Who's Playing The Long Game - And What's Their Game Plan?

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Charles Hugh-Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Take a moment to consider the Neocon camp's over-reaction to the inchoate challenge to its dominance posed by the Trump administration.

When we speak of The Long Game, we speak of national/alliance policies that continue on regardless of what political party or individual is in office. The Long Game is always about the basics of national survival: control of and access to resources, and jockeying to diminish the power and influence of potential adversaries while strengthening one's own power and influence.

As I have been discussing for years, there are inevitable conflicts within the inner circle that executes The Long Game within each nation/alliance. In periods of active confrontation, the various factions tend to rally round the core game plan--for example, in the Cold War with the USSR, the U.S. Long Game was containment. Anyone arguing for all-out war or appeasement was quickly marginalized.

In eras in which everything is up for grabs, these internecine conflicts broaden and intensify. We are in just such an era. This is why I have consistently claimed that the group responsible for playing America's Long Game--the Deep State--is now splitting into two main camps:

1. The dominant Neocon camp that seeks to actively intervene on a global basis (mostly civilian).

2. The "rogue progressive" camp that views the Neocon strategy as a disaster for America's long-term interests, i.e. The Long Game (mostly military or military-related).

Whatever you think of President Trump--pawn, buffoon, loose cannon, evil incarnate, whatever--please understand that his administration is viewed as a potentially disruptive threat to the dominant Neocon camp, which expected a seamless transition in the Executive branch from President Obama to Hillary Clinton, echoing the seamless transition from G.W. Bush to President Obama.

The camp that sees the Neocon strategy as failed and dangerous to the interests of the American people and the nation's Long Game had essentially zero leverage in the presidencies of Bill Clinton, G.W. Bush and Barack Obama. After 24 years of unchallenged power, the Neocons are understandably going into attack mode against anything and everything that poses the slightest risk to their grasp on power.

The possibility that the anti-Neocon camp might gain a foothold in the Trump administration has caused the Neocon camp to launch an all-out war against anyone and anything that could offer the "rogue" insiders a toehold.

Hillary Clinton neatly summarized the Neocon mindset on how to deal with potential threats when she asked (regarding WikiLeaks' Julian Assange): "Can't we just drone this guy?"

Since the Neocons have assembled the greatest Murder, Inc. machine in world history, this obsession with killing anyone who poses the slightest threat to Neocon hegemony is understandable. But it's tricky to liquidate Americans without questions being asked (all those suspicious "suicides"--hmm).

So the Neocon tactic of late is to sift through the NSA and CIA's voluminous surveillance data and fish out something damaging to their targets.

The Neocon camp has also ordered its media arm--the corporate-owned mainstream media-- to go into full attack mode. Bernie Sanders got a small taste of the MSM's one-sided, negative coverage, but that was merely a training exercise for the main war against any and all potential threats to the Neocon camp's total dominance.

It's helpful to position this discussion of the warring camps in America's Deep State in a larger context of The Long Game.

Let's start with Russia, and recall that the Western Neoliberals (do-gooders one and all, of course--we only have your best interests at heart, really really really) forcefed a "market economy" (i.e. rigged to benefit banks and cronies) to Russia in the early 1990s.

The net result was a Cronyist-Mafia-Racket economy, a disaster for progressives within Russia. The inevitable blowback was a re-energized central state, which generated another set of difficulties.

Then the Neocon-led NATO expansion into Russia's historical buffer zones triggered alarm. Recall that Russia has centuries of experience dealing with invading hordes from the East and the West.

It's not too difficult to see why Russia isn't feeling particularly warm and fuzzy about the Neoliberal-Neocon Long Game.

As for China--China has one client state: North Korea. Talk about a client state from Heck. There aren't any good solutions in China's view to North Korea: if it collapses from internal disorder, a humanitarian crisis quickly moves across the border into China.

A nuclear exchange between North Korea and the U.S. is not a desirable outcome, nor is a conventional war with South Korea.

China's unprecedented economic advance depended on two drivers: trade and credit. Trade is now facing a potentially disruptive global shift against globalism, and credit is yielding diminishing returns: China's $30 trillion in additional debt is basically keeping the debt bubble from popping, not generating organic, sustainable expansion:

China's debt expansion: China's GDP up 3-fold since 2006, but debt is up 6-fold--and still ramping up fast.

For context-- snapshots of global GDP and global debt. As I noted yesterday in The Media's Missing the Point: Syria, Empire and the Power of Signaling, power is a function of a nation's total output, not just its military capabilities.

Here is a look at America's rapidly expanding debt load: the acme of "unsustainable." This is the disastrous harvest of Neoliberal financialization on a global scale.

Though this chart is of U.S. energy, with a few minor modifications the mix reflects global energy. Fossil fuels still dominate energy production and consumption. Energy is the master resource--little else can be extracted, processed or transported without fossil fuel energy.

Is it any wonder that a mad scramble is on in the mideast? Consider that Russia and the U.S. are (for the time being) both major global producers of fossil fuels.

Take a moment to consider the Neocon camp's over-reaction to the inchoate challenge to its dominance posed by the Trump administration. What does their frantic over-reaction and full-court press by the media signal about their grasp on history and power?

What it signals to me is 1) they know they're losing the consent of the American public and are frightened of losing power 2) they've lost the judgment of history--their strategy has been an unmitigated disaster on all fronts: their Neoliberal strategy has weakened every nation that has embraced it (including the U.S.) and their interventionist Neocon strategy has failed in its objectives, generated uncontrollable blowback and unintended consequences and weakened America's position and power.

The Neocon behavior is that of a cornered beast. Every potential adversary is deemed a potentially mortal threat, generating a ceaseless flow of self-destructive over-reaction.

What does an opponent do in this circumstance, against an enraged, hyper-reactive foe who senses its own erosion of control? You play along, at least publicly. You bide your time, keeping secret communication lines open with allies and potential adversaries. You stage the Kabuki theater publicly, and communicate about real issues in private.

You give the hyper-reactive Neocons a sense they've regained the upper hand; you placate them in small, meaningless ways to boost their wounded egos, and seek to reassure them that their power is still absolute.

Then you begin chipping away at the foundations of their grasp on power. Two can play at the damaging-secrets-released-to-the-public game, so you play that, releasing the goods to WikiLeaks and other sources.

When a key Neocon player becomes vulnerable, you cashier them under the guise of "moving on to other opportunities."

You plant articles undermining the core Neocon narratives in influential journals such as Foreign Affairs.

You hold private meetings with private-sector and public-sector movers and shakers, letting them know that the winds have shifted against globalization, Neoliberalism and Neocon narratives. You let them know that hedging their bets by advancing anti-Neocon people and narratives would be smart--very smart.

This is how The Long Game is played. For crying out loud, people, the political threat to the Neocon Empire hasn't even been around for three months, and it's already been declared dead on arrival.

Put yourself in the shoes of a patriotic insider who understands the Neoliberals/Neocons are a mortal threat to America's interests. If you go public with your views, you'll get your head handed to you. The only way to play The Long Game in an internecine war is with great patience, and out of the public gaze.

Let's see how things play out over the next few years before we declare the insider opponents of the Neocons have already lost.

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L Bean's picture

So, Trump is another 11th dimensional chess-player? Just what we need!


Donald Trump's picture
Donald Trump (not verified) L Bean Apr 11, 2017 4:06 PM
AltRight Girl's picture


No father can stand the teary eyes of his good girl.

And Trump is known for wanting to bang Ivanka... or at least his obsession with her.



john doeberg's picture

Trump stinks even at checkers.

If not, he would have CHECKED Kushner's background and relationship with SOROS.


bob_bichen's picture
bob_bichen (not verified) john doeberg Apr 11, 2017 4:17 PM

RE:  DAILYWESTERNER,COM    SPAMMER  in conversation with HIMSELF (above) 
***AT the top:   
Donald Trump   AKA    Dyler_Turden   joined by AKA's john doeberg  AKA alt right girl AKA    alt right dude    AKA  ares_xtreme     <<< The "dailywesterner,com" SPAMMER with dozens of log-on's  (see below for your list)  DO NOT FOLLOW ANY LINK WHATSOEVER TO THIS malware- TROJAN-  AND  VIRUS-PLAGUED WEBSITE.  (links may be disguised as "goo,gl" or embedded as "hidden" links"   or in this case    youtube!   -- DO NOT FOLLOW ANY LINK!!!! 

{{Users who would like to communicate DIRECTLY with this Spamming Troll may wish to call the number listed on his facebook page:    *67-1-716-216-2454.  [The *67 assures that YOUR number remains anonymous, just like his posts.  Works on ALL phones, cell and landline!]


ZH USERS MAY wish to send an email to abuse@zerohedge.com and request that this spammer, in all their multiple personalities, be PERMANENTLY BANNED and their CONTENT REMOVED!!!  (copy and paste your list from following)

••dailywesterner,com LOG-ONS::
mdr attitude
Donald Trump
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book man
alt-right girl
john doeberg
alt right dude
blue fin
audio feeline
Art Van Delay

pippi68's picture

Does this spammer comment on EVERY article?!! Jeezus!

DieselChadron's picture

Chuck is so badly wrong about Trump being a threat to deep state.  Trump followed his cues like a champ by reacting to the false flag chemical attack.  Nobody could be so stupid as to believe Assad ordered a chem attack in a war he was winning.  The only way Assad possibly loses at this point would be to use illegal weapons, thereby inviting international participation against Assad in Syria's war against Daesh.  Trump is not so stupid.  The reason Trump unleashed the tomahawks is because he is owned.

SwapThis's picture

this may be correct, but it is far from proven.  Nothing I have seen shows that the attacks as they were could not also be construed as a great way to end the Trump-is-a-Ruskie talk, show XI he has big brass and show the Korean FatBoy what could come flying through his window one day.  What is clear is that the Russians got the info communicated to them from US DOD prior to the missles hitting targets, moved the stored CWs and were able to keep all their people in one piece.  That sounds like pretty good orchestration from Mattis at least.

No one has enough info from what is in the public domain to know much about what was in Trumps mind or what before or after the attack. A lot could be true...

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

Treasury Secretary is Jack Lew, that Picture does not Lack Jew.



Sofa King's picture

Steven Mnuchin...if your going to be a prick, at least get the insult correct.

hooligan2009's picture

hahaha...excellent.. slapbitchhhh

kalboking's picture
Trump approves Montenegro's NATO membership.Trump is MAGA . he's taking down the bull assad who kills children and keeping all his promises. 
WhackoWarner's picture

Did you lose your cuddly blanket kiddo?

I would suggest that when entering the playground.  You might want to cease to be an complete idiot,  In the Fight Club youse is toast and carry no punch.


You is confused kiddo.  Going to be a deduction off your paycheck this week for this.

LawsofPhysics's picture

The energy chart is the key.  If you actually have access to consumable calories then you can do and make real shit.  If not, well then fuck you pay me!



Chupacabra-322's picture

Apr 3 2017 - Europe approves Nordstream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany

April 6 2017 - need to attack Syria.

Coincidentally, with a new government a gas pipelin can be run from Qatar to Europe and cut-off Russian gas revenue.

Nord Stream 2 Project Gets Green Light From EU

*Three Mediterranean EU countries and Israel agreed on Monday to continue pursuing the development of a gas pipeline ... EU countries and Israel ... April 3, 2017 ...*

EU, Israel agree to develop Eastern Mediterranean gas pipeline


hooligan2009's picture

nice catch! i hadn't seen it on the MSM, or a comparison with other pipeline routes, or a suggestion that if Assad is ousted, a route via Syria would make gas half the price of Russia's - in fact a discussion on price would directly impact the CPI's of European countries and their standards of living.

Ms No's picture

That might solve one mystery.  The other one is, how do they expect to keep these pipelines functioning after they turn the ME into a hellhole?   



HRClinton's picture

The pipeline through Israel is integral to its rise in the ME. Turning its neighboring countries into failed states, dovetails these plans.

Denying Iran, Iraq and Syria from having a pipeline to Europe is a zero-sum game. It also denies China the southern path of their Silk Road to Europe, through Afghanistan and Iran.

This is the Long Game for Eurasia. This is the real 11D chess game.

SwapThis's picture

Plans for these pipelines go back several years and have always been the genesis for UAE/Qatar/KoSA backing of ISIS to balkanize Syria/Iraq as needed to facilitate building the pipeline they want on their terms.  I heard Assad asked for too much kickback and that was the straw that broke the camels back as far as support for him to continue in power....Drumbeat since then by NeoCons and other KoSA backed shills is 'oust Assad'

SwapThis's picture

Plans for these pipelines go back several years and have always been the genesis for UAE/Qatar/KoSA backing of ISIS to balkanize Syria/Iraq as needed to facilitate building the pipeline they want on their terms.  I heard Assad asked for too much kickback and that was the straw that broke the camels back as far as support for him to continue in power....Drumbeat since then by NeoCons and other KoSA backed shills is 'oust Assad'

c2nnib2l's picture

I like the bit by Mattis echoed by press sec that EVEN HITLER DIDN't USE CHEMICAL WEAPONS. 


surprised to hear that from a history lover hah


what about Zyklone B and Hydrogen cyanide used widely by germans ? lol wtf are they're talking about ?

Squid Viscous's picture

Zyklon-B was used to de-louse the interred, and there were NO "gas chambers" as has been well documented...


c2nnib2l's picture

I like the bit by Mattis echoed by press sec that EVEN HITLER DIDN't USE CHEMICAL WEAPONS. 


surprised to hear that from a history lover hah


what about Zyklone B and Hydrogen cyanide used widely by germans ? lol wtf are they're talking about ?

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) c2nnib2l Apr 11, 2017 4:09 PM

I done herd that was fake news.

Herodotus's picture

Those were pesticides, not weaponized products.

hooligan2009's picture

nailed it.

i am wondering how many military juntas have run a succesful democracy, or been at the top end of it.

we need the military to protect our asses; not sure i want them to feed and educate me.

NuYawkFrankie's picture


Reality Creator's picture

Since 0Hedge has a bias that permits only pro-Trump stories, the website will not print this:

"After racking up an estimated $22 million travel tab in less than three months, Donald Trump is well on his way to spending more in a single year than Barack Obama spent on travel during all eight years of his presidency.

Trump has spent 21 days of his 80-day presidency at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, at an estimated cost of $21.6 million in travel and security expenses. In contrast, Obama spent a total of just under $97 million during his entire presidency.

At Trump’s current pace, he will spend $99 million by the end of his first year in office. That would add up to close to $800 million if he served an eight-year term as Obama did."

This is a true test of the moral relativism of 0Hedge readers: you all condemned Obama for playing too much golf and going on his summer vacations to Martha's Vineyard and Christmas vacations to Hawaii. You derisively called him "The Putter in Chief" among many other racist terms that had nothing to do with his travel expenses. Where is your outrage now?

If you blow this off and defend Trump, you know you are a moral relativist. Moral relativism is considered the greatest destructive force to one's personal integrity. Inasmuch is science is correct whether you choose to believe in it or not, so too is the fact your integrity is inextricably linked to your moral relativism.

Go ahead, say childish, impish and un-American comments from your little room, it will not change you before others or your god. Nothing you say can change the fact you are moral relativists and have no integrity.

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) Reality Creator Apr 11, 2017 4:13 PM

No, the true test of a patriot is if they supported Trump for his anti-Globalist agenda and condemned the Neo Con missile attack. 

That's called integrity.

ThirdWorldDude's picture

The one doesn't necessarily exclude the other. 

Both issues are important, each in its own way; a blow to the head vs. death by 1000 cuts...

Boca's picture

I voted for Trump, but I will just as easily vote for his impeachment if he fu$ks this up, but I still have confidence, plus Hilary would already have 100k troupes in syria already

pippi68's picture

Because it's much cheaper to have taxpayers funding a $4 billion dollar slush fund and $500 billion dollars in HUD fraud. Oh and let's not forget the Fannie/Freddie debaucle. Your right. We all miss Obama so much. He was such a money saver for us. Pinching every penny on behalf of everyday Americans. Btw-- Where is Obama these days? I thought he was going to be the neuclus of the "Resist" movement that brings Democrats back to power from his Washington D.C. headquarters.

pippi68's picture

And US Debt has DECREASED $102 billion since Pres. Trump took office, but who's counting? REEEEEE!

Swedgen's picture

who the fuck cares? They're all scumbags who exist to fellate the banksters and m.i.c., or are "un-American" as you might say about all of them in the post 1913 era

booboo's picture

Tell us your thoughts on the left, Oblammer, McCain, Busuuush, Marco, his big brother the Canadian Ted Cruzer Empress Hillrohito. and we will get back to you. Most the people I know that voted for trump want to punch him in his coscksucker about now, if you have finished you can go play in the street now.

WhackoWarner's picture

How bout backing this info up?

A link perhaps.  Maybe some credible source for this?  Otherwise go away.

Lucky Leprachaun's picture

Amazing, considering he's hardly been outside the country....

besnook's picture

i always considered it a j curve because of the usual exponential spike to stardom, a hesitation followed by a spectacular spectacle of bursting light ending in a rapid fall back to earth on the other side of the axis.

Neochrome's picture

"Whatever you think of President Trump--pawn, buffoon, loose cannon, evil incarnate, whatever"

Actually I think of him as a gaudy man that surrounds himself with glitz and glitter in order to distract himself from all the ugliness and emptiness inside of himself, that got where he is by "playing along" with the Mob, followed family tradition of pimping prostitutes in his Casinos/Hotels, has clear incest issues, lacking self-control, doesn't have any respect for truth and justice, narcissistic and self-serving, limited insights and intellectually shortsighted, disloyal,  clearly a pushover, and so on...

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) Neochrome Apr 11, 2017 4:12 PM

Well shit.  Sounds like any other Democrat when you put it that way.  Well at least he isn't a fucking pedophile like ol' Denny Hastert.

Neochrome's picture

Did I mention that Trump is now officially a murderer as well? 

Oldwood's picture

Then, we are ALL murders, unless you have some line item exclusion on your taxes that says they will not be spent on murderous adventures by our government. Sure, we didn't "pull the trigger" but it ain't like we didn't know what was going on. I think we would be considered an accessory to murder, if your indictment holds true.

WhackoWarner's picture

So when exactly are the American people going to object?  Beyond comments and arm chair observations?  World is friggin waiting ya know.

WhackoWarner's picture

So what you are saying is he likely has a better moral compass than most of DC? Senate, Congress, appointed life-time generals, bribed officials and judges?

Holy Hannal this level of stupidity at this point is in fact a gift.

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) Apr 11, 2017 4:11 PM

What is the nature of this persistent Neo Con control?  How is it exercised?  Who are they, specifically?

Names, lists.

Chupacabra-322's picture

The Criminal Fraud UNITED STATES, CORP. INC's War Crimes are many & span 16 years.

The "Policy" of arming, funding & training Alqueda / Al CIA duh / ISIS /
I CIA SIS goes back to the days of the Mujahadeen.

Diplomacy is an Art that has been thrown into the dustbin of History. There is no profit motive in Diplomacy.

There are profits in Treasonous Pure Evil War Crimes. That pipeline is the Profit Motive as well as continued Criminal US Hedgemony of Vassal States & survival of the Ponzi Criminal US Petroleum Dollar.

Qatar is a Sunni gas-powerhouse and wants to become the main supplier of gas there, and Saudi Arabia is a Sunni oil-powerhouse, which wants to become the major supplier of oil, but Saudi oil and Qatari gas would be pipelined through secular-controlled (Assad's) Syria, and this is why the U.S. and its fundamentalist-Sunni allies, the Sauds, and Qataris, are using Al Qaeda and other jihadists to conquer enough of a strip through Syria so that U.S. companies such as Halliburton will be able safely to place pipelines there, to be marketed in Europe by U.S. firms such as Exxon. Iran also wants to pipeline its gas through Syria, and this is one reason why Iran is defending Syria’s government, against the U.S.-Saudi-Qatari-jihadist invasion, which is trying to overthrow and replace Assad.


Savvy's picture

Does anyone here believe Putin will back down?