In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Posts Tagged ‘realists v chickenhawks’

America could win a war against Russia and China (but at what cost?)

Posted by seumasach on September 18, 2017

It is suddenly fashionable among certain luminaries of the left to see the Trump presidency of having conceded control to the neocons. But the US military top brass who now hold sway in Washington don’t sound at all like neocons: within the context of the obligatory US triumphalism  these assessments of are remarkably realistic and negative. There is no sense that the military leadership is about to embark on any rash military adventures- quite the opposite. This realism concerning US unreadiness “to confront a peer-level threat such as Russia or China in a high-end conflict” combined with the defeat of US proxy forces in Syria leaves the Wolfowitz doctrine a dead letter.

National Interest

7th September, 2017

“If we get into one of those conflicts, we’ll win, but it going to take a lot longer than we’d like and it’s going to cost a lot more in terms of dollars and in casualties.” The United States military is not ready to confront a peer-level threat such as Russia or China in a high-end conflict. As it currently stands, while the United States would ultimately prevail in a hypothetical high-end war, Washington would pay a high price in blood and treasure. That’s what the nation’s top uniformed officers told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Sept. 15.

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Russia, US officials revive dialogue on arms control

Posted by seumasach on September 16, 2017

The military leaders appear to have a different view. Gen. John Hyten, the head of US Strategic Command, told Congress in March that he is a “big supporter” of the treaty. According to him, “bilateral, verifiable arms control agreements are essential to our ability to provide an effective deterrent.”

This seems to confirm the prominent role of the military under Trump and that it is bringing a note of realism to US foreign policy.


14th September, 2017

The New Start Treaty was in focus of the talks held in Helsinki between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and US Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon on September 11-12. The parties agreed that the treaty should be implemented without exception. It was revealed that expert consultations on the future of the agreement had begun. A meeting of the US-Russian bilateral commission on implementing the New START would take place in the near future so that the two sides could continue their discussion of the technical aspects of implementation.

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Donald Trump: another neocon or finally a realist?

Posted by seumasach on August 29, 2017

The difficulties in establishing the policy direction of the USA under Trump stem not only from the clear conflict between the White House and Congress, the CIA and the neocons but within the White House itself. This is because there are contradictions within the notion of “realism” in terms of foreign policy direction. The USA was founded as part of an imperial agenda emanating from London. Since it’s foundation it has undergone a continuous process of expansion although without formally constituting itself as am empire. So the “realist” contention that the USA is simply a nation state like any other is questionable. The neocon conviction that US interests can only be met through continuous power projection seems, if anything , more realistic. And the fact that they seek only to destroy existing state structures rather create new ones gives them the confidence to press ahead with incorrigible voluntarism. Where then are the limits? Firstly, they failed to subvert internally Russia and China, to prevent their re-emergence as global powers and to divide one from the other. Secondly, CIA campaigns in Ukraine and the Middle East failed in that they merely reposed the question of US military dominance, whether the army was prepared to go head to head with Russia, which was answered in the negative. Thirdly, the neocons are themselves hostile to a formally constituted national army preferring a corporate model, to to put it bluntly, mercenaries. There is nothing new about this: the conflict between oligarchy and the military is inseparable from the history of imperialism be it Rome, Venice, Britain or the USA. It is thus no accident that Trump has surrounded himself with generals. It is precisely this which confirms the victory of the realists over the neocons. However, as this article makes clear, the Trump appears to be oscillating between both camps. The transition from aspirant to global domination to ordinary nation state, defending the welfare of its own people,  creating a secure productive base in industry and agriculture, safeguarding its constitutional structures, guaranteeing the rule of law and conducting an intelligent and fruitful diplomacy, is obviously not a straightforward one, if it can be done at all.


5th August, 2017

For many the new President of the US is a controversial figure. His firm declarations related to focusing on American interest are a source of fear among superpower’s allies. At the same time his tenure isn’t free from actions based on ideas. The world is wondering: is Donald Trump a continuator of George W. Bush’s neoconservative diplomacy or rather an author of its own doctrine founded on the realist school of international relations. For all of us it would be better, if the second option were the actual one.

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McMaster solidifies power at NSC

Posted by seumasach on August 8, 2017

We here see a playing out of the chickenhawk versus realist dilemma which  surfaced dramatically during the Iraq War. The realists won the first round with the destitution of Rumsfeld. Now they are going head-to-head again with the neocon “chickenhawks” dominating Congress and the realists closely linked to the military in control of the White House. The chickenhawks are on a high after voting through sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea and will be pushing on to destabilize Europe working in tandem with their Brexit allies in the UK. But Trump is far from done and one has the impression by the way he is playing his cards that he is far from the fool he is so often made out to be.

and supports Iran deal, sees Israel as occupier


Last night President Trump issued a statement affirming his support for National Security adviser H.R. McMaster in the face of a storm of criticism from rightwing outlets. The statement is a sign that Trump and his new chief of staff are taking the realist side of the debate inside his administration over foreign policy.

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