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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buckstopshere's picture

Russia has nothing to gain in Syria.

It is a sideshow.

Perimetr's picture

Russia has a lot to lose in Syria.

It has to stop the US-Saudi-Qatar mercenary armies,

Otherwise they wind up making their way to Chechnya and Russia.

The Russians are not about to bow down before the Americans,

who are drunk on hubris and seem to think that Russia "will back down".


eatthebanksters's picture

There is too much bullshit flying around.  Trump and Tillerson do not want war with anyone.  But, no longer are we Putin's asswipe like we were with Obama.  Putin will think twice about invading Poland or Latvia/Lituania/Estonia or more adventurous expiditions in the Ukraine. Trump has also delivered a message to every other bad actor:  if you cross the line or fuck with us then you will pay a heavy price.  I have no problem with us standing up for ourselves again.  

stizazz's picture

Trump did the same thing as Bush.

At the beginning, W said Putin was a kindred spirit. Then, turned on him.

W orchestrated 2 major wars, which teed off with a false flag, 9/11.

Get ready for Trump. His wars (and false flag?) are sure coming.

BlindMonkey's picture

Regardless of the theater (Syria, Yemen, NorK, Baltics, Balkans, Africa, S. America, Pac Rim or MENA) can anyone take the US State Dept at its word? 

In other words, is the US an honest broker or not?

Ace006's picture

Nikki just told the world if the UN won't give us what we want, well, who cares about the UN. We can do what we want.

That is what is known as "diplomacy."

new game's picture

i think rex/dumpty and lav/putin should tag team in the ring and duke it out. winner take all.

game over.

saves thousand of lives and billions of central bank slave debt dollas...

ps. no paramedic and don't recesitate. death is an option!

HardAssets's picture

The Russians may have come to the conclusion that they are ultimately in the globalist cross-hairs. Whether the weapons used against them are conventional, nuclear, or jihadi hoards, - the globalists don't want strong independent nations.

As for 'calling your congressman' - - - I doubt the globalists and their whore minions give a damn what the people think. The population has been dumbed down by 'education' and the msm. The crowd that marched against the Vietnam war in the 60s lost their anti-war sentiments after they and theirs were no longer threatened by the draft. They'll even cheer a war if 'their guy' starts it.

thisandthat's picture

The fact that Rexy actually met with Putin, proves the US didn't (yet?) go enough off the deep end for the 2nd hypothesis.

besnook's picture

you have to have good reason to stand up. the only reason the usa has given is the good of the empire. the usa is just standing up so everyone can get a clear sight on the target. in other words the usa stands for nothing good anymore.

ZRizzo's picture

If Besnook and his friends had this magical machine that could print money, but only if it was needed for 'something'.  Wouldn't besnook and his buddies create a financial need somehow so they can print more money and earn commission and interest?  What if everytime besnook and his buddies created a financial need, it brought in more business and eslaved their borrowers?   I'd say besnook and his buddies could soon rule the world! 

There is no good or bad anymore in the world, only opportunities.  The rich do not fight the wars, they fund it.  It's the poorly educated and helpless that die so they can thrive.



new game's picture

simplisticly true dat! share dat print, but i promise no killing to keep my spoils...


Volkodav's picture

       invasions? expititions?

       dumb and delusional 



HowdyDoody's picture

A clear case of pre-traumatic stress disorder. Pre-traumatic stress disorder manifests as stress induced by treating some imagined event created by the patient's sub-conscious as actually having happened. The lower the probablity of the imagined event actually happening, the greater the self-induced pre-traumatic stress. Most specialists consider the disorder is induced by snorting too much Ziocaine. Some argue the disorder may be contagious, spread through close personal contact typically in social gatherings, including but not exclusive to, pizza parties.

milking institute's picture

Obama was Putins ass wipe? seriously? have you heard of Obama sanctions against russia and the  obama orchesrtrated military build up on russia's borders? maybe CNN has got you all confused but as one wise man once said: do not confirm your ignorance by speaking.

Koba the Dread's picture

Why would anyone, especially Russia, want to occupy Poland or the Baltics or western Ukriane. All those countries are incubators for alcoholic psychotics.

HardAssets's picture

Putin has said that the idea of Russia wanting to invade those countries is delusional. Why would they want to attack NATO, with a far greater population than Russia's, in order to get a lot of new headaches ?

The West has reached the Idiocracy stage.

Nexus789's picture

More deluded swinging of limp dicks.

not dead yet's picture

The only bullshit flying around is your diatribe. Russia gave up the Baltics and Poland because they were more trouble than they were worth. The west had attacked Russia many times over the years that after WW2 Stalin took half of Europe as a buffer zone. If you had paid attention it was the US that caused the problems in Ukraine with the ultimate goal of kicking the Russians out of their only warm water base in Crimea. Plenty of blather but no proof the Russians have invaded Ukraine. The IMF at the behest of the US broke all it's rules lending billions to Ukraine which the corrupt politicians and oligarchs promptly stole most of.

Come on genius tell us where Russia or any countries have fucked with us. Real proof not that "take our word for it" bullshit. There are absolutely zero, zilch, none. But who was it that fucked over Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Ukraine, Korea, Cuba, almost all of Central and South America, and so many others along with flying killer drones over at least 7 countries in the ME that have killed thousands of innocent people. Good old USA which has the largest spying networks on the planet and has hacked and messed with every country with an internet hookup. Cities and economies destroyed and millions upon millions dead most of which were innocent civilians. People cry and yell do something when they see fake pictures of suffering or dead kids in Syria but ignore Yemen and the dead and starving there due to US and Saudi aggression that has created a humanitarian disaster affecting millions. Tell us oh so smart one why is that US interests trump the interests of every country on the planet. The US calls itself a nation of laws and outside it's borders it breaks every law it can like the current strike in Syria and impending ones in Korea. How was that standing up for ourselves? Did they gas little kids in Cheyenne WY, LA, or any place on American soil? You probably believe that complete and utter bullshit that the US is the one indispensible nation and the worlds policeman. If that were true there would be far more peace and prosperity around the planet and less war. Instead the US is the worlds biggest supporter of terrorism and the greatest danger to world peace. Until you and those like you shed your American superiority attitude and open your eyes you deserve what will eventually be visited upon you and your families.

peterk's picture

well said.!

im surprised at how some  yanks here still think its their right, right with might to invade a sovereign state.

Some are getting  all hot and heavy with notions that TRUMP is going to teach  north korea right from wrong.

They willfully  step over the part that says its illegal foo the US to  bomb Morth Korea.


Maybe North Korea will  finish teaching the  US a thing or two about WAR.. remember  the korean war form the 1950s  didnt really finish. Prehaps te Kool aid kid  really has a an ICBM that reaches washington.

new game's picture

history is a warp of the mind for most. sensational propaganda molds the mind to give these fuks permission to carry out their crimes against our fellow mankind. kept simple as possible it is un-fuking-believable this is happening in real tyme before our eyes.

talked to mom y'day with fox on in the background and she is one of the brainwashed millions. i said whatever...

no point anymoar trying unbrainwash. another sad reality on how they are winning (the new loosing)...

Jacksons Ghost's picture

Junked you for Lumping "Yanks" together.  Two types of Yanks at Zerohedge and only two.  Those who are paid Trolls of Deep State interest and those who are awake.  For along while we had no Trolls here.

HardAssets's picture

Well, there are a few of the brain-washed here. They usually haven't been active on ZH for very long.

jmarshally's picture

Holy smoke, and shucks oh dear! Couldn't have said it better myself.

barkingbill's picture

people who want to take over the world are happy there are people like you, dimwits who allow it to progress by falsely believing all the bullshit fed to you.

Mustafa Kemal's picture

" I have no problem with us standing up for ourselves again.  "

We are the victims now? I thought is was US that invaded Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, ........

This almost sounds like the meme "Israel has the right to defend itself!"

Crackpot realism at its finest

East Indian's picture

Chechnya is the key; if Moscow loses it, it loses that crucial gap between the Caspian and the Black sea, and also all the Turkish nationalities in the five stans will be emboldened to leave the CIS and join Turkey... then Russia will be confined to tundras.


And Putin is firmly in control of Chechnya; he not going to let the Wahhabi zombies anywhere near there. 

BlindMonkey's picture

I'm in absolute agreement.  There is zero chance a modern Russia will allow Chechnya to fall to KSA and America's insane Islamist goons.

ThirdWorldDude's picture

Russia is well aware of ziocons' deep love for and commitment to Mackinder's Heartland theory. Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Chechnya are only stepping stones leading to the grand prix - Moscow.

Laddie's picture

Putin considers the port in Syria to be quite valuable.
That doesn't mean he couldn't be persuaded to forget about it, but the THREAT would need to be VERY EXTREME.
Putin looks at Russian INTERESTS, not feelings.

Globalists and Neocons: Two potent forces opposing the Assad government in Syria Dr. Kevin MacDonald July 21, 2012

Bashar al-Assad is a very spiritual man. As an Alawite he celebrates both Christmas and Easter. It may be the only true version of Islam extant. He is a WHITE MAN, with a beautiful wife and lovely children. He is an ophthalmologist!

Bashar al-Assad & Family Photo

He is the one leader I really do like, I respect Putin, but I like Assad. He is a wonderful family man, that is important to me, living in a nation where over 50% of marriages end in divorce and adultery is as common as can be.

Dr. Duke interviews Syrian Partisan Girl and she is a pretty girl.
Syrian Partisan Girl Exposing the Zionist Role Behind the American Support ISIS in Syria! April 11, 2017 (AUDIO)

Gen. Ripper's picture

I need to donate something to the daughter

political_proxy's picture

...and she is a pretty girl.

Quite the way to substantiate your point. 

Volkodav's picture

      Kadyrov sits ready in the Caucasus

      his army ready to go

HowdyDoody's picture

He also sent Chechen volunteers into ISIS as deep undercover agents. They were embedded with them for a couple of years bringing out some very useful info. That is hardcore - non-Wahabbists Muslims acting as double agents within ISIS. Don't mess with Chechens.

HRClinton's picture

If Russians are unclear, or tipsy on Hopium Kool-aid, they only need to talk to Native American tribal Chiefs about the sincerity of Big White Chief, and for how long they kept their Word.

Hitler made a similar mistake, because he had a soft spot for the English aristocratic elite. 

Hope based on reality is fine. But hope based on wishful thinking - the kind you see in a church revival tent - can be dangerous or fatal. 

JLM's picture

You obviously have never received a healing in said tent. The very opposite of fatal. Your metaphor betrays a lack of experience in this big wide world.

BarkingCat's picture

You obviously are a delusional fuck.

Healing tent..LOL.. It's a place where all the dumbest of the dumb go to get fleeced.

new game's picture

brainwashing tent...

miricles do happen.

i walked on water y'day

it was raining...

S Spade's picture

Judging by the thumbs up / down voting, perimetr has the support of our multi-id dems and mobros.

MasterControl's picture

Its about a pipeline that Russia wants. 
Your upvote count should scare anyone with a brain.

Koba the Dread's picture

Thank you so much for sharing your opinion with us.

milking institute's picture

Before you make any more dumb statements,try reading up a little: Syria is Russia's oldest and most important ally in the middle east. Putin WILL NOT! just hand it over to Donald or ISIS or who ever,it is as vital to russian interests as Taiwan is to the US. if Trump decides to play the tough guy and disrespect one of russia's most important assets he will be in for a rude awakening. China is watching and hedging their bets....

BrownCoat's picture

What would regime change even look like in Syria?
The former Yugoslavia became a civil war. Iraq became a civil war. Libya became a civil war.

Trump says he wants Assad out, but how can it work? 

HRClinton's picture

Jesus, it's NOT SUPPOSED TO WORK, you GD naive schmuck! 

What is it about you libertarians and your Sunday school or Boy Scout mentality?

No wonder the wolves eat your lunch. Or you. 

(It doesn't matter if I seem harsh. You need someone to set you straight.)

Ace006's picture

America LOVES chaos. Lavrov was trying to get Tillerson to focus on past U.S. experience with regime change but Tillerson didn't give a damn.

The Ram's picture

I think the Russians should definitely try the diplomacy root, but in the end, they just need to say that they will fight back and nukes will be on the table from the beginning. After that, Lavrov tells Tillerson he has been warned.  I personally think that the Russians will have to fight.  The neocons will start the war.  At this time, I think Tillerson is just trying to goad Russia into 'green lighting' the US war so that the Trump administration has some political cover.  Unfortunately, a bad scenario for everyone.

HardAssets's picture

It will all come down to calculation of costs and likelihood of success. You would think that Putin realizes that the globalists are using their Western minion whores to target Russia. But can the Russians pervail in a war ? And will such a war directly with the U.S., lead to global thermonuclear war?

What happens if the stories about Russian advanced military weapons technology is true and U.S. conventional forces are defeated in a regional war ? What follows ?

There was a time when Putin might have hoped that European 'leadership' would come to their senses and not lead their people into economic depression and war by following the U.S. lead. But it seems that fools and the insane are in charge now.