American Killing and Assassination Power

US intelligence and special forces … remain potent weapons that Trump intends to use to the maximum.One senior American officer said he had told the Trump team: “All we need is the presidential authority and the GPS co- ordinates and we can kill anyone in the world within 72 hours.”  = A striking facet within this article in The Times & The Australian ……. and thus a pointer towards the double standards pursued by the so-called “international community” Editor, Thuppahi

‘New sheriff’ Trump plans to flatten Isis and flatter Putin

Donald Trump is to reverse American policy towards Russia and in the Middle East by publicly embracing Vladimir Putin as a trusted ally and repairing US ties with autocratic Sunni Arab regimes alarmed by Barack Obama’s accommodation with Shi’ite Iran. Details of the incoming president’s controversial plans have been revealed to The Sunday Times by senior members of his foreign policy team, who promised a “night and day” difference with the policies of the outgoing administration. Trump would usher in a “new era of American leadership” and launch a series of “high-profile military actions” against Isis to telegraph to Islamic radicals that there was a “new sheriff in town” after what he described as eight years of weakness, vacillation and mixed signals, one adviser said.

Trump with key policy aide Michael FlynnGeorge Frey/Getty

The key to victory, members of Trump’s inner circle believe, is “American leadership but Arab execution” — essentially the opposite of what they view as the approach taken by Obama, who was drawn into the Middle East quagmire while, as one of his advisers famously characterised it, “leading from behind”.

As soon as Trump is inaugurated as president on January 20, he will order his generals to draw up a plan to defeat Isis, to be delivered to him within 30 days. Mark Lyall Grant, Theresa May’s national security adviser, flew to Washington this month to hold talks with Michael Flynn, the former lieutenant-general who will be his counterpart in the new administration. The pair met for more than two hours, with Flynn apparently impressed by Britain’s “forward-leaning” approach and the UK’s willingness to put pressure on other Nato members to spend more on defence. Trump will make this a central issue at a Nato summit expected in May or June. Trump and May are due to meet in Washington in February, within weeks of the billionaire property mogul being sworn in.

Perhaps Trump’s most striking difference with Obama will be his wooing of Putin. He plans to hold meetings with the Kremlin leader, playing to what his aides see as a yearning to be considered a big player on the world stage. “What does Putin want?” the adviser asked rhetorically. “Prestige — centre stage at the summit, the one-on-one meeting, the hand on the back from Trump. That gives the US tremendous leverage. Mr Trump is the master of the photo op and he will use that skill.”

Trump’s apparent intention to treat Putin as a friend rather than an adversary comes as the Obama administration has intensified its rhetoric against the Russian leader, accusing him of ordering the hacking of Democrats during the presidential election in a deliberate attempt to install Trump as president. In a last press conference before leaving for his Christmas break, Obama said he had confronted Putin about the hacking when they met at the G20 in China in September, telling him to “cut it out” and warned of “serious consequences if he didn’t” — though he did not spell out what retaliatory action, if any, he had taken.

Obama also went out of his way to belittle Russia as “a smaller country . . . a weaker country” than the US, adding: “Their economy doesn’t produce anything anyone wants to buy except oil and gas and arms. They don’t innovate.”

Hillary Clinton, still reeling from her defeat by Trump, claimed that there had been an “unprecedented Russian plot to swing this election”.

Trump’s apparent intention is to treat Vladimir Putin as a friend rather than an adversarySERGEI ILNITSKY

Putin had initiated the cyber-attacks “because he has a personal beef against me” after she said in 2011, when secretary of state, that parliamentary elections in Russia had been rigged, Clinton claimed. “Putin publicly blamed me for the outpouring of outrage by his own people,” she said.

Trump has dismissed the conclusion by the CIA that Russia was behind the hacking, arguing that Clinton is trying to deflect blame for her loss. While working with Putin to help defeat Isis in Syria and Iraq in the short term, the Trump team hopes ultimately to be able to drive a wedge between Russia and Iran, each of which views President Bashar al-Assad’s regime as a client state. “It’s not in Russia’s interests to have a Shia crescent,” the adviser said. Trump is determined to jettison the multilateral nuclear deal with Iran, which his aides view as giving the Shi’ite regime carte blanche and significant funding to carry out terrorist activities against the West.

Sunni Arab states such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia will be courted by the Trump administration. It was no accident that the strongman Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, was the first foreign leader to speak to Trump after his surprise election victory. “Egypt is key,” said the Trump adviser. Flynn, who was fired as head of the US Defence Intelligence Agency by Obama after he argued that the White House was playing down the Islamist threat, was one of the masterminds behind the campaign to destroy al-Qaeda in Iraq from 2005 to 2006. Led by General Stanley McChrystal, with Flynn as his intelligence officer, the campaign turned US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) into what General David Petraeus, later to become the head of the CIA, described as “an almost industrial-scale counterterrorism killing machine”.

The group was brought to its knees, but the American exit from Iraq at the end of 2011 allowed its remnants to regenerate into what became Isis.

That JSOC campaign, which involved the SAS working alongside the US army’s Delta Force, relied on a heavy US presence on the ground to gather intelligence on the network. With Trump resolutely opposed to nation-building and heavy troop commitments abroad, that will not happen with Isis. US intelligence and special forces, however, remain potent weapons that Trump intends to use to the maximum. One senior American officer said he had told the Trump team: “All we need is the presidential authority and the GPS co- ordinates and we can kill anyone in the world within 72 hours.”

The Trump adviser stressed, however, that killing terrorists would be “only 25% of the job”. The most important task was to undermine their moral authority.

Trump outlined this strategy in August in a speech he gave in Youngstown, Ohio,which is now seen as his national security blueprint. “Military, cyber and financial warfare will all be essential in dismantling Islamic terrorism,” Trump said. He added: “But we must use ideological warfare as well. Just as we won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism and the virtues of free markets, so too must we take on the ideology of radical Islam.”


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