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During a visit to the Pentagon on Friday, President Donald Trump issued an executive action calling for stepped up violence in Syria and a vast expansion of the US military, including its nuclear arsenal, to prepare for war with “near-peer competitors”—a reference to nuclear-armed China and Russia—and “regional challengers,” such as Iran.

“I’m signing an executive action to begin a great rebuilding of the armed services of the United States,” Trump said during the signing of the document, entitled “Rebuilding the US Armed Forces.”

During the visit, his first to the Pentagon, Trump signed a second order, “Protecting the US from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals,” that freezes visa and immigration applications from predominantly Muslim countries. The order threatens to block refugees from finding sanctuary, workers from taking jobs, students from attending school, and the unification of families (See, “White House to issue executive order on ‘safe zones’ in Syria, ban on Muslim immigrants and refugees”)

The military order directs Defense Secretary James Mattis, who was sworn in at the ceremony, to complete a 30-day “readiness review” designed to prepare for the destruction of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, along with “other forms of Islamic terror.” Last week, Mattis was confirmed by the Senate in a 98-1 vote.

The order further instructs Mattis, in the words of the Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the order prior to its formal release, “to examine how to carry out operations against unnamed ‘near-peer’ competitors, a group which US officials typically identify as China and Russia.” And it commands the Pentagon and the Office of Management and Budget to develop a “military readiness emergency budget amendment” that would increase military spending in the current year and increase the budget for 2018 and thereafter—increases to be offset by cuts to social spending.

The Presidential Memorandum, only three pages in length, is the blueprint for world war.

The order unmistakably threatens the use of nuclear weapons. Section 3 calls for a nuclear force “to deter 21st century threats” and, menacingly, to “achieve Presidential objectives should deterrence fail.”

It further calls for a plan “to achieve readiness objectives” for the use of the nuclear arsenal “by 2022.” This would include the “modernization” of the US nuclear force, a greatly expanded missile defense system, and increased emphasis on cyber warfare, which aims to cripple the retaliatory capacity of major adversaries by targeting their digital and telecommunication command structures prior to an American strike.

These actions follow on a move by the Obama administration to implement a $1 trillion upgrade in the country’s nuclear arsenal.

The executive action did not put a price tag on new military spending, but media speculation indicates that the figure could approach an additional $100 billion per year. Trump’s military plans hew closely to a Heritage Foundation proposal that calls for the revamping of the nuclear force, the expansion of the Navy to 350 ships, the Air Force to 1,200 fighter and attack jets, the Marine Corps from 24 to 36 divisions, and the Army to more than a half a million soldiers.

The US currently spends approximately $600 billion on its military annually—excluding expenditures on the intelligence agencies and Veterans Administration— more than the next nine largest military spenders combined. American “defense” spending accounts for, by itself, over one third of all global military spending, and it consumes the great majority of the federal discretionary budget.

Increases in military spending, coupled with Trump’s promises to drastically lower taxes on corporations and the rich, must inevitably be paid for by cuts to education, health care and infrastructure, and by plundering Social Security and Medicare.

In securing the presidency, Trump capitalized on popular hostility toward Hillary Clinton’s interventionist stance on Syria and her saber-rattling against Russia. But his executive order’s demand for escalation in Syria increases the likelihood of war with both regional power Iran and nuclear-armed Russia. Russia maintains its only significant foreign military base in Syria and has so far preserved the regime of Bashar al-Assad in a war for regime change orchestrated by the Obama administration.

Trump’s order for a plan to destroy ISIS and “radical Islam,” which he declared in his Inaugural Address he would “eradicate completely from the face of the Earth,” will be drawn up by Mattis, responsible for numerous war crimes in the US occupation of Iraq, including the killing of untold thousands of civilians in the 2004 attack on Fallujah.

While the US now makes war on ISIS, it has funded and directed Al Qaeda affiliates in the regime change operations in Libya and Syria. Yet in remarks made last summer, prior to his nomination to defense secretary, Mattis claimed that, in his view, ISIS was nothing more than a stalking horse for Iran to extend its influence throughout the Middle East. It is widely rumored that Mattis left command in the Obama administration because he favored a more bellicose approach toward Iran.

Even before Trump’s order became public, figures in and around the military speculated that Mattis would propose a dramatic escalation in Syria.

Scott Murray, a retired Air Force colonel involved with previous aerial bombardment of ISIS, told NPR that this could be done by lifting rules preventing the targeting of civilians.

“Commanders could … re-examine limits on the number of civilian casualties that the military risks when it hits ISIL targets,” NPR reported. “Known as the ‘non-combatant value,’ the rule restricts the number of civilians who can be put at risk in an airstrike.”

Officers who spoke with the US government’s overseas broadcaster Voice of America (VOA) complained of the Obama administration “micro-approving” actions in Syria. “Every single person had to be approved,” an unnamed Defense Department official said of a contingent of 203 Special Forces soldiers sent into Syria last year.

A high-ranking Army general, Lt. Gen. David Barno, told NPR’s Morning Edition that, in lieu of local proxies, far more US soldiers will be deployed into Syria. “I think President Trump might be looking for something with some quicker results and that could put some new options on the table,” Barno said. “He could elect to put American boots on the ground in larger numbers.”

Currently most of the 6,000 US military personnel in the region are concentrated in Iraq, where, joined by Iraqi forces, they are subjecting the city of Mosul to a massive attack. Trump’s order will likely lift the fiction that there are separate war theaters in the neighboring countries.

There was also speculation that the US could bolster the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). This would heighten tensions with NATO ally Turkey, which views the YPG as a proxy of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), against which it has waged a nearly four-decade counterinsurgency war to prevent the emergence of an independent Kurdistan.

An escalation in Syria is also prefigured by Trump’s anti-immigrant executive order, which, with the express aim of blocking refugees from fleeing the crisis, envisages the creation of “safe zones” run by the US military—in blatant violation of Syrian sovereignty and international law. Under the plan, Syria’s refugees would be placed in what would be, in all but name, US-administered camps, overseen by the US military.

First published in WSWS.org

34 Comments

  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    Trump is not only preparing for war, but also massive destruction of life and property. Coming days and years may witness steep rise in defence budgets and huge profits for arms manufacturers. There is an urgent need for a strong democratic mass mobilisation to stop disaster

    • Alvin bertsch says:

      Sounds as though Trump is planning on helping Russia in Syria. I’m guessing some of the companies he has invested in will profit from this war. then on to Iran or Iraq and steal the oil.
      This madman and his criminal Associates need to be removed from office and put in prison for treason.

      • Yes Alvin, one can see that playing out. If you look at the history of (only) the last 100 years, nationalism vs globalism, control of natural resources and the money supply and system, these were all issues that led to global alliances and war (I and II). So, one could project three power centers moving forward: US, Russia, Asia (China but Japan’s hand may be forced into China’s orbit), with Europe left to fend for itself or be subservient to US/Russia (they too will have to choose).

      • It doesn’t take a wizard to see through his smoke screens he blows out to see his motives are profits for himself and his cronies. The transparency of a useful idiot becomes apparent more and more each day and it irritates him to know we are looking at this Emperor with no clothes.

    • You are so right!

  2. There is more noted in this article than would have been needed to start WWI:

    6,000 US troops in Mosul–well, outside Mosul. a city which we allowed ISIS to drive to across an empty falt and innocuous desert in brand new Toyota SUVs….gimme a break!

    from training camps in Jordan and Syria, they came. press reports said they were 8,000 to 10,000 strong. and using the lower figure: one could conceivably cram 8 armed men into each SUV.
    Highlanders?!

    for a total of 1,000 new white Toyotas minimum–i wonder if they had music on the radios. ( i won’ drive without my music.)

    and when they got to Mosul the Iraqi Army fled. this army which we had spent billion on, fled. Following their chicken shit corrupt general. and leaving an armory filled to the brim with weapons and bullets and rockets and humvees.
    “Heckava job, Brownie!”

    Let’s look back on this. This was under Obama. (and people attack me for attacking the government! thanks Jen! and i suppose call me Traitor.)

    as our soldiers were betrayed from above. Betray us! Petrayus! OUR satellites which can see into your bedroom, and hear your every conversation if they so desire…could not notice a convoy of brand new white, SUVs traipsing 500 miles across deserted desert….like driving to LA fro here. Nor could we prevent the training of these troops who are now listied as our greatest enemies.
    Both ISIS are armed by Saudis, who are our “allies” and are medieval kingdom of theology based upon paternal authoritarian plutocracy.

    They sell us oil and we sell them arms from jet fighter planes to bullets. so they can initiate their stupid intra-Islam war against Shiites. Oh God!

    Isis and al Qeada were provable constructs of the CIA. faggedaboudit. Not our fault. nah. ever since theRussians left Afghanistan AQ as it’s known has bee our puppet.
    now they create wars where no wars need be created. they creat war for war. for more war and war for more war. there is no sense to any of it.

    unless yo think religion has a place in wars as cause and effect of war for more wars so religion can gain more respect from it’s male paternal authoritarian sexual supremists…fighting for a religion that starts over and over and never finishes its wars for more wars.

    So ISIS is our enemy now. and AQ. fine. and Assad. fine. so should we not quit arming the nation that arms ISIS?
    and could we not just leave Assad alone, and make a treaty with Russia that sets up the Kurds with a national area and confines Assad to a part of his country …OR…
    in the failing of all that tedious negotiation, simply blow him up?!

    as it stands, we have theRussians there in ever-growing force. Assad is rearmed. our proxies have been caught fighting each other!!! and we will continue this charade of war for war, forever!
    the Ripuglican use these kinds of unkindnesses to destroy TLC in America, via ending free education, any kind of Health, education and Welfare, and increasing taxes on the poor while reducing taxes on the rich, who won’t pay anyway. so that the national debt will surge into the surge pricing of inflation even as they have bitched for 8 years that the national debt is the scourge of America.

    Turkey is not going to be a NATO nation for much longer. Syria will belong to Russia and the Kurds will be scapegoated. Saudis shall live forever in their imaginary Heaven on Earth where 70 concubines is not just imaginable.

    Unlike Candide, we have imagined and implemented the worst of all possible worlds.

  3. Trump is more likely to get us into a confrontation with Russia, China, and Iran than Hillary despite the fact that Hillary worked openly for the Zionist Cabal. a no fly zone? I don’t know how when the Russian jets watch the skies of Syria 24/7. Trump can get us into the WWIII which will be the last.

  4. Robert Snefjella says:

    Trump in his inaugural address did not threaten to eradicate “radical Islam”, as the author states, but “radical Islamic terrorism”. This declared intention represents at face value a complete repudiation of the actual US policy up to now, which has been to foment and aid and employ Islamic terrorism within Syria and several other countries.

    The headline is somewhat inflammatory. Trump’s Presidential Memorandum to the military was described by RT as an informal document giving new direction to the US military, from the new administration, emphasizing modernisation. Modernizing militaries is what happens. The document refers to redirecting priorities. For what it’s worth, it also declares the Trump administration’s dedication to peace, but peace through strength. Here is a link to the memorandum: https://www.scribd.com/document/337735288/Draft-of-The-Presidential-Memorandum-on-Rebuilding-the-US-Armed-Forces#from_embed

    The United States has been directly and by proxy involved in wars of aggression – the Nuremberg trials defined such as the greatest crime – most years of the last century. If the USA now directs its military in Syria to function in coordination with Russia and Syria, with Syrian approval, and against those trying to destroy Syria, this would be represent a repudiation of its former covert policy and overt actions which have been horrifically harmful to Syrians and destroying Syria,

  5. Nice,
    Its better prepare it.
    War will lead to destructions and huge massive damage for both civilian country especially heart, safeness , and the things that the peace can serve, . But.
    Syirian war cuz there’re war crimes at there. You saw innocent child suffer a lot, hungry than ever, there no food, their mother being raped by Bashar Al asad Soldier. Why he could do that?

    There’re a basic reason. His heart was close and he hates Sunni so much. Iran is one of the syiah source. Who have tought from deviate knowledge about islam itself. Syiah is dangerous cz what they teach about islam is against with value of islam itself. Islam is love peace but syiah is love to hurt kill and you’ll realized it if you were moeslem.

    Don’t let syiah spread America. Mr. Trump is a nice guy. But him who convey it defferently. Mayority of syirian refugees are Sunni .

    After seeing how Bashar Al asad’s regime, and how his Soldiers treat syirian internee . It looks like a monster than humanbeing could do. It reflects how cruel they is. As a human, please help the syirian refeugee, they didn’t want to through these state, being a refugee, but their leader crimes that force them .

  6. Sandra Hedges says:

    Stay away from Australia,,

  7. This article is authored by anti Trump losers,

    • Alvin bertsch says:

      so you are not questioning the factual content, only criticizing who you believe authored it. That’s really brilliant.
      And as a trump supporter it would seem you are in favor of WWIII. I will say a prayer for your soul tonight.

    • IN TOW WEEKS TRUMP HAS PUSHED AN AGENDA OF HATE AND WAR. WE CAN’T AFFORD A WAR. WE CAN’T EVEN FIX OUR ROADS. HE THINKS HE IS GOING TO SQUEEZE THE LIFE OUT OF MUCH NEEDED SOCIAL PROGRAMS. WHAT MAKES AMERICA GREAT IS THAT WE TOOK CARE OF OUR OWN WITH TAX MONEY. NOT EVERYONE WHO IS STATING FACTS IS ANTI TRUMP. THAT’S JUST THE MO HE PERPETUATES THAT HE IS BEYOND CRITICISM. A GOOD LEADER LISTENS TO THE CRITICISM AND LEARNS, TAKES STOCK, AND LOOKS AT HIS POOR BEHAVIOR. TRUMP IS NOT DOING THAT AND BLAMING THE NEWS AND REPORTERS ETC… JUST LIKE HIS SUPPORTERS ARE DOING. A FACT IS A FACT IS A FACT. HE DID SIGN THIS ORDER, HE IS PREPARING FOR WAR, AND HE JUST MADE IT OFFICIAL. WAKE THE HELL UP.

  8. Great I love how education and Medicare is going to take a hit. The two things that are all ready in trouble.

  9. There Will NEVER be a draft because politicos will never send their kids and family members to wear camo and fit into a body bag or be maimed for life !!! The very whisper of ‘draft’ will tear this country apart worse than Vietnam did !!! If these Shores are actually attacked, there will be no need for a draft because Americans will fight in the streets till the death, but ONLY if our SHORES are attacked !!!

  10. BS Propaganda. Trump will end the war in Syria. The syrian refugees can now stay in Syria wich needs arms to rebuild…

  11. Pingback: Resistance Report – Disruptive Paradigm

  12. WE DON’T NEED A WAR WE CAN’T AFFORD IT… JUST LIKE HITLER HE IS GOING TO RUN THE COUNTRY INTO THE GROUND JUST LIKE NAZI GERMANY DID.

  13. JODA Collins says:

    “…step up in violence.” That is a stupid statement.

  14. Maybe just enough destruction to bring in his contractors like-Cheney did. It’s all about money and keeping it coming

  15. This man needs to be impeached now. He is a mad man who is destined to destroy Syria and Iran and to do it now. Our Congress is sitting on its ____ and needs to act NOW.

    • Congress is part of the problem, not a solution.
      Chump’s a puppet like the rest of them!!!
      CFR, AIPAC…. run the planet not puppet presidents.

  16. Chump is a puppet who will fill his coffers from the profits of war, just as Obomber would have been paid genorously to maintain & approve the violence in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia… & GW & Bill Clinton & GH…
    Wars are created to destroy countries infrastructure, their economies, their banking system & leave them open for corporate plunder, but also to destroy the will and identity of the people & their love & association with the land – wars create refugee floods & destroy the sovereignty of the country which is attacked and the sovereignty of the countries being flooded by refugees!
    Therefore war is a tool of the globalists.
    Watch this eye opening documentary on Pearl harbor, the Vietnam war, the CFR & global political corruption…

  17. Ian Williams says:

    I see the slant in this article as sensationalizing what are clearly responsible management actions – irresponsible.journalism. Stick to the facts and you will notice the civilized world and responsible leaders everywhere sighing in relief at Trumps diligence – and looking forward to more effective methods and positive outcomes in the fight to curb disinformation and radicalism.
    Trump is going about things precisely as he has always said he would – and any doubters would do well to ‘give peace a chance’.
    PS there is nothing new about the obvious need for US defense to be a strong and organized force to be reckoned with – the best deterrent for chaotic violence we have seen spiral of late under less focused leadership.
    Best advice is to work together and leave people to do their jobs properly with our support. Trump has done nothing yet to justify all the vitriol and negative ‘group-think’. Management is best handled by proven business people and kept out of the reach of reactionary activists. Management is not democracy – requiring decisive leadership by those given the mandate. If its above your ‘pay-grade’ then relax, sit back and enjoy the fruits of some fantastic efforts being made on your behalf. 🙂

  18. How are we ever going to creatively fix our cities with the spending priorities of destruction and war ?