This week, the two Mikes, Pompeo and Pence, our two main global envoys, went abroad as ambassadors of the United States, representing our nation. The blew it. In keeping with Trump’s modus operandi, they pandered to corrupt strongmen such as Viktor Orban, but worse, they denigrated and threatened our true allies. Their antics went largely unnoticed amid a looming government shutdown and then a trumped-up ‘state of emergency’, but We the People need to keep our eye on this ball, for the security and strength of any nation lies, in part, with its relations with other countries, particularly long-held close alliances.
The week began with Secretary of State Pompeo visiting Hungary, where he literally pandered to autocrat Viktor Orban, a virtual pariah in European capitals because of his embrace of “illiberal democracy.” The Orban regime is noted for suppression of independent media, the judiciary, and civil society groups, corrupt cronyism, and demagoguery that drips with xenophobia and anti-Semitism. Yet the Trump administration lauds him. Perhaps it is that his rhetoric so nearly matches that of Donald Trump, as he calls immigrants a “threat to Christian culture” and speaks of building a fence along the country’s border to keep them out.
Next stop for Pompeo was Slovakia, where he met with Slovak President Andrej Kiska, Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, and Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák. Pompeo made it clear that the U.S. is putting strategic interests and great power politics ahead of human rights concerns. Just last year in Slovakia, a leading journalist who exposed government corruption was murdered along with his fiancée.
Pompeo then went to Poland where he met up with the other Mike, Vice President Pence for a U.S.-organized conference on the Middle East. The intent of this conference was to rally European and Middle Eastern nations against Iran. It would seem that Trump and his minions have an ill-conceived intent to start a war with Iran! Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement and impose sanctions on Iran was only one of his worst moves in the past two years, but one that has had serious consequences for our allies.
And so it was that Mike Pence made a complete fool of himself and further eroded our relationship with our allies. Pence used his address to the conference to demand that European countries withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement. He further urged U.S. allies to back Washington’s sanctions on Iran. Long-standing U.S. allies in Europe favor staying in the deal and have sought ways to keep open trade and financial dealings with Iran.
“The authoritarian regime in Tehran represses the freedom of speech and assembly, persecutes religious minorities, brutalizes women, executes gays and openly advocates the destruction of the State of Israel.”
WHOA there, Mikey! First, I might remind everyone that Mike Pence is one of the most homophobic people in our government, that as Governor of Indiana he signed into law a bill titled the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that allowed individuals and companies to openly discriminate against LGBT people! And now he’s concerned about the rights of the LGBT in Iran? I don’t think so.
But even more to the point, while this nation is supporting dictators such as Viktor Orban, Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Rodrigo Duterte, we are overlooking human rights violations around the globe. Trump has steadfastly refused to acknowledge the hard evidence presented by his own intelligence officials that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi. And now he claims to be so concerned about human rights violations by Iran?!?!? Can we say ‘hypocrisy’?
“Iran endlessly spews hatred against Israel, our most cherished ally,” says Pence. What a slap in the face to our true allies, the EU, UK, Mexico and Canada, to name a few! Israel is by no means our ‘most cherished’ ally!!! Benjamin Netanyahu is just about as corrupt as Donald Trump … he’s just more intelligent and hides his crimes better, but he and his wife are both currently under investigation for multiple issues. Israel has become a bully-nation just as Trump is trying to make the U.S. into one.
And then came Munich.
Initially I intended to make this a single post, but by the time I reached this point, I realized that the Munich Security Conference is important enough to warrant a separate post. Stay tuned for Part II of A Tale of Two Mikes on Monday afternoon.