“Two cringeworthy viral video clips from Vice President Mike Pence’s recent trip to Europe illustrate how unpopular the Trump administration has become with the United States’ European allies.
“During a speech at a conference in Poland about Middle East policy last Thursday, Pence called on America’s allies to follow the Trump administration in withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.
“The time has come for our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, and join with us as we bring the economic and diplomatic pressure necessary to give the Iranian people, the region, and the world the peace, security, and freedom they deserve,” Pence said.
He paused, expecting his audience to applaud. Instead, he was met with total silence. Visibly surprised by the reception, the VP took a deep breath and shook his head before proceeding with his speech.
Pence traveled from Poland to Munich, where he gave a speech at another security conference that also quickly became uncomfortable. Pence began by saying he brought “greetings from the 45th president of the United States of America — President Donald Trump.” He paused for applause, but again was met with complete and utter silence.
“Pence wasn’t the only Trump administration official who had an awkward time in Munich. White House counselor and first daughter Ivanka Trump was one of the few people in attendance at German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s speech who didn’t applaud when Merkel pointed out the absurdity of Trump’s position that German cars present a national security threat.
“During her speech, Merkel criticized the Trump administration on a number of fronts, including the president’s recent decision to pull out of a treaty with Russia banning land-based intermediate-range missiles, and his announcement that American troops will be leaving Syria and Afghanistan.
“After the fall of the Berlin Wall, we certainly had the hope … that we could come to a better cooperation,” Merkel said. “Today, in 2019, that seems like a long time ago … [but] in a few years, it could look very different again.” (Vox and the New York Times)
At some point, there must be a split between Europe and the US, perhaps even this year, although the Europeans may hold out in the hope of a Democratic victory in 2020. Europe is in a state of flux. Bible prophecy shows that, eventually, we will have ten kings come together, to form a revival of the Roman Empire.
“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (Rev 17:12-14)
A German viewpoint
Newsletter – Europe’s “Geopolitical Identity”
At the Munich Security Conference last weekend, the power struggle between Berlin and Washington openly escalated to an unprecedented level. US Vice President Mike Pence reiterated his ultimatum that Berlin and the EU immediately renounce their political and economic projects, which are not fully in accord with US policy, pertaining particularly to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and the Iran nuclear deal. German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the US demands. In view of the dispute with Washington, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas declared at the Security Conference that “Europe” faces the “crucial question” whether it will be “the subject or the object of global policy in the future.” It must, therefore, “transform geo-economic capital into geopolitical capital” to become “a cornerstone of the international order” and “develop its own geopolitical identity.” Maas is expressing his demands at a time when the EU’s Iran policy is about to fall apart and the European power base needed for Berlin’s ambitions is crumbling. (2/18)
GERMANY INCREASES WEALTH AS CURRENT ACCOUNT SUPLUS LARGEST IN THE WORLD – FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR
“Germany’s current account surplus was the world’s largest for the third year in a row in 2018, confirming deep imbalances in the global economy that have drawn ire from the Trump administration and helped justify US efforts to reset global trade rules.” (WSJ, 2/20/18)
JEWISH GRAVES DESECRATED IN FRANCE
“Dozens of Jewish graves in eastern France were vandalized amid a rise in anti-Semitic acts and days after yellow vest protesters were filmed accosting a prominent Jewish academic.
“Nazi swastikas were daubed on more than 80 graves in Quatzenheim, a village near the city of Strasbourg, close to the border with Germany.” (WSJ. 2/20)
SUNNI ARAB ALLIANCE A NON-STARTER
“American efforts to create a new alliance of Middle East nations to counter Iran are faltering amid regional divisions, the departure of key Trump administration officials leading the project, and discord over its mission, say US and Arab officials.
“Once touted as an Arab version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the so-called Middle East Strategic Alliance, or MESA, is no longer expected to bring countries together with a NATO style agreement holding that an attack on one member would be seen as an act of war by all the others.” (“Hopes dim for a new Arab NATO,” WSJ, 2/20).
TENSION MOUNTS BETWEEN TWO NUCLEAR POWERS
“As pressure builds on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to respond to the deadliest terrorist attack on security forces in a generation, the options available to him appear limited, according to analysts and former military officials.
“The bombing last week in disputed Kashmir – claimed by a Pakistan based group and carried out by a Kashmiri militant – killed 40 Indian paramilitary forces moving in a convoy through an India-controlled area. The group that claimed responsibility, known as Jaish-e-Mohammad, operates in Pakistan despite being officially banned there.
“Indians have reacted angrily to the attack, calling for a response to punish Pakistan amid daily media coverage of funerals and the families of the victims.
“With India heading into a general election soon, Mr. Modi has publicly promised a military response, though he has declined to describe the timing or means more specifically.” (“India-Pakistan tensions rise over Kashmir”, WSJ, 2/21).
THE GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES
“… US withdrawal from Afghanistan throws a lifeline to severely weakened but not thoroughly vanquished terrorist groups such as the Taliban, al Qaeda and ISIS. These groups – and others ideologically aligned with them around the globe – are already interpreting suggestion of a US retreat as a victory and an invitation to grow and press their advantage.” (Letter from Rina Amiri, WSJ, 2/21).
There can be only one outcome to talks between the US and the Taliban. It means the Taliban will have total control in Afghanistan in time. Remember when the US had talks with the Communists in China? And the Vietcong in Vietnam? Both triumphed. The US lost.
SOCIALISM IS BACK
“We’re entering a new political era. The issues are bigger, they are far outside the mainstream, and they’re reminiscent of an earlier time. And the stakes are higher.
“One of the first to recognize this was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “I can pretty safely say that this is the first time in my political career that I thought the essence of America was being debated,” he tells me in an interview.
“I never thought that we would be debating things that were debated in the thirties, both communism and socialism,” Mr. McConnell says. “Those ideologies were largely discredited at a time when Americans could have found these arguments pretty appealing in the middle of the Great Depression.”
Mr. McConnell thinks that socialism ought to be a tough sell today, given the prosperous economy and low unemployment. But maybe not. Polls show socialism has risen in stature, which Mr. McConnell sees as evidence of the new era. Last year, he notes, Gallup found for the first time that Democrats have a more “positive view” of socialism than of capitalism.
“Another poll – this one from 2016 – showed Democratic primary voters “in every age group, every gender, and every race view socialism favorably.” Among Democrats 45 and under, 45% preferred socialism to 19% for capitalism.” (“Ocasio-Cortez heralds a new political era,” by Fred Barnes, WSJ 2/19).
BREXIT EXPLAINED (HUMOR)
(Mr. David Davis is the former UK Chief Brexit negotiator; Mr. Barnier represents the EU. The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29th.)
Mr. Dave Davis is at the golf club returning his locker key when Mr. Barnier, the membership secretary, sees him. “Hello Mr. Davis,” says Mr. Barnier. “I’m sorry to hear you are no longer renewing your club membership, if you would like to come to my office we can settle your account.”
“I have settled my bar bill,” says Mr. Davis.
“Ah yes Mr. Davis,” says Mr. Barnier, “but there are other matters that need settlement.”
In Mr. Barnier’s office . . .
Mr. Davis explains that he has settled his bar bill so wonders what else he can possibly owe the Golf Club? “Well, Mr. Davis,” begins Mr. Barnier, “you did agree to buy one of our Club Jackets.”
“Yes.” agrees Mr. Davis “I did agree to buy a jacket but I haven’t received it yet. As soon as you supply the jacket I will send you a cheque for the full amount.”
“That will not be possible,” explains Mr. Barnier. “As you are no longer a club member you will not be entitled to buy one of our jackets!”
“But you still want me to pay for it?!?” exclaims Mr. Davis.
“Yes” says Mr. Barnier, “That will be £500 for the jacket. “There is also your bar bill.”
“But I’ve already settled my bar bill,” says Mr. Davis. “Yes,” says Mr. Barnier, “but as you can appreciate, we need to place our orders from the Brewery in advance to ensure our bar is properly stocked. You regularly used to spend at least £50 a week in the bar so we have placed orders with the brewery accordingly for the coming year. You therefore owe us £2600 for the year.”
“Will you still allow me to have these drinks?” asks Mr. Davis. “No, of course not, Mr. Davis. You are no longer a club member!” says Mr. Barnier. “Next is your restaurant bill,” continues Mr. Barnier. “In the same manner we have to make arrangements in advance with our catering suppliers. Your average restaurant bill was in the order of £300 a month, so we’ll require payment of £3600 for the next year,”
“I don’t suppose you’ll be letting me have these meals, either?” asks Mr. Davis. “No, of course not,” says an irritated Mr. Barnier, “you are no longer a club member!”
“Then, of course,” Mr. Barnier continues, “there are repairs to the clubhouse roof.”
“Clubhouse roof??” exclaims Mr. Davis. “What’s that got to do with me?”
“Well it still needs to be repaired and the builders are coming in next week — your share of the bill is £2000,”
“I see,” says Mr. Davis, “anything else?”
“Now you mention it,” says Mr. Barnier, “there is Fred the Barman’s pension. We would like you to pay £5 a week towards Fred’s pension when he retires next month. He’s not well, you know, so I doubt we’ll need to ask you for payment for longer than about five years, so £1300 should do it. This brings your total bill to £10,000,” says Mr. Barnier.
“Let me get this straight,” says Mr. Davis, “you want me to pay £500 for a jacket you won’t let me have, £2600 for beverages you won’t let me drink and £3600 for food you won’t let me eat, all under a roof I won’t be allowed under and not served by a bloke who’s going to retire next month!”
“Yes, it’s all perfectly clear and quite reasonable,” says Mr. Barnier.
“Get lost !” says Mr. Davis
Now we understand what Brexit is all about!!!!!