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Get Ready For War

'Calm Before The Storm' Photo Op Less Than Cryptic

by Daniel Johnson

Trump's Twitter posts clarifying an already obvious message.
Trump's Twitter posts clarifying an already obvious message.

There's going to be a very big war. Not the usual affair. Bigger than Bush. Soon. That is the message I got from coverage of the October 5, 2017 White House photo op with the President and several key military leaders. 

One good thing about US President Donald Trump is that he is not that smart, but thinks he is. Another good thing is that he is childish, the sort of person who just can't keep a secret BECAUSE it's a secret. 

The President's words at the October 5th Photo Op with key military officials has been given a lot of coverage in major media, but they have all called his statements 'cryptic'.

The part getting the most attention is a blatant, obvious and non-cryptic signal that there's a plan to go to war and it's going to be big, big like Bush, maybe bigger, maybe even big enough to make all the current coverage of his administration no longer newsworthy. I am referring to Trump's 'tee-hee, I have a secret and I'm not telling' remarks about a 'calm before the storm' that we will have to 'find out', also mentioning that 'we have the world's greatest military'. 

The cryptic part was in the main speech, which on the surface was about situations being discussed all the time. 

"Recently, we have had challenges that we really should have taken care of a long time ago, like North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, ISIS, and the revisionist powers that threaten our interests all around the world."

So here's some decryption: 

We all know about North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan and ISIS, but this 'revisionist powers' bit will be somewhat new to most casual news viewers. 

To explain that, we have to go into Conflict Theory, particularily Power Transition Theory, 

The Power transition theory is a branch of Conflict Theory that focuses on the cycles of war resulting from global imbalances of power first discussed in the 1958 book World Politics by A.F.K. Organski. 

As Organski himself explained it: 

"An even distribution of political, economic, and military capabilities between contending groups of states is likely to increase the probability of war; peace is preserved best when there is an imbalance of national capabilities between disadvantaged and advantaged nations; the aggressor will come from a small group of dissatisfied strong countries; and it is the weaker, rather than the stronger power that is most likely to be the aggressor."

Within Power Transition Theory, most countries are either a status quo state or a revisionist state.

Powerful nations like the US, UK, Japan, the EU, and other countries that are most successful in the current world order are status quo states, as are the smaller countries that 'go along to get along' and bend their countries policies to please the dominant nations. 

China, Russia and Iran are in the other category.

A 2014 article in the Financial Times 'Revisionist Powers Drive The World's Crisis'  by Gideon Rachman contrasts 2 theories from Bard College Professor Walter Russell Mead and Princeton University Professor John Ikenberry, with Mead saying that China, Russia and Iran were revisionist states that posed a serious threat to US global hegemony, and Ikenberry saying that they weren't 'true' revisionist states because, as he says: 

“Although they resent that the United States stands at the top of the current geopolitical system, they embrace the underlying logic of that framework, and with good reason. Openness gives them access to trade, investment, and technology from other societies.” What is more, Russia and China are big powers with vetoes at the UN. Their interests are protected by the current system because – “they are geopolitical insiders”.

Gideon Rachman's article moves on to side with Mead, which shows how much things have changed since Rachman's 2010 book 'Zero-Sum World: Power, Politics And Prosperity After The Crash', in which he seemed much more hopeful. 

 The inclusion of 'revisionist powers' in the same sentence as ISIS is cause for concern, the way the US President put all of those together as 'challenges that we really should have taken care of a long time ago' while indicating these challenges were going to be taken care of soon, by him, is definitely cause for alarm. 

As if believing he needed to clarify those statements, on October 7, Trump tweeted 'Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid......hasn't worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, makings fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!'

Get ready for war.


1. USA Today, It's The Calm Before The Storm' Trump Offers cryptic message during White House Photo Op, Ryan W. Miller, Oct. 5, 2017

2. Wikipedia:

3. Wikipedia:

4. Financial Times, June 30, 2014, Gideon Rachman, Revisionist Powers Drive The World's Crisis, (FT has a paywall, a cached copy of a re-blog of the article can be found here: )

5. The Guardian, Review Of Zero Sum World by Gideon Rachman, Nov. 28, 2010

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