Big Picture Time: Ruling Class Scrambling
If you do a news search for the last week or so what you come up with are numerous articles with the same basic idea: The very real possibility of World War 3 has the White House “rattled”, “panicking,” “on edge.” And Americans are scared and concerned, giving Zhou a 31% approval rating on foreign policy. Lest that sound hopelessly and naively out of touch, any president whose ratings fall below 40% is in whale sh*t territory—that’s a truism of modern American politics.
In a new column at reliably left-liberal Axios, CEO Jim VandeHei and co-founder Mike Allen set the tone for the week:
Never before have we talked to so many top government officials who, in private, are so worried about so many overseas conflicts at once.
Why it matters: We don't like to sound dire. But to sound a siren of clinical, clear-eyed realism: U.S. officials say this confluence of crises poses epic concern and historic danger.
Tellingly, Vandehei and Allen—ruling class scribes if there ever were any—note (and ya gotta luv the punch line):
Former top intelligence officials tell us domestic unrest is one of their biggest fears — whether it's triggered by court rulings against former President Trump or protests over war in the Middle East. Biden allies frame these flare-ups as a reminder that global chaos requires calm and experience. "With age comes wisdom," Ron Klain, Biden's first chief of staff, told us.
In other words, the Neocons want the Deep State to keep domestic dissent under lockdown so they can continue toward the iceberg dead ahead.
Thus the Neocons’ death grip on the levers of power remains white knuckled. In the midst of a dire Middle East crisis, America launched—according to a well known UK Russia war analyst, Mark Galeotti—a massive missile strike against a Russian military air base in Berdyansk. Initially hailed by the usual MSM suspects as a spectacular success, Alexander Mercouris quotes Galeotti as admitting that the strike—intended to presage a Ukrainian cross-Dnieper “offensive”—was, in fact, a spectacular failure. It turns out the Russian air defences largely slapped the ATACMS away, much as their Kinzhal missiles had earlier rubbished the Patriots around Kiev. The Russian reaction?
The decision by the United States to send ATACMS to Ukraine was a grave mistake that will have serious consequences, Russia’s ambassador to the US said on Wednesday.
“The consequences of this step, which was deliberately hidden from the public, will be of the most serious nature,” Russian agencies cited the envoy, Anatoly Antonov, as saying.
“The United States continues to push for a direct clash between NATO and Russia.”
Within a day, Russian president Putin announced that combat patrols of hypersonic Kinzhal armed MiG 31s would now be cruising over the Black Sea—capable of striking anywhere in Ukraine but also capable of reaching out and touching US carrier battle groups in the eastern Mediterranean.
Today Alexander Mercouris addressed many of these issues in a lengthy monologue:
I’ve done a transcript of the concluding section of the hour and a half video, because it mirrors some of the themes that Doug Macgregor enunciated yesterday, and which we covered. Recall that Macgregor warned against taking on too many enemies at the same time, as well as also cautioning against needlessly conjuring up enemies—a Neoncon speciality. Here’s Mercouris expanding on the pointlessness of what the Neocon run Zhou administration has done:
I'm gonna finish today's program by making a point that I've made earlier. If there are now apprehensions in the United States that the United States is facing a commitments crisis, this was easily foreseeable. What the United States could've done is seek accommodation with its adversaries. Or at least with some of its adversaries. The Russians, in my opinion, had no interest in becoming adversaries of the United States in Europe. What they wanted was stability on their eastern [sic] borders. All that that would have required was a commitment from the United States that Ukraine would not enter NATO and steps taken by the United States to facilitate settlement of the Ukrainian conflict through the already agreed plan set out in the Minsk II agreement. An agreement, by the way, enshrined in a resolution of the United Nations Security Council which was voted for by the United States. So it should have been relatively straightforward to resolve the problems with Russia in Europe. ...
With China in the Pacific it could have been the same. There were legitimate trade issues between the United States and China and that would have resulted in tensions, but the Chinese--intensely practical people that they are--would have worked toward finding some kind of accommodations with the Americans on these matters. But, instead, what the United States did is that it over committed to Taiwan. It lured the political leadership in Taiwan to pursue a strategy of independence from China, and at the same time the United States put pressure on all its allies in Europe to suffocate China's technological development. … Well, China, as a result, does conceive of itself as a US adversary.
Remember. The US officially recognizes Taiwan as part of China. How difficult is it to seem the other guy’s point of view? The reality is, tension with China was deliberately sought by the Neocons.
In the Middle East, again, a more straightforward foreign policy, understanding that the issue of Israel/Palestine is, indeed, intractable, but does require attention, might have kept the situation calmer and might eventually have found some way forward. But, to the best of my knowledge, the United States, this administration, has failed to sort out US problems with Iran. It said that it would support going back into the JCPOA, but then didn't do so. It said it would end the forever wars, but kept US troops in Syria. It talked about the need for a peace settlement within Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state, but to my knowledge it hasn't even appointed a special Middle East envoy and has wasted time trying to achieve some kind of rapprochement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which seems actually intended to be less to stabilize the situation in the Middle East and more to draw Saudi Arabia back again and away from the BRICS.
In fact, the “Abraham Accords” were a direct attempt to bypass the entire Palestine issue, and guess what? Hamas understood that.
Anyway, the administration could have done many things that would not have compromised US core interests and would have stabilized the situation. But this administration--the most completely Neocon administration that I can remember, more so even that the administration of George W. Bush--what they did instead was they went full speed ahead on all fronts. ... And the result is the commitments crisis and the potential financial crisis that we are seeing.
If one wants the most extreme case of imperial overstretch, we are now seeing it. And this is the administration that has given it to us.
John Helmer, in a fascinating post, describes what is causing the panic among non-Neocon Deep Staters with an IQ above room temperative:
It’s a provocative article, but let’s walk through it.
Helmer focuses on hapless Lloyd Austin’s announcement that the USS Eisenhower carrier battle group is being diverted from the originally announced eastern Mediterranean, where USS Ford is, to CENTCOM—the waters surrounding the Arabian peninsula, the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, and Arabian Sea. Additionally, Austin announded “the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery as well as additional Patriot battalions to locations throughout the region to increase force protection for U.S. forces.” Helmer argues that these deployments and redeployments are a response to Zhou’s designated Axis of Evil: Russia, China, and Iran, which have been conducting joint naval exercises in the region.
First, redeployment of USS Eisenhower away from the Mediterranean looks like an attempt to keep it out of range of Kinzhals launched from the Black Sea. But, of course, deployment to the Red Sea could prove dangerous due to Houthi possession of cruise missiles. Equally, deployment to the Persian Gulf would expose USS Eisenhower to Iranian missiles as well as Kinzhal’s launched from the Caspian Sea. A tell will be if the battle group remains out in the Arabian Sea. MSN quotes “Pentagon officials”:
Sailing in the eastern Mediterranean would have put the strike group to the west of Israel. But that plan changed after a week in which U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq came under fire from Iran-backed militias, and a U.S. Navy ship in the Red Sea downed missiles launched from Yemen.
But Austin’s rush to change the sailing orders for the Eisenhower and fly THAADs and Patriots to US bases in the Arab territories reveals he’s short of time too. This is because the entire portfolio of US air defence systems is being defeated. The Russian Kinzhal has defeated the US Patriot batteries around Kiev; the Hamas swarms of drones and rockets defeated Israel’s Iron Dome on October 7. THAAD has been tested in combat once, against a Houthi missile, rocket and drone attack against Abu Dhabi targets in January 2022. “Several were intercepted, a few of them [weren’t].”
The USS Carney’s firing against Houthi missiles and drones in the Red Sea has exposed how vulnerable that southern line of attack against Israel would be if the Houthis try swarming instead of testing their ordnance, as they did against the Carney. Originally, in the Pentagon version of Friday, October 19, three Houthi missiles and several drones were intercepted on their way to Israel. A day later, CNN revised the story by reporting “a US official familiar with the situation” to say there had been a “nine-hour duel” and four cruise missiles and fifteen drones came down.
He then notes the circumspect language Austin used in describing the sending of “rapid deployment” forces. These look seriously like preparation for rapid evacuation of US personnel lest the US be faced with a hostage situation:
Austin also signalled that the Pentagon is preparing rapid deployment forces for evacuation of air and ground base soldiers and airmen in Jordan, Syria and Iraq if they are swarmed by protesters. “I have placed,” Austin said, “an additional number of forces on prepare-to-deploy orders as part of prudent contingency planning, to increase their readiness and ability to quickly respond as required.” The likelihood that the Pentagon is laying plans for US ground troops to fight to keep the bases is low; secret Congressional briefings are bound to leak if that possibility is entering the US presidential race at this stage.
In the Red Sea, the US fleet will be within range of several types of Iranian ballistic missiles against which there have been no US combat tests to date. Click here to review the Iranian missile armoury, including estimated range, payload and accuracy. There is ample evidence that the general staffs of Russia, China, and Iran are currently coordinating in the Persian Gulf, where there was a visible surface navy exercise in March, and since then much that is invisible in intelligence-gathering and sharing, targeting, early-warning systems, and the like.
According to this source, the anti-air and land target capabilities of the DC-10 missile arming the Chinese Navy’s Type-052D destroyer now in the Persian Gulf “poses a number of security challenges for the United States. The DH-10 has a low flight altitude that increases its stealth capabilities against the air defense radars. The DH-10 can also be updated during its flight with new targeting data, allowing it to change targets. The stealth capabilities employed by the DH-10 allow it to confuse or outmaneuver the radars and defenses around ships in the region.”
“Hanging out with or near Israel just became very dangerous,” according to a US military source familiar with the situation. “I think the Houthi firing, trap or not, scared the shit out of them [Pentagon]. The number of drones and missiles the Carney ‘shot down’ keeps going up. It’s not just the missiles they are worried about. Iranian drone technology, and their capacity to get them into the hands of their allies, must be causing alarm. What scares them about the Chinese task force is the range of its cruise missiles as well as its capacity to link up with Iranian and (I assume) Russian air defence radar and targeting networks. They’ve all been practicing together.”
“Every American and allied base in the region is now under a joint, mutually supportive, Russian, Iranian and Chinese umbrella. In short, a trap.”
So, with all this going on—Ukraine rapidly failing, Russia asserting its interests aggressively, Israel threatening to ignite a region-wide conflagration—it’s small wonder that the White House is reported to be in panic mode. What then is the big concern of the ruling class? According to Zerohedge, in a fascinating article, there overriding concern is to keep Jim Jordan or any other populist oriented Republican out of the line of presidential succession:
Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times,
In the backdrop of the controversies about who is to be voted Speaker of the House of Representatives is the awareness that this role is third in line for the presidency.
The current president seems barely functional.
The number two in line is absent without leave, never qualified in any sense, and is universally regarded as a joke if she is regarded at all, which she mostly is not.
That leaves the Speaker of the House, very close to the center of power.
For many people in Washington, this is a huge problem.
The uniparty decided some years ago never to allow another “populist” - meaning someone who actually responds to the public in reality and not just in rhetoric - near the center of power.
In other words, the Ruling Class is seriously circling its wagons. Their great fear is that a Washington savvy politician in touch with the great unwashed beyond the beltway could wind up in the Oval Office—perhaps in response to multiple crises detailed above. No wonder we’ve seen reports of The Turtle scrambling to sink a Jordan speakership. The election and the comeback of Trump from sabotage that would have sunk any other political ship has the Ruling Class in a panic. Tucker’s concluding paragraphs are masterful:
The election of Donald Trump in 2016 was a real turning point.
Here is where the panic set in.
The ridiculous claim that Russia was responsible for his election was the first psyop. ... It was worse than a partisan attack. It was the old Washington fighting for its life against something they truly feared.
That turned out to be only the beginning. The worst of it came when they finally deployed the ultimate Trump-crushing scheme, the response to a virus that led him to greenlight lockdowns, which led to trillions in spending, money creation, and explosive welfare payments, not to mention a huge attack on the property rights of just about everyone. The only beneficiaries were the big businesses that hated him, and the Democrats who gamed the virus fears to liberalize mail-in ballots used to cause his loss of the White House.
Part of the motivation here was Trump’s clever scheme to reclassify deep-state employees as subject to the president and not their labor unions. That one change—finally shoved through in the weeks before the 2020 election—would have done more to drain the swamp than anything he had yet tried. That was the real moment of panic. Without a permanent and unelected deep state, the whole scheme would dry up and fundamentally falter.
The pandemic response is what finally exposed the administrative state to the general public, and gave rise to a next-level mass movement determined to stop this robbery of the American idea. That’s where we are today: a tremendous and existential struggle between the people and the deep state, exactly as portrayed in every dystopian novel. Get that and you understand most every headline in the American press today.
A reminder that lends credibility to Tucker’s argument: Only 2% of Americans have had themselves injected with the latest mRNA meds.
And it’s not just the United States. This great struggle is taking place all over the world. It’s a battle between the elites and the people. The former have all the power but the latter have the passion and the ideas. What happens now really depends on an iterative series of steps that seemingly have nothing to do with the big picture but actually they do.
The election of Jim Jordan as speaker of the House is part of that grand struggle, one of many more to come in the years ahead. This is why there are so many people determined to stop it from happening. If someone like this can be third in line to the presidency, where does that leave the permanent bureaucracy in D.C. and all the interest groups for whom they carry water?
As of this writing, we don’t know the final outcome.
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