Posts Tagged Europe
It has often been suggested that Donald Tump has numerous emotional disorders; but, it appears to me that his neurotic behavior is a controlling one. If you believe him, Donald is perfect and never makes mistakes, and it appears that he always seems to find others to blame for his problems. Based on the fact that he seems to feel that everyone else is out to get him, he often relies on a very small group of confidents, in whom he can trust!
Just before his first overseas trip, when Donald addressed the graduates of the U. S. Coast Guard Academy, he told them: “Look at the way I’ve been treated, especially by the media.” He went on to say: ”No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.” Remember that Trump is a man, who has lived his entire life in privilege, and he complains because the media reports the obvious!
Now, since he has somehow stumbled into the highest office in the land, Donald is delusional about non-existed “accomplishments”. After kowtowing to King Salman, of the Saudi Arabia, one of the two foremost financiers of Islamist Extremism, Trump stopped in Palestine, and then he travelled on to Europe. There, during several summit conferences, he established himself as being boorish and ignorant. his signature move resulted in his pushing the President of Montenegro, so that he could be front-and-center for the “Class Picture”.
In the extreme delusion, which personifies Trump, he declared that his overseas trip was: “…a Home Run!” German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on the other hand, suggested that she can no longer feel confident of a European-U. S. Partnership! Then, upon returning to Washington, Donald announced that he is considering re-shuffling his Staff, in order to stop the leaks. But, Trump appears to be asking the very leaders of the past disruption to provide the needed cooperation and security.
For a self-proclaimed businessman, Donald Trump seems to rely too much on Jared Kushner for virtually everything. His 36 year-old son-in-law, Kushner has been involved in negotiation in Lain America and China, he is Trump’s Envoy to Palestine and the Middle East, and let’s not forget his discussions with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, allegedly about establishing a secret communications link. Oh, and Donald has also tapped Jared to reform the government along business lines.
Might this be a combination of factors: Donald Trump is too despised by anyone with valid high-level Foreign Affairs experience, to join his Regime; no one in his Inner Circle would dare suggest a highly regarded consulting firm to re-align government, as if that was actually a realistic idea; or Donald Trump really is that dumb? Personally, I believe that it is a combination of all three. Trump is despised, narrow-minded, and dumb!
NOTE: Welcome to my readers in Cyprus and Oman.
DONALD! ON YOUR FIRST TRIP OVERSEAS—ESPECIALLY MEETING WITH ALLIES IN EUROPE—YOUR PERFORMANCE WAS TRULY DISGRACEFUL
Let me break it down for you:
1. Remember that comment about Germany selling cars here? Well, BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen all have auto plants in the U. S., and they employee American workers. As a self-proclaimed “Businessman”, you ought to realize that it is more cost-effective to manufacture the Supply, when it comes to heavy industry, near where the Demand is!
2. There should absolutely not be any pushing and shoving—as you did to the President of Montenegro—in getting to your pre-assigned photo-op places. I realize that you always like to be “In-Front”; but, in this case, everyone was also a Head of State. So, be civil next time!
3. Surely, a number of the NATO Allies have not adequately been funding their respective Defense Budgets, at two percent of GDP, as agreed upon! But, you have to stop lying that they owe it to the American People. Donald, with your various absurd health care proposals, you have already shown how much YOU care for the American People. HA! When a Nation underfunds its own budget, regardless as to whether it was Defense or not—it would only be underfunding itself! And thus, they would owe nothing to America, or its people!
4. I wish that there was such as thing as “The European Union—for Idiots”; because, I would be happy to send you a copy! When you meet a group—in this case, it was members of the European Union—it is just common sense to, at least, know something about them—and how they function. By the way, it certainly was foolish on your part to attack Germany for its Trade Surplus; because, the E. U. negotiates trade policy as one unified bloc–even with the U. S! (In fact, there has already been some discussion, within the E. U., about Germany’s trade surplus with its European neighbors.)
5. Lastly, Donald, you showed no tact whatsoever, when you spoke at a NATO Memorial, for those who died in the 9/11 Attacks on the U. S., and you specifically harped on the underfunding of NATO Defense Budgets. That, Donald, was neither the time, nor the place!
Frankly, Donald, I feel very embarrassed every time I see you on TV; but, it was certainly even more horrendous, watching you act like a boorish clod, while you were traveling overseas, this past week.
NOTE: Welcome to my readers in Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya.
As I write this, it is already early Sunday morning in France, on the day of the Final Round of the French Presidential Election. The candidates from the two major parties have been eliminated, and the 2017 Presidential Election will choose between: Marion Anne “Marine” Le Pen, of Ultra-Right “Le Front National”, against Emmanuel (Jean-Michel Frederic) Macron of the Centrist “En Marche!” Party.
The Russian cyber-prints seem to be all over the French Election, as was the case in the U. S., Germany and perhaps elsewhere in Europe. Unlike Donald Trump, however, who sent his “Special Advisors” to meet with the Russians, Madam Le Pen made a personal visit to President Vladimir Putin, and even had her photograph taken with him. So, why does Russia care about the French Election?
President Putin seems to have two major problems with the Atlantic Alliance, which includes: Canada; the U. S; and Europe. Following the implosion of he Soviet Union, some of it’s former Soviet satellites either claimed independence, or joined NATO and/or the European Union. Additionally, when Russia annexed Crimea, and began interfering in Eastern Ukraine, the Alliance toughened its economic sanctions on Russia.
The sanctions have greatly hindered Russia’s trade: either for importing goods that its economy needs; or selling its exports—primarily oil and gas—to acquire necessary dollars, or other reserve currencies. The Russian economy, which had never diversified much beyond the energy sector, was further devastated when the price of oil—its major cash source—was cut in half, on local markets, from the $90 per barrel three years ago.
Although Monsieur Macron appears favored to win; as we saw in the U. S. Election, strange things can happen. If Marine Le Pen were to become President, and her avowed Referendum to leave the E. U. were successful, that would mean that two of the three major economies—and largest nations—would be gone.
Also, a FRexit would be even worse than Britain leaving, since breaking-up the 19 member Euro, the common currency, would cause even more of an upheaval—both for France and the E. U. At that point, losing 30% of the trade pact’s GDP—between France and U. K., would certainly cause the relevance of the E. U. to come into question. And then, nations that leave, as they look for trading options, might begin to cozy-up to Russia and, thus, reduce the impact of the economic sanctions.
Last night, as I was turning-off my computer, I noticed that one of my visitors had read the following post, from the eve of the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion. That Landing turned the tide in World War II. Afterward, the Allies, on both sides of the Atlantic, worked so hard to create an everlasting Alliance, which has promoted Peace through Economic Cooperation ever since.
I wish that Donald Trump, and like-minded demagogues, across the Atlantic, would visit Normandy, sit on that bench (mentioned in the poetic Reuters article) and reflect on what might have been–if the Allies had lost that War!
Many of the Western Leaders will gather at Normandy, France this Friday to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Landings, by American, British and Canadian Forces, on June 6, 1944. Those Landings–at a considerable loss of Young Lives–turned the tide in World War II. The Survivors from that Fateful Day–at least those who can still travel–will be there, as well. Since they are now in their 90s, however, this will probably be their last chance to commemorate that Day–and honor their fallen comrades.
The linked article, by Alexandria Sage, from Reuters, provides a touching description of what goes on at the several Cemeteries (American, British and Canadian), day-in, and day-out. Although this article is specific to the American Cemetery, the same care and devotion is given the burial places of the other Allied Heroes, as well. Be sure to read this most touching, poetic story: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/30/us-d-day-cemetery-idUSKBN0EA1CH20140530,
As I read Ms. Sage’s article, it makes me think of those splendid words from President Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg, Pa., some eighty years before, when he said: “…The World will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but can never forget what they did here…” The story of the successive generations of French who have cared for the Gravesides is quite enthralling, and reflects the love and devotion which they provide.
Donald: Do you remember when, following the horrendous attacks in Paris, fourteen months ago, President Francois Holland advised the French to go about their normal business? And, even during the Darkest Hours of World War II, before America joined in, Prime Minister Winston Churchill similarly warned the British People: “(to) Never give in. Never, ever give in…”
Over the past several years, there have been a number of terrorist attacks, literally, in every corner of the world. Afterward, in every single instance, the People have refused to cower in fear, and they have chosen to live their lives—as free, and caring, people do. Think, Donald, aren’t we supposed to be the “Land of the Free…?”
Antoine Leiris, perhaps responded best, in Le Monde, in an open Letter to the Terrorists. He addressed them directly, and told them about the loss of his wife, “The Love of my Life”.
Madam Muyal-Leiris was one of 129 people, who were needlessly murdered, at The Bataclan Nightclub, on November 13, 2015. Mon. Leiris goes on to advise them that he will not teach his 17 month-old son, Melvil, to hate them. That Letter is quoted from Le Monde, as follows:
“On Friday night you stole the life of an exceptional being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you won’t have my hatred.
I don’t know who you are and I don’t want to know – you are dead souls. If this God for which you kill indiscriminately made us in his own image, every bullet in the body of my wife will have been a wound in his heart.
So no, I don’t give you the gift of hating you. You are asking for it but responding to hatred with anger would be giving in to the same ignorance that made you what you are.
You want me to be afraid, to view my fellow countrymen with mistrust, to sacrifice my freedom for security. You have lost.
I saw her this morning. Finally, after many nights and days of waiting. She was just as beautiful as when she left on Friday night, just as beautiful as when I fell hopelessly in love over 12 years ago.
Of course I’m devastated with grief, I admit this small victory, but it will be short-lived. I know she will accompany us every day and that we will find ourselves in this paradise of free souls to which you’ll never have access.
We are two, my son and I, but we are stronger than all the armies of the world.
I don’t have any more time to devote to you, I have to join Melvil who is waking up from his nap. He is barely 17-months-old. He will eat his meals as usual, and then we are going to play as usual, and for his whole life this little boy will threaten you by being happy and free.”
Donald, how can you possibly “Make America Great Again”, by pulling-in the Welcome Mat over which, both your forebears and mine stepped? When you close the borders, even for one moment, you are giving-in to hatred, intolerance and cruelty. And furthermore, that Ban will merely act as a recruiting tool for the terrorists, and just “Make America their Number One Target!”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel appears resigned to the fact that the sole Leadership of Europe is being thrust upon her. In more normal times, the German Chancellor would share that role with the President of France, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the President of the United States. So much has changed, however, during the past six months.
Following the British Brexit vote in late June, Prime Minister Theresa May has taken the reins of Great Britain, as it prepares to exit the European Union. It will, however, continue on as the most important European military force in NATO. In Paris, it seems obvious that Francois Hollande will soon be ousted as the President of France. And of course, the Election Victory of Donald Trump, in the United States—with his uncertain commitment to the Atlantic Alliance, and his growing fondness for Russian President Vladimir Putin—have left Merkel as the only experienced Head of State, in both the E. U. and NATO!
With eleven years of leading Europe’s largest nation, as well as the dominant economy, Mrs. Merkel is generally unflappable, decisive and able to quickly grasp complex issues. But, her aides now believe that she has recently been showing signs of stress and anxiety, ever since the American Election on November 8. An interesting article, from popular German periodical “Spiegel”, is linked as follows: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/donald-trump-angela-merkel-anticipates-frosty-relations-with-u-s-a-1128442.html. Be sure to click on the second part, at the bottom!
While watching a video of Trump’s rally in Pennsylvania, as part of his “Victory Tour”, she was flabbergasted that he: claimed a landslide victory, when there was none; blasted the Press for reporting the Truth, as it should; and the audacity to suggest that he had matured as a statesman, even when he hasn’t. Chancellor Merkel recommended that the entire National Executive Committee of the Christian Democratic Union, her party, watch the entire hour-long video of that address.
Mrs. Merkel quoted one particular remark in her recommendation, something that truly caught her attention. She cited it verbatim: “There is no such thing as a global anthem, a global currency, a global flag. We salute one flag, and that is the American flag.” Germany has been trying to make amends for what another demagogue, Adolf Hitler, did in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Never again!
Part of Angela Merkel’s anxiety is that most people, perhaps even his closest associates, don’t have any idea of what Trump’s intentions are, or what he might actually do. When various representatives of the German Foreign Ministry have contacted Trump confidantes, such as Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, or Secretary Henry Kissinger, they just couldn’t fill-in the blanks either!
The only positive note in Germany’s confusion is the high praise that every General who knows Retired General John Mathis, from Afghanistan or NATO Headquarters, in Brussels, has for Donald trump’s nominee for Secretary of Defense. They described General Mathis as a man who is not easily intimidated, and who is a champion of the Trans-Atlantic Alliance. They also believe that he will make that clear to Trump.
When it comes to Mr. Trump’s appointee for National Security Advisor, Retired General Michael Flynn, however, the German Officers unanimously hold him in contempt. One even suggested that Flynn seemed to have given very little thought to killing Afghan civilians, in Kabul, as so-called “collateral damage”. The Germans are quite concerned about Flynn coordinating National Security Policy for the President, which they believe will not be overly friendly toward the trans-Atlantic alliance.
There might be one other serious problem, just waiting to happen—a potential nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Consider the facts:
1. Donald Trump has vowed to repudiate the Nuclear Agreement with Iran. Approximately three years ago, in an address to the U. N. General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Iran was just two-or-three months away from building a nuclear bomb. Once formal negotiations, over the Nuclear Arms Agreement, began in June of 2014, however, Iran closed its labs and sent almost all of the centrifuges and plutonium out of the country. So, here we are today, and without a Nuclear-Armed Iran!
2. Early in 2016, Donald Trump suggested that he would help Japan and Saudi Arabia build a nuclear bomb. Does that really mean “build”, or perhaps just sell or give one to the Saudis?
3. Israel has already had a nuclear arsenal—not just one bomb, or two—for several decades!
Consider that, if the United States pulls back—away from Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and let’s not forget Latin America—wouldn’t that leave us embracing the same Protectionist-Isolationist Policies, which led to the great Depression and World War II? No one really knows what “Make America Great Again” is really supposed to mean. Perhaps, not even Donald Trump!
This is why Germany is concerned. Just think back to Trump’s remark, in Pennsylvania: “There is no such thing as a global anthem, a global currency, a global flag. We salute one flag, and that is the American flag.” Like Germany, the whole world should definitely be concerned. Scared even!
THERE SHOULD BE A TRANS-PACIFIC SECURITY AND DEFENSE ORGANIZATION, PATTERNED ON NATO, BUT MODIFIED FOR THE REGION!
During World War II, the Axis Powers—Japan and Nazi Germany—rolled-over their neighbors in Asia and Europe, respectively. At first, America did not join the War, due to its Isolationist Policies. Afterward, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed—including Europe and North America—with a stated goal to: “…safeguard the freedom and security of the member nations, through political and military means.”
China and Russia—the two current powers in their respective regions—have each stepped-up their aggressive behavior against their neighbors. The Asia-Pacific Region does not have an equivalent security treaty, similar to NATO. At the same time, with the splintering of the European Union, and the uncertainty over what a Trump Presidency might bring, the Atlantic Alliance needs to be re-invigorated, as it is showing signs of diminishing strength.
Neither of the two Socialist Leaders—Xi Jinping, of China, or Vladimir Putin, of Russia—are particularly friendly toward one another. But given their common political philosophy, each seems to believer in the old military strategy: Divide and Conquer! That’s why both nations are either befriending or intimidating their neighbors, one-by-one, as each pursues it particular agenda.
Let’s look at NATO first. Once the United Kingdom signaled its intention to leave the European Union last June, heads began to turn, questioning which nation(s) would be next? And although the E. U. is primarily a trade union, its potentially diminishing membership might cause some–including Russia–to question Europe’s cohesiveness.
The Southeast Asian Treaty Organization was formed in the mid-1950s; however, it lacked wide regional participation, and it accomplished very little. And so, SEATO was disbanded in 1976. There still needs to be some form of security organization, however, in the Pacific Region. And similar to NATO, Canada and the U. S. should be included.
It’s still too early to consider how a Donald Trump Administration might change the U. S. participation in the various international organizations—UN, WHO, IMF, World Bank, NATO, etc. Hopefully, America will continue to participate, and to contribute according to our level of ability. Since the Republican Party seems to favor International Trade, such as the TPP: hopefully, they will convince Donald Trump to remain in NATO, and to help establish a counterpart organization in the Pacific.
NOTE: The linked article, from “Foreign Policy”, by James Stavridis, is provided because it makes a good case for our continued support for NATO. Admiral Stavridis is the Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and had served as the NATO Supreme Allied Commander. The article is linked as follows: http://fletcher.tufts.edu/News-and-Media/2016/11/10/Dean-Stavridis-Foreign-Policy-Audit-NATO.