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Israel-Firsters and Wall Street CEOs Rule America Uncontested in the Time of Trump

By James Petras

Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, September 12, 2017 

 
Jared Kushner, 2017  

 

Who Rules America?

The Power Elite in the Time of Trump

***

Introduction

In the last few months, several competing political, economic and military sectors
- linked to distinct ideological and ethnic groups - have clearly emerged at the centers of
power.

We can identify some of the key competing and interlocking directorates of the
power elite:

1. Free marketers, with the ubiquitous presence of the ‘Israel First’ crowd.
2. National capitalists, linked to rightwing ideologues.
3. Generals, linked to the national security and the Pentagon apparatus, as well as
defense industry.
4. Business elites, linked to global capital.

This essay attempts to define the power wielders and evaluate their range of power
and its impact.

The Economic Power Elite: Israel-Firsters and Wall Street CEOs

‘Israel Firsters’ dominate the top economic and political positions within the
Trump regime and, interestingly, are among the Administration’s most vociferous
opponents. These include: the Federal Reserve Chairwoman, Janet Yellen, as well as her
Vice-Chair, Stanley Fischer, an Israeli citizen and former (sic) Governor of the Bank of
Israel.

Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an Orthodox Jew, acts as his top
adviser on Middle East Affairs. Kushner, a New Jersey real estate mogul, set himself up
as the archenemy of the economic nationalists in the Trump inner circle. He supports
every Israeli power and land grab in the Middle East and works closely with David
Friedman, US Ambassador to Israel (and fanatical supporter of the illegal Jewish
settlements) and Jason Greenblatt, Special Representative for International negotiations.
With three Israel-Firsters determining Middle East policy, there is not even a fig leaf of
balance.

The Treasury Secretary is Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive,
who leads the neo-liberal free market wing of the Wall Street sector within the Trump
regime. Gary Cohn, a longtime Wall Street influential, heads the National Economic
Council. They form the core business advisers and lead the neo-liberal anti-nationalist
Trump coalition committed to undermining economic nationalist policies.
An influential voice in the Attorney General’s office is Rod Rosenstein, who
appointed Robert Mueller the chief investigator, which led to the removal of nationalists
from the Trump Administration.

The fairy godfather of the anti-nationalist Mnuchin-Cohn team is Lloyd
Blankfein, Goldman Sach’s Chairman. The ‘Three Israel First bankerteers’ are
spearheading the fight to deregulate the banking sector, which had ravaged the economy,
leading to the 2008 collapse and foreclosure of millions of American homeowners and
businesses.

The ‘Israel-First’ free market elite is spread across the entire ruling political
spectrum, including ranking Democrats in Congress, led by Senate Minority leader
Charles Schumer and the Democratic Head of the House Intelligence Committee Adam
Schiff. The Democratic Party Israel Firsters have allied with their free market brethren in
pushing for investigations and mass media campaigns against Trump’s economic
nationalist supporters and their eventual purge from the administration.

The Military Power Elite: The Generals

The military power elite has successfully taken over from the elected president in
major decision-making. Where once the war powers rested with the President and the
Congress, today a collection of fanatical militarists make and execute military policy,
decide war zones and push for greater militarization of domestic policing. Trump has
turned crucial decisions over to those he fondly calls ‘my Generals’ as he continues to
dodge accusations of corruption and racism.

Trump appointed Four-Star General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis (retired USMC) - a
general who led the war in Afghanistan and Iraq - as Secretary of Defense. Mattis
(whose military ‘glories’ included bombing a large wedding party in Iraq) is leading the

campaign to escalate US military intervention in Afghanistan – a war and occupation that
Trump had openly condemned during his campaign. As Defense Secretary, General ‘Mad
Dog’ pushed the under-enthusiastic Trump to announce an increase in US ground troops
and air attacks throughout Afghanistan. True to his much-publicized nom-de-guerre, the
general is a rabid advocate for a nuclear attack against North Korea.

Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster (an active duty Three Star General and long
time proponent of expanding the wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan) became
National Security Adviser after the purge of Trump’s ally Lt. General Michael Flynn,
who opposed the campaign of confrontation and sanctions against Russia and China.
McMaster has been instrumental in removing ‘nationalists’ from Trumps administration
and joins General ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis in pushing for a greater build-up of US troops in
Afghanistan.

Lt. General John Kelly (Retired USMC), another Iraq war veteran and Middle
East regime change enthusiast, was appointed White House Chief of Staff after the ouster
of Reince Priebus.

The Administration’s Troika of three generals share with the neoliberal Israel
First Senior Advisors to Trump, Stephen Miller and Jared Kushner, a deep hostility
toward Iran and fully endorse Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s demand that the 2015
Nuclear Accord with Tehran be scrapped.

Trump’s military directorate guarantees that spending for overseas wars will not
be affected by budget cuts, recessions or even national disasters.

The ‘Generals’, the Israel First free marketers and the Democratic Party elite lead
the fight against the economic nationalists and have succeeded in ensuring that Obama
Era military and economic empire building would remain in place and even expand.

The Economic Nationalist Elite

The leading strategist and ideologue of Trump’s economic nationalist allies in the
White House was Steve Bannon. He had been chief political architect and Trump adviser
during the electoral campaign. Bannon devised an election campaign favoring domestic
manufacturers and American workers against the Wall Street and multinational corporate
free marketers. He developed Trump’s attack on the global trade agreements, which had
led to the export of capital and the devastation of US manufacturing labor.

Equally significant, Bannon crafted Trumps early public opposition to the
generals’ 15-year trillion-dollar intervention in Afghanistan and the even more costly
series of wars in the Middle East favored by the Israel-Firsters, including the ongoing
proxy-mercenary war to overthrow the secular nationalist government of Syria.
Within 8 month of Trump’s administration, the combined forces of the free market
economic and military elite, the Democratic Party leaders, overt militarists in the
Republican Party and their allies in the mass media succeeded in purging Bannon – and
marginalized the mass support base for his ‘America First’ economic nationalist and
anti-‘regime change’ agenda.

The anti-Trump ‘alliance’ will now target the remaining few economic
nationalists in the administration. These include: the CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who
favors protectionism by weakening the Asian and NAFTA trade agreements and Peter
Navarro, Chairman of the White House Trade Council. Pompeo and Navarro face strong
opposition from the ascendant neoliberal Zionist troika now dominating the Trump
regime.

In addition, there is Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, a billionaire and former
director of Rothschild Inc., who allied with Bannon in threatening import quotas to
address the massive US trade deficit with China and the European Union.
Another Bannon ally is US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer a former
military and intelligence analyst with ties to the newsletter Breitbart. He is a strong
opponent of the neoliberal, globalizers in and out of the Trump regime.

‘Senior Adviser’ and Trump speechwriter, Stephen Miller actively promotes the
travel ban on Muslims and stricter restrictions on immigration. Miller represents the
Bannon wing of Trump’s zealously pro-Israel cohort.

Sebastian Gorka, Trump’s Deputy Assistant in military and intelligence affairs,
was more an ideologue than analyst, who wrote for Breitbart and rode to office on
Bannon’s coat tails. Right after removing Bannon, the ‘Generals’ purged Gorka in early
August on accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’.

Whoever remains among Trump’s economic nationalists are significantly
handicapped by the loss of Steve Bannon who had provided leadership and direction.
However, most have social and economic backgrounds, which also link them to the
military power elite on some issues and with the pro-Israel free marketers on others.
However, their core beliefs had been shaped and defined by Bannon.

The Business Power Elite

Exon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson, Trump’s Secretary of State and former Texas
Governor Rick Perry, Energy Secretary lead the business elite. Meanwhile, the business
elite associated with US manufacturing and industry have little direct influence on
domestic or foreign policy. While they follow the Wall Street free marketers on domestic
policy, they are subordinated to the military elite on foreign policy and are not allied with
Steve Bannon’s ideological core.

Trump’s business elite, which has no link to the economic nationalists in the
Trump regime, provides a friendlier face to overseas economic allies and adversaries.
Analysis and Conclusion.

The power elite cuts across party affiliations, branches of government and
economic strategies.
It is not restricted to either political party, Republican or
Democratic. It includes free marketers, some economic nationalists, Wall Street power
brokers and militarists. All compete and fight for power, wealth and dominance within
this administration. The correlation of forces is volatile, changing rapidly in short periods
of time – reflecting the lack of cohesion and coherence in the Trump regime.
Never has the US power elite been subject to such monumental changes in
composition and direction during the first year of a new regime.

During the Obama Presidency, Wall Street and the Pentagon comfortably shared
power with Silicon Valley billionaires and the mass media elite. They were united in
pursuing an imperial ‘globalist’ strategy, emphasizing multiple theaters of war and multi
lateral free trade treaties, which was in the process of reducing millions of American
workers to permanent helotry.

With the inauguration of President Trump, this power elite faced challenges and
the emergence of a new strategic configuration, which sought drastic changes in US
political economic and military policy.

The architect of the Trump’s campaign and strategy, Steve Bannon, sought to
displace the global economic and military elite with his alliance of economic nationalists,
manufacturing workers and protectionist business elites. Bannon pushed for a major
break from Obama’s policy of multiple permanent wars to expanding the domestic
market. He proposed troop withdrawal and the end of US military operations in
Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, while increasing a combination of economic, political and
military pressure on China. He sought to end sanctions and confrontation against
Moscow and fashion economic ties between the giant energy producers in the US and
Russia.

While Bannon was initially the chief strategist in the White House, he quickly
found himself faced with powerful rivals inside the regime, and ardent opponents among
Democratic and Republican globalists and especially from the Zionist – neoliberals who
systematically maneuvered to win strategic economic and policy positions within the
regime. Instead of being a coherent platform from which to formulate a new radical
economic strategy, the Trump Administration was turned into a chaotic and vicious
‘terrain for struggle’. The Bannon’s economic strategy barely got off the ground.
The mass media and operatives within the state apparatus, linked to Obama’s
permanent war strategy, first attacked Trump’s proposed economic reconciliation with
Russia. To undermine any ‘de-escalation’, they fabricated the Russian spy and election
manipulation conspiracy. Their first successful shots were fired at Lt. General Michael
Flynn, Bannon’s ally and key proponent for reversing the Obama/Clinton policy of
military confrontation with Russia
. Flynn was quickly destroyed and openly threatened
with prosecution as a ‘Russian agent’ in whipped-up hysteria that resembled the heydays
of Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Key economic posts in the Trump regime were split between the Israel-Firster
neoliberals and the economic nationalists. The ‘Deal Maker’ President Trump attempted
to harness Wall Street-affiliated neoliberal Zionists to the economic nationalists, linked to
Trump’s working class electoral base, in formulating new trade relations with the EU and
China, which would favor US manufacturers. Given the irreconcilable differences
between these forces, Trump’s naďve ‘deal’ weakened Bannon, undermined his leadership
and wrecked his nationalist economic strategy.

While Bannon had secured several important economic appointees, the Zionist
neoliberals undercut their authority. The Fischer-Mnuchin-Cohn cohort successfully set a
competing agenda.

The entire Congressional elite from both parties united to paralyze the Trump
Bannon agenda. The giant corporate mass media served as a hysterical and rumor-laden
megaphone for zealous Congressional and FBI investigators magnifying every nuance of
Trump’s US Russia relations in search of conspiracy. The combined state-Congressional
and Media apparatus overwhelmed the unorganized and unprepared mass base of
Bannon electoral coalition which had elected Trump.

Thoroughly defeated, the toothless President Trump retreated in desperate search
for a new power configuration, turning his day-to-day operations over to ‘his generals’.
The elected civilian President of the United States embraced his generals’ pursuit of a
new military-globalist alliance and escalation of military threats foremost against North
Korea, but including Russia and China. Afghanistan was immediately targeted for an
expanded intervention.

Trump effectively replaced Bannon’s economic nationalist strategy with a revival
Obama’s multi-war military approach.

The Trump regime re-launched the US attacks on Afghanistan and Syria –
exceeding Obama’s use of drone attacks on suspected Muslim militants. He intensified
sanctions against Russia and Iran, embraced Saudi Arabia’s war against the people of
Yemen and turned the entire Middle East policy over to his ultra-Zionist Political Advisor
(Real Estate mogul and son-in-law) Jared Kushner and US Ambassador to Israel David
Friedman.

Trump’s retreat turned into a grotesque rout. The Generals embraced the
neoliberal Zionists in Treasury and the Congressional global militarists. Communication
Directory Anthony Scaramucci was fired. Trump’s Chief of Staff General Joe Kelly
purged Steve Bannon. Sebastian Gorka was kicked out.

The eight months of internal struggle between the economic nationalists and the
neoliberals has ended: The Zionist-globalist alliance with Trump’s Generals now
dominate the Power Elite.

Trump is desperate to adapt to the new configuration, allied to his own
Congressional adversaries and the rabidly anti-Trump mass media.

Having all but decimated Trump’s economic nationalists and their program, the
Power Elite then mounted a series of media-magnified events centering around a local
punch-out in Charlottesville, Virginia between ‘white supremacists’ and ‘anti-fascists’.
After the confrontation led to death and injury, the media used Trump’s inept attempt to
blame both ‘baseball bat’-wielding sides, as proof of the President’s links to neo-Nazis
and the KKK. Neoliberal and Zionists, within the Trump administration and his business
councils, all joined in the attack on the President, denouncing his failure to immediately
and unilaterally blame rightwing extremists for the mayhem.

Trump is turning to sectors of the business and Congressional elite in a desperate
attempt to hold onto waning support via promises to enact massive tax cuts and
deregulate the entire private sector.

The decisive issue was no longer over one policy or another or even strategy.
Trump had already lost on all accounts. The ‘final solution’ to the problem of the election
of Donald Trump is moving foreword step-by-step – his impeachment and possible arrest
by any and all means.

What the rise and destruction of economic nationalism in the ‘person’ of Donald
Trump tells us is that the American political system cannot tolerate any capitalist reforms
that might threaten the imperial globalist power elite.

Writers and activists used to think that only democratically elected socialist
regimes would be the target of systematic coup d’état. Today the political boundaries are
far more restrictive. To call for ‘economic nationalism’, completely within the capitalist
system, and seek reciprocal trade agreements is to invite savage political attacks, trumped
up conspiracies and internal military take-overs ending in ‘regime change’.
The global-militarist elite purge of economic nationalists and anti-militarists was
supported by the entire US left with a few notable exceptions. For the first time in
history the left became an organizational weapon of the pro-war, pro-Wall Street, pro
Zionist Right in the campaign to oust President Trump. Local movements and leaders,
notwithstanding, trade union functionaries, civil rights and immigration politicians,
liberals and social democrats have joined in the fight for restoring the worst of all worlds:
the Clinton-Bush-Obama/Clinton policy of permanent multiple wars, escalating
confrontations with Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela and Trump’s deregulation of the
US economy and massive tax-cuts for big business.

We have gone a long-way backwards: from elections to purges and from peace
agreements to police state investigations. Today’s economic nationalists are labeled
‘fascists’; and displaced workers are ‘the deplorables’!

Americans have a lot to learn and unlearn. Our strategic advantage may reside in
the fact that political life in the United States cannot get worse – we really have touched
bottom and (barring a nuclear war) we can only look up.

***

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editor@aljazeerah.info & editor@ccun.org