How Donald Trump will follow the money

Pepe Escobar
Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia Times Online. Born in Brazil, he's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, and has lived in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Washington, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Even before 9/11 he specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central and East Asia, with an emphasis on Big Power geopolitics and energy wars. He is the author of "Globalistan" (2007), "Red Zone Blues" (2007), "Obama does Globalistan" (2009) and "Empire of Chaos" (2014), all published by Nimble Books. His latest book is "2030", also by Nimble Books, out in December 2015.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Sacramento, California, U.S. June 1, 2016. © Lucy Nicholson
Imagine hordes of American theocrats, white supremacists, nativists, NRA worshippers, all in an 'open carry' orgy, descending on the Republican convention in Cleveland in the wake of Orlando, Dallas, Nice and Baton Rouge.

What could possibly go wrong?

Welcome to a fully armed and dangerous spectacular featuring, for instance, the
Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP) – allied with the Golden State Skinheads (GSS) - sending a posse to the GOP show to “make sure that the Donald Trump supporters are defended from the leftist thugs.” Cleveland’s courts are ready to process up to 1,000 arrestees daily, and stay open 20 hours a day. Strip clubs are “pumped for Trump”. Certified mayhem overall is bound to add another meaning to the rock 'n' roll mantra“Cleveland Rocks”.

Trouble at the Trumpence joint

Compounding the mayhem, there’s the Trump-Pence (Trumpence) fracas. Donald Trump remains visibly frustrated by his own appointment of Indiana governor Mike Pence as his running mate. He reportedly spent last Thursday night frantically trying to back down. He was furious that the news leaked before he had a chance to personally tell his double-trouble favorites – pompous twat Newt Gingrich and over-sized blowhard Chris Christie – about his decision.

And even in the first Trumpence joint interview this past Sunday, the best exchange was actually this one:

PENCE: Donald Trump, this good man...will be a great president of the United States.

TRUMP: I love what he just said.

It’s been fascinating to watch how Trump is visibly bored to tears with his dull as a stale cheeseburger new friend, who has called himself “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.”

'Lil’ Mikey', as he’s widely known, is not exactly the brightest bulb in the room – any room. The fact that he was a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee does not exactly give him foreign-policy cred. After all, what really matters to Lil’ Mikey is to install an evangelical Sharia in the United States of America.

Pence was imposed on Trump by his Richelieu, Paul Manafort, as well as Trump’s family, for purely realpolitik reasons. The small town boy from Indiana will do well in the Rust Belt states; allegedly transfer Ted Cruz voters to Trump; appease Republican right-wing fanatics who see The Donald as a depraved, gay-hugging, pro-choice, end of days hedonist New Yorker; and if the ticket makes it, teach The Donald about Washington’s beyond-byzantine ways.

Trump though couldn’t care less about all these alleged pluses because he’s governed by his  guts, not realpolitik.

A much juicier Trump appointment would have been retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, who was fired as Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) chief (2012-2014) because - correctly – he predicted that Obama’s covert war in Syria would spawn the ISIS/ISIL/Daesh Frankenstein. And then he doubled down, saying that the flourishing of Daesh was in fact a “willful decision” taken by the White House.

Not only Flynn was against Team Obama’s obsession in weaponizing “moderate rebels” in Syria but he had warned that getting rid of Gaddafi via NATO would open a Northern African Pandora’s box.

The problem with Flynn is that he is not a Paleolithic supporter of evangelical Sharia; the GOP badly needs those millions of evangelical Christian votes. Additionally, he’s in favor of a partnership of interests with Russia – spanning all hot spots from Ukraine to the Middle East. This, of course, is anathema in the Beltway.

Yet Flynn also did himself no favors, when, promoting his new book The Field of Fight, he insisted that, “We’re in a global war, facing an enemy alliance that runs from Pyongyang, North Korea, to Havana, Cuba, and Caracas, Venezuela. Along the way, the alliance picks up radical Muslim countries and organizations such as Iran, al Qaeda, the Taliban and Islamic State.That’s a formidable coalition, and nobody should be shocked to discover that we are losing the war.” This mind-boggling nonsense was penned by his mentor and co-writer, neocon nullity Michael Ledeen.

Still, Flynn is now on Trump’s shortlist for head of the Pentagon. At least, unlike The Three Harpies (Clinton, Flournoy and Nuland), he won’t be gunning to start a simultaneous war against Russia and China.

What makes Donald run

Some powerful, well-connected business interests supporting Trump from New York to the Midwest have outlined their reasons to me, off the record. The fact that their reasons run completely opposite to the Beltway consensus speaks volumes.

Why Russia? “Because Russia does not rig their currency against us to destroy our industries, and is therefore a natural ally rather then Germany and Japan, who still rig their currencies against the United States and have destroyed much of our industrial power.”

These self-described American patriots are adamant that, “We should repatriate our industries that support the weapons for our military industrial complex and all other industries lost to currency rigging. This is doubly necessary as Russian and Chinese advanced submarines can disrupt the mainland production of our weaponry by blocking shipping from Asia of our components. The United States weapons production could, therefore, collapse in a war.”

For these business interests, illegal immigration, rigged currencies, and the “unnecessary war” against Russia are the biggest issues of the presidential campaign.

They argue that the Clinton machine, “is not going to stop currency rigging because Wall Street wants to use low interest from recycled dollars despite the fact it’s destroying Wall Street.” They add that, “Jack Lew has warned Japan, Germany and others that the United States will not tolerate further currency depreciation, which is a major plank of Mr. Trump.”

So, in a nutshell, why the support for Trump? “We need a fresh look at these problems that Donald J. Trump brings to the table. Our problem with Mitt Romney was that he made his money taking advantage of the tax treatment for takeovers and currency rigging that shifted so much of our industry abroad. If anything, favorable tax treatment should encourage the building of productive investment as we repatriate our industries lost to currency rigging and not the creation of debt to finance speculative takeovers or speculation in general. Speculative profits should face the highest form of taxation.”

This business crowd is distinctly anti-war: “When Mr. Trump talks about war having to have rational profit and loss expectation, he is sounding as a logical businessman.” They also stress that, “the war against Russia is also destroying our oil industry as the US ordered the Gulf States to dump their shut-in oil production capacity on the oil market to bankrupt Russia.”

It should be noted here that oil happens to be a large component of the multibillionaire Koch brothers’ wealth; Charles and David Koch control the $115 billion-a-year energy and industrial behemoth Koch Industries. And that brings us back – not unexpectedly - to Lil’ Mikey.

Follow the Money

It’s been a while since the Koch brothers promised to spend nearly $1 billion to get the “right” man at the White House.

Now, with his nomination in the bag, Trump the consummate businessman obviously smells blood. It’s no accident that Lil’ Mikey later this month will be a prominent guest at a monster donor semiannual policy and fundraising retreat in Colorado hosted by, who else, the Koch brothers.

He’s done it before. In 2014, in Palm Springs, Pence effusively explained how states such as his own, Indiana, can be the perfect labs for the GOP (and Koch) dream of small-to-non-existent government, ultra-low taxes and total deregulation. Arguably, this is what Trumplandia would also be about.

Adding to the multi-billionaire front, another close pal of Lil’ Mikey happens to be casino schemer Sheldon Adelson, who was backing New Gingrich as Trump’s running mate. Yet as soon as Lil’ Mikey was confirmed, the Republican Jewish Coalition – financed by Adelson – totally endorsed him, describing him as a “critical leader and important voice regarding Israel.” Adelson has been on the record saying he will shell out as much as $100 million to get Trump into the White House. And he happens to be one of those Koch monster donors as well.

So here’s how the playing field is shaping up: the neocon/neoliberal/Wall Street candidate, Hillary Clinton, featuring The Three Harpies itching for a war, against the wall-to-wall multibillionaire Four Amigos - Trump, Charles and David Koch, and Adelson. This, in the US, is what passes for “democracy”. Those who are about to die of despair – we salute you. Meanwhile, Cleveland rocks.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.