Can you hear them? The drums of war? Listen a little more closely and you’ll notice the faint rat-a-tat-tat of excuses, of reasons for Donald Trump to unleash the reigns of the U.S military. Listen to the comments made yesterday at various briefings and the path to another war in the Middle East becomes even more inevitable.
There are numerous signs to be seen everywhere, little triggers popping up more frequently that could spark a conflict with every strike of the match. The poisoning attack in the UK, the usage of chemical weapons in Syria, John Bolton being hired as National Security Advisor to Trump and now, last night, the FBI raiding the offices of Michael Cohen.
The first two on their own are not enough for Trump to engage in open hostilities in Syria, regardless of how disingenuous his attempts at sympathy for the victims in Douma sound or the obvious masquerade surrounding the expulsion of Russian diplomats.
It’s the old analogy of what happens when a rat is cornered. As each day passes, Robert Mueller inches closer to Trump himself. This will lead to the inevitable interview and we all know that Trump is utterly incapable of telling the truth. Expediting the investigation to issue a warrant for all Michael Cohen’s documents and records, probably the one man who knows EVERYTHING Trump has been involved in, is another step backing Trump into that corner.
Factoring in historically low approval ratings, along with the likelihood of losing control of the U.S Senate and Congress in November, Trump is in danger of running out of enablers. He has a window now of seven months to entrench his position as an authoritarian leader in the mould of Putin or Erdogan. It’s difficult to remove an incumbent president if the U.S. military are in an open conflict.
Which leads to John Bolton, the unashamed hawk who has openly advocated for attacking Iran, they themselves lurking behind the scenes in Syria. With his appointment, Trump has found his drug-pusher, the source he knows he can turn to to agree to release the dogs of war. Bolton, one of the cheerleaders for the WMD dossier prior to the Iraq war, will have no restraint in this respect, knowing full well he has a lapdog that is eager to please and be pleased.
Stirring the pot behind all of this in Vladimir Putin. He knows full well that Trump is vulnerable. He cultivated that hornet’s nest. Yes, he is involved in Syria and has close ties with Tehran but one wonders what his objectives are. The temptation is to view Russian activity in Syria as a distraction towards Putin’s true motives regarding the Baltic states. He has long campaigned on the premise of restoring Russia’s greatness, decrying the break-up of the region after the revolutions of the early ‘90s.
This is why the volatility of Trump’s personal position and personality coupled with any impulsive military reactions, could lead to escalations far beyond the supposed trigger-points of Syria, Iran or North Korea. Putin is engaged in a long game of cat and mouse. If we substitute the mouse for the rat in the Oval Office, and that rat is cornered, that’s when all hell breaks loose.
History tells us that such gambling on a geo-political scale never ends well, especially for innocent civilians. We’re living in an age of extremism and uncertainty with very few sane, calm leaders controlling the fates of many.
What’s even scarier is the realisation that we may already be past the point of no return. Listen again. Can you now hear the drums of war?