Luongo: Trump Is Done, Mattis Won

Authored by Tom Luongo,

Friday night’s attack on Damascus was chilling.  No question.  It dredged up the worst possible scenarios from our sub-conscious and for a few hours made them real.  Now that the dust has settled, and we see what’s occurred (and what hasn’t) it’s time to draw some conclusions.

First thing’s first.  I reiterate what I said earlier in the week.  Trump is finished.  Read my article carefully, then overlay two things I didn’t talk about.  One, Trump is impulsive and easily manipulated. 

Two, Trump is ultimately a coward and an appeaser, just like The Saker pegged him to be after bombing Al-Shairat last year.

All bullies are cowards.  That’s why they bully.

Because of these personal defects, he gave his resignation speech last night.  Be it later this year when he’s impeached/forced to resign for a war crime or in January 2021 after losing to a baked potato, the anti-interventionist crowd who elected him will remember this for a long time.

I want to remind you of what happened last year with Al-Shairat.  Trump bombed it while having dinner with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping.  A light show of sound and fury which ultimately did very little damage. 

But, it did not signify nothing.

It signified that Trump is out of his depth in foreign policy.

A few months later Seymour Hersh, one of the few journalists left in the U.S., published his expose of what actually happened which led to the decision to bomb Syria.  It was at this point I realized Trump wasn’t fit to conduct foreign policy.  Trump wanted to go to war fully and was talked out of it by his military advisers, namely Gen. James Mattis.

Mattis of Grave Import

Mattis gave Trump the option he took.  A big light show which the Russians allowed to occur so Trump could get some relief from his detractors and satisfy himself that he did something in response to what he perceived to be a morally reprehensible act.

No 4-d chess. No back door coordination with the Russians.  Just a man with a deep sense of morality that needed to feel powerful.

Now fast forward to last night.  Same story.  Different circumstances since now Trump is even more isolated, more paranoid, more betrayed at every level by his political opposition. Do you think he hired John Bolton because he’s become more nuanced in his foreign policy approach?

If you do, then you aren’t just an idiot.  You are an heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots.

Sometimes when we do this type of analysis we forget about the men we are actually dealing with versus who we are personally.  It’s easy to overlay our own abilities onto a public figure and think that if we can see this, he has to be able to.

But, that’s the wrong approach.  Trump is what he is.  And re-reading Hersh’s account from last year reminded me of what we’re dealing with here.

They were dealing with a man they considered to be not unkind and not stupid, but his limitations when it came to national security decisions were severe. “Everyone close to him knows his proclivity for acting precipitously when he does not know the facts,” the adviser said. “He doesn’t read anything and has no real historical knowledge. He wants verbal briefings and photographs. He’s a risk-taker. He can accept the consequences of a bad decision in the business world; he will just lose money. But in our world, lives will be lost and there will be long-term damage to our national security if he guesses wrong. He was told we did not have evidence of Syrian involvement and yet Trump says: ‘Do it.”’

His refusal to act against his domestic enemies who are obviously guilty put him in the position he’s in now, having to trust the word of the worst people in U.S. policy-making, the John Bolton wing of the establishment.

To survive last year, Trump made a deal with them.  The military would be in charge of foreign policy.  Trump would get to play president working on domestic issues.  But, during that time things got even worse.

Yes, he got some major domestic wins.  He outlasted his opposition long enough to reveal the depths of their depravity and mendacity.  But, all that time the center of the foreign policy establishment in Washington closed in on him.  And the siren’s call of moralistic intervention to stop Iran and/or Russia was consistently impressed on him.

The Big Show

So, here we are again.  Trump’s enemies know how to get him triggered to do something stupid and against his good instincts.  Then compound this by telling him the Russians are the problem.  They are lying.  They’ve betrayed him too.

He has a near obsession with being the anti-Obama.  It defines so many of his actions.

It’s why he’s willing to tweet out a complete reversal of what he advocated for in 2013, for Obama not to bomb Syria.  He was right then.  But, as president, he’s defined Obama as his shadow, everything he’s not.  And with good reason, Obama is likely behind much of the opposition he’s dealing with every day.

These things build up over time.  They paralyze a man as self-absorbed as Trump.  He’s no angel, but he was the best option we had in 2016.  Our options were Hillary Clinton or him.  We chose Trump.

But, make no mistake, we still elected DONALD TRUMP.

And that leads me to where we are now.

Yesterday I wrote that I thought Mattis and Trump were trying to run out the Neoconservatives clock on bombing Syria.  I was half-right.  Trump had already gone fully over to the neocons approach and Mattis talked him out of it.

Bolton pushed for a broader attack hard and Mattis put the kibosh on it because he’s the adult in the room.

If not, the Neocons would finally have the war they’ve been salivating for these past forty plus years.  But, things have changed.

Russian anti-missile systems are too strong for us to deal with.  It would take the kind of saturation bombing reserved only for Defcon 1 scenarios to attack Syria with the intention of ‘winning.’

The Syrians claim to have shot down 70% of the incoming missiles using old Russian anti-missile batteries, S-200’s, Buks, etc.  Even if they are exaggerating and only shot down half of the missiles.  It only makes the next steps clearer.  Russia will sell Assad S-300’s now.

Only Winning Matters

Looking at the results of the attack last night I fully believe it was another ‘Goldilocks Option’ from Mattis like last year.  While we may not have informed the Russians the attack was coming, France may have.  Moreover, France may have backed out of actually firing missiles at all.

If this was a serious attack on Damascus, which I don’t believe, then Syrians wouldn’t be dancing in the streets for having survived the U.S.’s impotent chest-thumping.

They would be mourning their dead.

We didn’t hit any Iranian, Russian or Hezbollah installations.  The Israelis will be incensed.  In fact, this was a no-winner outcome.  Everyone was weakened by this to some degree in the short term, except the target of the attack itself, Bashar al-Assad.

Assad will now move on to the next victory in the campaign to re-form Syria.  While Mattis just gave the rebels carte blanche to stage another chemical weapons attack in Dara’a, which is the next likely area to be cleansed of ‘rebels.’

But, that’s where Mattis is smarter than Trump.  He knows that even if one of Assad’s commanders went off the reservation and used chlorine gas here, something I give a 5 to 10% probability of, it’s not worth World War III over.  He knows that horrible things happen in war.  And that leaders and civilian populations cannot be held accountable for the deficits of one man or small cadre of men.

There’s no real option for us to go deeper into Syria, despite what the Israeli lobby and the Neocons in the U.S. want.  This attack didn’t help them.  By doing this Mattis continues to let Trump blow off steam, make his points and hasten the day that we can actually get out of the Middle East.

Trumped Himself

Meanwhile Trump just ensured that he has no bargaining power in North Korea, is aligned with the criminal U.K. government in illegally bombing a sovereign nation in violation of all international law and pushed Russia, Iran and China into a closer alliance.

His opponents will hang him with this strike.  Even if he was coerced into this against his will, it signals to the world he isn’t in control of anything and has no real power.  So much for the Art of the Deal.

Up until now, much of Trump’s successes have come from his allies supporting him by leaking damaging material domestically or covering for his mistakes internationally.  They did this because they believed him to be sincere in wanting to devolve the U.S. empire and bring rationality back to international politics.

And I still believe he is.

But, with his unwillingness to evolve and become better they aren’t going to let him get his wins anymore.  There’s no upside for Putin to let Trump take the credit for purging Syria of ISIS or brokering peace with North Korea anymore.

Trump is hopeless on the international stage.  Another false flag, another impotent light show.  He’s not Orange Jesus, he’s a deeply flawed, if well-intentioned man.  And it’s time we stopped the cult of personality and begin the hard work of Draining the Swamp.

That’s why he’s done.  And that’s why we’re not out of the woods yet.  For now, we can let out a breath but this isn’t over.

The neocons will push for Trump to fire Mattis next.  If that happens, duck.

*  *  *

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Ghost of PartysOver Truther Sun, 04/15/2018 - 20:42 Permalink

Anyone besides me is seeing an over whelming number of people that think they know everything, know every move on the chess board 300 moves in advance.  The narcissism is yuge.  WW III is imminent. Trump will receive the Nobel Peace Price.  The Best Korea will see the light after Trump talks to them.  The Best Korea will send nukes flying.  Trump created a rip roaring economy.  Trump created the next Financial Disaster.   And the List is endless!

Nostradamus X 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

Edgar Cacey  X 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

And they were not exactly what I would call "Spot On".  Oh, and don't forget Planet 9.


In reply to by Truther

JimmyJones beepbop Sun, 04/15/2018 - 20:51 Permalink

Lots of assuming in this article, not much I agree with, Trump likes people with opposite views around him, Mattis and Bolton supposed to have them. We will see. If Mattis, "won" then good. Trump still chose to listen.

In reply to by beepbop

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In reply to by D.T.Barnum

ldd bshirley1968 Sun, 04/15/2018 - 22:38 Permalink

my guess - there are a number of competing interests on the new axis side. nothing is going according to plan even if it may appear to be kabuki or 4d chess.

if experience is a measure any organization of people is a clusterfuk. it is a question of minimizing problems, issues, mistakes... all it takes is one individual who fuks up or has a grudge. every major downfall i have seen was due to one individual who either fukked up or pulled the plug.

the whole drama and subsequent downfall of many in korea is due to one young guy who was upset because the last president's puppet master chastised the guy because he was not taking care of her dog with the utmost urgency opening up a can of worms that is ongoing. this is a simple case of a small country. with larger more established organizations and countries this will take more time and is happening now and will be epic when...

In reply to by bshirley1968

Precious Hawk bshirley1968 Mon, 04/16/2018 - 04:18 Permalink

Just what is coming for Theresa May and Boris to give up any iota of credibility that they have?

Trump has none - he was winning some, but threw that away.

Time for QE2 to get to work and shut down this government.

Lock up Theresa and Boris for treason.

But again, what is coming that they are so afraid of?

Chinese/Russian Gold backed currency? The end of the Petro and Euro Dollars?

In reply to by bshirley1968

Al Gophilia D.T.Barnum Sun, 04/15/2018 - 21:45 Permalink

If Trump had asked for congressional approval, he would have convinced me he was a Constitutionalist as he campaigned that he was. Trump, you've got to adhere the law if you are to be the change you promised to be. As for those who claim that you're some 4d champion chess player, fuck them for ignoring the pawns and innocents whom you have killed playing your political games. The truth and transparency are your greatest weapons. You will lose your job if You ignore them, for that is the Will of the People.

In reply to by D.T.Barnum

Yellow_Snow JimmyJones Sun, 04/15/2018 - 21:36 Permalink

"[Trump] a man with a deep sense of morality" LMFAO

Sorry I don't believe that for a second...  Trump used people throughout his career, declaring bankruptcy several times leaving a trail of financial destruction...  

In politics he shit all over his base telling lie after lie, he doesn't give a rat's ass about anybody except his own greedy self.

In Syria he know that there was no 'chemical weapons attack' by Assad but he still attacked with 103 missiles which killed innocent civilians...


In reply to by JimmyJones

Koba the Dread BarkingCat Sun, 04/15/2018 - 23:05 Permalink

Neither being articulate nor articulate, much less being intelligent, is required to make a comment on ZH. Many of the articles are not much more articulate than the comments.

However, that said, I can't find a better place on the web for news. The Vineyard of the Saker and The Unz Review are infinitely better but are more topical than ZH. Drudge is an extinct dinosaur from the 1990s.

I also can't find a better place to review comments. Every day in ZH's comments I see how profoundly ignorant the great mass of people are. One the other hand, there are many gems of wisdom among the comments.

In reply to by BarkingCat

backwaterdogs Ghost of PartysOver Sun, 04/15/2018 - 22:53 Permalink


It is just one ridiculous assumptions after another.  Incessiant 'i know everything and how things are going to play out' article after article followed by a litany of comment doing the same.


This clown made a clear, everyone watch closely...will trump fire mattis?  That was a prediction of this article.  It would be wrong to do so Imo.

So let's watch, does this writer something the rest of us don't...does he or she have some great insight?  Or, just another fucknut writing what he thinks people want to read.

I guess we'll.find out next week.  I predict trump.wont fire mattis...he already proclaimed perfect execution...why would you fire mattis?

Then it's onto the rumor that 71 missles were shot down.  There is no credible of this happening , in fact real evidence of how many tickets were launched...who you gonna believe?

All you can be certain of is both sides are lying...why would you believe them, much less this dumb ass that wrote this crappy article.

In reply to by Ghost of PartysOver

fazsha2 Ghost of PartysOver Mon, 04/16/2018 - 02:23 Permalink

I'm against Trump bombing Syria before an investigation as much as the rest of you are. But let's not go off kilter.


"Trump bombed it while having dinner with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping." Where would you prefer he dine while the bombing occurred? If this is supposed to represent Trump's indifference, I'm not buying it. Anyway could say "Trump was doing X while the military was doing Y" and paint him as a scoundrel. These arguments are just manipulation.

In reply to by Ghost of PartysOver

PT FBaggins Mon, 04/16/2018 - 04:43 Permalink

Sounds good when you say it fast but now you have to account for this :

August 5th, 2015

Just a dumb cartoonist, right?  Right???

September 15th, 2016

Okay, so he did not shave his head but I think we can all agree he did the "next best thing".  At worst you have to confess that Scott was pointing in the right direction.

Some peoples get rich becoz they knows stuff.  Really weird stuff.  Naaaah, it's all just coincidence ...

In reply to by FBaggins

SoDamnMad Truther Mon, 04/16/2018 - 07:06 Permalink

When Bolton's name came up for the security position I told myself we are truly fucked.  He has wanted us to withdraw from every Agreement we have negotiated or been part of.  He has never served so he has no conception of death of friends or family. Unlike Kelly who lost a son, Bolton has never lost a night's sleep. I don't now where he roosts in Washington but I pray it is near the detonation points of the first strikes on the city.

In reply to by Truther