A Tale Of Two Mikes — Part II

World leaders, ministers, diplomats, military officers and policy experts gathered over the weekend for the annual Munich Security Conference, the premier global forum on foreign, defense and security policy.  Luckily, Donald Trump did not attend the conference … he was too busy at home playing golf, criticizing Saturday Night Live, and defending his indefensible declaration of emergency from the week before.  Also unfortunately, Mike Pence did attend, and therein lay the problem.Merkel-MunichAngela Merkel spoke before Pence, and resisted Pence’s earlier calls in Poland for the EU to abandon the Iran nuclear deal, which according to experts and analysts, is achieving its goals.  She also criticized the U.S. decision to withdraw its troops from Syria. “Is it a good thing to immediately remove American troops from Syria, or will it not strengthen Russia and Iran’s hand?”  At the end of her speech, she received a standing ovation.  Ivanka Trump, who was in the audience for some reason that is beyond my comprehension, refused to stand or even applaud.  The grade-school mentality must run in the family.Pence-MunichAnd then, Mike Pence began his speech by saying …

“I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.”

And he waited for the applause.  But the room remained silent.  Dead silent.  He waited.  Nobody clapped, apparently not even Ivanka.  See for yourself …

But Sarah Huckabee Sanders later found a way to put a spin on the humiliating moment:

“It was out of respect for our President that world leaders observed a moment of silence during Vice President Pence’s speech in Munich.”

I think not, Sarah, but nice try.  Now go rinse your mouth to get that nasty taste of the lie out of it.

But back to Pence’s speech.

“We came here to reaffirm our commitment that ‘America First’ does not mean America alone and tell leaders, allies and countries around the world that America is stronger than ever before and America’s leading on the world stage once again.”

The reality is that we ceded our leadership role early in Trump’s tenure.  We are not even good allies, let alone a good leader.  You cannot be isolationist and also a global leader, for to be all about “America First” means to put the rest of the globe somewhere below your own interests, and that is not how alliances and friendships work.

Pence credited Trump with spurring NATO allies to spend more on defense but insisted that they are still not spending enough. He also reiterated the ‘demand’ he made on Thursday in Poland regarding the Iran nuclear deal.

“The time has come for our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.”

Silence.

As a long-time student of international relations, I cannot think of another time in the history of the United States that we have ‘demanded’ our allies act in accordance with our wishes.  This is being a bully, not an ally and certainly not a friend.

Pence ended his speech with a most inappropriate …

“God Bless the United States of America.”

As Amanda Sloat, a senior fellow at Brookings Institute said …

“It sounded more like he was speaking to a Trump rally than to transatlanticists in Europe.”

Pence’s speech was met with disdain by European officials who say they have no intention of abandoning the Iran nuclear deal and felt his aggressive tone would only stir up more opposition.  For the record, Pence’s speech ended with a smattering of light applause, but no standing ovation, other than Jared and Ivanka.  I ask again, why were they even there?

The Munich Security Conference report said the Trump administration displays an “irritating enthusiasm for strongmen across the globe” and “disdain for international institutions and agreements.”

Several hours after Merkel’s and Pence’s speeches, former Vice President Joe Biden was at the podium, and his message was a ray of light after that of Pence.

“The America I see does not wish to turn our back on the world or our closest allies. The America I see cherishes a free press, democracy, the rule of law. It stands up to the aggression of dictators and against strongmen.”

And Biden ended with …

“As my mother would say: This too shall pass. We will be back. We will be back. Don’t have any doubt about that.”

The applause for Biden was significantly more enthusiastic than for Pence.

The Munich Security Report, which is downloadable in .pdf format,  is titled, The Great Puzzle:  Who Will Pick Up The Pieces?  That says it all, doesn’t it?  One of the key points in the report is about a previously unpublished opinion poll by the Pew Research Center showing that traditional allies of the United States perceive America’s power and influence as a major threat to their country, even when compared to China and Russia.

I may write more about the Munich Security Conference and the affiliated report once I finish reading the report, but for now, suffice it to say that the United States is not stepping up to the plate to work with our allies, but rather is becoming more isolationist, more self-serving, and there will be a price to pay for that.  Globalization is the reality, and no country can stand on its own without allies, without friends.  But in order to have a friend in times of trouble, one must first be a friend, and we are not.  As Joe Biden said, “This too shall pass” … but will it pass before the U.S. becomes a true pariah?

41 thoughts on “A Tale Of Two Mikes — Part II

  1. Dear Jill,

    The US has benefited from having real friends / allies that we’ve treated like dirt. President Trump scoffs at diplomacy. Grease his hands is his idea of forming a relationship.

    VP Pence deserved the cool reception that he received. I for one am thrilled that the EU /UK has continued to honor the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal.

    One of the many lessons that we’ve learned from Mr. Trump being president is that nepotism needs to be outlawed for future US presidents. All we ended up with, is two more inexperienced, incompetent entitled officials, working in the WH. In all fairness, Jared Kushner is thought to have helped wit the MX-US trade deal and with judicial reforms, but I haven’t done the research to verify this.

    I cringe whenever President Trump or his sycophant VP Pence are on the world stage representing the USA. I’m adding Sec. Pompeo to this list.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • I concur with Gronda’s comment. I also admire that Gronda attempts to judge Jared Kushner with fairness, I have long passed that point. Thank-you Gronda for making my comment for me, albeit even better than I could possibly have done. Jill, Part ll is excellent too. Thank-you!

      Liked by 2 people

    • I agree … we have treated our allies like dirt. Did you see David’s comment? It gave me a start when he said he wondered what it would be like to consider the U.S. an enemy.

      Yes, Pence deserved what he got, and I hope nobody even spoke to Ivanka. The world has already become less safe with Trump & Co. in office, but if the others pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, it would be a whole lot less safe than it is today. Trump has jeopardized life on this earth for profit … his profit, not ours.

      Given Kushner’s role in Trump’s plot to sell nuclear material to the Saudis, I have no respect for him. He is profiting from this 4-year tenure just as Trump is.

      Yes, add Pompeo and also Bolton to the list. Sigh.

      Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice try Sarah The Happy Pixie. You must be so tired after all this effort. Now you just peddle back to Whoofle Land on your mushroom shaped tricycle. Nestle down in your cobweb bed beneath the starry skies.
    And Mr P. You gotta love a shmuck that ends a speech with the ‘God Bless America Shtick in front of an audience of battle-hardened European politicos. I mean, like dig that crazy, man, he’s far out!
    And here’s the perfect song for them

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Sarah Huckabee’s comment — It was out of respect for our President that world leaders observed a moment of silence during Vice President Pence’s speech in Munich.” — sounds like a comment one would make after a person’s death. Maybe it’s a prophecy. (Whoops! Shame on me! 😈)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, our allies gave us the support we needed after 9/11, but if another such tragedy occurs here, I wouldn’t expect them to jump in as they did 18 years ago. And if this is allowed to continue for another 2 years or more, we may not have any allies to call on.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill, quite simply, the power of inclusion beats hands down, the power of exclusion. Economically, the Nash Equilibrium, which won its originator a Nobel Prize in Economics, notes we make more money collectively when we look to grow the entire pie than when each tries to maximize his/ her own profit. Trump favors the latter, but that is his nature to care only about himself. What he fails to understand, we are so interconnected, when others suffer, we do as well. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jill, PBS Newshour ran a report on the poor reaction. Apparently, the one Pence got in Poland, two days before the Munich one, was worse, as he more noticeably paused and was disappointed in no reaction. Keith

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks! I’ll check it out. That’s interesting, for the Poland reaction wasn’t nearly as well publicized. Perhaps because Ivanka wasn’t there? Or perhaps based on the importance of the event.

        Like

    • I believe it was Aristotle who first said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” There is strength in numbers, strength in unity, but our current ‘leadership’ seems oblivious. David from Wales in the UK wrote a comment tonight that shook me. He said he wondered what it would be like to think of the U.S. as ‘the enemy’. Y’know … this could very well come to pass, and in our lifetime! We cannot continue along this path!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jill, there is a reason Aristotle’s words have more gravitas than a certain untruthful and ill-informed President.

        By the way, this man wants to build a wall in the desert as a national emergency, yet sees no problem ignoring security protocols to build nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia? That is a poll question for people. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, that is an excellent question! Rather like a parent denying their child a cola for it might rot their teeth, then handing them a bottle of Vodka instead! What a strange world this has become.

          Like

  5. I wonder whether Trump and Pence feel they have new friends now and don’t need Europe. There must be a really big friendship with the Middle East, especially Saudi given the plans to build nuclear power plants there.Of course Trump is friendly with those leaders who he sees as being in his image, North Korea, China, Turkey and his most especial best bud Mr Putin. It will be strange viewing your country as a potential enemy while the fat man who made you that way is off counting the billions he earned from all his deals.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 2 people

    • I suppose they may feel that way, but I think it’s more likely that they believe our European allies will stick with us no matter how insulting we are, no matter how bad a friend we become. I think that Trump believes you guys need us more than we need you, and frankly, NOTHING could be further from the truth! I am ashamed, and I just hope that the people in your country and other EU nations realize that the majority of people in the U.S. do not support this behaviour. I sincerely hope the day never comes that you guys view us as the enemy. If it comes to that, I will no longer be in this country, one way or another.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

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