Wednesday , October 18 2017
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Who’s Playing the Long Game?

Summary:
Take a moment to consider the Neocon camp’s over-reaction to the inchoate challenge to its dominance posed by the Trump administration. When we speak of The Long Game, we speak of national/alliance policies that continue on regardless of what political party or individual is in office. The Long Game is always about the basics of national survival: control of and access to resources, and jockeying to diminish the power and influence of potential adversaries while strengthening one’s own power and influence. As I have been discussing for years, there are inevitable conflicts within the inner circle that executes The Long Game within each nation/alliance. In periods of active confrontation, the various factions tend to rally round the core game plan–for

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Take a moment to consider the Neocon camp’s over-reaction to the inchoate challenge to its dominance posed by the Trump administration.

When we speak of The Long Game, we speak of national/alliance policies that continue on regardless of what political party or individual is in office. The Long Game is always about the basics of national survival: control of and access to resources, and jockeying to diminish the power and influence of potential adversaries while strengthening one’s own power and influence.

As I have been discussing for years, there are inevitable conflicts within the inner circle that executes The Long Game within each nation/alliance. In periods of active confrontation, the various factions tend to rally round the core game plan–for example, in the Cold War with the USSR, the U.S. Long Game was containment. Anyone arguing for all-out war or appeasement was quickly marginalized.

In eras in which everything is up for grabs, these internecine conflicts broaden and intensify. We are in just such an era. This is why I have consistently claimed that the group responsible for playing America’s Long Game–the Deep State–is now splitting into two main camps:

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1. The dominant Neocon camp that seeks to actively intervene on a global basis (mostly civilian).

2. The “rogue progressive” camp that views the Neocon strategy as a disaster for America’s long-term interests, i.e. The Long Game (mostly military or military-related).

Whatever you think of President Trump–pawn, buffoon, loose cannon, evil incarnate, whatever–please understand that his administration is viewed as a potentially disruptive threat to the dominant Neocon camp, which expected a seamless transition in the Executive branch from President Obama to Hillary Clinton, echoing the seamless transition from G.W. Bush to President Obama.

The camp that sees the Neocon strategy as failed and dangerous to the interests of the American people and the nation’s Long Game had essentially zero leverage in the presidencies of Bill Clinton, G.W. Bush and Barack Obama. After 24 years of unchallenged power, the Neocons are understandably going into attack mode against anything and everything that poses the slightest risk to their grasp on power.

The possibility that the anti-Neocon camp might gain a foothold in the Trump administration has caused the Neocon camp to launch an all-out war against anyone and anything that could offer the “rogue” insiders a toehold.

Hillary Clinton neatly summarized the Neocon mindset on how to deal with potential threats when she asked (regarding WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange): “Can’t we just drone this guy?”

Since the Neocons have assembled the greatest Murder, Inc. machine in world history, this obsession with killing anyone who poses the slightest threat to Neocon hegemony is understandable. But it’s tricky to liquidate Americans without questions being asked (all those suspicious “suicides”–hmm).

So the Neocon tactic of late is to sift through the NSA and CIA’s voluminous surveillance data and fish out something damaging to their targets.

The Neocon camp has also ordered its media arm–the corporate-owned mainstream media– to go into full attack mode. Bernie Sanders got a small taste of the MSM’s one-sided, negative coverage, but that was merely a training exercise for the main war against any and all potential threats to the Neocon camp’s total dominance.

It’s helpful to position this discussion of the warring camps in America’s Deep State in a larger context of The Long Game.

Let’s start with Russia, and recall that the Western Neoliberals (do-gooders one and all, of course–we only have your best interests at heart, really really really) forcefed a “market economy” (i.e. rigged to benefit banks and cronies) to Russia in the early 1990s.

The net result was a Cronyist-Mafia-Racket economy, a disaster for progressives within Russia. The inevitable blowback was a re-energized central state, which generated another set of difficulties.

Then the Neocon-led NATO expansion into Russia’s historical buffer zones triggered alarm. Recall that Russia has centuries of experience dealing with invading hordes from the East and the West.

It’s not too difficult to see why Russia isn’t feeling particularly warm and fuzzy about the Neoliberal-Neocon Long Game.

As for China–China has one client state: North Korea. Talk about a client state from Heck. There aren’t any good solutions in China’s view to North Korea: if it collapses from internal disorder, a humanitarian crisis quickly moves across the border into China.

A nuclear exchange between North Korea and the U.S. is not a desirable outcome, nor is a conventional war with South Korea.

China’s unprecedented economic advance depended on two drivers: trade and credit. Trade is now facing a potentially disruptive global shift against globalism, and credit is yielding diminishing returns: China’s $30 trillion in additional debt is basically keeping the debt bubble from popping, not generating organic, sustainable expansion:

Who’s Playing the Long Game?

China’s debt expansion: China’s GDP up 3-fold since 2006, but debt is up 6-fold–and still ramping up fast.

Who’s Playing the Long Game?

For context– snapshots of global GDP and global debt. As I noted yesterday in The Media’s Missing the Point: Syria, Empire and the Power of Signaling, power is a function of a nation’s total output, not just its military capabilities.

Charles Hugh Smith
Charles Hugh Smith is an American writer and blogger. He is the chief writer for the site "Of Two Minds". Started in 2005, this site has been listed No. 7 in CNBC's top alternative financial sites. His commentary is featured on a number of sites including: Zerohedge.com., The American Conservative and Peak Prosperity. He graduated from the University of Hawaii, Manoa in Honolulu. Charles Hugh Smith currently resides in Berkeley, California and Hilo, Hawaii.

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