‘Cold War 2.0’

Trump’s National Security Advisor General McMaster left “the White House” on Friday. His successor John Bolton started work yesterday because he is not subject to the approval of the Senate. The appointments that will shape Trump’s inner cabinet, which is also described as “his war cabinet,” have not yet concluded. Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel are next. Trump has proposed CIA Director Pompeo as the Secretary of State and the Deputy Director of the CIA Haspel as CIA Director. These two names will come to office after the approval of the Senate. The approval process of Pompeo in the Senate will be finished by the end of this month. Haspel’s approval process is expected to last much longer due to the allegations that suspects who are being interrogated in the secret bases of CIA are being tortured.

It is almost certain that Bolton will conduct a “house cleaning” in the National Security Council. Along with the experts from the Obama era, the ones appointed by McMaster are expected to be unseated. NSC spokesman Michael Anton left the White House yesterday. According to rumors, the first name on the ‘blacklist’ is Dr. Nadia Schadlow, who has written the National Security Strategy Document. Schadlow was appointed as the Deputy National Security Adviser by McMaster. General Ricky Waddell is on the list, too. Likewise, those who were sacked by McMaster are said to be preparing to return. These persons were allegedly sacked for being Islamophobic and pro-Israel hawks.

The reactions of Secretary of Defense James Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to Bolton’s appointments are being impatiently awaited. Rivalry on many topics such as the Iran Nuclear Deal, Syria, North Korea, Taiwan, the Qatar embargo, West-Russia tension and the trade war with China may emerge. The Trump administration last week extended the sanction list to include bureaucrats, businessmen and the Russian companies that are in Putin’s inner circle. Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and the CEO of “Gazprom” Alexey Miller are also on the list. The “chemical assassination” targeting a former Russian spy in the UK has increased the tension between the West and Russia. At this point, we have to point out that this tension is being described as “Cold War 2.0.” The new posts of hawks such as Bolton and Pompeo are stated as “Speak loudly and carry a big stick” which is the summary of Trump’s roadmap.

Trump has for the first time directly targeted Russian President Vladimir Putin in his tweets upon the allegations that the Assad regime used chemical weapons in Douma on Saturday. These tweets point out to the psychological break between Trump and Putin. The most urgent matter before Trump is how to respond to Damascus. Russia, which rejected the “chemical attack” allegations, warned that they will respond to any assaults on Damascus. It is being said that the U.S. is planning to conduct missile attacks from its warships in the Mediterranean to the bases which do not host any Russian soldiers. Everyone is focused on the decision Trump will make. This decision may either put Russia face to face against the U.S. or it may restrain Trump who wants to withdraw from Syria.

John McCain, Chairman of Armed Services Committee of the Senate is the leading figure defending an intervention against Damascus. “Trump responded decisively last year when Assad used chemical weapons. He should repeat that and show that Assad will pay a price for his war crimes,” he said in his statement. McCain defends that Trump’s discourse of “withdrawal from Syria” encourages Assad to use chemical weapons. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham stated that Trump should put the strict stance reflected in his tweets into practice and said: “If [the president] doesn't follow through and live up to that tweet, he's going to look weak in the eyes of Russia and Iran.” Of course, there are also some people who want Trump to take the U.K. and France along in his punitive step. In conclusion, when talking about “Cold War 2.0,” the weather may extremely heat up.


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