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article imageOp-Ed: Trump team splits into nationalist and 'Democratic' factions

By Ken Hanly     Apr 8, 2017 in Politics
Washington - The decision to bomb a Syrian airbase as punishment for a gas attack near Idblib Syria that Trump blamed on Assad, shows the declining power of Stephen Bannon within the Trump administration while Jared Kushner Trump's son-in-law's power is increasing.
Only a few days ago, the Trump administration had announced that its goal was not to remove Assad but after the chemical attack Trump blamed Assad almost immediately even before there was any investigation. We still do not even know what exactly the chemical was or who carried out the attack but it is now simply assumed that the US position is correct as most US allies follow the US narrative. On Thursday evening, concurrent with his meeting with the Chinese premier, Trump announced he had launched an attack on a Syrian air base using Tomahawk missiles. It is said to be the airbase from which the chemical attacks were launched. In spite of the fact that the attack was against international law, US allies and most other countries have simply accepted the attack as justified. The lack of critical response shows that much of the world for the most part is willing to go along with the US as being judge, jury, executioner and global moral policeman.
Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist apparently argued against the attack. He argued that the attack was a complete reversal from his campaign promises to be non-interventionist. He also saw it as counter to Trump's America First message. Bannon does not think the US belongs in such areas as Syria. He calls Jared Kushner who argued that Assad must be punished, a globalist while he is a nationalist. During the campaign Bannon and Kushner are said to have had a close relationship but now that has changed as the two clash over the direction of the Trump's agenda.
Some in the press have called this a personality conflict but Bannon insists it is a difference with regard to policies. Bannon told an associate: “The press is calling it fighting, we call it debating.” Bannon has a board in his office showing all the promises Trump made while Kushner seems less interested in keeping them. A recent article claims there are two distinct camps in the Trump administration: On one side are “the nationalists” Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Julia Hahn; and on the other are “the Democrats” Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and Gary Cohn. Bannon is growing increasingly frustrated with Cohn, sources say, and is particularly unhappy to be receiving much of the blame for the health-care debacle while Cohn, who was deeply involved in the effort, emerged unscathed. Health care was “100 percent Gary,” one person close to Bannon said. During a recent White House meeting, when the subject of Cohn came up, Bannon reportedly told associates “I love a gunfight.”
You might think that Bannon is just using "Democrat" as a pejorative term. Not so, both Ivanka, Jared's wife and daughter of Trump and he himself are not Republicans. Kushner is a Democrat: Neither of them are Republicans. She is an independent and called Chelsea Clinton a friend. He is a Democrat whose dad, Charles, was a big time donor to the Democratic Party, including Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign. Bannon in a recent complaint about why he could not find middle ground with Kushner on the other side may be literally telling the truth: " Thick with tension, the conversation this week between Stephen K. Bannon, the chief White House strategist, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, had deteriorated to the point of breakdown. Finally, Mr. Bannon identified why they could not compromise, according to someone with knowledge of the conversation. “Here’s the reason there’s no middle ground,” Mr. Bannon growled, “You’re a Democrat.”
Gary Cohn, the other opponent mentioned by Bannon is one of the Wall Street creatures imported by Trump to bring new life to the Washington Swamp he pledged to drain. As with many in the Trump cabinet he is well-heeled: "His severance package at Goldman Sachs amounted to $285 million.[12] Additionally, Cohn sold a stake valued at $16 million in the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world's largest bank as of 2017.[13]" Cohn was formerly the president and CEO of Goldman Sachs. Even though he is a registered Republican and not a Democrat he cannot seem to find a middle ground with Bannon!
The Trump policy is becoming much like that of Democratic hawks such as Clinton who herself suggested that Trump should bomb Assad's airbases. Those supporters of Trump who saw him as extricating the US from foreign wars must now realize that he is in fact as interventionist as Clinton would have been and has shown not the slightest interest in detente with Russia as he had promised. The future looks to be filled with more tension, extension of the Syrian civil war and possibly new conflicts such as in North Korea.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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