Tillerson In Moscow: Is World War III Back On Track?

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

If anyone is worried whether the prospect of a major war, which many of us considered almost inevitable if Hillary Clinton had attained the White House, is back on track, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Moscow was cold comfort. From his remarks together with his counterpart Sergey Lavrov, there is now little reason to expect any improvement in US-Russia ties anytime soon, if ever, and much reason to expect them to get worse – a lot worse.

There has been a great deal of speculation as to why President Donald Trump, who promised a break with the warmongering policies Hillary would have implemented, and which characterized the administrations of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, would have bombed Syria’s Shayrat airbase in retaliation for a supposed chemical weapons (CW) strike without evidence or authorization from either Congress or the UN Security Council.

(I won’t bore anyone familiar with Balkan affairs with the almost certain origin of the gas attack in Idlib. The odds that it was a false flag by the jihadists far, far outweigh any chance of a CW attack by Syrian government forces. To cite the «Markale market massacres» is enough. Ghouta September 2013 wasn’t the first such deception in Syria, and Idlib April 2017 won’t be the last. American media condemning Assad for the CW attack and demanding justice for the victims never mention that the site is held by al-Qaeda and that they themselves have a CW capability. Nor that the jihadists likely knew when and where Syrian planes would be operating, since the Russians would have notified the US under the deconfliction agreement. This is not to rule out the Russian explanation that the release was due to Syrian bombing of the jihadists’ CW cache but I consider the planned provocation more likely based on the timing. Predictably, an amateurish four-page paper issued by the US intelligence community to justify accusations against Assad contained zero evidence.)  

Among the reasons speculated for President Trump’s abrupt reversal of his campaign positions:

  • Trump actually believes Assad was responsible, based on false intelligence fed to him by National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and others, or on an emotional appeal from his daughter, Ivanka, based on sensational media coverage.
  • Trump doesn’t believe it but someone gave him The Talk: «Do what you’re told, Mr. President, or you and Barron will end up like Jack Kennedy.»
  • Whether or not he believes Assad is to blame for the CW attack, Trump wants to improve ties with the Russians and work together with them to defeat the jihadists in Syria and end the war, and perhaps cut a «grand bargain» that includes Ukraine, but he can’t because of the domestic pressure from the media, the Deep State, almost all of the Democrats, and a lot of Republicans on the evidence-free charge that Moscow tried to skew the 2016 election. (That seems to be partly working, with many formerly harsh critics now praising him. On the other hand, his own base is now split between those cheer any jingoistic use of force and those who see that another optional war will doom his domestic priority to «Make America Great Again!») The one piece of evidence that supports this conjecture is the extremely limited pinprick nature of the US strike on Shayrat.
  • Related to the previous point, given the power of the domestic forces conspiring against him, Trump needed to project strength. (My guess is that Moscow, Beijing, and others will conclude just the opposite: he is weak and not even master in his own house.)
  • Trump is impulsive and lacking in substance, so he goes for the quickest and easiest path to what he perceives to be current advantage. The praise of his former detractors – mainly those who have denigrated and derided him – will prove short-lived. At the earliest opportunity those hailing him now as «presidential» will be the first to call for his head.
  • Trump’s real priority was to impress the Chinese on Korea, with a show of force during President Xi Jinping’s summit in the US. Sending an aircraft carrier group to the waters near Korea with a barrage of bellicose rhetoric that the US will resolve the North Korea issue if China doesn’t reinforces this theory, at least in part. Whether Xi was impressed the way Trump might have intended it is another conjecture. 

Whatever the motives, the real question is what comes next. Aside from when another false flag may occur – which Washington in effect invited with threats of a further, more devastating military action against Syria – it matters whether behind closed doors Tillerson’s proposals differed from his public comments.

Broadly speaking, there are two possibilities:

1.      Tillerson may have said, in effect, that Trump has laid down a marker, neutralized domestic critics, and shown he’s a big dog – now let’s get down to business. All the accusatory language is just for show, so Trump will have greater flexibility of action. In the weeks prior to the Idlib CW attack, Washington and Moscow had seemed to be coordinating on plans for an offensive against Daesh in Raqqa and airstrikes against al-Qaeda in Idlib. The US and Russia together need to find a way to wrap up this war that defeats the enemy Trump campaigned against: radical Islamic terrorism. It’s up to the Syrian people to work out who their leaders should be. If there are security concerns America’s Israeli, Turkish, and Sunni friends have, let’s find a way to address them within that larger context –


2.      Tillerson’s private comments were consistent with his public statements, amounting to imposing the US Deep State’s agenda on Moscow. That diktat gives priority to blocking some mythical «Shia Crescent» to keep our Sunni «allies» and Israel happy. Assad must go on some specified timetable, though we may grandly allow him so preside over a rump Alawite state in western Syria on a temporary basis; if Assad goes along, we’ll let him retire to Moscow, but if he waits until the next chemical provocation it’s off to The Hague or we’ll kill him ourselves. Syria must be partitioned: we will allow Moscow to participate in a marginal role on the «defeat» of Daesh with a blitzkrieg on Raqqa but then create a «Sunnistan» (or maybe more than one) in eastern Syria, run by some hand-picked jihadi group friendly to the Saudis - basically Daesh with new hats and flag: Islamic State «lite.» To limit Kurdish aspirations Turkey might be awarded a «Turkmen» zone in the new Syria, as well as primacy over a neighboring al-Qaeda-administered area. Also we can anticipate a demand that Russia be prepared to step aside and not oppose an operation for regime change in Tehran.

Even the first message might have been a hard sell given how poisoned the well is and the depth of the abyss of Russian mistrust of the United States. No matter how positive anything Tillerson might have said privately, can anyone in Moscow now believe anything from Washington?

But if the message was the second one, as I believe it was, the Russians would have little choice but to conclude that a major war may be unavoidable and they will plan accordingly. (China would reach the same conclusion.) Plans being made when it was assumed Hillary Clinton was going to win but tentatively mothballed with Trump’s election will be pulled out and updated. Paradoxically, Moscow might still acquiesce to Tillerson’s demands on Syria but only in the spirit of August 1939 – a temporary expedient to buy time and space for what must come.

I of course hope the message was the first but fear it was the second. The white-hot rhetoric coming out of Washington is far in excess of that needed to position US opinion for a reasonable deal with Moscow. Quite to the contrary, it seems calculated to burn any bridges back from anything but regime change and more war. Once again, as has been the case since the Cold War ended in 1991 – but only on the Russian side – US goals look to be geopolitical and ideological, not based on American national interest. The agendas of the Deep State and our regional «allies» will continue to set US policy. Russia must be destroyed as an independent power, right after Syria, Iran, and North Korea but before China. (In a Balkan sideshow, Trump this week signed the NATO accession of Montenegro, effectively completing encirclement of Serbia. At a White House meeting with Jens Stoltenberg, Trump praised NATO.) As was the case in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Libya, and today in Syria, the US is happy to use jihadists as proxies while coldly watching them eliminate centuries-old Christian communities.

In short, the usual. If such a path has been chose by Trump, as appears likely, it may well doom his presidency to failure. But in context, that would be the least of our worries.

I would be very, very glad to be proved wrong.

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Sid Davis's picture

With a loose canon in the White House WWIII would be no surprise.

I bet the stock market loses about 40% of its value over the next 18 months.

G-R-U-N-T's picture

Sorry, there may be pullback but the stock market is going shoot up like a rocket and you will wish you were part of the ride.

ZRizzo's picture

The whole family and grandpa included are now in the market.  Sooooo, time to rinse and flush!



BarkingCat's picture

Most retail investors are still out of the market.

spyware-free's picture

"I would be very, very glad to be proved wrong."
You forgot your /sarc tags James. You can't truly believe there is some Machiavellian plot at play to fool the deep state into thinking Trump is one of them. He is one of them. It's the voter that believed he would be different that was fooled.

stant's picture

The valley campaign? on a global scale. There's? a Jubal Early out there some where

Lordflin's picture

If you are referencing the Shanandoah Valley, Early fought in Stonewall Jackson's command. Early was never very good on his own, as was evidenced at a Gettysburg where he, Longstreet, and Stuart, for that matter, all failed to live up to their reputations.

emersonreturn's picture

always good to see you, lordflin

Jubal Early's picture

"Early was never very good on his own"

Armchair generals are a dime a dozen. 

"In June 1864 Lee placed Early in charge of an independent campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. Early’s complement of 14,000 soldiers—known as the Army of the Valley—proceeded to drive the Union forces of General David Hunter from the Shenandoah Valley after the Battle of Lynchburg. Early then turned his army north and crossed the Potomac River into Maryland. He thwarted a Union force at the Battle of Monocacy and arrived on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., by early July. Early considered mounting an attack on the city but was forced to withdraw into Virginia after Union forces arrived to oppose him. He later ordered his cavalry to hold the town of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, for ransom. When demands for gold were not met, Early’s men burned the town in retaliation.

In response to the Washington raid, Union General Philip Sheridan was given 40,000 men and tasked with engaging Early’s Army of the Valley. Outnumbered nearly three to one, Early went on to suffer a series of defeats in the fall of 1864 at the Battles of Third Winchester, Fisher’s Hill and Tom’s Brook. Early executed an audacious surprise attack on Sheridan at the Battle of Cedar Creek, but his depleted troops were defeated during a Union counterattack. The remains of Early’s force were then destroyed at the Battle of Waynesboro in March 1865, opening the Shenandoah Valley and allowing Sheridan to rendezvous with General Ulysses S. Grant for the Appomattox Campaign. Early was then relieved by General Robert E. Lee shortly before the Confederate surrender at Appomattox."


dirty belly's picture

It's Called:

The Riot Act.

First Meeting With Obama

At The White House,


Trump Was Read:

"The Riot Act".

Trump doesn’t believe it but someone gave him The Talk: «Do what you’re told, Mr. President, or you and Barron will end up like Jack Kennedy.»

Why Does It Take This Long To Figure That Out?

slyder wood's picture

Or maybe it's like the "Devils Advocate" movie.

aPocketofResistance's picture

If (big if) Trump is playing some long game that convinced China that he's not fucking around with NK, and China takes NK out first, AND Trump stays out of Syria, I could probably forgive him for the tomahawk strike. I know it's a long shot.

East Indian's picture

Lets face it. Trump has been pwned by the deep state. "How?" is only an academic question. 



Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Jim you already have concluded it's #2 and WE AGREE!...

Trump and "Barron" need to figure out a way to weave this (http://www.ae911truth.org/) into this (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-14/us-insurers-sue-saudis-42-billi...)...

In order to defuse "TEAM JARED"... Or this ride for the House of Zion Jew/Wahhabi/British/American -whatever... is going to get the all over Samson option "tan" that will make the sand in the first two of those places the biggest glass skating rink in existence!!!

Either the U.S. military will do the RIGHT THING through MUTINY as the only other alternative OR...


Cause the American people certainly aren't going to demand change on their own given the crimes they've allowed their own government to continue to commit since 9/11!!!

Publicus's picture

Goodbye California.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

"Goodbye California."???

Goodbye North America (all of it) with these tools courtesy of the Russian Federation once Damascus/Aleppo/Donbass get fucked with courtesy of NATO!...




besnook's picture

it is really pretty simple and based upon simple human psychology. the usa wants to be the big dick among men and refuse to give up that position, resorting to viagra to keep its dick big and hard. if the usa wants to retain its dominance over the world russia and china must go. waiting even a day makes russia/china that much stronger so they have to go sooner rather than later.

apparently everyone in dc thinks they can outrun history and human psychology. if you are american you are fucked. the only consolation is the rest of the world is fucked also. USA!USA!USA!

slyder wood's picture

If the bankers can't get deeper into Russia and China you're probably right.

HowdyDoody's picture

Rothschilds are investing Russia - betting both ways as usual.

Yen Cross's picture

  Trump is long in the "Rolodex"... Not so much in "common sense".

Fantasy Free Economics's picture

There will be no war. Here is why.  http://quillian.net/blog/i-am-forecasting-no-war/

Watch for a sudden let up in tensions, probably Sunday night or before U.S. financial markets open in monday.

Look for a Trump is wonderful, be did it, aint he something short squeeze on monday. 

Also watch for some unexpected good news that is so wonderful that we just can't stand it.

I don't know how long it will last or if there will be any follow through because everyone knows the drill.

But, it will happen.



Stinkworx's picture

Russia will not bow down to America in Ukraine or Syria. If the US don't pull back their proxy forces (Isis) there will be a war and I think the US will get their bum wiped

Hamm Jamm's picture

Did you think that this president would be any different from the last series of war mongers...   LOLOLOLOLOL   

whoa you didn't see that coming


keep voting ... its making a difference !

tony bonn's picture

absolutely no difference between hillary and the jewtard-in-chief in the white house. lies about assad are so foolish and laughable but with 100s of millions of idiot americans, their stupid-fuck little minds can be twishted to believe any jewish lie - such as the holocaust and that assad gassed the chidrens. these people are a cancer on the world and need to be removed from this country.

jet20's picture

Why did Trump turn into George W. faster than a cruise missile?

Because Kushner turned into Cheney!

Jkweb007's picture

Seriously Russia attacking Poland stop smoking that CNN . Lets get real if Russia wanted it and invaded would you be willing to have a nuclear confrontation no way. What goes on over there is there business. If Poland isnt willing to defend itself then as they say from the victor come the spoils. Yet Russia is not attacking anyone the U.S. has invaded numerous cou tries and with no declaration of war just say its terrorism and green light is on. The U.S. has lost track of the constitution, freedom, monroe doctrine to name a few. 

The best way peace can come now is crash the dollar. We will be the next USSR BANKRUPT NATION unable to fund its large military. China and Russia have been on that track create a gold back trade note and stop this toilet paper the world trades called the dollar. I think the elite know thats down the road and want to blame the collapse on war. It will be difficult for us but I rather see the dollar collapse than a burning world.

mog's picture

Poland is a warmongering whore.
They cause the wars and drag in others to fight them.
World war 2 for a start but that hasn't sated them.
Now they want World war 3.
They are a nasty nation and people.
You want to see the 2,000,000 who have invaded Britain.
They grab everything not nailed down.
Hundreds of thousands living off full welfare and the British taxpayer - shamelessly.
It was the Polish invasion that won Brexit.
They all need kicking out.
Leeches and if they want to confront Russia - get on and do it without dragging in Europe and Britain AGAIN

BarkingCat's picture

Good. At least they get some of the gold back that Britain stole from Poland after WWII started.

As far as war mongering whores, no one tops the Brits or more precisely the English.

Have you fuckers left North Ireland yet??

The British have fought wars against France, Spain, Germany and Russia to name on a few.

Where were these wars fought?? France, Spain, Germany and Russia. Brits always the fucking aggressor.

Enjoy your decline and Islamization you inbred child fuckers.

BitchezGonnaBitch's picture

Wow, never heard this before. Wanna break this down into smaller pieces so I can correct some of those points? At least I hope I can, because it sounds like you have a major axe to grind.

Apart from the lunatic govt, Poland's awesome. People are great, food is great, women are amazing. Even the weather is pretty good mate. You should visit. I recommend Krakow and Wroclaw for top laughs.  

G-R-U-N-T's picture

Ugh, I hope Trump doesn't turn into Lynden Johnson and regret losing all those innocent lives.

gougeonit's picture

Trump; Pushing all his chips in the middle, on a pair of three's and sixes

OccamsCrazor's picture

this article is a bunch of horse shit. Ignore it. 

There isn't going to be any WWIII. 


galant's picture

Thank you for that advice.

Who could reject such a thoughtful, reasoned rebuttal of the author's arguments?

Victor999's picture

The only ones who believe that WWIII is not possible are those who believe Russia will in the end back down.  It simply will not happen.  You will be saying that even when the ships are sinking, the planes are being blown out of the air and the bombs are falling on your cities.

hooligan2009's picture

trump is not alexander the great, but he will attempt the solution to the gordian knot - similar to occams razor, but only ever using deadly, shiny bits of metal

milking institute's picture

Calm down people,exon mobile and goldman sack have got this one,silly worry warts....

Grandad Grumps's picture

The Chabad Lubavich extremist president Kushner wants WAR! Lacky bitch Trump will do as he is told.

Ajax_USB_Port_Repair_Service_'s picture

Looks like we're gearing up for World Wars III, IV, and V.

Resources are going to be spread too thin for conventional warfare. Damn!

UnschooledAustrianEconomist's picture

There will always be enough sticks and stones to wage WWIV and V.

herbivore's picture

What WON'T be a False Flag is when Russia sinks U.S vessels or shoots down U.S. planes in response to American bombing of Syria again, which will happen immediately following the next American-sponsored False Flag chemical attack. Then we're off to the races. How quickly does it escalate to a nuclear exchange...days? weeks? I've asked it before and I'll ask it again...does Trump, his family, his cabinet, the Congress critters, the media...do they think they will emerge from their bunkers victorious, and life will go on more or less as before? See, I don't even think they ask that question. I think they believe Russia will back down. They're counting on Russia backing down, they must believe this with almost absolute certainty- otherwise, they are psychopaths through-and-through. Otherwise, they are among the dumbest humans alive. Trump is rather dumb, but some of the people around him are very smart, albeit self-centered. But even that self-centeredness has a strong survival component. Wilber Ross, Gary Cohn, and especially Steve Bannon, they don't want to see the planet reduced to a burned out cinder. It all makes no sense to me. I come back to the idea that they must be CERTAIN Russia will back down. 

This will seem heretical to most of you but since planetary survival seems most important, maybe the best thing would have been for Bernie Sanders to have won. I think he would have not acted in such a manner as to cause nuclear armageddon. 

Victor999's picture

You, like many Americans, still believe that people make a difference in American politics - elect the right bloke and things will change for the better.  


The undeniable fact is that your government has been taken over by others who don't even recognise the people of America as anything other than enemies of the state.  No one in America will reach the presidency who has not been vetted deeply by these folks.  And if by some VERY remote chance someone did get through the screen, they would be instantly marginalised or assassinated - as was Trump.


You have lost your country.  Face it.

mog's picture

Russia will not back down.
Dream on
It will not back down and it will have the support of most people on the planet - if not the governments.

herbivore's picture

I think Steve Bannon needs to resign and hold a press conference in which he describes in gory detail the lunacy that is Donald Trump and the war hawks in his cabinet and the threats they pose to humanity. Bannon is an excellent public speaker, based on the youtube video I watched of him. Would he be too afraid he would be assassinated? Like Trump said "We do bad things too" in response to being asked about how evil Putin is. The threat of assassination would be real but I sure hope he takes the risk.

hooligan2009's picture

political assassinations tend to be executed because of what someone migt do, not what they have done. when the cats out of the bag, what is the point? revelatory protections (released on death) are the standard insurance policy.

either trump has bargained progress on health care and tax reform or he has been threatened/blackmailed to abandon/spit on his support base of common sense.

i think the latter.

Ace006's picture

An excellent analysis.

Tillerson in that press conference with Lavrov was all about arrogance and deceit.

The U.S. had decided Assad and his family would not be playing a role in Syria. And Congress and the Constitution could be ignored. Tillerson was cold, unyielding, and uninterested in the views of the Russians. Lavrov was rational, knowledgeable, and, I think, amazed at what he'd just seen in private.

There are many reasons to doubt the culpability of Assad, sensible people don't rush to judgment on important matters on flimsy evidence, and immediate action was entirely unnecessary. Therefore action was taken based on reasons not declared.

I recall reading somewhere shortly after the inauguration that Trump's and Putin's first phone call had not gone well. I've no idea where I read that. It was an "uh oh" moment. Then the days went by with not one indication whatsoever appe aring that Trump intended any kind of a retreat from the domestic hysteria that has reigned since November.

There was no meet and greet in the Greek islands, no invitation to the expelled spies to return, and for damn sure no meaningful cooperation in Syria. There's the source of U.S. hostility: Russia is an obstacle to our pro-head chopper foreign policy. Thus, Russia is deeply resented.

Well, we'll see what kind of a climb down is in store for our new Metternich, our budding Richelieu, when the Japanese and S. Koreans not so politely express their adamant opposition to playing the part of extras in the Trump movie now in production.

And now where are we if Trump promised some good trade deals with "Chyina" in exchange for cooperation on NK? I thought we were going to straighten out big trade and business problems with them and now that's compromised to pursue a dangerous new policy that wasn't mentioned ever in the last 16 months. Have we merely replaced an America-hating, communist, salafist-loving man of mystery with some kind of loose cannon? I know. He's going to handle N. Korea in between enacting Obamacare II and tax reform. It makes sense now.