General Milley was taking reasonable precautions to avert any miscalculation for war with China, Finian Cunningham writes.
Former President Trump and his political allies are frantically calling for the United States’ top general to be arrested and court-martialed for treason after reports of alleged secret calls to China.
Hold on a minute these are the same right-wing crazies who want a war with China, as well as spreading lies about stolen elections, useless vaccines and a hoax pandemic that is otherwise causing millions of deaths.
Trump and his unhinged Republicans claim that Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley went behind Trump’s back when he was president in order to assure China that he would not allow the president to order a military strike.
According to a new book co-authored by veteran Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, General Milley made phone calls to his Chinese military counterpart, General Li Zoucheng, to let China know there was no danger of Trump launching a war.
That speaks of how dangerous and deranged U.S. power is. It took a general to intervene to ensure that a president did not start a war that would have escalated into a nuclear conflagration.
On the surface, Milley’s conduct may appear to be treasonous. In the United States’ constitution, the president is the Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s military forces. So, for a general to circumvent the president and reach out to a foreign power that the U.S. has designated as a national security threat, that appears to be traitorous.
But let’s put this in proper context. When Trump repeatedly refused to concede defeat in the November presidential election against Democrat Joe Biden, it did look as if Trump was going rogue. Spurious claims by Trump and his far-right Republican boosters of “stolen election” – they continue to peddle the same nonsense without any evidence – looked as if the United States was facing a coup.
When the Capitol building was attacked by a violent mob on January 6 instigated by Trump in order to abort the certification of the November election, it was not at all implausible that Trump was attempting to make a power grab against the constitution.
That is when General Milley reportedly phoned his Chinese counterpart to assure Beijing that the United States would not launch a military strike. Given that Trump was going off the rails in a bid to stay in the White House and given that, as a sitting president, he had access to nuclear codes it is not unreasonable that the Pentagon chief took a decision to neutralize an erratic Trump.
Trump is now saying that he had no intention of going to war with China. And he accuses Milley of exaggerating wild fears to justify his unlawful usurping of presidential authority.
Milley had good reason though. Remember that Trump during his presidency had on several occasions intimated he would use nuclear weapons against North Korea and Iran if he was pushed too far. He had warned of “fire and fury like never seen before”.
Also, Trump’s megalomaniac rage and delusional mind about being cheated over the November election was such that all bets were off. Would he start a war with China as a foil to hang onto the White House? Anything was possible with such a crazed egotist. And given the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, it was reasonable to cut off this maverick president’s power, including the power to launch a nuclear war.
It also needs to be borne in mind that Trump’s aides and advisors who were all on for the January 6 assault on the U.S. electoral process were also stridently anti-China hawks.
People like Steven Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, and the then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, were gung-ho with anti-China rhetoric.
Bannon had even predicted that the United States would go to war with China within a few years. Bannon teamed up with fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui to declare in June 2020 a “New Federal State of China” which would overthrow the ruling Communist Party government in Beijing. Although Bannon had left the Trump White House in 2017, he was still seen as being a close advisor to the president.
Guo Wengui, the Chinese renegade businessman, has set up in the United States as a de facto government-in-exile. He fled to the U.S. in 2014 to escape an anti-corruption crackdown under President Xi Jinping. He is wanted by Chinese authorities over multiple charges of bribery and fraud. Several of Guo’s associates have been sentenced to prison in China for corruption.
Guo has launched GTV and other media companies in the U.S. that have become prominent outlets for pro-Trump campaigns and anti-China warmongering. These media outlets promote claims about stolen elections as well as spreading falsehoods about the effectiveness of vaccines for mitigating the Covid-19 pandemic.
In June this year – to mark the anniversary of Bannon’s regime change declaration towards China – a rally in New York sponsored by Guo’s media empire featured Trump acolytes like Bannon, Michael Flynn, Rudy Giuliani, and businessman Mike Lindell who all spoke about war with China.
At that rally, Bannon accused China of carrying out cyberattacks on the November 2020 elections to defeat Trump. In Trump’s toxic milieu, there is a delusional conviction that the Communist Party of China subverted American democracy.
Recall, too, that the former Trump administration had embarked on an unprecedented trade war against China as well as winding up tensions over Hong Kong and the South China Sea. It is plausible that Beijing feared the unhinged Trump regime was prepared to start a war.
Given the febrile and reckless situation in the waning days of the Trump administration, General Milley was taking reasonable precautions to avert any miscalculation for war with China. Accusations of treason from Trump and his band of warmongering anti-China nutters like Bannon are absurd. If anyone is guilty of treason it is Trump and his fascist ilk who are domestic enemies of the U.S. constitution.