On the first of April last year I published an article titled “Ignore The Words Of US Presidents. Watch Their Actions Instead.“, about Trump’s claim that his administration would be pulling troops out of Syria “very soon”. Watching the actions and ignoring the words is a personal policy I’ve found very useful in dealing with top government figures who understand that power has nothing to do with truth and everything to do with narrative control, and in that particular case the president’s claims were quickly memory holed after a highly suspicious chemical weapons allegation in Douma a few days later. The president’s words said the troops were leaving, and what actually happened was the US bombing the Syrian government for a second time in a year while troops remained where they were.

Everyone completely lost their shit last month when the president once again made the claim that US troops will be brought home from Syria. Establishment loyalists of the political/media class went into full meltdown, Mattis handed in his resignation, and #Resistance Twitter pundits who’d never typed the word “Kurd” in their lives suddenly became self-appointed experts on the geopolitical dynamics between the Turkish government and the YPG. Support for the president’s words also rushed in from anti-interventionists and anti-imperialists everywhere, as well as from a few surprising places like Democratic Representative Ted Liu and Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren.

So there was a very strong reaction to Trump’s words about Syria. But what have his actions been? If we look at this administration’s actual behavior with the narrative soundtrack on mute, what we see is a significant increasing of the number of troops in Syria, bombing the Syrian government twice, committing war crimes in Raqqa, providing full-throated support for hundreds of Israeli air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, and a steadily increasing number of indications that the troops won’t be coming home at all.

“I never said we’d be doing it that quickly,” press were told on Sunday by the president, who has indeed previously used the words “now” and “quickly” to describe the pace of troop withdrawal.

“We won’t be finally pulled out, until ISIS is gone,” Trump added.

National Security Advisor John Bolton has also announced additional conditions which will need to be met before there’s a full withdrawal of US forces from Syria, including the seemingly indefinite need to counter Iranian activity in the region, and the need for an agreement to be reached between the US and Turkey to protect Kurdish militias in northeastern Syria.

Bolton said the Kurdish factions are being advised by the US to “stand fast now” and refrain from brokering an agreement with the Syrian government or Russia to protect them from Turkey, a deal which has been on the table and seriously contemplated by the Kurds for many months.  Such an agreement would help unify a fragmented Syria, would deter an attack from Turkey, and would remove any need for the US to protect its YPG “allies” (read: assets), so naturally the servants of endless war are working against it.

Bolton also said that the withdrawal only applies to northeastern Syria, and that troops are expected to remain indefinitely in the southern part of the country. Bolton is reportedly expected to explain to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish president Recip Tayyip Erdogan that some of the troops who do end up being withdrawn from Syria will not be going home at all, but will rather be moved across the border to fight ISIS in Iraq.

John McCain’s testicular clone Senator Lindsey Graham announced last week that Trump is now slowing the withdrawal “in a smart way” after he met with the president, which knowing Graham’s relentless support for limitless war and military expansionism is perhaps not a great sign.

Empire loyalists are always calling to slow everything down when it comes to agendas which advance the interests of normal human beings, whether it’s single-payer healthcare or an end to military expansionism. Meanwhile they never slow down their attempts to ramp up the war engine and shore up control for the Orwellian oppression machine. When they demand to slow things down they’re only ever buying more time to finish constructing your cage.

So there’s that. Trump’s rhetoric on Syria has differed from people in his administration like Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, with the president tending to express more urgency on troop withdrawal and more indifference toward Iranian actions in Syria, but does it make any difference? It really doesn’t matter what noises Trump makes with his mouth if no moves to scale down interventionism actually occur. Either Trump is just saying words he knows his base wants to hear with no intention of following them through, or he is being “outmaneuvered by the Deep State” as Virginia State Senator Dick Black puts it, or he’s run into some other strategic brick wall to immediate troop withdrawal we can’t see, or maybe, perhaps, he will succeed in getting troops out of Syria.

I personally do not care about Trump’s motives. Antiwar analysts tend to put a lot of emphasis on what the president’s personal intentions are, but it doesn’t matter how Trump’s feelings feel or what kind of person he is inside, what matters is if America’s unconscionable global military expansionism gets scaled down or not. The power structure behaves the way it behaves, and if the troops don’t come home it’s because Trump is either complicit or impotent. Either way, the power structure and its behavior is what matters.

I’ll be the first to cheer if US military involvement in Syria does end, but I’m not getting my hopes up. Instead, I will continue ignoring the verbiage and watching the behavior. In a world where narrative manipulation is the key to real power, it’s impossible to take anyone close to power at their word.


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21 responses to “Reasons To Believe In Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Are Vanishing”

  1. George Tirebiter Avatar
    George Tirebiter

    Here we go again…..more of the same claptrap about whether Trump is being outmaneuvered by the ‘deep state’…… or…… he’s in on the game.

    Isn’t it obvious by now that this meme was concocted by the same folks that concoct all of the manipulative memes that the ‘citizens’ in the ‘Land of the Free’ swallow willingly so they don’t have to question the validity of their crystallized fantasies and their group echo chambers?

    It’s smoke folks….It’s misdirection…..

    Notice how there’s no mention here about who actually created and maintains ISIS?

    Notice how there’s no mention of who actually benefits the most from invading and remaining in Syria?

    Notice how there’s no mention of the actual reasons why the U.S. troops will stay in the south?

    Hint: The reason the above questions aren’t discussed is the result of a more powerful meme generated by the same folks……What might that be???

  2. The open question is whether or not the democratic principle of civilian control over the military still exists in America.

  3. Cute Little Kittens Avatar
    Cute Little Kittens

    I’m really glad President Bolton has finally spoken up and taken charge.

  4. Caitlin have no fear, we are getting out. Trump’s announcement has set events in motion that cannot be reversed.

    My opinion: First, the Kurds are negotiating with Damascus to protect them from the Turks (they already pulled out of Manbij and turned it over to the SAA). They will get some limited autonomy from the Syrian government in return for that protection (and the protection of Russia).

    What can Trump do about that? Pull a Roseanne Roseannadanna and say ‘never mind’?? Second, there is no way on Earth the Turks are going to drive hundreds of miles into Syria to fight Isis. The Kurds and the Syrian Arab Army, along with the local populations would never permit that, and the Turks know it.

    We can sit there like idiots in that Southern base at At Tanf, but it means … nothing. It’s on a crossroads, but if we don’t leave they will just go around us. Once the Syrian and the Kurds and Russian mop up Isis, there will be time to clean Idlib of Al Qaeda (or it’s current name HTS) and Uighers and Chechens, etc. and the Syrian government will control the whole of its territory as promised by Assad. The Turks will be satisfied if Damascus controls the border (and the Kurds).

    And then, the rebuilding of Syria can really begin … without any help from the West, most likely.

  5. Caitlin, I’m surprised that you left out something obivous and important in your article.
    Compare the situation in Syria today to that of, say, 2015. I think that it is fair to say that the situation for the vast majority of Syrians has improved dramatically. Just exactly WHY this is the case is impossible to determine because governments and government officals operate in virtually complete secrecy. Opinions are like assholes; everybody’s got one, but, again, results are sometimes visible and IMO those results are visible in Syria and, IMO, also the Korean “situation”.
    I can’t help but think that had ANY OTHER CANDIDATE OTHER THAN TRUMP been elected in ’16, the situation in Syria and the rest of the world would be much worse than it is now. IMO, had Trump not been elected, there may very well have been a nuclear confrontation between the US and Russian military forces.
    We’ll soon see what happens in Syria and the US’s other “victories” in its perpetual war of terror (war of USD hegemony and Full Spectrum Dominance) against the world. Will there be more false flag events to further demonize Russia, Iran and China as pretexts for economic or military attacks? You can bet your bottom dollar on it! You see, the bewildered herds in the US and its vassal states want to think of themselves as “the good guys” who are only responding to “the bad guys’ ” aggression or unfair behavior. These false flags and fairy-tale narratives, created from thin air, just like the USD, let them feel that way and lead them by the nose to support whatever their Elite desire.
    Here’s the most important question that’s IMO going to be answered in 2019. Will the US be able to continue to bully its vassal states into following US diktat? If it can’t, in every possible way, the US is going to go downhill even faster than it is now, and, as the US Elite desperately seek new enemies to attack in order to Unify The American People, that could be a very dangerous thing for the rest of the world. Happy New Year!

  6. Clinton, Bush, Obama, and now Trump. It’s always deception, manipulation, deceit, more plowing and plundering, suffering, death, and destruction in the name of democracy and ‘keeping the US safe’.
    This is all I expect from the demented US elites and all we usually get.

  7. People who watch the DECEMBER 20, 2018 United Nations meeting which presented evidence of horrific crimes committed inside Syria by the so-called “rescue” organization … the Academy Award-winning “White Helmets”, will come to a full understanding of the sole true reason U.S. President Donald Trump went on Twitter – dated DECEMBER 19, 2018, within 24 hours and before the U.N. meeting exposing the White Helmets international scandal – and said “We (all U.S. military forces) are leaving Syria … immediately!”.

    Trump’s 12/19/2018 action (psyop) was intended to soak up all global media attention (it certainly did), or in other words, – to bury any chance of people worldwide learning of the White Helmets criminal scandal revealed on 12/20/2018. This explains why Donald Trump and his administration decline to say anything about the White Helmets, most especially nothing whatsoever since the damning December 20 U.N. meeting.

    While Trump’s Twitter psyop was, to borrow Trump terminology, “fantastically successful!” and only a very few worldwide are aware of the White Helmets scandal revealed at the December 20 United Nations meeting, Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton has (once more) issued a warning to President Bashar al-Assad about potential use of chemical weapons and the severest of responses.

    With the reputation of the White Helmets terrorist group effectively “saved” thanks to Trump’s Twitter psyop, the rising odds for a(nother) false flag chemical attack in Syria – perhaps Israel due to increased warmonger desperation – becomes clearer, and fuels legitimate worries that the deception-based military response from the United States (Trump), United Kingdom (May) and France (Macron) will be much more destructive than previous.


    1. “Trump’s Twitter psyop?”
      Jerry, I agree that people generally underestimate Trump’s intellect, but when it comes to Spooksville, the guy is as clueless as his haters. I mean, we can certainly all agree that Trump is solely responsible for global warming but shielding the White Helmets? – I think not. Of course, I could be wrong. I’m not there. Have you contacted Alex Jones about this?

  8. Such a tragic comedy that this is occurring right before our eyes and yet we seem powerless to stop it. As another commenter noted, the public really doesn’t care about it as long as their bellies are full of Frankenfood and they can watch videos about their favorite celebrities. Given the level of awareness and interest here, I doubt that things will ever change until there is a complete collapse of this house of cards. I kind of hope I’ll be dead and gone by then, but it could be coming sooner rather than later.
    Happy New Year!

  9. Well that was close and for a minute I thought Amerikas potus might be doing the right thing. It’s a good thing bolton is running the govt;-) /S

  10. So despite spending $500 billions on “defense” the “best military in the world!” still cannot take out a “JV” team of muslim mercs?! Does anyone really believe that is the case? It is ridicules. It is obvious that that is not the reason for the US’s staying in Syria to commit more war crimes. That is the issue that must be relentlessly pursued.

  11. BEHAVIOUR!!!!… The essence of good and bad reside in the latter… the gray area??? what is good or bad…? I say if it means killing your fellow man for the sake the plutocracy and the hegemony of the DC masons… it is BAD! We the people are being subverted by every form of propaganda and conditioning the Oligarchs create… Just say no to carnage, just say now to special interest and the leaders of other nations that are applauded for the genocide in this unholy alliance of warmongers. The deep state has dual citizens and tranny in their blood… This is the prophetic mantra of psychopaths with delusions of grandeur and false ideals, these are the under lords of the underworld of deep state… Follow the fiat currency and the printing of money out of nothing (0000000000)… Zero-Nada-Nothing, except special privilege, instituted by, bribery, blackmail, lies and double speak. As well, half truths of deception and deceit … If their is a god…? What god is being worshiped by the money changers and the band of usurers with no remorse and no homeland, save it be the raping of our country… Just sayin… folks, if you can see the light, get on the train of wisdom without the lies.

  12. When I saw how the media and congress reacted to trump’s announcement on the Syria pullout and Afghan troop reductions I thought: “has donnie tiny hands finally come to his senses?”
    Then I remembered an article I read about how eric prince, owner of Blackwater (prince’s mercenary service that profited handsomely during early stages of the Iraq and Afghan wars) who’s name was changed to Xe Services in 2009 and Academi in 2011 had an office in the white house. And knowing that john bolton is trump’s National Security Adviser it didn’t take long to smell thecodswallop in trump’s announcement.
    trump is all about enriching himself from his presidency. Think of the kickbacks he’ll receive from prince once he awards no-bid contracts to Academi as troops in Syria and Afghanistan are replaced with mercenaries.
    For some insight into this latest con job by trump here’s a piece by Stephen Gowans:
    Congress and the mainstream CIA stenographers who masquerade under the banners of CNN and MSNBC are all condemning trump’s move. They know where their ad revenue comes from. Congress understands their campaign coffers are paded by the military industrial complex so any war reduction efforts on their part won’t be rewarded… and this, unfortunately, is the degenerate state of our corporate plutocracy.

    1. American citizens are kept full bellied and external input inundated enough that they care little or nothing about any of this. Perhaps they turn 1/2 hr of MSM “news” on per eve for their spoon feeding but otherwise it is home from work, kids, TV and evasion. Trump talked a good platform during the pre=election but has now shown himself to be either a non backbone more of the same or a historic swamp creature who tricked some of the masses into believing ‘this time would be different’. Either way Lockheed, Boeing, and all the other sharks who rule our war monger machine continue to prevail.

    2. “I thought: ‘has donnie tiny hands finally come to his senses?’”
      Well Lawrence, you just exposed yourself as a hater with TDS. You disrespect the president even tho he’s doing the best he can at the toughest job in the world under circumstance you clearly can’t begin to comprehend. Unfortunately, your TDS affliction means you can’t think straight, and as we know, there is no known cure.
      Too bad because the report you posted a link to is pretty darn good and it didn’t require a single ad hominem to logically make the author’s case, so thanks for that.

      1. Whatever you have tell yourself is fine. Just do not expect others to agree. You are right though, that watching Fox and Friends daily is “doing the best he can at the toughest job in the world.” Just not in the way you might have thought.

        1. Yeah, you’re a real policy wonk, aren’t you Steve?

          What’s your point? Are you claiming to be smarter than Trump?

          Maybe you think you’re morally superior to Trump.

          What specifically is your gripe? You just don’t like Fox & Friends? You don’t like when haters are called out for what they are? I’ll call every one of you dipshits out. That’s why the fascists at Medium don’t like what I write.

          Seriously, show me that hate and TDS haven’t rotted your brain to the point of only being able to gurgle garbage like your worthless post to me. Because right now, I have you on my moron list, Steve with no last name.

  13. the same thing happened with Obama. I remember Glenn Greenwald commenting that Obama’s complete surrender to the Republicans was no error in judgment on his part, but that he deliberately knew what he was doing. The drama is for our benefit, in fact as Putin said, nothing changes in the US regardless of who’s president; it’s always the same policies. The man was certainly not going to bother with interfering in the election.

    1. Nice. Well spoken.

  14. Random castagna Avatar
    Random castagna

    It’s called The Eternal War for a reason. It’s eternal because without it being eternal the defense contractors and the entire American economy might lose a few pennies. In this country money is far more important than lives.

  15. “Trump is either complicit or impotent.”

    He’s not complicit.

    “Trump is just saying words he knows his base wants to hear with no intention of following them through, or he is being “outmaneuvered by the Deep State” as Virginia State Senator Dick Black puts it…”

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

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