidently, there are those behind the scenes within the deep state and the intelligence community who still fear that Trump could take away their long-held anti-Russian narrative, which has arguably been fueling the need for such a large and oversized military budget since World War II.
So where is this headed?
If Trump doesn’t adopt the Cold War 2.0 approach of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and is forced out of his own administration in the same manner as Flynn, it will become clear why once we learn who would replace him: Mike Pence.
As the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin observed:
“Pence is seen by many in Washington as a figure who might stand up for the traditionally hawkish views he espoused while in Congress, a proxy of sorts for the GOP national security establishment.”
According to White House officials, lawmakers and experts, Pence, a “traditional hawk influenced heavily by his Christian faith” is reportedly advancing a Rasputin-esque agenda in which he can appease Trump in the meantime by working within Trump’s proposed foreign policy framework, as well as respect the prerogatives of other senior White House aides who want to play large foreign policy roles.
According to Rogin, behind the scenes, Pence will ultimately help shape Trump’s foreign policy into the traditional style witnessed under Obama:
“Inside the White House, Pence is in the room during most of the president’s interactions with world leaders. He receives the presidential daily brief. As head of the transition, he was instrumental in bringing several traditionally hawkish Republicans into the top levels of the administration’s national security team, including Director of National Intelligence-designate Dan Coats, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.”
It was because of Pence that the U.S. decided to confront Russia and Syria at the U.N. over Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons, despite everything Trump has previously said regarding resetting U.S. policy with regard to Syria and Russia. However, the true extent of Pence’s hold over Trump — and the true nature of the agenda he serves — can be seen in his role in ousting Flynn in the first place.
“The chief example was when Pence personally spoke to Trump about removing national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had lied to him about conversations with Russian officials during the transition.” [emphasis added]
Since this occurrence, Pence has reportedly taken up more of the role previously occupied by Flynn.
No matter what one makes of Trump — or his administration and the policies that have been initiated thus far — the fact remains that Trump won the U.S. election. The people working behind the scenes to oust him are not subject to democratic controls, nor are they working in the best interests of the American public. We are left to ask ourselves exactly how renewing relations with Russia – a nuclear power – could possibly endanger American lives.
Either way, we are more or less left with two paths ahead of us. The first path involves Trump giving in and adopting an anti-Russian agenda, as is already apparent in his decision to send more ground troops to Syria alongside Saudi troops, who will intentionally oppose the Syrian regime (a close ally of Russia). The second involves the possibility of another direct coup within the Trump administration, this time one that may ultimately force Trump out of the White House so he can be replaced by Mike Pence, a war hawk who will be more than happy to do the job Hillary Clinton wanted to do.