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troung
26 May 17,, 15:09
Leave it to WaPo to take the side of free-loaders. She is correct, it would be nice if Europe ponied up another $100 billion.

Maybe this is a plot by Putin-Hitler to get NATO nations to dig their heels in and spite the USA by cutting their defense budgets more.



Trump’s behavior at NATO is a national embarrassment
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/05/25/trumps-behavior-at-nato-is-a-national-embarrassment/?utm_term=.4cb3bcd36c71#comments


By Karen Attiah

May 25 at 4:03 PM 


President Trump speaks during the unveiling ceremony of the Berlin Wall monument during the NATO summit in Brussels on May 25. (MANDEL NGAN/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

Poor NATO. After all of the hoops summit organizers reportedly jumped through to accommodate President Trump and his anemic attention span, he definitely was not on his best behavior. Trump was the party guest whom no one really wants to deal with but has to — because he has more money than anyone else. The party guest who shows up and berates the hosts for not paying for their fair share of the defense spending cake. To borrow from NFL player Marshawn Lynch, Trump acted as though he was there just so he wouldn’t get fined.

The NATO summit isn’t over yet, but so far, it’s So Trump. According to early press pool reports, Trump literally gave NATO allies the cold shoulder:



Speaking of shoulders, the U.S. president basically shoved the prime minister of Montenegro, the newest member of NATO, to get to the front of the group, because AMERICA FIRST:


After Trump called NATO obsolete (then proceeded to walk that back), Europe was looking for public support of Article 5, which affirms that NATO members will come to the mutual defense of any member that is under attack. But alas, Trump could not even bring himself to utter explicitly that the U.S. supports Article 5 in his remarks at Brussels, which every single U.S. president has done since Harry Truman in 1949. If NATO allies were nervous about the United States’ commitment to Europe’s security before, they must be fuming now. The NATO summit comes as reports surface that British police are withholding intelligence from the United States after leaks to U.S. media about the Manchester bombing investigation, and weeks after Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russians about operations against the Islamic State. For all of Trump’s fire and fury about the United States getting the raw end of the deal from NATO, from an optics standpoint, it is the United States that is looking like the irresponsible partner.


President Trump criticized leaders at a dedication ceremony at the new NATO headquarters in Brussels, May 25, saying they need to increase financial contributions to combat "the threat of terrorism." (The Washington Post)



Perhaps in Trump’s eyes, the Saudis threw a much better shindig — spending $68 million to host Trump. Well, really, it was a $110 billion dollar fete, considering the price tag for the historic weapons deal that the United States signed with Saudi Arabia. Trump appeared to be much more friendly and relaxed among Saudi Arabian and other Gulf leaders than with our European allies. Obviously, Trump was bedazzled by the kingdom’s hospitality, but none of the Saudi opulence and money can whitewash Saudi Arabia’s terrible record of fueling Wahhabi terrorism, carrying out record numbers of public beheadings, contributing to famine in Yemen, and withholding many basic rights for Saudi women and girls. Days after one of the worst terrorist attacks in British history, Trump is visibly more comfortable praising autocrats and extremist governments who help to fuel violence and conflict. That should be a slap in the face to our liberal allies in Europe.


Maybe next time, NATO should serve chocolate cake, give out gold medals, impress Trump with glowing orbs, and throw in a sword dance or two. Oh, and $100 billion.

But in all seriousness, for anyone who cares about the America’s global leadership and the future of Europe, Trump’s behavior at the NATO summit has been embarrassing.

kato
26 May 17,, 17:02
Leave it to WaPo to take the side of free-loaders.
Leave it to British tabloids and their ilk to take the side of those-who-know-they're-wrong: http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/809292/Donald-Trump-NATO-news-President-rips-apart-Europe-leaders-over-military-budget

Trump might be miscalculating though. With the way he's not been acknowledging the mutual defense duties he's not gonna get any European country to spend more on defence. In fact, he's likely to induce lower spending, given with the death of NATO that he is silently forwarding we are no longer required to defend the USA from the enemies it makes. You know, like back in 2001. And it's not like Europeans aren't pointing exactly that out to Trump.

Gotta hand it to Macron though. For all compromise and third-way capitalist weasel that he is, at least he knows how to approach Trump. Both in handshaking (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOf9FqsLfA8) and even more so when it comes to priorities.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejzaTsDTvbg

Although he already knew that campaigning, back in January:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OgqxAAsMxc

bfng3569
26 May 17,, 18:33
Leave it to WaPo to take the side of free-loaders. She is correct, it would be nice if Europe ponied up another $100 billion.

Maybe this is a plot by Putin-Hitler to get NATO nations to dig their heels in and spite the USA by cutting their defense budgets more.

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/10661/love-him-or-hate-him-trump-is-right-when-it-comes-to-nato-spending

Love Him or Hate Him, Trump Is Right When It Comes to NATO Spending

Trump on NATO, what a tangled web he wove. During his campaign he questioned the alliance's relevancy, then said it needed to be revamped to fight terrorism, and all while slamming NATO member countries for not paying "their fair share." These statements rocked the alliance—one that is more important now than it has been for over 25 years. But just because NATO is strategically imperative, doesn't mean some member countries, especially the comparatively wealthy ones, should be able to put whatever price tag they want on their inclusion in the alliance.

In recent years, the goal has been to get NATO alliance members to spend 2% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defense. This standard may not be a perfect way of measuring each country's contribution, but it does provide a baseline to go off of, and whichever way you view it, some countries clearly need to invest more money into their war-fighting capacity in order to be on par with others members.

President Trump said the following during today's NATO summit in Belgium—the first of which he has attended since becoming Command In Chief:



"Members of the alliance must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations... Twenty-three of the 28-member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they are supposed to be paying for their defense. This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States...Two percent is the bare minimum for confronting today's very real and very vicious threats. If NATO countries made their full and complete contributions, then NATO would be even stronger than it is today, especially from the threat of terrorism."

Currently, the US spends 3.61% of its GDP on defense, Greece is second at 2.36%, and little Estonia is third at 2.2%. The UK and Poland also exceed the goal, spending 2.17% and 2.01% respectively. But then you get into the countries who are falling behind; most are, and some of them in drastic fashion. France is close to the goal at 1.8%, and Turkey isn't that far off at 1.69%. Norway is three-quarters of the way there at 1.5%, as are Lithuania, Latvia, and Romania, and Portugal is at 1.4%.

From there, things go south real quick. Germany spends just 1.2% of its GDP on defense, as does the Netherlands, Denmark, Albania, Croatia, and Slovakia. Italy spends 1.11%. Canada spends just over half the stated goal at a paltry 1%, as does the Czech Republic and Hungary. Spain spends 0.9%, as does Belgium. Tiny Luxembourg spends just 0.4% of its GDP on its own defense.

For those countries that are spending, say, 1.5% of GDP and above, getting to the 2% goal seems attainable without major systemic changes in their spending habits. But when you see relatively affluent countries like Germany and Canada being so far off, it is troubling to say the least.

The hard part about the 2% of GDP metric is that every country is unique, with their own histories, pressing issues and challenges. And each member is motivated to spend money on defense due to different elements—some of them geographical, some of them sociological and some are economical. For instance, France largely supports its own defense industry. And just going off a static percentage of GDP figure doesn't tell the whole story as to why a country may be far from the agreed-upon goal.

Member countries also contribute to NATO—as in the institution itself, not their own defense capabilities—based an agreed-upon formula that uses Gross National Income as its leading metric. As a result of this formula, the US contributes the most at roughly 22% of NATO's budget. Germany is next at about 14.5%. France is third at 10.5%, and Britain comes in fourth at 10%. The allies that joined after the fall of the Soviet Union all pay less than 1% of NATO's operating cost. Although these proportions are significantly different than the percentage of GDP figures, they can also be a bit misleading.

NATO's total budget is $2.3 billion. So the US picks up roughly half a billion dollars of that yearly price tag. Germany shells out $333 million. This is not huge money for any of these major players, and NATO represents a great investment, considering what these countries get in return.

Thing is, that 2% of GDP goal, which was reaffirmed during a NATO summit in 2014, is a goal, not an immediate demand. The idea is that everyone would be able to reach that metric by 2024, not within the first year of the Trump administration. But without some sort of prodding or consequences, it is doubtful that such a goal will be achievable by 2024.

There is also the issue of end strength and capability mix. Just having each country spend money on defense in a vacuum is an inefficient way to plan for a common defense under an alliance like NATO. A far more holistic approach cold be introduced to design NATO more along the lines as an integral total force, rather than just a bunch of countries tossing their capabilities into a hat during a time of conflict.

To some degree, this is already happening. There are shared assets that NATO provides, and a rapid response force exists. There is also some thought given to having some counties fill capability gaps where other countries may fall short. Even pooling air transport resources is occurring among some NATO members. The US provides a massive amount of "unique" capabilities to the alliance as well. These large scale include aerial refueling and advanced surveillance and communications capabilities, just to name a few. The US even stockpiles munitions and other expendables that NATO members have pulled from in the past—maybe to too large a degree. But by coordinating and planning more carefully, repeated capabilities that NATO already has an abundance of could be eliminated from some member state's militaries and capability gaps could be filled with those same funds.

Even the US could do more by providing surplus weaponry to less fortunate NATO allies, who can then take the money saved on costly procurement and spend it on operations. This would help with enhancing NATO's military presence in the eastern stretches of Europe, and would mean countries located there could rely less on the US for day-to-day deterrence. In the end it would likely save the US money and enhance NATO's collecting war fighting ability in the process.

The big question is how do you get dozens of NATO member countries to decide on another rubric for required defense spending? Maybe an independent commission could look at each country, their current capabilities, and their own domestic challenges, and collectively decide how much they need to spend. But there would almost certainly be claims of unfairness, corruption, and special interest influence by enacting such a plan.

If the NATO nations could agree in advance to abiding by a panel's decision, maybe it could work. When paired with the broader strategy of melding each country's defense apparatus to prioritize the needs of NATO as a whole, it could go a long way when it comes to getting the most out of defense expenditures made across the NATO alliance. But it would also mean that each country would have to give up a degree of sovereignty when it comes to deciding its own military force mix. As such, less wealthy countries with smaller militaries would be impacted the most by such a scheme.

With all this in mind, it may be imperfect, but the 2% of GDP goal does seem like the most effective and simplest way to get member states to contribute more equally to NATO's common defense. But no matter how one quantifies the issue, the outcome remains the same—many NATO countries need to start spending more on their military capabilities.

Although claims of freeloading on America and the other NATO states that are spending more than 2% GDP on defense may sound harsh, there is truth in those claims. That may have been fine in the pre-2014 reality, before the reawakening of the Russian Bear and the rapid expansion of ISIS, but today it isn't.

So what can be done? Well, Trump is doing the most logical thing—making this a major issue and demanding countries prioritize their fiscal commitment to the alliance. Maybe the messenger isn't to many people's liking, but the message is relevant. In fact, President Obama was on the same page regarding this issue—although the way he described it may have been less controversial, and he never questioned the alliance's relevancy like his successor has.

There has to be some repercussions for those NATO countries that don't meet the 2% of GDP requirement, or that don't come up with a plan to spend more on defense and execute on that plan accordingly. Maybe it's a carrot-and-stick type thing, where the US and the wealthier NATO nations provide extra support and material to less wealthy countries that do meet the goal, and some form of suspension to those that do not.

It may seem harsh, but the alliance is put at risk by those who do not live up to the financial obligations required to support it. With nationalist and inward-looking sentiments growing here in the US and Europe, the idea that some NATO countries subsidize the social programs of other NATO states by taking on more of the burden of collective defense is a talking point that could work to destroy the bedrock of the alliance. You may disagree with it, but many feel that way...and they are making their minds heard at the ballot box.

The world is a different place than it was just a few years ago, and an alliance based on fiscal equality–or at least fiscal minimums—will result in a stronger NATO. Maybe you can't stand Donald Trump, maybe you love him—but either way, he is right to demand that all the countries that benefit from the protection that NATO provides must chose to meet their basic obligations in order to do so. And that includes paying their fair share by funding their own defense adequately.

snapper
26 May 17,, 19:50
I fully agree that NATO countries should commit to spending 2% of their GDP on defence - and not only in everyday upkeep but long term procurement needs etc as well. He is wrong though if he thinks some 'owe' money; NATO doesn't work that way and there is no fixed membership fee. It is also pretty skewed to demand they pay more and then solidly re-affirm Article 5, which has only be invoked once and not by any European ally.

kato
26 May 17,, 22:12
On membership fees due, anyone remember this (http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=81871&page=1)?

Ironduke
26 May 17,, 22:13
What's the deal with the Montenegrin leader, and him getting pushed/shoved?

kato
26 May 17,, 23:13
He's a weasel, and his opposition at home is decrying the slight while he considers it inoffensive officially. Not that he looked like he didn't mind.

kato
28 May 17,, 14:38
The White House managed to omit Luxembourg's first gentleman in a photo caption that listed everyone else in the picture. Instead they listed Melania twice.

Next time they'll probably just use some photoshop too i guess.

astralis
28 May 17,, 21:07
i can only imagine what Republicans would be saying if Merkel made these remarks after Obama's 2012 NATO summit.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/following-trumps-trip-merkel-says-europe-cant-rely-on-us-anymore/2017/05/28/4c6b92cc-43c1-11e7-8de1-cec59a9bf4b1_story.html

Following Trump’s trip, Merkel says Europe can’t rely on U.S. anymore

By Michael Birnbaum and Rick Noack May 28 at 2:47 PM

LONDON — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday declared a new chapter in U.S.-European relations after contentious meetings with President Trump last week, saying that Europe “really must take our fate into our own hands.”

Offering a tough review in the wake of Trump’s trip to visit E.U., NATO and Group of Seven leaders last week, Merkel told a packed Bavarian beer hall rally that the days when Europe could rely on others was “over to a certain extent. This is what I have experienced in the last few days.”

It was a stark declaration from the leader of Europe’s most powerful economy, and a grim take on the transatlantic ties that have underpinned Western security in the generations since World War II. Although relations between Washington and Europe have been strained during periods since 1945, before Trump there has rarely been such a strong feeling from European leaders that they must turn away from Washington and prepare to face the world alone.

Merkel said that Europe’s need to go it alone should be done “of course in friendship with the United States of America, in friendship with Great Britain and as good neighbors wherever that works.”

But it was a clear repudiation of Trump’s tough few days with European leaders, even as she held back from mentioning the U.S. president by name. On Thursday, Trump had tough words for German trade behind closed doors. Hours later, he blasted European leaders at NATO for failing to spend enough on defense, while holding back from offering an unconditional guarantee for European security. Then, at the Group of Seven summit of leaders of major world economies on Friday and Saturday, he refused to endorse the Paris agreements on combating climate change, punting a decision until next week.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel flanked by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Trump. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Merkel made similar comments shortly after Trump’s November election. But they carry extra heft now that Trump is actually in office – and after Trump had a days-long opportunity to reset relations with Washington’s closest allies. Instead, by most European accounts he strained them even more.

Trump – who returned from his nine-day international trip on Saturday – had a different take.

“Just returned from Europe. Trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results!” Trump wrote on Sunday, reviving a prolific Twitter habit that had slackened during his days on the road.

But many European leaders emerged from their meetings with Trump filled with fresh worry that an earthquake truly had hit transatlantic relations. Trump was far more solicitous toward the autocratic king of Saudi Arabia earlier in the week, telling him and other leaders of Muslim-majority countries – many of them not democratically elected – that he was not “here to lecture.” Days later in Brussels he offered a scathing assessment of Washington’s closest allies, saying they were being “unfair” to American taxpayers.


“The belief in shared values has been shattered by the Trump administration,” said Stephan Bierling, an expert on transatlantic relations at Germany’s University of Regensburg. “After the inauguration, everyone in Europe was hopeful that Trump would become more moderate and take into account the positions of the G-7 and of NATO. But the opposite has happened. It’s as if he is still trying to win a campaign.”

The United States remains the largest economy in the world, and its military is indispensable for European security, putting a clear limit on Europe’s ability to declare independence. American consumers also form an important market for European products – including the German BMWs that Trump complained about in closed-door meetings in Brussels, according to German press accounts.

But Merkel has expressed willingness to jolt her nation’s military spending upwards, a first step both to answering American criticism that it falls far short of NATO pledges and to lessening its dependence on the U.S. security blanket. Germany hiked its military spending by $2.2 billion this year, to $41 billion, but it remains far from being able to stand on its own militarily.

European leaders feel more confident now than they did a month or two ago, following the landslide presidential victory this month in France of Emmanuel Macron. His ascent to power helped put a mental cap on a one-two hit last year after Britain voted to leave the European Union and the nationalist Trump was elected in the United States.

troung
28 May 17,, 22:27
I guess the idea of meeting the NATO spending floor was too much for the old frumpy lady's heart... :(

kato
28 May 17,, 23:17
Eh, she's in campaign mode, and it was a campaign speech to supporters of the conservative wing of her faction. Elections in September. Spending a heap of money just because some guy from across the pond that no one here likes tells us so? Not the way to win an election. Basically what she's talking about is that Europe - continental Europe - will have to start deciding its own priorities. And putting them first.

Trump's NATO summit performance might have been a sliiight bit badly timed. Next wednesday Merkel's meeting with Chinese premier Li Keqiang (http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-05/28/c_136322698.htm) ahead of the impending EU/China summit intended to advance the European/Chinese strategic partnership focussing on trade, climate change, migration... oh, and foreign policy and security challenges. So, pretty much everything that Trump failed Europe on during the NATO summit. Might be interesting.

troung
28 May 17,, 23:48
Trump's NATO summit performance might have been a sliiight bit badly timed. Next wednesday Merkel's meeting with Chinese premier Li Keqiang ahead of the impending EU/China summit intended to advance the European/Chinese strategic partnership focussing on trade, climate change, migration... oh, and foreign policy and security challenges. So, pretty much everything that Trump failed Europe on during the NATO summit. Might be interesting.

Hopefully Li reaffirms Article 5 and signs on to severe Global Warming cuts, that will show Trump.

astralis
29 May 17,, 01:22
I guess the idea of meeting the NATO spending floor was too much for the old frumpy lady's heart... :(

to put it another way, how many Administrations have said this to the Europeans? pretty much every single President.

as far as i know, this is the first time where the way the message was delivered (among others) was enough to get the Germans to talk about going it alone. and the jest of it is, exactly what did Trump accomplish by offending all and sundry? according to him, "Many NATO countries have agreed to step up payments considerably, as they should. Money is beginning to pour in- NATO will be much stronger."

yeah, sure they are. and i have a bridge to sell to you.

considering that since 1945, a key pillar of Russian foreign policy is to drive a wedge between the Germans/rest of NATO and the US, i'd say Trump is doing a pretty fine job for them even if he isn't on Putin's payroll.

kato
29 May 17,, 01:37
Hopefully Li reaffirms Article 5 and signs on to severe Global Warming cuts, that will show Trump.
China passed the USA as Germany's largest trade partner last year. Something to think about. Right now it's not that hard to find the right words to move towards a realignment. And it's likely something China is banking on (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-eu-climatechange-idUSKBN15G5B3).

troung
29 May 17,, 02:50
as far as i know, this is the first time where the way the message was delivered (among others) was enough to get the Germans to talk about going it alone. and the jest of it is, exactly what did Trump accomplish by offending all and sundry? according to him, "Many NATO countries have agreed to step up payments considerably, as they should. Money is beginning to pour in- NATO will be much stronger."


They needed to be cried out and shamed; that her reaction to being called out was to declare they can't rely on us, well that's fine. They finally found a President, who God knows why, is actually serious about NATO not being a one-sided open ended deal for America to protect them as they continue not to meet the NATO spending criteria. Europe going it "alone", without having to pretend to meet said spending floor, should be a good for a laugh.


considering that since 1945, a key pillar of Russian foreign policy is to drive a wedge between the Germans/rest of NATO and the US, i'd say Trump is doing a pretty fine job for them even if he isn't on Putin's payroll.

Odd that it is Germany's unwillingness to pony up for their armed forces, per the deal of sixty odd years ago, which drove that wedge; it's almost like the vast majority of Europeans and their governments really don't care in the least about confronting the Russians. How very odd.

astralis
29 May 17,, 03:12
troung,


They needed to be cried out and shamed;

and that has accomplished what, exactly?

troung
29 May 17,, 04:42
If Germany decides to walk, and not rely on our protection, then good or if man up and decide to live up to their treaty commitments also good. Let her put her big boy pants on, man up, and double her defense spending. The idea that we should continue walking on egg shells dealing with people who don't take our defense commitment or their own defense establishments seriously is insulting.

The fact mentioning the 2 percent is somehow offensive makes it suggest that the old Article 5 commitment to protect the EU from Russia is expected by the locals to be one sided and open ended.


Op-Ed: US should focus on the economy and skip irrelevant talking forums
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/28/op-ed-us-should-focus-on-the-economy-and-skip-irrelevant-talking-forums.html
Trade deficits matter, Ivanovitch says
Trump needs his tax cuts and infrastructure spending first
Mid-term election in 2018 seen make-or-break for Trump policies

Dr. Michael Ivanovitch | @msiglobal9
2 Hours AgoCNBC.com
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump arrive for the group photo at the G7 Taormina summit on the island of Sicily on May 26, 2017 in Taormina, Italy.
Getty Images
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump arrive for the group photo at the G7 Taormina summit on the island of Sicily on May 26, 2017 in Taormina, Italy.

Seeking to cut $610 billion from health care for the poor, and $192 billion from food assistance to 43 million Americans struggling to make ends meet, while spending millions of dollars on European jamborees will probably strike most people as an example of bad and insensitive public policy.

Given the vacuity of last week's European meetings, one may question why was it necessary for the U.S. president to spend four days and all that money to repeat for the nth time to people who took $165 billion net out of their U.S. trade in 2016 what he has been telling them over the last two years.

No European leader has been in any doubt for quite some time that (a) trillions of dollars in U.S. trade deficits and a soaring net foreign debt of $8.1 trillion could not continue, (b) trade policies would be reviewed with particular attention to countries running systematic and large trade surpluses with the U.S., (c) the treaty on global warming would be closely scrutinized and (d) U.S. would insist on all member countries honoring their financial obligations to the NATO alliance.

All these issues have been explained in bilateral and multilateral forums and constantly amplified by the European media.

The White House should have taken a cue from Italy's former (and most probably future) Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Outraged by do-nothing summits in Brussels, he scolded the spendthrift Eurocrats for squandering public money and precious time on matters where a simple SMS could have taken care of their trivial agenda.

Yes, tweeting would have saved a lot of money and an embarrassing French and German media portrayal of a "confused and isolated America."
German push-back lectures

That would have also spared Washington the German G-7 lecture about the virtues of free trade.

Lacking no chutzpah, the German chancellor Angela Merkel told President Trump last week that the U.S. should not complain about trade deficits with Germany. Why? Simple, she said: Germany is a big investor in the U.S. creating thousands of jobs.

There was no repartee from the U.S. side because our trade experts failed to slip a note to the president to tell him that these investments were financed with the money we gave them to buy German goods.

Running large trade deficits with Germany enables German companies to recycle their dollar earnings in the U.S., killing whatever is left of jobs and incomes in our manufacturing – Detroit automakers being one of the prominent cases in point. Yes, we are giving them the rope … and the German chancellor apparently wanted more of it.

Thanks in large part to these kinds of trade policies we now have the stock of human and physical capital that sets the limits to potential (and noninflationary) growth rate at a miserable 1.5 percent.

Undeterred, our free-traders insist that we should focus on services, leave the manufacturing sector to Germans and the Chinese, keep piling on foreign debt and still think that we can make the country safe and secure, maybe even run the world on the side.

A wonderful picture, isn't it? Hospitality industries, Silicon Valley and Hollywood will be our big money spinners.

Maybe. But that's not the public policy platform that won the presidency last year. So, let's see what the vox populi says during the all-important mid-term Congressional elections in November 2018. These elections could seal the fate of this administration and of the legislative control by the Republican Party.
Killed by imports

The U.S. has to pursue a coherent economic growth strategy and growth-supporting foreign trade policies that directly drive one-third of the economy. The impact of changes in the external trade sector (technically called the multiplier effect of net exports) rips through the entire economic system and sets activity trends in manufacturing and services.

[...]

Doktor
29 May 17,, 14:34
Funny guys these Germans.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30977714


Germany has warned the new Greek government that it must live up to its commitments to its creditors.

Ironduke
29 May 17,, 17:07
If Germany decides to walk, and not rely on our protection, then good or if man up and decide to live up to their treaty commitments also good. Let her put her big boy pants on, man up, and double her defense spending. The idea that we should continue walking on egg shells dealing with people who don't take our defense commitment or their own defense establishments seriously is insulting.
Perhaps they will, with the current state of affairs in the world and US foreign policy under a Trump Administration.

If they do, you probably won't like a Germany and EU conducting a foreign and military policy completely independent to the United States either, ceasing to defer at all to US wishes, refusing to combine diplomatic and sanctions efforts with the US, ceasing to host US military forces, and kicking us out of air, naval and ground forces bases.

It may very well turn out to be the case that if these countries decide to double their defense commitments -- they may just decide they might as well go all in, and walk away from a formal alliance with the US.

It may turn out to be the case that we cannot have our cake, and eat it too - the Euros may come to the conclusion that in the aftermath of doubling their defense spending, that being allied to the US is more of a liability than an asset. Being under the US security umbrella makes NATO an asset in their calculations - if the Euros do what Trump wants in having their own sufficient capability to act against and deter threats, an alliance with the US may at that point cross the ledger from asset and become a liability.

If you're an isolationist who wishes to see the US have a vastly reduced capability to act globally, perhaps this would be a good thing, from your perspective.

kato
29 May 17,, 17:47
Just for a small interjection, which i'll give whenever at least two people start mentioning that:

There is no treaty commitment to spend 2%. There is a commitment to try to increase defense budgets towards 2% by 2024. Even if we raise our defense budget by only 0.0001% compared to 2014 over a decade from then (read: if we cut our spending from the current budget by around 10-15%) the commitment agreed upon is still held onto.

That's the German position. Trump of course has a different position. One that people at best laugh about. At least people who didn't vote for Trump.

Reiterating it though, it's really intereresting to look just whose visits Merkel's receiving on the heel of Trump. It's not just Li on wednesday and thursday, but also Modi today and tomorrow. Putin meanwhile? Hosted by Mr Handshake Macron today.

snapper
29 May 17,, 19:11
Hypothetically suppose Putin did have some hold over Trump. What do you suppose Putin might ask him to do? Seems to have done precisely what Putin may have asked... coincidence no doubt.

zraver
29 May 17,, 20:26
Just for a small interjection, which i'll give whenever at least two people start mentioning that:

There is no treaty commitment to spend 2%. There is a commitment to try to increase defense budgets towards 2% by 2024. Even if we raise our defense budget by only 0.0001% compared to 2014 over a decade from then (read: if we cut our spending from the current budget by around 10-15%) the commitment agreed upon is still held onto.

That's the German position. .

Typical German duplicity. German defense spending increases are not even keeping pace with inflation or GDP growth. Over time German defense spending it set to fall not increase as a percentage of GDP.



snapper
Hypothetically suppose Putin did have some hold over Trump. What do you suppose Putin might ask him to do? Seems to have done precisely what Putin may have asked... coincidence no doubt.

So let me get this straight. You think that Putin hacked the US elections to get DT elected so that DT would push NATO to spend more on defense which would then act as a direct block to Russian ambitions....

snapper
29 May 17,, 21:44
So let me get this straight. You think that Putin hacked the US elections to get DT elected so that DT would push NATO to spend more on defense which would then act as a direct block to Russian ambitions....

Or to break the Transatlantic alliance. I fully agree that the Europeans should and must pay their way in NATO but Merkels comments were in respect of Trump not entirely endorsing the US commitment to Article 5. It was blindingly obvious the take away that would follow. Nor do I think it right for Merkel to have made such comments publicly; it is all very well to think such things privately and discuss options behind closed doors but telling the world and it's Wife is not altogether wise. It is no excuse to say "she is on campaign mode". She should have said publicly that she fully intended to raise defence spending and had every confidence that the US would honour it's treaty obligations - no matter what she may be thinking privately - which I can guess at; a 'European army'.

zraver
29 May 17,, 21:46
Or to break the Transatlantic alliance. I fully agree that the Europeans should and must pay their way in NATO but Merkels comments were in respect of Trump not entirely endorsing the US commitment to Article 5. It was blindingly obvious the take away that would follow. Nor do I think it right for Merkel to have made such comments publicly; it is all very well to think such things privately and discuss options behind closed doors but telling the world and it's Wife is not altogether wise. It is no excuse to say "she is on campaign mode". She should have said publicly that she fully intended to raise defence spending and had every confidence that the US would honour it's treaty obligations - no matter what she may be thinking privately - which I can guess at; a 'European army'.

Its not fair to expect the US to commit itself to national extinction to safe guard a continent that wont defend itself. Europe has 2 choices be a US or Russian vassal.

snapper
29 May 17,, 21:59
It is your President that appears to be the Muscovite vassal. We chose neither but freedom with allies who committed themselves willingly for the benefit of both Europe and the US. Macron today told Putin to his face that RT and Sputnik were disinformation propaganda and that he had invaded Ukraine; nothing particularly outrageous in itself - both are true and well known facts. Why hasn't the US President condemned Muscovite interference in your election?

zraver
29 May 17,, 22:08
It is your President that appears to be the Muscovite vassal. We chose neither but freedom with allies who committed themselves willingly for the benefit of both Europe and the US. Macron today told Putin to his face that RT and Sputnik were disinformation propaganda and that he had invaded Ukraine; nothing particularly outrageous in itself - both are true and well known facts. Why hasn't the US President condemned Muscovite interference in your election?

Maybe becuase there is zero proof Russia actually did so. 10 month investigation and zero proof. There might be proof if the DNC had handed over the computers when requested but they didn't. Its fake, made up out of whole cloth by a Leftist establishment desperate to explain away the loss of the most corrupt politician in US history despite their stacking the deck for her.

snapper
29 May 17,, 22:31
Certainly you must have a very deep understanding and knowledge of what occurred - deeper and more thorough than all your security agencies who all agree that there was a an attempt by Moscow to influence the election in Trump's favour. For myself, having met some of your security people, I will take their word over yours.

Mihais
29 May 17,, 22:45
For Heavens sake,Sara,you know very well contacts are nothing.Everybody talks to everyone and back channels are the means to do it.Plus,you have plenty of internal infighting and intrigues.
So no,just because some guys said officialy about Russian involvement is not relevant unless you have a political stake in the fight.Yes,of course Russia tries to influence elections.But guess what,everybody does the same.If they cannot do that,they try to influence the actual policies.Will you hold Israel ,Poland or Korea to the same standards?
Insisting on this only serves as A.problems dealing with US and B. excuses for internal failures.

snapper
29 May 17,, 23:17
If any colleague of mine approached a Muscovite Ambassador and asked to use their communications systems as a 'back channel' I would have him (or her) arrested and interrogated as soon as I found out. Most importantly I would want to know who or what motive prompted such potentially treasonous action. Even it transpired there was an honest and appropriate reason for this extraordinary behaviour I would never trust that person again. That is not normal. Sure we all "know people who know people" who can deliver a message if required - though I have never seen fit to do so personally and usually it is not my call to make - but what Kushner is alleged to have done; that is offering to commit treason as in the first place it compromises the person making the request.

kato
30 May 17,, 02:19
She should have said publicly that she fully intended to raise defence spending and had every confidence that the US would honour it's treaty obligations - no matter what she may be thinking privately
Why exactly, on both accounts? To make NATO look strong, and to make her look like a Blairist poodle? NATO no longer holds the status in western continental Europe that it holds in other places or times. It's a nice to have, but not nice to get involved in too much thing, especially since the US in particular turned it into a coalition framework to project their geostrategic policies beyond NATO territory. It's not even Trump that's the key in disliking it there; Trump is at best confirmation of NATO being dead as a security guarantee.

snapper
30 May 17,, 02:50
Why exactly, on both accounts? To make NATO look strong, and to make her look like a Blairist poodle?

No. Because you do not tell your enemies that their ambitions and schemes are succeeding.


NATO no longer holds the status in western continental Europe that it holds in other places or times. It's a nice to have, but not nice to get involved in too much thing, especially since the US in particular turned it into a coalition framework to project their geostrategic policies beyond NATO territory. It's not even Trump that's the key in disliking it there; Trump is at best confirmation of NATO being dead as a security guarantee.

If that's really what you believe - and you want Europe to stay together - then you had better considerably increase defence spending to become the 'reliable partner'. Frankly though I trust the Yanks and it is in their self interest commercially and strategically to see a Europe "whole free and at peace"; if you had not noticed the transatlantic alliance won the Cold War and lead to a brief period of unequaled prosperity and peace in Europe. I am not sure I yet trust Germany on such a task without using it for her own benefit as let us face it the euro manipulation of every rule has been designed to cement German export hegemony even to the detriment of your partner nations and supposed allies. If Germany behaved more responsibly perhaps we would trust your motives more at the European level. I do not mean to denigrate Merkel's stance regarding Ukraine in any way - it has been honourable and admirable - doubtless to your personal distaste. Forgive me if I doubt German motives but wanting European leadership and getting others to believe your good intentions and support in any eventuality do not as yet come together in my view.

The question in CEE is when Germany says it is for "Europe" do they actually mean for Germany? Kick out North Stream 2 and commit to article 5 by increasing your defence spending and behave in a non self interested manner economically all the time and others might begin to trust you. Leadership requires setting an example. The US always has.

astralis
30 May 17,, 03:19
^ agreed with snapper above.

given the threat of increasing Russian aggressiveness, Germany should absolutely be championing NATO because it is the only realistic security architecture for Western Europe. Germany, even in concert with France, certainly doesn't have the wherewithal or influence to come up with a new one now-- particularly since the response to the Great Recession wrecked European unity fairly comprehensively.

if your positions match something that Putin would agree with, it's time to think about how you got to such a place.

Dan Rather wrote some pretty good words this Memorial Day:


We shall return...

As a deep anxiety permeates our national and global moment, I find myself on this Memorial Day thinking back to the dark early days of World War II when victory in Europe and the Pacific was anything but assured. Our armed forces were fighting heroically and suffering great losses. Could we persevere? Would we be there for our friends and allies? General Douglas MacArthur fleeing the Philippines in perilous fashion amidst the Japanese assault in early 1942 vowed "I shall return." Two and a half years later he did. And so shall we now.

I have walked amongst the rows of graves in military cemeteries. I have seen the ages of those who have perished in battle - so young. Such a heavy price. I have seen the toll of valor and freedom. I have seen the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform in distant, dangerous, and foreboding lands. I have seen the high cost of hubris and ineptitude from our political leaders paid for in blood by those who were called or pressed into armed service to their nation. I honor all of those who serve and perished on this solemn today. And I mourn with families who have suffered their losses.

For all these reasons, I chose on this Memorial Day optimism for our national destiny. We have asked for so much of our citizenry and have come so far as a nation for us to falter now. This moment is a test that we have no choice but to pass. To consider any other result is too depressingly hopeless, and I firmly believe that the future is ours to shape. Wise leadership can galvanize our nation to return to the path of justice and sound judgement.

To our allies who fear we have lost our way, I say "We shall return."
To our adversaries and enemies who gleefully mark our chaotic state, I warn "We shall return."
And to all of you who wonder about the future, I plead to not give up. "We shall return."

troung
30 May 17,, 04:31
So let me get this straight. You think that Putin hacked the US elections to get DT elected so that DT would push NATO to spend more on defense which would then act as a direct block to Russian ambitions....

Don't forget he is pushing for the US to up its spending as well. Putin plays on such a high level its amazing. His puppet is actually calling for more military spending, while Russia cannot currently keep up with the current spending.


Its not fair to expect the US to commit itself to national extinction to safe guard a continent that wont defend itself. Europe has 2 choices be a US or Russian vassal.

Germany can sell off their remaining tanks safe in the knowledge that the "unreliable" allies would come to its aid.



If any colleague of mine approached a Muscovite Ambassador and asked to use their communications systems as a 'back channel' I would have him (or her) arrested and interrogated as soon as I found out.

You are not the President of the United States. Last I heard this latest evil involved trying to find a solution to Syria.

Iron, (long time)

It may very well turn out to be the case that if these countries decide to double their defense commitments -- they may just decide they might as well go all in, and walk away from a formal alliance with the US.

Rather unlikely that Germany, down to 230 tanks, changes course in this generation. Germany hasn't seen super receptive to France's calls to back it's African neo-colonialism either.


Why exactly, on both accounts? To make NATO look strong, and to make her look like a Blairist poodle? NATO no longer holds the status in western continental Europe that it holds in other places or times. It's a nice to have, but not nice to get involved in too much thing, especially since the US in particular turned it into a coalition framework to project their geostrategic policies beyond NATO territory. It's not even Trump that's the key in disliking it there; Trump is at best confirmation of NATO being dead as a security guarantee.

Either there is no threat to Europe from the Russian hordes (half horde) and we can let NATO die off; or there is and the Europeans aren't worth defending.


For Heavens sake,Sara,you know very well contacts are nothing.Everybody talks to everyone and back channels are the means to do it.Plus,you have plenty of internal infighting and intrigues.
So no,just because some guys said officialy about Russian involvement is not relevant unless you have a political stake in the fight.Yes,of course Russia tries to influence elections.But guess what,everybody does the same.If they cannot do that,they try to influence the actual policies.Will you hold Israel ,Poland or Korea to the same standards?
Insisting on this only serves as A.problems dealing with US and B. excuses for internal failures.

x2 - need that like button back.

kato
30 May 17,, 05:19
No. Because you do not tell your enemies that their ambitions and schemes are succeeding.
That's relative if it's just stating the obvious. Do you really believe Putin and his cronies don't realize that Trump is exactly the wedge they needed to drive into NATO, just like Brexit was the wedge required for the EU?
Claiming that we'd rely on a partner who everyone knows will betray us and who doesn't make even the slightest effort to portray it differently is ridiculous.

The onus on Article 5 ain't on Germany, or on any non-US NATO member. We've done our Article 5 duty. October 2001. It's the Americans' turn. And unless Trump readies a deployment to Europe in case of Russian aggression equivalent to the share Europe fielded in Afghanistan (read: 40% of troops), sustained for a decade or two, his commitment to Article 5 isn't credible.


I do not mean to denigrate Merkel's stance regarding Ukraine in any way - it has been honourable and admirable - doubtless to your personal distaste.
Just to tell you the bitter truth: Ukraine does not even register with the average German. It's a non-item. Merkel's stance on it is just what people expect - nothing more, nothing less.


The question in CEE is when Germany says it is for "Europe" do they actually mean for Germany?
The hard opinion on that: As long as CEE is getting around twice their defence budgets donated from WEU countries every year while having 1% of their population emigrate westwards every year it's not like their opinion on that really matters much.

kato
30 May 17,, 05:22
Germany hasn't seen super receptive to France's calls to back it's African neo-colonialism either.
Germany currently has more troops in Mali than it does in the Baltics.

kato
30 May 17,, 05:37
P.S.:

Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has reinforced Merkel's speech with a bit harder lines by now. Including "anyone who does not oppose these US politics shares the guilt [for its repercussions]", "the shortsighted politics of the US government run against the interests of the European Union" and "the West is becoming smaller". The SPD - to which Gabriel belongs - also accuses Merkel of not standing up against Trump forcefully enough, considers Merkel's "pro-Trump course" to have failed and that Merkel now has to "let acts follow her words".

kato
30 May 17,, 05:56
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-germany-ties-attract-attention-after-merkels-outburst/articleshow/58902168.cms


India-Germany ties attract attention after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s outburst

BERLIN: As PM Narendra Modi landed here on Monday evening, Chancellor Angela Merkel's recent outburst appears to have centred attention on the Germany-India relationship.

Addressing an election rally in Munich on Sunday, Merkel said in remarks that have echoed around the world, "The era in which we could fully rely on others is over to some extent. That's what I experienced over the past several days."

While the obvious target of her remarks was US President Donald Trump, and the challenges presented by Trump's potential reversal+ from the Paris climate accord, the fact that she is meeting the leaders of India and China this week has raised questions about the new weight being placed on these relationships.

The emphasis on the Asia relationships featured prominently at the government briefings for journalists on Monday. (The entire German government, in a unique gesture, meets the press three times every week to answer questions from the media.)

Merkel and Modi held one-on-one talks+ in her country retreat on Monday evening, which covered regional and global issues from climate change to Afghanistan and terrorism.

Modi has clarified that India would continue on its path towards a cleaner future, regardless of what the US does. A similar message has come from China. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will be in Berlin on Wednesday, hours after Modi's visit, to work with Germany. Senior government sources said Germany would not make their ties with India and China a "zero-sum game". However, it would be hard not to compare the two.

For one thing, the Germany-China economic relationship is pretty deep, though both sides have been locked into long-running negotiations on an investment and trade pact, like India. Germany was much more China-positive, but this tide appears to have turned in recent years as it has expressed reservations about China's predatory trading practices. Although Germany sent an official-level delegation to the OBOR summit, it has asked for the OBOR process to be made more transparent, in accordance with WTO.

Germany reckons that in a fair competition, German companies would have a good chance of winning contracts in OBOR projects. China, while professing free trade, has shown all signs of reserving these projects for Chinese companies.

But it's too soon to imagine that Germany would be pivoting away from its Atlantic relationship. As the German government spokesperson said on Monday, Merkel remained a committed Atlanticist. "Because transatlantic relations are so important to the chancellor, she also believes that it's the right thing to do to frankly point out differences — like those that emerged during the last couple of days," spokesman Steffen Seibert said at a press briefing.


"The chancellor's words were clear and understandable and speak for themselves," Seibert said. "They were the words of a most deeply committed Atlanticist."

The Germany-India relationship, according to sources in India and Germany, would need a lot of work, particularly from India. If Merkel is troubled by Trump's retreat from free trade ideals, Germany's beef with India is that New Delhi is not yet committed to free trade. The issues with India's trade policies will come up for airing on Tuesday when Modi and Merkel address a session of CEOs as part of the inter-governmental consultations.

Tarond
30 May 17,, 06:34
Please calm down. Merkel don't told that Germany leaves NATO or something else, only that Donald Trump isn't the reliable Patner she wants. Thats her opinion and after all the nasty things Trump said about Germany and his doings I think he deserves this judgment for now. And hey, the EU is in a difficult time. A common opponent (i mean opponent not enemy) sometimes is all you need to close the rows...If she succeed then why not?

Mihais
30 May 17,, 07:03
If any colleague of mine approached a Muscovite Ambassador and asked to use their communications systems as a 'back channel' I would have him (or her) arrested and interrogated as soon as I found out. Most importantly I would want to know who or what motive prompted such potentially treasonous action. Even it transpired there was an honest and appropriate reason for this extraordinary behaviour I would never trust that person again. That is not normal. Sure we all "know people who know people" who can deliver a message if required - though I have never seen fit to do so personally and usually it is not my call to make - but what Kushner is alleged to have done; that is offering to commit treason as in the first place it compromises the person making the request.

And you don't have reasons for doubt? Here's the case.Trump was and will be under attack for his isolationist streak.And for beating liberals just when they believed to win.As a person is not relevant.As a symbol of a movement he is important in US internal politics.
The only time when he got some slack was after the Syria bombing,which pretty much proves my case.

Kushner,for all intents and purposes is likely an infiltrator in his camp.

As for establishing contacts,that is indeed not a decision for the likes of LT's and CPT's but it is a legit tool of the trade.Let's not play outraged just because some "sources" and political players try to give a sinister motive .

kato
30 May 17,, 14:53
Germany should think twice about sharing secrets with US because Donald Trump's team 'chatter too much', MP says

President's handling of classified information described as a 'security risk for the West'

Germany should reconsider sharing intelligence with the United States, because Donald Trump and his administration "chatter too much" and could give critical information to Russia, a German MP has warned.

Thomas Opperman, the leader of the Social Democrats (SDP), described Mr Trump's handling of classified information a "security risk for the West".

It comes after Angela Merkel suggested Germany and Europe can no longer rely on the US under Mr Trump.

Speaking at a campaign event held in a Bavarian beer tent, the German Chancellor emphasised the need for friendly relations with the US, Britain and Russia, but added: “We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands.”

Ms Merkel said that as the traditional western alliance is threatened by the new US presidency and Brexit, “the times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over".

Mr Opperman, whose party is in a coalition with Ms Merkel's in the German parliament, said the intelligence services must be clever about sharing information with the US.

He told several German newspapers: “I have an impression that Donald Trump and his team chatter too much."

He added: “It should be taken into account that Trump is a president who, one should assume, passes critical information to Russian representatives.

“This is a dangerous situation. It cannot continue as it is. This endangers the information exchange and can be dangerous for both sides."

It comes after Mr Trump was accused of leaking highly classified information about Isis during his meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov.

The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, dismissed the scandal as "political schizophrenia".

Mr Trump went on to insist he has the "absolute right" to share "facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety" with Russia.

It led a senior German politician to call the President "a security risk to the Western world".

Burkhard Lischka, who sits on the Bundestag’s intelligence oversight committee, said: “If it proves to be true that the American president passed on internal intelligence matters that would be highly worrying."

A spokesman for Ms Merkel said she was right to confront Mr Trump over the need to tackle climate change.

Steffen Seibert said the German Chancellor remained committed to strong trans-Atlantic relations, but her suggestion after meetings with Mr Trump that Europe can no longer entirely rely on the US “speaks for itself”.

“[US-German relations] are a strong pillar of our foreign and security policy, and Germany will continue working to strengthen these relations.

“Precisely because they are so important, it's right to name differences honestly.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/germany-donald-trump-administration-secrets-intelligence-chatter-too-much-security-risk-west-thomas-a7761831.html


Merkel hosts Indian leader Modi, looks to broaden world ties

BERLIN — The leaders of Germany and India heaped mutual praise upon each other Tuesday — each referring to the other as a “reliable partner” in a notable contrast to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent public doubts about Germany’s ties with the United States.

Merkel suggested that Europe’s relationship with the U.S. had shifted significantly following last week’s NATO and G-7 meetings with President Donald Trump that produced disappointing results, saying Saturday that “the times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over, as I have experienced in the past few days.”

Asked Tuesday whether her meetings with senior officials from India and China this week signaled a pivot away from Germany’s old ally in Washington, Merkel sought to dampen speculation of a major rift.

“The trans-Atlantic partnership is of outstanding importance and what I said was merely meant to note that in view of the current situation there are more reasons ... for us in Europe to take our fate into our own hands,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin.

Speaking after a meeting with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she went out of her way to laud the South Asian country as a “reliable partner” on major projects and noted that India was working hard to implement the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

“India wants the world not just to be interconnected but also that it should be sensibly run,” Merkel said, backing European Union talks for a trade agreement with India.

Climate and trade were the two main issue of contention between the United States and other members at the G-7 summit of major economies in Sicily last week, and the topics look set to flare up again soon.

Trump criticized Germany’s trade surplus with the United States on Tuesday, tying the issue to Berlin’s military spending.

“We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change,” he tweeted.

“Donald Trump is making clear with his tweet that he considers Germany a political opponent,” said Thomas Oppermann, the parliamentary caucus leader of the Social Democrats, the junior partners in Merkel’s coalition government. “This is a new situation — we lived for decades in the certainty that we could rely on each other as partners in an alliance, and this certainty no longer exists today.”

Trump has also said he plans to make a decision this week on whether to withdraw the United States from the Paris accord — widely considered a key achievement of the Obama administration and a necessary measure if the world wants to avoid a sharp rise in global temperatures.

For his part, Modi declared that “the world needs a strong leadership, which is demonstrated by Chancellor Merkel.”

“Germany is a large, reliable and trustworthy partner for us,” he added.

Merkel is scheduled to meet with China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang on Wednesday.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/merkel-us-relations-important-but-must-also-look-elsewhere/2017/05/30/424ea4d2-4524-11e7-8de1-cec59a9bf4b1_story.html?utm_term=.9049b0449411

kato
30 May 17,, 15:45
German SPD leader calls Trump a 'destroyer of all Western values'

Germany's centre-left chancellor candidate Martin Schulz on Tuesday accused U.S. President Donald Trump of destroying Western values and undermining international cooperation.

Speaking to reporters in Berlin, Schulz said Trump was "the destroyer of all Western values", adding that the U.S. president was undermining the peaceful cooperation of nations based on mutual respect and tolerance.

"One must stand in the way of such a man with his ideology of rearmament," Schulz added.

Trump criticized Germany earlier on Tuesday for its trade surplus and military spending levels, a day after Chancellor Angela Merkel rammed home her doubts about the reliability of the United States as an ally.

In a tweet, Trump said: "We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change."

(Reporting by Matthias Sobolewski; Writing by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Paul Carrel)
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-germany-schulz-idUSKBN18Q1HF?il=0

Btw:

In a poll conducted in February, 78 percent of Germans said they were “very concerned” about Trump's policies — almost 20 percent more than those who were worried about the politics of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/05/29/even-angela-merkels-political-rivals-are-on-her-side-against-trump/?utm_term=.7e6e02f2038c

snapper
30 May 17,, 16:52
That's relative if it's just stating the obvious. Do you really believe Putin and his cronies don't realize that Trump is exactly the wedge they needed to drive into NATO, just like Brexit was the wedge required for the EU?
Claiming that we'd rely on a partner who everyone knows will betray us and who doesn't make even the slightest effort to portray it differently is ridiculous.

The onus on Article 5 ain't on Germany, or on any non-US NATO member. We've done our Article 5 duty. October 2001. It's the Americans' turn. And unless Trump readies a deployment to Europe in case of Russian aggression equivalent to the share Europe fielded in Afghanistan (read: 40% of troops), sustained for a decade or two, his commitment to Article 5 isn't credible.

It is your right to think such things but neither I nor you know what "Putin and his cronies don't realize"; I personally would not be so stupid as to inform of anything - even during a campaign speech.


Just to tell you the bitter truth: Ukraine does not even register with the average German. It's a non-item. Merkel's stance on it is just what people expect - nothing more, nothing less.

Leading by example is sometimes about committing to matters that are not of public concern.


The hard opinion on that: As long as CEE is getting around twice their defence budgets donated from WEU countries every year while having 1% of their population emigrate westwards every year it's not like their opinion on that really matters much.

No other country contributes to the Polish defence budget which does meet the 2% of GDP agreed by all in Wales and Warsawa.



Kushner,for all intents and purposes is likely an infiltrator in his camp.


When you as many 'infiltrators in the camp' as Trump has had it is natural to recongnise a pattern and why Trump would appoint so many 'infiltrators'. Not to investigate this would be a dereliction of duty particularly bearing mind the agreement of all US security agencies that there was a Muscovite attempt to influence the US election in Trumps favour.


As for establishing contacts,that is indeed not a decision for the likes of LT's and CPT's but it is a legit tool of the trade.Let's not play outraged just because some "sources" and political players try to give a sinister motive .

Why were none of these contacts admitted when it came to security clearances? Sure as hell Kushner would never got any form of security clearance had this been known. Not sure if he still has now but if he has it should be removed and he interrogated without bail.

kato
30 May 17,, 17:29
No other country contributes to the Polish defence budget which does meet the 2% of GDP agreed by all in Wales and Warsawa.
During 2017 the Polish defence budget amounts to 8.93 billion Euro (source (http://www.janes.com/article/63420/poland-to-spend-2-01-of-gdp-on-defence-in-2017)).
During 2017 the EU payouts to Poland amount to a net intake of 9.64 billion Euro (source (http://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/countries/member-countries/poland_en#budgets_and_funding)).
In other words: EU money pays for the money that Poland saves to invest in defence. Entirely. And beyond.

citanon
30 May 17,, 18:24
That's relative if it's just stating the obvious. Do you really believe Putin and his cronies don't realize that Trump is exactly the wedge they needed to drive into NATO, just like Brexit was the wedge required for the EU?
Claiming that we'd rely on a partner who everyone knows will betray us and who doesn't make even the slightest effort to portray it differently is ridiculous.

The onus on Article 5 ain't on Germany, or on any non-US NATO member. We've done our Article 5 duty. October 2001. It's the Americans' turn. And unless Trump readies a deployment to Europe in case of Russian aggression equivalent to the share Europe fielded in Afghanistan (read: 40% of troops), sustained for a decade or two, his commitment to Article 5 isn't credible.


Just to tell you the bitter truth: Ukraine does not even register with the average German. It's a non-item. Merkel's stance on it is just what people expect - nothing more, nothing less.


The hard opinion on that: As long as CEE is getting around twice their defence budgets donated from WEU countries every year while having 1% of their population emigrate westwards every year it's not like their opinion on that really matters much.


During 2017 the Polish defence budget amounts to 8.93 billion Euro (source (http://www.janes.com/article/63420/poland-to-spend-2-01-of-gdp-on-defence-in-2017)).
During 2017 the EU payouts to Poland amount to a net intake of 9.64 billion Euro (source (http://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/countries/member-countries/poland_en#budgets_and_funding)).
In other words: EU money pays for the money that Poland saves to invest in defence. Entirely. And beyond.

Kato,

Perhaps Trump is really setting you off, because you're starting to sound like an over privileged high schooler in the 3rd round of a debate session.

Your troop deployment in Afghanistan on the same scales as 70 years of US commitment to Europe?

Arguing that general funding support to an EU member is the same as paying for all of their defense?

Really??? These sophistic and disingenuous arguments are subpar than what I've come to expect from you.

bfng3569
30 May 17,, 18:48
The onus on Article 5 ain't on Germany, or on any non-US NATO member. We've done our Article 5 duty. October 2001. It's the Americans' turn. And unless Trump readies a deployment to Europe in case of Russian aggression equivalent to the share Europe fielded in Afghanistan (read: 40% of troops), sustained for a decade or two, his commitment to Article 5 isn't credible.

.

is this even a half serious comment?

kato
30 May 17,, 19:16
These sophistic and disingenuous arguments are subpar than what I've come to expect from you.
Just going down a bit towards Trump's level. Just a bit.

There are some arguments among those that i stand by though. Poland and its defence budget for example. Not in the "we pay for their defense" sense. But in a "well, obviously Poland can frivolously throw 2% of their GDP around and boast about it, after all we're financing their shiny new highways and rebuilding their villages" sense.


Your troop deployment in Afghanistan on the same scales as 70 years of US commitment to Europe?
No, i mean that in an Article 5 case in Europe the US commitment to Europe should at least match that of Europe in Afghanistan percentage-wise, otherwise NATO would just prove itself as inconsequential and easy-to-circumvent as its rather spuriously written charter already proves.


Your troop deployment in Afghanistan on the same scales as 70 years of US commitment to Europe?
Here's another one, just for fun: You mean 49 years of occupation followed by 23 years of constant withdrawals? The US presence in Europe does not have anything to do with a commitment to defend Europe. NATO was meant to "keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down" after all in the words of its first Secretary General.


is this even a half serious comment?
From me? No.

There are politicians on this side of the pond who really, really strongly detest that Trump did not make an Article 5 commitment while unveiling a memorial for the only Article 5 application in NATO's history - a memorial that on this side is seen as a reminder of Article 5 and of the fact that the only time it was enacted was to defend the USA - not Europe.
Not acknowledging that? That's not just Trump being Trump. That's treason to the NATO charter and everything NATO stands for. And that one's a sentence i'm serious about.

snapper
30 May 17,, 19:25
During 2017 the Polish defence budget amounts to 8.93 billion Euro (source (http://www.janes.com/article/63420/poland-to-spend-2-01-of-gdp-on-defence-in-2017)).
During 2017 the EU payouts to Poland amount to a net intake of 9.64 billion Euro (source (http://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/countries/member-countries/poland_en#budgets_and_funding)).
In other words: EU money pays for the money that Poland saves to invest in defence. Entirely. And beyond.

EU funding for any and all member countries is limited and specific certain areas; it cannot be diverted to pay for defence for example. Poland could chose to spend more on welfare - or open the border to a million 'refugees' for example (how much has that cost?) but choses to keep the defence spending commitment that all NATO allies made in Wales and re-affirmed in Warsawa. Germany too doubtless receives EU grants as does every other member state. None can be spent on defence - that has to come from the national tax input and budget. Some chose to keep their commitments, some don't or say they are 'working towards it'.

kato
30 May 17,, 19:31
Germany too doubtless receives EU grants as does every other member state.
We're talking net contributions, not gross. Gross Poland is at 150% of its defence budget.


Some chose to keep their commitments, some don't or say they are 'working towards it'.
The commitment is for 2024. Doing it now makes you at best an overachiever, and - with the typical German spin - at worst a warmonger.

snapper
30 May 17,, 19:38
We're talking net contributions, not gross. Gross Poland is at 150% of its defence budget.

Well if you do not like being a net contributor to the EU... leave! But you won't because you bend and break every 'rule' to sustain a captive export market.



The commitment is for 2024. Doing it now makes you at best an overachiever, and - with the typical German spin - at worst a warmonger.

Perhaps just keeping the commitment all made.

kato
30 May 17,, 20:14
Perhaps just keeping the commitment all made.
As said, the commitment is to "work towards" achieving 2% by 2024, no matter how Trump and others misportray this. And it's all nice and noncommittal too. Want me to quote the stuff they signed back then?

kato
30 May 17,, 21:15
France to step up defense cooperation with European allies
By: Pierre Tran, May 30, 2017 (Photo Credit: Christophe Petit Tesson/AFP via Getty Images)

PARIS — France will partner with Germany and pursue European defense cooperation in a highly pragmatic way, in view of grave instability around the world, French Armed Forces Minister Sylvie Goulard said Monday.

France will develop as much as possible on a cooperative basis, with “great pragmatism,” Goulard said at her first news conference since her May 17 appointment by President Emmanuel Macron.

Goulard said she would make her first ministerial trip to Berlin this week to meet her German counterpart, Ursula von der Leyen. The previous French defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, had told her there were certain projects, “such as working with Germany in aviation,” and with certain other countries, she said.

The aim was to cooperate, but on a selective basis.

“We will continue with two or three in a pragmatic way,” as there is need for “building blocks” before moving to the next level, she said.

That French approach echoes Britain’s policy switch to a tightly controlled industrial cooperation in Europe following production problems and budget overrun on the A400M military transport.

There is a “fast-changing geopolitical environment” in light of U.S. President Donald Trump's speech to NATO last Thursday; the “reality” of Britain’s exit from the European Union, or Brexit; instability in the Middle East; the threat of terrorism; and “certain states” investing heavily in defense, she said.

France would seek to preserve bilateral ties with the U.K., despite Brexit, she said.

The pursuit of a European defense was “extremely crucial,” she said. Part of that work is the European Commission’s expected proposal on European Union funding for defense technology, she added.

The incoming government will start work on the multiyear budget law, a priority project that will be “ambitious” and require parliamentary approval, she said.

Trump’s message to NATO partners to boost funds for the alliance was “extremely clear,” she said, adding that his wording was put diplomatically.

Asked about Trump’s widely noticed failure to evoke his support for Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which calls for collective defense among members, Goulard said that as a lawyer she views the treaty as binding whether or not an article is mentioned.

It was Macron’s idea to change the ministerial title to armed forces minister from defense minister to highlight the importance of the civil and military personnel in the services, Goulard said.

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/france-to-step-up-defense-cooperation-with-european-allies

S2
30 May 17,, 21:23
So...we've become "unreliable" for meeting our commitment consistently since NATO's inception but now wondering whether we should? I suppose but I'm to consider those who consistently have punched WELL below their weight the benchmark of "reliability"?

Let's establish that Europe has comfortably piggybacked on our largesse, men and determination for seventy plus years. Europe's contributions to its self-defense has, on the whole, not collectively equated America's contribution on their behalf. Each nation? Not even worth discussing when measured against America.

Kato, however, offers Afghanistan as a firm example of "reliability" as opposed to, I suppose, America's dilettante and fickle nature.

A skewed perspective were there ever one.

Trump's concern reflects a long-standing concern here in America regarding our "allies". Nothing new but for the German knee-jerk reaction to a long-deserved public shaming. I, ummm..., hate the guy and am embarrassed that he's my President but there isn't a thing off point if he calls to question Europe's commitment to itself, much less its commitment to America.

Germany lead? Sara's point there is well-founded. The Bundesbank is quick to call its notes for failure to pay. Were America only as swift and certain.

citanon
30 May 17,, 21:31
Just going down a bit towards Trump's level. Just a bit.

There are some arguments among those that i stand by though. Poland and its defence budget for example. Not in the "we pay for their defense" sense. But in a "well, obviously Poland can frivolously throw 2% of their GDP around and boast about it, after all we're financing their shiny new highways and rebuilding their villages" sense.


No, i mean that in an Article 5 case in Europe the US commitment to Europe should at least match that of Europe in Afghanistan percentage-wise, otherwise NATO would just prove itself as inconsequential and easy-to-circumvent as its rather spuriously written charter already proves.


Here's another one, just for fun: You mean 49 years of occupation followed by 23 years of constant withdrawals? The US presence in Europe does not have anything to do with a commitment to defend Europe. NATO was meant to "keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down" after all in the words of its first Secretary General.


From me? No.

There are politicians on this side of the pond who really, really strongly detest that Trump did not make an Article 5 commitment while unveiling a memorial for the only Article 5 application in NATO's history - a memorial that on this side is seen as a reminder of Article 5 and of the fact that the only time it was enacted was to defend the USA - not Europe.
Not acknowledging that? That's not just Trump being Trump. That's treason to the NATO charter and everything NATO stands for. And that one's a sentence i'm serious about.

EU payments to Poland corresponds to all the benefits and obligations brought to both sides by Polish membership in the EU. It's a separate issue from defense spending allocation.

US commitment to Europe constituted first defending Europe from Germany, then defending Germany from Russia, before withdrawing when we were no longer needed, to now redoubling our readiness efforts. This occurred because we were indeed defenders not occupiers, although I could understand how that could feel a little different from the German perspective in particular, at least in the first couple of decades after WWII.

I also love how you talk about percentage but not numbers, or presence not roles.

Let's not even get into the economic benefit you derived from the Marshall plan, or the enormous benefit you derive today from the US Navy securing lanes of trade, or our efforts in stabilizing energy markets.

Or how we are fighting ISIS in Iraq today so you can talk nonchalantly about how a few terrorists can't change your predilection towards open Christmas markets with no security barriers.

Many of these things we take care of because of the shared benefit to us collectively in the West. It doesn't even bear mentioning because of that deep understanding of our collective interests as the background of any conversation about transatlantic relations.

Yet Donald Trump asking you to increase your defense spending and all of sudden the onus is on US to do our share? That is mighty RIPE.

Merkel is clearly using this as an opportunity to push her own political agenda. You can bemoan Trump's lack of tact to afford her the opportunity, our commitment to Europe, on the other hand, is written by actions, plain for all to see.

kato
30 May 17,, 22:08
Leaving aside the point on whether the Cold War constituted an American "contribution to European defense"...


Trump's concern reflects a long-standing concern here in America regarding our "allies". Nothing new but for the German knee-jerk reaction to a long-deserved public shaming.
The problem is the reactions though. Because so far it doesn't look like it's Germany that just isolated itself from its allies last weekend.

It's not really all that knee-jerk - she gave Trump four months. Hell, Merkel pretty much announced her stance that Trump will be measured by his words and acts back in January. Maybe we should dial back a bit though. To what Merkel actually said. That had a couple parts. The original speech was:

"The times in which we could completely rely on others are somewhat over. This i experienced in the last few days. And therefore i can only say that us Europeans really have to take our destiny in our own hands. Of course in friendship with the USA, in friendship with the UK, in good neighborhood wherever possible, even with Russia, even with other countries. But we have to know that we must fight for our future ourself, as Europeans, for our destiny. And I want to do this together with you." [starting campaigning portion from here]

Realistically? We're talking about a politician of a conservative party who has repeatedly been told she needs to sharpen her right edge profile. The above? That is basically just that. Patriotism. Patriotism to oppose America First. That's if we want to go with the campaigning bit.

However, there's more to it of course. Alliances go beyond "oh, we're sending our soldiers, don't worry". Alliances include aligning policies in other fields. And Trump threw those overboard - can't really term it differently. Just like Britain threw them overboard. Or Turkey. That's the three we can't fully rely on anymore - at least i can't think of any others right now, although it of course also holds some hidden promise for countries such as Poland and Hungary too. So, we're pretty much forming a Coalition of the Willing. That term ring a bell? That's what the US has been doing whenever it didn't get its way with its European vassals. Except we don't do an either you're with us or you're not. Because, despite what Trump may think, politics aren't black and white.

astralis
30 May 17,, 22:12
citanon,


Yet Donald Trump asking you to increase your defense spending and all of sudden the onus is on US to do our share? That is mighty RIPE.

yes, i agree that the argument of the US having to do our share, or the argument that the "US presence in Europe does not have anything to do with a commitment to defend Europe" is complete nonsense.

but to circle back to where this all started: DJT going in to a NATO forum, publicly berating and lecturing everyone, does the US no favors in this regard. it backs politicians into a corner, with positive action looking like kowtowing-- and kowtowing to the dictionary definition of an Ugly American, to boot.

our commitment to Europe is by action ironclad, but DJT's words do much to undermine it. and the only person laughing is Putin.

kato
30 May 17,, 22:28
Or how we are fighting ISIS in Iraq today so you can talk nonchalantly about how a few terrorists can't change your predilection towards open Christmas markets with no security barriers.
43866
Hint: You're not the only ones down there.


Many of these things we take care of because of the shared benefit to us collectively in the West.
Uh, for that you'd have to settle collectively on what actually constitutes a benefit.

snapper
30 May 17,, 22:42
Leaving aside the point on whether the Cold War constituted an American "contribution to European defense"...

What do you mean? I recall once reading a book about the British Army of the Rhine; we ALL contributed to defeat Eastern German and Central and Eastern European 'communism' and then impoverishment into what are today relatively free and growing democratic trading partners. Do you 'leave aside' the thousands of those who faced the Muscovites down - did the Berlin air supply - fought and died in the spy war as nothing? Sure the Poles and Romanians did their bit too at the end but someone had to hold the line for years. No debt is owed for that? Are you kidding?

kato
30 May 17,, 22:57
No debt is owed for that?
Let's just say... the party that used to run East Germany is still around. And there's people who vote for them. Get the hint?

S2
30 May 17,, 23:12
"...The problem is the reactions though. Because so far it doesn't look like it's Germany that just isolated itself from its allies last weekend..."

Germany is simply the most note-worthy of the laggards. Trust that we are well aware of the miserly contributions that have been made by others within the alliance to their own defense.

"...It's not really all that knee-jerk - she gave Trump four months. Hell, Merkel pretty much announced her stance that Trump will be measured by his words and acts back in January..."

Words? Let's start then with German words. Did you not commit to 2% minimum or was this simply a worthy goal to be reached in the undefined and very nebulous future? Acts? I'd reckon we've lost more men in training accidents while deployed in Europe than Germany has lost in Afghanistan. Nevermind the size of the commitment to which you've attached so much prestige.

My father spent nine years and three tours in W. Germany. I joined the army with the express intent of defending, first and foremost, my nation and it's allies. In 1978 I had little doubt but that it would be Europe if called upon.

I'm saddened by the impasse NATO finds itself at but I've little cause to question that it results from one numbskull U.S. president. I'd offer a long litany of numbskull European leaders over five plus decades as equally (or more so) culpable and will not rue NATO's demise if it means more of the same ol' from our erstwhile allies.

snapper
30 May 17,, 23:30
Gentlemen calm down. Welcome back Steve :), been meaning to write to you. We have an enemy that is clear to all - they interfered in the US election in Trumps favour, tried to interfere in the French election and will doubtless try the same in Germany and have invaded two of their neighbours and broken countless treaties and accords and memorandums. Us arguing about "who should pay what" is their delight! The questions cannot now be about such matters but how to respond to the threat posed to all.

kato
30 May 17,, 23:31
Did you not commit to 2% minimum or was this simply a worthy goal to be reached in the undefined and very nebulous future?

Taking current commitments into account, we are guided by the following considerations:
Allies currently meeting the NATO guideline to spend a minimum of 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defence will aim to continue to do so.
[...]
Allies whose current proportion of GDP spent on defence is below this level will:
halt any decline in defence expenditure;
aim to increase defence expenditure in real terms as GDP grows;
aim to move towards the 2% guideline within a decade with a view to meeting their NATO Capability Targets and filling NATO's capability shortfalls.

Wales Summit Declaration (http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_112964.htm)

S2
31 May 17,, 00:26
Taking current commitments into account, we are guided by the following considerations:
"•Allies currently meeting the NATO guideline to spend a minimum of 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defence will aim to continue to do so.
•[...]
•Allies whose current proportion of GDP spent on defence is below this level will:
•halt any decline in defence expenditure;
•aim to increase defence expenditure in real terms as GDP grows;
•aim to move towards the 2% guideline within a decade with a view to meeting their NATO Capability Targets and filling NATO's capability shortfalls."

Not so nebulous but oh so distant and, is that correct, uber-rich Germany can still reliably be counted among those who don't instead of those who do?

Guess there's lots of ways to measure "reliable". No doubt but that Germany would lead from the rear with any future European defense organization if the present and past is any indicator. Of course, absent big bro, maybe the pucker factor from going it sans USA perhaps shall elevate focus and determination.

If leaving NATO got Germany and others off their azz wouldn't that be a net improvement for all intents and purposes?

We apologize for enabling your lassitude.

citanon
31 May 17,, 02:50
citanon,



yes, i agree that the argument of the US having to do our share, or the argument that the "US presence in Europe does not have anything to do with a commitment to defend Europe" is complete nonsense.

but to circle back to where this all started: DJT going in to a NATO forum, publicly berating and lecturing everyone, does the US no favors in this regard. it backs politicians into a corner, with positive action looking like kowtowing-- and kowtowing to the dictionary definition of an Ugly American, to boot.

our commitment to Europe is by action ironclad, but DJT's words do much to undermine it. and the only person laughing is Putin.

For the most part I agree, except for the very last. For many in the group of leaders at the NATO summit looked past his words.

One in particular decided to take umbridge for her own purposes.

citanon
31 May 17,, 03:00
43866
Hint: You're not the only ones down there.


Uh, for that you'd have to settle collectively on what actually constitutes a benefit.

And why don't you ask your own people who are down there what they think of the US commitment to NATO, or whether Europe collectively benefits from those US actions around the world?

troung
31 May 17,, 03:06
Great that the other uber-reliable European NATO nation, the UK, got dumped into the unreliable category.


Frau Merkel, you might not like Herr Trump but you need him
John Moody
By John Moody
Published May 30, 2017
Fox News

Here’s some unsolicited advice for German Chancellor Angela Merkel: Achtung!

Merkel’s uncalled-for remarks about the United States no longer being a trustworthy partner for its European allies set off a frenzy. Was she so displeased with President Trump during last week’s G-7 meeting? Was their discourse so strident that she thought a verbal warning shot was necessary?

Or is she just trying to keep her job?

Remember, Germany has federal elections scheduled for September, and Merkel, while slightly ahead in most polls, has no sure lock on keeping her party, the Christian Democrats, in the majority. A strong, though receding surge for Socialist Martin Schulz, and a newly energized far-right party, the Alternative for Germany, has squeezed the chancellor, who has been in power since 2005.

But Merkel’s horrible decision to open the gates of Europe to tens of thousands of refugees from the Middle East and Africa turned her own people against her. Only Germany’s robust economy has saved her from humiliation in the last round of local elections – often an indicator of how federal elections will turn out.

Since she invited migrants into her country, and forced her neighbors to do the same, Europe has suffered nearly a dozen major terror attacks, none more horrific than the December 2016 Christmas market truck massacre in Berlin, which killed 12 and left Germany feeling very exposed to lone-wolf Islamic horror.

And who was among the first to decry Merkel’s come-one, come-all policy? Donald Trump. Who spoke up about the lopsided trade deficit the United States has with Germany? Donald Trump. Who lectured European members of NATO – specifically Germany – about not paying its fair share for the continent’s defense. Same answer.

Among her European counterparts, Merkel is used to being treated with deference. Germany is really the economic engine for the entire continent, and the only country willing to shell out its own resources to bail out the ne’er-do-wells like Greece, who have become addicted to free money.

When the United Kingdom opted out of the European Union last June, Merkel took it as a personal affront and has since schemed to make the U.K. pay a heavy price for its willfulness.

You might not like Mr. Trump, Frau Merkel. He is rude and outspoken and typically, in your view, American. But remember: Russia is to your east. Vladimir Putin is not impressed with the paltry defense force Europe could put together, if it did not have the United States behind it.

Verstehen?

John Moody is Executive Vice President, Executive Editor for Fox News. A former Rome bureau chief for Time magazine, he is the author of four books including "Pope John Paul II : Biography."
http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/05/30/frau-merkel-might-not-like-herr-trump-but-need-him.html

Mihais
31 May 17,, 06:19
If any colleague of mine approached a Muscovite Ambassador and asked to use their communications systems as a 'back channel' I would have him (or her) arrested and interrogated as soon as I found out. Most importantly I would want to know who or what motive prompted such potentially treasonous action. Even it transpired there was an honest and appropriate reason for this extraordinary behaviour I would never trust that person again. That is not normal. Sure we all "know people who know people" who can deliver a message if required - though I have never seen fit to do so personally and usually it is not my call to make - but what Kushner is alleged to have done; that is offering to commit treason as in the first place it compromises the person making the request.


So...we've become "unreliable" for meeting our commitment consistently since NATO's inception but now wondering whether we should? I suppose but I'm to consider those who consistently have punched WELL below their weight the benchmark of "reliability"?

Let's establish that Europe has comfortably piggybacked on our largesse, men and determination for seventy plus years. Europe's contributions to its self-defense has, on the whole, not collectively equated America's contribution on their behalf. Each nation? Not even worth discussing when measured against America.

Kato, however, offers Afghanistan as a firm example of "reliability" as opposed to, I suppose, America's dilettante and fickle nature.

A skewed perspective were there ever one.

Trump's concern reflects a long-standing concern here in America regarding our "allies". Nothing new but for the German knee-jerk reaction to a long-deserved public shaming. I, ummm..., hate the guy and am embarrassed that he's my President but there isn't a thing off point if he calls to question Europe's commitment to itself, much less its commitment to America.

Germany lead? Sara's point there is well-founded. The Bundesbank is quick to call its notes for failure to pay. Were America only as swift and certain.


Sir,keep in mind the Rumsfeld division of Europe,watch for your own strategic interest and just ignore Brussels bureaucrats and their masters.
Is simple as that.

kato
31 May 17,, 07:17
keep in mind the Rumsfeld division of Europe
True. Deutschlandfunk's first OP-ED on Merkel's speech was titled "Old Europe Strikes Back".

kato
31 May 17,, 07:32
Trudeau has chosen sides for Canada: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/merkel-trump-trudeau-rift-1.4138585

S2
31 May 17,, 08:10
"...Trump blasted 23 of NATO's 28 members for not spending enough on the military alliance to meet its two-per-cent of GDP target, a group that includes Canada..."

Surprising how hurt feelings abound.

"...The government presents its long-awaited defence policy review next week, but few are expecting it to contain a major spending boost."

The Canadians have long been smugly certain of their security. Call me underwhelmed.

astralis
31 May 17,, 15:19
citanon,


For many in the group of leaders at the NATO summit looked past his words.

One in particular decided to take umbridge for her own purposes.

look at the context of it.

Merkel just won big in the state elections, but did so despite pushing for $27 billion in increased military spending over 3 years-- something that is highly unpopular among Germans (2/3 are against it), and which the German left is making political hay from. for that matter, she even told Pence just before the NATO conference that "We will do everything we can in order to fulfil this commitment."

and now Trump swoops in, loudly beating his chest, hectoring and lecturing European leaders in a way that he never did with the Saudis. he then goes on a Twitter tirade specifically threatening Germany on trade.

what exactly would a non-response from Merkel look like to German voters?

kato
31 May 17,, 16:33
something that is highly unpopular among Germans (2/3 are against it), and which the German left is making political hay from.
It's even more complicated than that.

The SPD was likely preparing a major campaign move using Trump as a galvanization point, relying on Merkel mollycoddling and appeasing him as she's been doing since the start of his campaign (and that's something that most Germans don't agree with, but see as a weak position of her). Note how within two days you had Gabriel, Schulz and Oppermann as the SPD lead triad speak out against Trump in person, topped with the virtually unknown SPD whip Katarina Barley managing to use the opportunity to put herself in the media - the day before the SPD suddenly rochades her into the federal government. Due to the entirely personal attack the effect would have been a short one, and one calculated to ride on the somewhat utopic notion that 70% of Germans currently entertain - that Trump will (not should, will) be impeached anyway. The SPD motion likely would then have culminated in a political stance that cornered traditional Green topics to draw some voters from there, in addition to a counter-protectionist stance that would feed on FDP and CDU voters, possibly also gaining some patriotic votes from the CDU if played the right way.

Merkel preempted that. And while doing that she both also pandered to the patriotic crowd (it's not Germany, but at least Europe) and positioned herself on a topic (European Unity) where people tend to give Schulz the upper hand on competence. She didn't do it on military spending either - that would have cost her favour from the right side, anti-militarism is a decidedly left-of-center topic - but generalized, also appealing to those who felt that she had let some past transgressions slide (under Obama, for example). The way she did it gives her bonus points both in her own camp and from right-wing SPD voters, while isolating both edges of the CDU - AfD and FDP - in their pro-Trump/pro-American stance.

bfng3569
31 May 17,, 18:30
From me? No.

There are politicians on this side of the pond who really, really strongly detest that Trump did not make an Article 5 commitment while unveiling a memorial for the only Article 5 application in NATO's history - a memorial that on this side is seen as a reminder of Article 5 and of the fact that the only time it was enacted was to defend the USA - not Europe.
Not acknowledging that? That's not just Trump being Trump. That's treason to the NATO charter and everything NATO stands for. And that one's a sentence i'm serious about.

Treason to the NATO Charter? my opinion to that whole paragraph is that anyone in Europe (particularly Germany and France) can go F themselves then if that's what they believe.

I'm still bitter that the US had to fly an over water route (instead of over France) in the 80's to bomb Libya.

If Germany and Europe are that offended and feel the US is that unreliable, bring all the U.S. troops and equipment stationed there home and have a nice day.

kato
31 May 17,, 18:44
If Germany and Europe are that offended and feel the US is that unreliable, bring all the U.S. troops and equipment stationed there home and have a nice day.
That's ... kind of a hollow threat. Those who know what US troops and equipment are stationed in Europe for what purposes today know why.

troung
31 May 17,, 19:23
There are politicians on this side of the pond who really, really strongly detest that Trump did not make an Article 5 commitment while unveiling a memorial for the only Article 5 application in NATO's history - a memorial that on this side is seen as a reminder of Article 5 and of the fact that the only time it was enacted was to defend the USA - not Europe.

The "unreliable" UK and non-Yurrup Canada did a lot of lifting on that one from the non-US/non-Afghan contingents. Sending a handfuls of troops with restrictive rules of engagement while paying nothing for ones own defense shouldn't obligate the US to put up much more than a medical team protected by a troop or two of boy scouts in the face of a Russian advance. Trump IMHO did the correct thing with his no-Vaseline criticism, European nations seem to have decided that NATO membership means that America has to protect them no matter how much they fuck off and refuse to invest in their own armed forces.


That's treason to the NATO charter and everything NATO stands for. And that one's a sentence i'm serious about.

Like selling off the vast majority ones tanks and then bitching when called out for refusing to put money into defense.




German ambassador: If US withdraws from Paris agreement, China may become world leader

by Tom Rogan | May 31, 2017, 11:04 AM Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Email this article Share on LinkedIn
On Tuesday, Germany's ambassador to the United States, Peter Wittig, sat down and spoke with the Washington Examiner. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

Reports suggest President Trump will imminently announce a U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. On Tuesday, Germany's ambassador to the United States, Peter Wittig, sat down and spoke with me. He made it clear that Germany sees the Paris climate deal as part of the "international order," similar to NATO. U.S. withdrawal from Paris would impel Germany to turn instead towards China.

Here's what the ambassador had to say about the Paris agreement and broader notions of international order. The key elements are highlighted in bold.

Washington Examiner: What is your takeaway from the recent G-7 summit in Italy, and NATO summit in Brussels?

Ambassador Peter Wittig: Well, it was the first G-7 summit where this newly elected president participated, so it attracted a lot of attention. You know that the chancellor had come to Washington to pay a visit here in March. One of the ideas of that visit was to prepare for the G-7 and more importantly for us, because we are presiding over it, the G-20 summit in July. It [the G-7 summit] got a lot of attention because there was criticism about the appearance of the president. And if you refer to the latest headlines that [the summit] made, I'm very sober about it, because the chancellor has been saying all along that Europe has to take its fate into its own hands. She did that in the light of recent challenges to the European Union. So that is not something particularly new. The chancellor is a known lifelong Atlanticist. She values the relationship between the United States and Germany and she's adamant about forging a very constructive relationship with this president. But at the same time we think it is important, even imperative is talk about the differences we have. And one of the differences that came up at the G-7 meeting is, of course, our approach to climate change. We're not seeing eye to eye on this issue. But that doesn't mean that the bilateral relationship or the U.S.-European transatlantic relationship is tarnished. It's a sign we have to talk about our differences.
•Analysis: The ambassador's comments are diplomatic-speak for Germany's great disappointment, specifically its disappointment that President Trump seems to have abandoned the Paris climate agreement. But note that these comments are also qualified: Germany knows it must maintain a relationship with Trump even if he withdraws.

Washington Examiner: Chancellor Merkel is prioritizing climate change, and President Trump is prioritizing defense spending by NATO member states. But some Americans might ask, if we're being asked to commit to timelines in climate change agreements, why shouldn't Germany commit to a shortened timeline to get to 2 percent [of gross domestic product, the NATO target for member state defense expenditures]?

Wittig: There is a timeline. It's a timeline that was laid down after the NATO summits in Cardiff in 2015 and Warsaw in 2016. And mind you, both of those summits came after the annexation of the Crimea by Russia. That was clearly a sea change in our relationship — also in the relationship of NATO — towards Russia. Those summits highlighted the need to raise defense spending among all member states. But the language at those summits was very careful. It said that within ten years from 2014 countries commit themselves to move towards the 2 percent of GDP target. This is an incremental approach. And we are committed to it. We raised defense spending by 9 percent last year. But what we have to clarify here is that there's nothing we owe to NATO. It's not like a membership in a club with the membership dues haven't been paid. The common costs of NATO have always been paid by Germany.
•Analysis: This is a problem for Germany. Like many other European nations, the German government doesn't want to increase defense spending. At the same time, however, Germany expects the U.S. to sign up to a timeline-fixed agreement on carbon emissions. That seems hypocritical and incongruent with fair diplomatic dealing. Note also in the following two questions. In both cases, the ambassador's answer is uncomfortable.

Washington Examiner: Why not say, regarding that ten year timeline, instead of moving toward 2 percent, we will reach 2 percent within ten years?

Wittig: Our Parliament controls spending and controls the armed forces. It's a totally different system to that of the United States.

Washington Examiner: But Chancellor Merkel could push for that change.

Wittig: Of course, and she has done so. And she has presided over a rise in our defense expenditure in one year alone by 9 percent.
•Analysis: Again, what we see here is Germany's desire to slightly increase defense spending and then pass off that increase as evidence of a sustained effort to reach the 2 percent GDP target. The problem? Even after recent increases, Germany spends just 1.2 percent of GDP on defense.

Washington Examiner: How do you see Germany's relationship toward China? The U.S., for example, is concerned about China's construction of artificial islands in the South and East China Seas. But other U.S. allies such as the U.K. are very much focused on the economic opportunities China offers. Where does Germany strike the balance between trade and economics, and upholding the liberal international order?

Wittig: We hope that China can become a responsible stakeholder in the liberal international order. Germany is the No. 1 trade partner of China in Europe. We have had excellent relations with China at the leadership level. The chancellor visits each year. We have a lot of important interests at stake in a cooperative relationship with China. There are also divergences that we articulate to the Chinese. When it comes to the international order, there should be no vacuum. If we lose American leadership, others will step in. The recent "belt and road" conference in Beijing was a reminder that China is ready to step into a possible vacuum that the U.S. might be leaving.
•Analysis: This is a big deal. The ambassador is offering a very, very unsubtle implication that were the U.S. to withdraw from the "international order" — of which the Germans regard the Paris agreement to be a key component — China would find a positive reception from American allies. But what's most striking to me here is the apparent shortsightedness. In essence, Germany is saying that ''if you don't agree with us on Paris, we will start preferencing China''. This also affirms that the EU's commitment to liberal international order is pretty paper thin. China's imperial island campaign is largely ignored by European powers. Instead, they have their eyes on China's investment dangles.

Conclusion: The horizon of U.S.-EU relations is a tough one. China and Russia will be loving this
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/german-ambassador-if-us-withdraws-from-paris-agreement-china-may-become-world-leader/article/2624537

kato
31 May 17,, 19:44
Trump's loss is Li's gain as Berlin rolls out red carpet for China's PM

By Thomas Escritt | BERLIN

China's Prime Minister Li Keqiang arrived in Berlin on Wednesday at the start of a European tour, poised to jump into the global climate change leadership gap left by U.S. President Donald Trump's impending withdrawal from the Paris climate pact.

China's number two official was received with military honors at Chancellor Angela Merkel's office, becoming the second leader of a rising Asian giant to visit in as many days after India's Narendra Modi.

The flurry of visits come as concern grows in traditionally Atlanticist Germany at Trump's forthcoming announcement on the Paris Climate Accord, designed to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions scientists blame for rising sea levels and droughts.

One source briefed on the decision said Trump would pull out of the pact.

At the G7 summit of wealthy nations this weekend, European and Canadian officials warned Trump that the U.S. risked ceding global leadership on combating climate change to China if it withdrew from the pact.

China, long recognized as the world's dominant trading power, now hopes that by showing leadership on the fight against climate change it can translate its economic might into yet greater political influence.

"With the One Belt One Road initiative China has promoted itself as the country leader in environmental topics and multilateralism," said one senior adviser to a G7 government, referring to China's newly-created Eurasian cooperation forum.

Under Merkel, a passionate fan of the United States as a teenager growing up in communist East Germany, Europe's richest country has been steadfast in its Atlanticism, even during the presidency of George W. Bush, which was marked by unilateral U.S. actions.

By contrast, relations between the world's two exporting giants have often been tense, with China's plans to introduce a minimum quota for electric vehicle sales a thorny current issue that Germany is expected to raise at this visit. A quota would hurt Germany's still internal combustion-focused car industry.

But since the G7 summit, Merkel and other senior German politicians have signaled that they do not see a Trump-led U.S. as a reliable partner on a host of issues from free trade to climate change.

On Tuesday, she congratulated Modi for India's "intensive" commitment to the climate pact during his visit, which was seen as a sign of Berlin shifting its focus toward Asia in response to Trump's stance.

After Berlin, Li will continue to Brussels, where, at a China-European Union summit, both sides are expected to make a declaration on their commitment to tackling climate change - a proclamation designed to send a strong message to Trump.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-china-idUSKBN18R2ED?il=0



Macron and Merkel can make Europe great again

By Parag Khanna
Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT) May 31, 2017

Parag Khanna is a senior research fellow in the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. The opinions in this article belong to the author.

(CNN) Angela Merkel has had enough. Just a day after the perfunctory G7 meeting in Sicily, she returned to Germany and declared to an audience in Munich that the United States and UK are no longer reliable partners, and that the US in particular has "weakened the West" and is out to undermine the European Union.

This isn't the first time Merkel has stepped up to defend Europe's honor. In a similar speech in January, she warned the United States that it had no "eternal guarantee" of cooperation from Europe.
At a time when Donald Trump is scolding Europeans to pay more for their own defense, he should be careful what he wishes for. A trans-Atlantic divorce -- or parting of the ways -- has long been in the offing.

Europe's new found confidence stems partially from Brexit. Brussels, Luxembourg and Berlin have been running circles around London in the Brexit negotiations, throwing British politics into disarray with an election looming.
With the British strategy toward negotiating its exit from the EU a shambles, "old Europe" feels it has cast off England's yoke that regularly acted against the interests of wider and deeper union.

Then there's the pro-European results of the Dutch election in March and France's recent election: another a decisive victory for European unity.
Emmanuel Macron clearly held his own in his first extended handshake with Trump -- and made sure to greet Merkel before Trump (or any other head of state) when the leaders assembled in Sicily.
Together, Merkel and Macron implicitly know they are the new Franco-German axis that must, as Merkel said in Munich, "fight for our own future and destiny as Europeans."
These election results, combined with the eurozone exceeding economic growth expectations this year, mean that it faces little risk of falling apart as so many have been predicting for nearly a decade.
The big question that will dictate the future of Europe is to what extent Merkel gives ground on the strict posture her government has taken toward issues such as Greece's debt and Italy's banking sector.
Though she is poised to win September's election and enter a fourth term as Chancellor, she may need to form a "grand coalition" once again with the rival Social Democrats. And if the critical post of finance minister then goes to her election opponent Martin Schulz, he could bend Merkel in the direction of greater fiscal solidarity with southern Europe's ailing economies. With nothing left to lose politically, she might well offer them a bit more flexibility.
Even if Europe's rebound continues along a bumpy path, make no mistake that Trump's naked desire to keep Europe weak and lack of commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change are the straw breaking the camel's back. Europeans aren't going to wait for a Trump impeachment to plan for life beyond the American alliance. However much they may disagree on finance and immigration, finding unity in distinguishing themselves from American policy matters significantly.
The next step is for Europe to return to policies that make it a whole greater than the sum of its parts. There is no lifeline like the liquidity that comes from pooling economies.

Now could be the time for the institutional modifications seen as unnecessary before the financial crisis and politically infeasible since: A fiscal compact, capital markets framework and banking union -- all of which, if interest rates can be yanked ever so slightly into positive territory, will enable genuine restructuring and attract trillions into the Eurobond market. Given time and support, the model works.
Europe would then be better equipped for the mercurial geopolitical theater in which it must now act with far greater autonomy. Remember that this -- not trying to wind up Trump -- was the main thrust of Merkel's Munich speech.
While Trump has accused Germany of being "very bad" on trade for its large surpluses, Germany and other European exporters have a massive and willing market for their goods: Asia.
Indeed, the EU's trade with China, Japan, India, Australia, South Korea and Southeast Asia already exceeds its trade with the United States by about $300 billion per year -- and this has occurred before Europe grants China "market economy" status or signs free trade agreements with Japan, India and others.
Europeans were an active presence at Beijing's One Belt, One Road summit two weeks ago. The Belt and Road Initiative is the largest coordinated infrastructure investment program in human history, and could easily generate $2 trillion per year in trade between Europe and Asia. Washington may soon realize that Europe is the swing superpower between the United States and China -- and is leaning toward Eurasian connectivity.

This has enormous implications for two other major foreign policy challenges for the Trump administration: Russia and Iran. Amid serious allegations of Trump's campaign staff and son-in-law having murky dealings with the Kremlin, Trump is being forced to appear tough on Russia even though it goes against his and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's actual goals.
But as Washington's Russia policy remains handcuffed by the ongoing investigations, count on Europe to break rank and re-engage with Russia, capturing new business opportunities as the economy recovers.
A similar pattern will surely unfold with Iran. After Trump's tough anti-Iranian talk in Saudi Arabia, Europe is sure to lose patience with the American policy of futile confrontation. Neither sanctions nor isolation have worked to weaken Iran's clerical regime.
Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani's convincing re-election means continuity in Iran's desire for greater engagement with the West. For many European companies, the train has left the station: Big ticket deals in energy, infrastructure, real estate and other sectors won't wait for Trump to get on board.
The stars are aligning for Europe to reclaim a central role in the global strategic balance. Merkel and Macron are reminding their peers of the region's timeless strengths: world-class infrastructure, efficient midsize cities, social-democratic politics, locally rooted businesses, low inequality and rich cultural traditions.
Take a deep breath: The 21st century will be neither the American nor the Chinese. Europe is going to do whatever it can to remain at the center of the map.

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/31/opinions/merkel-and-macron-ready-to-make-europe-great-again/

bfng3569
31 May 17,, 20:03
That's ... kind of a hollow threat. Those who know what US troops and equipment are stationed in Europe for what purposes today know why.

I understand that, but its about as much a hollow threat as Merkl talking about self reliance when it comes to defense.

S2
31 May 17,, 22:03
"...its about as much a hollow threat as Merkl talking about self reliance when it comes to defense."

Perhaps. More likely it's about relying upon Russia not to attack as opposed to relying upon America to defend.

Nothing else would change. Most notably their current defense budget.

astralis
31 May 17,, 22:49
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/05/mcmaster-cohn-trump/528609/

The Death Knell for America's Global Leadership

In an op-ed, the Trump administration’s “adults in the room” envision America in the image of its leader: selfish, isolated, brutish, domineering, and driven by immediate appetites rather than ideals or even longer-term interests.

David Frum 10:22 AM ET Global

H.R. McMaster and Gary Cohn may not be the most influential people in the Trump White House. But the national-security adviser and the director of the National Economic Council are surely the White House’s most presentable faces. When they sign their names to a statement of Trumpism at its most dangerous, we are warned: The so-called adults in the room are shirking their responsibilities.

On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed bearing McMaster’s and Cohn’s names. It’s a good guess they did not actually write very much of it. However, they now own it—and the United States must bear the consequences.

The op-ed originates as an attempt to tell a story of success about Donald Trump’s catastrophic first trip abroad. During that trip the president spoke at the dedication of a monument to NATO’s Article 5 pledge of mutual defense—but notably omitted to endorse Article 5 itself. That omission was heard loud and clear. Its power was only amplified by the shadowy Russian connections of Donald Trump, his family, and his entourage. In private meetings, NATO leaders were dismayed by Trump’s behavior and bearing, so much so that the ultra-cautious chancellor of Germany declared in a major speech shortly after Trump’s departure that Europeans could no longer completely rely on the United States. Her chief political opponent in autumn elections agreed with her, and went further, comparing Donald Trump to an authoritarian leader.

So that’s the pig on which McMaster and Cohn tried to put lipstick. How’d they do it?

First step is the Trump administration’s fail-safe response to embarrassment: untruth.


As the president stated in Brussels, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is rooted in “the courage of our people, the strength of our resolve, and the commitments that bind us together as one.” While reconfirming America’s commitment to NATO and Article 5 …

This did not happen. You’ll find here examples of statements by President Bush and Obama that illustrate actual commitments to Article 5. Trump quite visibly veered away from saying anything like that. More to the point—since language is judged by what it communicates—none of his European hearers believe that he said it.

In any event, the WSJ op-ed confirms: He did not mean it.

Here is a key passage:


The president embarked on his first foreign trip with a clear-eyed outlook that the world is not a “global community” but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors, and businesses engage and compete for advantage. We bring to this forum unmatched military, political, economic, cultural, and moral strength. Rather than deny this elemental nature of international affairs, we embrace it.

This passage purports merely to describe. But in reality, it is recommending—and recommending something incompatible with American leadership. The United States leads an alliance of other wealthy and powerful states. Italy alone has an economy equal in size to Russia’s. This alliance defers to American leadership, to the extent that it does, because it trusts that leadership to be exercised with a view to something bigger than the selfish interests of the United States.

Since 1945, American leaders have based policy on two facts: a zone of cooperation encompassing democratic, rule-of-law states; a zone of completion between the group of democracies and other groups on this planet. Within the zone of cooperation, the usual frictions and disagreements of international life were to be managed by rules, especially trade rules, adjudicated by neutral arbiters. The ultimate expression of national power—military force—would be put utterly beyond the realm of things to be contemplated. But even such less-extreme manifestations of sovereignty as intelligence gathering would be done collectively, as if in this area the five closest democracies—the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—almost formed one government.

The national egoism that had inflicted so much suffering before 1945 would be suppressed on a new vision in which international politics would come to look more and more like domestic politics.

This vision was not always achieved of course. There were and are many disputes even between friends. But the theory of the case was that within the democratic world, cross-border cooperation would be regarded as the norm and the ideal; state-versus-state competition would be abnormal and unwelcome. All established democracies at least formally committed themselves to trade regimes based on the principle of gains from exchange.

This is the vision that the Cohn/McMaster op-ed rejects.

The rejection adds a sinister tint to these words:


At every stop in our journey, we delivered a clear message to our friends and partners: Where our interests align, we are open to working together to solve problems and explore opportunities. We let adversaries know that we will not only take their measure, deter conflict through strength, and defend our interests and values, but also look for areas of common interest that allow us to work together. In short, those societies that share our interests will find no friend more steadfast than the United States. Those that choose to challenge our interests will encounter the firmest resolve.

There’s a lot to unpack here, and none of it is good.

First, those bold words about defending “interests and values” against adversaries sound ill in the mouth of administration officials who may owe their high offices in some degree to the clandestine assistance of a foreign adversary. So long as Russia’s attack on U.S. democracy in 2016 goes not only unpunished—but actively denied—by the Trump administration, they have no standing for this kind of robust language.

But they may attach a private meaning to that language. Trump himself and some of those who influence him pretty obviously regard the European Union, not Russia, as their most important adversary. Donald Trump has consistently refused to recognize even the existence of the EU, vainly attempting to negotiate trade agreements with individual member nations, despite their treaty obligations to each other. You can mark that attempt to Trump’s ignorance if you like, but according to German reports, Cohn himself—the former COO and president of Goldman Sachs!—tried the same gambit on the president’s trip.

But here is the truest tell. You can have friends. Or you can have people you work with only when your immediate interests align. Those are not the same thing. The Cohn/McMaster op-ed uses the word “friend”—without ever making clear who belongs to that category—but its logic is that of a nation friendless and alone. Perhaps the most terrifying thing about the Trump presidency is the way even its most worldly figures, in words composed for them by its deepest thinkers, have reimagined the United States in the image of their own chief: selfish, isolated, brutish, domineering, and driven by immediate appetites rather than ideals or even longer-term interests.

Like Trump himself, this general and this financier who speak for him know only the language of command, not of respect. They summon partners to join them "to enhance American security, promote American prosperity, and extend American influence around the world”—and never anticipate or answer the question, “Why should we British, French, Germans, Canadians, Australians, and on and on through the catalogue of your disrespected allies join that project?”

Under the slogan of restoring American greatness, they are destroying it. Promising readers that they want to “restore confidence in American leadership,” they instead threaten and bluster in ways that may persuade partners that America has ceased to be the leader they once respected—but an unpredictable and dangerous force in world affairs, itself to be contained and deterred by new coalitions of ex-friends.

bfng3569
31 May 17,, 23:29
"...its about as much a hollow threat as Merkl talking about self reliance when it comes to defense."

Perhaps. More likely it's about relying upon Russia not to attack as opposed to relying upon America to defend.

Nothing else would change. Most notably their current defense budget.

If you read her comments, she mentions Europe over and over not just Germany.

not sure where she is going there, but that's not German self reliance.

citanon
01 Jun 17,, 00:56
citanon,



look at the context of it.

Merkel just won big in the state elections, but did so despite pushing for $27 billion in increased military spending over 3 years-- something that is highly unpopular among Germans (2/3 are against it), and which the German left is making political hay from. for that matter, she even told Pence just before the NATO conference that "We will do everything we can in order to fulfil this commitment."

and now Trump swoops in, loudly beating his chest, hectoring and lecturing European leaders in a way that he never did with the Saudis. he then goes on a Twitter tirade specifically threatening Germany on trade.

what exactly would a non-response from Merkel look like to German voters?

Merkel is agitating for closer European integration and Trump gave her an opening.

She will try to push the idea of an EU military and get France to sign on to building a next gen European fighter and other defense cooperation projects.

http://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/68370

However, Merkel also knows that without American help this is all a shell game falling far short of meeting European defense needs. If Germany wants to start leading on defense both it and France will need​to hit that 2% figure and more. Increase aside they have no plans to do this:

https://www.thelocal.de/20170301/this-is-how-much-german-military-spending-has-grown-over-time

Posturing aside then the present maneuvering is designed to increase German influence while relying on America for defense.

In fact, her calculated "outburst" shows increased confidence in US American commitment to NATO. If she was actually nervous she would be trying to assuage the US as much as possible to buy time while significantly upping defense spending going forward.

astralis
01 Jun 17,, 02:01
citanon,


In fact, her calculated "outburst" shows increased confidence in US American commitment to NATO. If she was actually nervous she would be trying to assuage the US as much as possible to buy time while significantly upping defense spending going forward.

i must say that it takes quite a bit of mental gymnastics to agree with me on one hand that DJT's performance at the NATO summit was a disaster, but on the other hand to arrive at the conclusion that somehow this resulted in increased German confidence in the American commitment to NATO.

citanon
01 Jun 17,, 03:05
citanon,



i must say that it takes quite a bit of mental gymnastics to agree with me on one hand that DJT's performance at the NATO summit was a disaster, but on the other hand to arrive at the conclusion that somehow this resulted in increased German confidence in the American commitment to NATO.

The German confidence has nothing to do with what Trump said. It has everything to do with actions the US has taken over the last few years, which have only accelerated under Trump. Once the Germans realized what was going on in terms of actions, Merkel stopped caring one bit about Trump's showmanship except where it created opportunities for her.

astralis
01 Jun 17,, 04:06
Merkel stopped caring one bit about Trump's showmanship except where it created opportunities for her.

right...so this masterful plan to increase German influence and create closer European integration is Merkel making a speech...which at the same time is a shell game.

and said speech in which Merkel lambasts the current US administration for not being reliable...is actually a demonstration that US leadership of NATO is more reliable than ever.

if you say so...:-)

citanon
01 Jun 17,, 04:45
right...so this masterful plan to increase German influence and create closer European integration is Merkel making a speech...which at the same time is a shell game.

and said speech in which Merkel lambasts the current US administration for not being reliable...is actually a demonstration that US leadership of NATO is more reliable than ever.

if you say so...:-)

The effort to increase German influence is done in bits and pieces that accumulate, as with anything else. This speech is just another way for Merkel to make use of a particular situation.

It's the likely internal assessment of the German government that US contribution to NATO and US shouldering the primary responsibility for defense of Europe will continue. With that as a basis, it shapes their path going forward.

You are recasting it in an angle of being good or bad leadership on the part of Donald Trump, or reliable or unreliable leadership of NATO by the US. Which, quite frankly, to me, seems like an overly simplistic picture that doesn't reflect the true underlying dynamics, and is really a sideshow to the main story.

Ironduke
01 Jun 17,, 08:23
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/05/mcmaster-cohn-trump/528609/

H.R. McMaster and Gary Cohn may not be the most influential people in the Trump White House. But the national-security adviser and the director of the National Economic Council are surely the White House’s most presentable faces. When they sign their names to a statement of Trumpism at its most dangerous, we are warned: The so-called adults in the room are shirking their responsibilities.
I was wondering why McMaster's name seemed familiar... I bought Dereliction of Duty back in 2000 or so, along with another book contrasting counter-insurgency experiences in Vietnam against those in Malaya. I think I recommended it once on a thread on WAB some years back...

It was a good read. It was a formative book for me at the time in shaping my worldview. That being said, I read it as a 17-year old, re-read it a few times, and it's since been lost to me. I think I gave it to a relative who served in Vietnam. I don't know what I'd make of the book at the age of 33.

There's so much going on domestically though, I wasn't even aware that he was the National Security Adviser until I read this post. With the controversies swirling around Trump's administration, his appointments are getting lost in the static, and I hardly pay attention as they're most likely to be appointments that are rather short in duration.

On a somewhat different note, it seems that Trump is impressed by anyone with bling, thinking somehow he absorbs credibility on national security issues by touting this general or that general with bling. McMaster may or may not have been a good choice for the role in a normal administration, I don't really know, and I'm not casting aspersions on anyone's bling, but in Trump's mind -

1) Got bling? Check.
2) Want the appointment? Check
3) Bam, you're the new National Security Advisor.

I just happen to think Trump is as dazzled and impressed by bling as a decision-making factor in making appointments, much as he expects everyone else to be dazzled and impressed with his ten billion dollars, or however much it is.

Does anybody have a fulltext link to the WSJ editorial?

citanon
01 Jun 17,, 08:51
I was wondering why McMaster's name seemed familiar... I bought Dereliction of Duty back in 2000 or so, along with another book contrasting counter-insurgency experiences in Vietnam against those in Malaya. I think I recommended it once on a thread on WAB some years back...

It was a good read. It was a formative book for me at the time in shaping my worldview. That being said, I read it as a 17-year old, re-read it a few times, and it's since been lost to me. I think I gave it to a relative who served in Vietnam. I don't know what I'd make of the book at the age of 33.

There's so much going on domestically though, I wasn't even aware that he was the National Security Adviser until I read this post. With the controversies swirling around Trump's administration, his appointments are getting lost in the static, and I hardly pay attention as they're most likely to be appointments that are rather short in duration.

On a somewhat different note, it seems that Trump is impressed by anyone with bling, thinking somehow he absorbs credibility on national security issues by touting this general or that general with bling. McMaster may or may not have been a good choice for the role in a normal administration, I don't really know, and I'm not casting aspersions on anyone's bling, but in Trump's mind -

1) Got bling? Check.
2) Want the appointment? Check
3) Bam, you're the new National Security Advisor.

I just happen to think Trump is as dazzled and impressed by bling as a decision-making factor in making appointments, much as he expects everyone else to be dazzled and impressed with his ten billion dollars, or however much it is.

Does anybody have a fulltext link to the WSJ editorial?

McMaster has been one of the foremost thinkers on the transformation of warfare in the 21st century.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._R._McMaster

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2017/02/new_national_security_adviser_h_r_mcmaster_is_the_ army_s_smartest_officer.html

Ironduke
01 Jun 17,, 09:09
I have no doubts with regards to McMaster and him being one of the foremost thinkers on counter-insurgency doctrine... just because we've primarily been engaged in conflicts in which COIN has been the primary focus of our efforts, COIN is not the definition of warfare. It is a subset. I think to use the word warfare is a bit of a stretch.

That being said, I read him when he was still a Colonel and it was a powerful book.

This though, from that Slate article:

The most famous name on the list was John Bolton, a former Bush official and neoconservative provocateur, whose hawkishness on Iran might have earned Trump’s favor but whose equal hawkishness on Russia might not have. Bolton also has an imperious manner that almost nobody likes and a walrus mustache that probably offended Trump, who is said to despise facial hair.

Strictly on the subject of hair, whether on the face or the head... I think Bolton's mustache is much more tasteful than Trump's hair. I'm not saying it's tasteful, but relatively speaking. Maybe Bolton had food stuck in it when he met with Trump. Like a Cheeto or something.

citanon
01 Jun 17,, 10:40
I have no doubts with regards to McMaster and him being one of the foremost thinkers on counter-insurgency doctrine... just because we've primarily been engaged in conflicts in which COIN has been the primary focus of our efforts, COIN is not the definition of warfare. It is a subset. I think to use the word warfare is a bit of a stretch.



McMaster has been doing much more than counter insurgency. He was at the forefront of the Army's thinking on how to fight future wars against peer adversaries with precision weapons.

kato
01 Jun 17,, 13:16
Merkel and Li, as expected, after their talks since yesterday are now signing a nice cushy joint declaration along with the rest of the EU which reaffirms EU and Chinese commitment to the Paris Agreement while not mentioning the USA at all. Most conservative politicians in Germany consider the situation as a political strengthening of China - and e.g. Volker Kauder (Merkel's "right hand" and the CDU whip) says that without any real regret.

While politicians throughout the EU are mostly in a "we'll wait what he says" mode right now, Boris Johnson - as the only one - is trying to appeal to Trump not to withdraw. The deputy president of the European Commission has already announced that the EU would take over a leadership role in this regard if the USA fails its obligations. Apparently Merkel and Macron have made sure in the last few days that - in addition to China - Russia and India will both side with the EU on this matter.

Schulz meanwhile has announced that Europe should think about economic sanctions against the US if Trump wants to leave the Paris Agreement (note: not if he does, if he wants to). Okay, he didn't use the word "sanctions". He used "possible market distortions that need to be looked into". Probably quite in line with the original SPD plan to exploit Trump's follies, along with a five-bullet-point increased European cooperation plan also announced today.

citanon
01 Jun 17,, 13:53
What does"siding with the EU” mean in this context except as a pledge to continue watching with amusement as you self-castrate your economies?

Also, if we start talking about market distortions between the US and EU, there's about $160 billion worth every year at the moment. Maybe we should also think about those.

It's pretty clear at this point that the US will not legislate into meeting the Paris pledges made by the Obama administration. Under that context, is it better to stay in or leave?

kato
01 Jun 17,, 14:23
Merkel: Germany, China must expand partnership in 'times of global uncertainty'

As relations with the US appear to worsen, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for closer cooperation with China. Merkel and Li have held two days of bilateral talks ahead of next month's G20 summit in Hamburg.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that Germany must expand its partnership with China at what she described as "a time of global insecurity."

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang had arrived in Berlin on Wednesday, and held talks with Merkel in the capital on Thursday morning. He was later expected with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, before moving on to Brussels.

Read more: EU, China pledge Paris allegiance whatever Trump does (http://www.dw.com/en/eu-china-pledge-paris-allegiance-whatever-trump-does/a-39078001)

"China has become a more important and strategic partner," Merkel said at a joint news conference with Li. "We are living in times of global uncertainty and see that we have a responsibility to expand our partnership in all the different areas and to push for a world order based on law."

Merkel has in recent days suggested that German-US ties were on less stable ground, having vented her frustration at Trump following last week's G7 talks in Sicily (http://www.dw.com/en/merkel-g7-climate-talks-with-trump-very-unsatisfying/a-39008318), which she described as "very unsatisfying."

On Sunday, the chancellor said that Germany could no longer "entirely rely" on certain partners quite as it had in the past, making it clear that a Trump White House and a UK leaving the EU threatened to upset the status quo.

Trump, meanwhile, has vocally decried Germany's trade surplus and comparatively modest military spending.

Merkel and Li met hours ahead of Trump's decision on whether to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord (http://www.dw.com/en/trump-to-announce-decision-on-paris-climate-deal-thursday-expected-to-withdraw/a-39065011).

Li told reporters in Berlin that Germany and China "are both ready to contribute to stability in the world."

Merkel voices support for EU-China free trade pact

Merkel reportedly gave Li her backing for a free-trade deal between the EU and China, but pointed out that an investment deal would be a precondition to any future trade talks.

The chancellor also warned that some sticking points between the two export giants remain, such as limited access to Chinese markets and alleged discrimination against those German firms that do operate in China (http://www.dw.com/en/berlin-sees-opportunity-to-strengthen-trade-ties-with-china/a-38603418).

Read more: Germany's Gabriel sees 'deal' with China on e-car quota (http://www.dw.com/en/germanys-gabriel-sees-deal-with-china-on-e-car-quota/a-38966721)

Li: Climate change a ‘global consensus'

Li used Thursday's meeting with Merkel to reaffirm China's commitment to "steadfastly" implement the Paris climate agreement, even if the US pulls out (http://www.dw.com/en/eu-china-pledge-paris-allegiance-whatever-trump-does/a-39078001).

The Chinese premier will travel to Brussels to meet with EU officials (http://www.dw.com/en/chinese-premier-li-keqiang-meets-merkel-in-berlin-as-europe-pivots-to-asia/a-39071071) later on Thursday, where he is expected to discuss issues such as climate policy, trade and North Korea.

Li is expected also to sign a joint statement reaffirming China and EU's commitment to the Paris Agreement.

"The EU and China consider the Paris Agreement as an historic achievement further accelerating the irreversible global low greenhouse gas emission and climate resilient development," a draft statement, seen on Wednesday by the news agencies Agence France Presse and the Deutsche Presse Agentur, said: "The EU and China underline their highest political commitment to the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement in all its aspects."

dm/msh (Reuters, dpa)

http://www.dw.com/en/merkel-germany-china-must-expand-partnership-in-times-of-global-uncertainty/a-39078614

citanon
01 Jun 17,, 19:51
A reminder of the deal that was actually made at Paris:

http://climateactiontracker.org/countries/china.html
http://climateactiontracker.org/countries/usa.html
http://climateactiontracker.org/countries/eu.html
http://climateactiontracker.org/countries/india.html

Double Edge
01 Jun 17,, 22:00
If they do, you probably won't like a Germany and EU conducting a foreign and military policy completely independent to the United States either, ceasing to defer at all to US wishes, refusing to combine diplomatic and sanctions efforts with the US, ceasing to host US military forces, and kicking us out of air, naval and ground forces bases.

It may very well turn out to be the case that if these countries decide to double their defense commitments -- they may just decide they might as well go all in, and walk away from a formal alliance with the US.

It may turn out to be the case that we cannot have our cake, and eat it too - the Euros may come to the conclusion that in the aftermath of doubling their defense spending, that being allied to the US is more of a liability than an asset. Being under the US security umbrella makes NATO an asset in their calculations - if the Euros do what Trump wants in having their own sufficient capability to act against and deter threats, an alliance with the US may at that point cross the ledger from asset and become a liability.

If you're an isolationist who wishes to see the US have a vastly reduced capability to act globally, perhaps this would be a good thing, from your perspective.
Trump was not original in what he said at nato, the difference was he was more forceful than previous presidents.

He wants to set a trend in motion where the euros build to a point where they become stronger than present. This could take well over a decade. The US takes a back seat. There is no pulling out. No independent moves, they aren't ready yet.

The Futures of NATO | Yale Global | May 03 2017 (http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/futures-nato?utm_source=ListServe&utm_campaign=03fc3931f5-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_01_24&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1f70465ad6-03fc3931f5-207759589)

This isn't about isolationism, it allows the US more resources to concentrate on the middle east and far east.

The other thing I notice about trump is he doesn't view Russia as an US adversary. If Russia is a problem then it's somebody else's problem. That is unless events prove otherwise.

The big question is whether these developments reduce Russian threat perception. If so then they feel less obliged to make moves that threaten regional stability. To move in a way that doesn't make Russia a target.

zraver
02 Jun 17,, 02:53
http://www.dw.com/en/merkel-germany-china-must-expand-partnership-in-times-of-global-uncertainty/a-39078614

Europe without the backing of the US and the UK, the EU is simply a peer among equals and has France as the leading foreign policy voice since she has the seat on the P5, and that weakens Merkel who obviously has Germany and thus the economic voice. She was banking on a Clinton win to offset the UK Brexit and allow her to take a hard line. Now, eve if Li is a surprise globalist, the EU (via France) the only true globalist power and the other members of the P5 are all following a path of national interest over globalist.

snapper
02 Jun 17,, 03:27
the EU (via France) the only true globalist power and the other members of the P5 are all following a path of national interest over globalist.

I think you mistake the British decision to leave the EU as some form of isolationism (as it appears Trump wishes to persue no doubt at the behest of his Muscovite masters). In some ways the 'Brexit' decision (which I do not consider wise for foreign policy reasons) has to actually involve more globalist policies. Britain is a trading nation and cannot survive without it. Nor frankly can any nation and erecting trade barriers - as any first year international economics student can tell you - is self defeating.

zraver
02 Jun 17,, 04:48
I think you mistake the British decision to leave the EU as some form of isolationism (as it appears Trump wishes to persue no doubt at the behest of his Muscovite masters). In some ways the 'Brexit' decision (which I do not consider wise for foreign policy reasons) has to actually involve more globalist policies. Britain is a trading nation and cannot survive without it. Nor frankly can any nation and erecting trade barriers - as any first year international economics student can tell you - is self defeating.

Who said anything about isolationist? I said pursuing national self interest. Something German has used the EU to do for her, but something she cannot do for herself, not in the way a member of the P5 can. The EU had 2 seats on the P5 plus the US. Now she has one and has to treat with the US and UK.

snapper
02 Jun 17,, 05:24
The Germans are not my enemies. Nor do I believe they are yours. You forfeit your leadership and expect nobody to take it up? It is to my deep regret that Theresa May is bound to the madness and lies of the Brexit campaign - and a grave mistake in my view. Britain's place on the P5 may also be jeapordised by these errors; would England alone inherit the place?

kato
02 Jun 17,, 14:04
Also, if we start talking about market distortions between the US and EU, there's about $160 billion worth every year at the moment. Maybe we should also think about those.
Read the actual speech by Schulz by now. He's not talking sanctions, he's effectively talking a full blockade.


“If the U.S. drops out of the climate agreement … for European trade policy, this means that American production sites don’t need to abide by the climate goals,” said the Social Democratic candidate, who was speaking at the WDR Europa Forum in Berlin. “That is a competitive distortion against which we can only protect ourselves by saying: Whoever wants to have access to our market, and the European market is the biggest market in the world, needs to respect the European standards.”
Politico article (http://www.politico.eu/article/schulz-to-trump-dropping-paris-agreement-means-no-trade-talks/) which kinda misinterprets that.

troung
02 Jun 17,, 14:56
I'm quite happy he dropped out of this. Billions to corrupt regimes all from an powerless unratified treaty, which the last admin was deceitful to try to bind us with.



The Latest: African nations decry US pullout from Paris pact

By Associated Press

36 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's announcement that he's pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord. (all times EDT):

8:10 a.m.

African nations are protesting the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement as the world's poorest continent seeks financial help in combating global warming.

South Africa's government calls the U.S. pullout "an abdication of global responsibility."

The statement Friday by one of Africa's largest economies says the decision damages the rule of law and "trust between nations."

South Africa says the U.S. has a "moral obligation" to support poorer countries in the global effort against climate change.

___

8:05 a.m.

India has kept mum on whether the U.S. decision to pull out of the Paris climate treaty will affect its energy policy, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered no reaction to Trump's decision.

But on Thursday while visiting Moscow, Modi signed a joint declaration with President Vladimir Putin committing India and Russia to working on global challenges like climate change, environmental protection and clean energy through scientific discoveries.

And earlier in the week in Berlin, Modi said it would be a "crime" to spoil the environment for future generations.

___

8:05 a.m.

British opposition politicians are accusing Prime Minister Theresa May of failing to stand up to the U.S. over its withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

May's office says she spoke to President Donald Trump after his announcement and "expressed her disappointment with the decision." Downing Street says May "stressed that the U.K. remained committed to the Paris Agreement."

But Britain did not sign a joint statement by the leaders of Germany, France and Italy saying they regretted Trump's decision and stressing that the accord cannot be renegotiated.

Downing Street would not say whether May had been asked to sign it.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn accuses May of "subservience to Donald Trump."

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says not signing the declaration was an "appalling abdication of leadership."

___

8:05 a.m.

The Paris mayor says she's finally found one person who doesn't like her famed city: Donald Trump.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo responded to the U.S. president's comments that he's pulling out of the Paris climate agreement because he was elected to represent the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris.

Speaking to reporters Friday, she said, "He doesn't like Paris. He must be the only person on the planet who doesn't like Paris."

In seriousness, she added that his comments were "not up to the level of what one would expect from a president of a great nation that we love."

She insists that fighting climate change can create jobs, and calls Trump "a representative of a world gone by, a world that is looking back in the rear view mirror and does not see what is happening today."

___

8:05 a.m.

Germany's environment minister says "there will be no new deal with the United States" on climate change.

Barbara Hendricks reiterated the position Germany, France and Italy declared in a statement Thursday after President Donald Trump's announcement that he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.

Hendricks told reporters Friday in Berlin that other countries will fill the leadership void left by the United States but none will be expected to make up the shortfall in emissions reductions caused by Washington's exit.

She adds that the global climate will "survive" Trump's maximum presidential term of eight years.

___

7:40 a.m.

Senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway says the decision by the Trump administration to get out of the Paris climate change accords is about "fairness" to American workers and businesses.

Asked in a nationally broadcast interview whether President Donald Trump believes in the concept of global warming, Conway demurred, telling her interviewer to ask him.

"The president believes in a clean environment," she said in an appearance on Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" Friday.

"Why should we frontload so much of the economic burden in this agreement?" Conway said.

___

7:30 a.m.

A Japanese government official says Japan has decided not to join Germany, France and Italy in expressing regret over the decision by President Donald Trump's to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.

The official, who declined to be identified by name or affiliation and requested anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the decision, said that Japan chose to issue its own statement, not as part of the group. He declined to give a reason or confirm if any of the three countries had invited Japan to sign a joint statement.

The prime minister's office said Japan shares the importance of the accord with those countries.

Japan's Foreign Ministry in a statement earlier Friday said the U.S. withdrawal decision was "regrettable" but hoped to explore ways to cooperate with Washington to address the climate change issues.

--By Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo.

___

7 a.m.

A top atmospheric scientist at the U.N.'s weather agency says the "worst-case scenario" caused by the planned U.S. pullout from the Paris climate deal would be a further 0.3-degree Celsius (0.5 Fahrenheit) rise in global temperatures by 2100.

Deon Terblanche of the World Meteorological Organization says many factors affect temperatures, so an additional 0.3-percent increase from the possible U.S. pullout is "probably not what will happen."

He said Friday that the organization hasn't run any new scientific models following U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement that U.S. would pull out of the Paris accord.

The 2015 Paris agreement aims to prevent the Earth from heating up by any more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, compared to before the start of the industrial age.

___

6:50 a.m.

U.S. taxpayers aren't the only ones pitching in to a global fund to help poor countries cope with rising seas and fight climate change.

President Donald Trump wants to stop contributing to the U.N.-managed Green Climate Fund, claiming that "nobody else is even close" to the $1 billion the U.S. has paid so far.

Yet other governments with smaller economies than the U.S. have invested significant amounts too.

The fund now has $694 million from Japan, $515 million from Britain, $460 million from Sweden and $420 million from Germany, in addition to contributions from dozens of other countries.

And per capita, some countries are promising much more than the U.S.

The U.S. pledges so far — including the $1 billion already paid and $2 billion promised by the Obama administration — add up to $9 per American, compared to $60 pledged from every Swede and $50 pledged from each Norwegian.

That's according to figures from the Seoul-based fund, meant to channel money to help poor countries fight and handle climate change.

___

6:30 a.m.

A former U.N. special envoy on climate change says the U.S. decision to pull out of the Paris climate deal renders the country "a rogue state on the international stage."

Mary Robinson spoke as part of a group of global leaders known as The Elders.

In their statement released Friday, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan calls climate change "the great existentialist threat of our time" and that the U.S. withdrawal weakens the Paris accord.

However, he said it does not "trigger its demise."

In the statement, The Elders also call on U.S. states and businesses to take action where the federal government has withdrawn. They also say the U.S. pullout weakens developing nations' trust in developed countries over who will fund the billions of dollars needed to combat climate change worldwide.

___

6:15 a.m.

The price of oil has fallen sharply as investors bet that President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement will increase the country's oil and gas production.

The international benchmark for crude oil was down 3 percent, or $1.49 a barrel, at $49.14 on Friday.

Analysts at German bank Commerzbank said in light of Trump's decision that it now expects the U.S. to expand its oil production "even more sharply." U.S. oil production has been increasing in recent months since the price of crude came off lows last year.

The increase in U.S. production is neutralizing the efforts of the OPEC cartel and other major oil-producing nations, like Russia, which are limiting their output in the hope of supporting prices.

___

5:55 a.m.

Dozens of Greenpeace supporters gathered at the gates of the United States embassy in the Spanish capital to protest President Donald Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement.

Protesters said that Trump was becoming a "global threat" and "harming the planet" in signs they held Friday morning at the entrance of the embassy in central Madrid.

Greenpeace's director in Spain Mario Rodriguez said Thursday's announcement will require U.S. civil society and companies — as well as the rest of the world — to work harder to fight global warming.

"The battle against climate change is irreversible," Rodriguez said. "Resistance will be maintained because the United States is much more than just the White House and Trump."

___

5:30 a.m.

U.N. Environment chief Erik Solheim says the decision by President Donald Trump to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord "in no way brings an end to this unstoppable effort."

China, India, the European Union and others are already showing strong leadership, he added.

"A single political decision will not derail this unparalleled effort," Solheim said in a statement.

In a separate joint statement, the African Union and the European Union reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris accord and noted the "strong solidarity with those most vulnerable to climate change."

A number of African countries have expressed alarm at rising sea levels and changing weather patterns that have the potential to further disrupt the agriculture that so many on the world's poorest continent rely on to survive.

___

5:25 a.m.

The leader of the country to next hold the rotating presidency of the European Union says the "very bad, very negative" decision of President Donald Trump to pull the United States out of the global climate agreement will force the 28-nation bloc to take a stronger lead on the issue.

Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas said in an interview with The Associated Press that the Paris accord "was, and still is a very important goal to achieve."

He stressed all EU nations are sticking together to make the deal work and expressed his doubts that any country around the world would follow Trump's lead. "I hope that the number is zero," Ratas said.

Estonia will take over the rotating six-month presidency from Malta at the end of the month.

___

5:05 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord "can't and won't stop all those of us who feel obliged to protect the planet."

Merkel said Friday that the announcement by Trump was "extremely regrettable and that's putting it very mildly."

But she told reporters in a brief statement that "it's now necessary to look forward after last night's announcement by the U.S. administration."

Merkel says Germany and others "will combine our forces more resolutely than ever ... to address and tackle big challenges for humanity such as climate change."

She adds that "we need this Paris agreement to preserve creation. Nothing can and will stop us from doing so."

___

3:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump says the U.S. could try to re-enter the international climate agreement sealed in Paris if the deal were more favorable to Americans.

Trump indicated that wasn't a priority as he explained why he was pulling the U.S. out of the Paris accord in the first place. In a Rose Garden announcement Thursday, the president framed the decision as one made in the best interest of his country.

Many U.S. allies are expressing alarm over the U.S. abandoning the chief effort to slow the planet's warming. The leaders of France, Germany and Italy joined to "note with regret" the Trump decision and express doubts about any change in the accord.

Several of Trump's top aides also opposed the action, including his daughter Ivanka Trump
http://www.newser.com/article/14e38e0a75d443e8b591de97426ab4e7/the-latest-african-nations-decry-us-pullout-from-paris-pact.html


It's not a treaty, fuck the EU. Obama shouldn't have made this agreement in the first place.



Juncker to Trump: You can’t leave Paris climate deal ‘overnight’

Leaving the climate deal would take three to four years, says the Commission chief.
http://www.politico.eu/article/trump-climate-juncker-you-cant-leave-paris-deal-overnight/
By Janosch Delcker
| 6/1/17, 11:58 AM CET
| Updated 6/1/17, 12:03 PM CET


BERLIN – Ahead of President Donald Trump’s announcement on whether the U.S. will pull out of the Paris climate deal, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned that leaving the agreement would be a slow process, taking up to three or four years.

“It’s not possible that one leaves this climate agreement overnight, as some people in the United States think,” Juncker told a conference at the German foreign ministry on Thursday. “This takes three, four years — which is laid down in the agreement itself.”

Trump tweeted overnight that he would announce a final decision on whether the U.S. will withdraw from the agreement Thursday at 3 p.m. Washington time (9 p.m. in Brussels).

“The vacuum that would be created [by the U.S. dropping out of the Paris agreement] has to be filled, and Europe has aspirations for a natural leadership in this whole process,” said Juncker.

President Donald Trump has several options he can use to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate deal, and the White House has not yet detailed his plans

“I’m meeting tonight and tomorrow the Chinese prime minister in Brussels and we need to talk about this with the Chinese. We have explained to [President] Trump in Taormina it wouldn’t be good for the world and the U.S. if the U.S. took a step back from the world stage because vacuum will be replaced and the Chinese are pushing to take over the lead,” he said. “I’m in favor of concluding tasks together with our American partners instead of changing the setup.”

On Wednesday evening, Juncker said that the deal, which is backed by nearly 200 other countries, is “not only about the future of Europeans but, above all, the future of people elsewhere. Eighty-three countries run into the danger of disappearing from the surface of the earth if we don’t resolutely start the fight against climate change.”

kato
02 Jun 17,, 15:00
The G20 summit will be fun.

troung
02 Jun 17,, 15:43
I am loving the meltdown,

1. Merkel leads a nation with a declining military, she won't be "leading the free world" against ISIS, to resolve Syria, or North Korea. They wouldn't be holding Russia away without the US. "Sick burns" on huffpro and fawning propagandists masquerading as reporters won't stop the next ISIS attack in Europe, it seems the boorish anti-science US has to do that.
2. Musk is a crony capitalist.
3. Laws against free speech and restrictions against tools of self defense; Europe isn't free to the same degree we are. The Europe envy of those on the far left is unsettling.
4. Obama wasn't exactly taking it to dictators either. This deal would be giving third world thugs money to propagate this nonsensical cult, which is why they are all on board.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/topoftheticket/la-na-tt-paris-trump-20170601-story.html



Quitting Paris pact, Trump abdicates leadership of the free world


Trump hands leadership torch to Merkel.


Top of the Ticket cartoon (David Horsey / Los Angeles Times)


By David Horsey

June 2, 2017, 5:00 AM

California Gov. Jerry Brown is flying to China today, partially filling a huge gap in leadership left by Donald Trump who, with his withdrawal from the Paris accord on climate change, has abdicated the American president’s long-established role as leader of the free world. Brown characterized Trump’s move as “deviant behavior” and “insane” — and the governor is right.

Trump has turned the United States into a rogue nation. Only two other countries, Nicaragua and Syria, have refused to sign on to the Paris deal. The Department of Defense, major business leaders — including many in the oil and gas industry — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and even Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, all urged Trump not to pull out of the climate change agreement, but he did it anyway. Apparently, Trump’s White House Rasputin, senior advisor Steve Bannon, and climate quacks like EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt sold him on the preposterous fallacy that the U.S. is a deeply aggrieved party in the deal.


Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, announced on Thursday that he is carrying out his threat to leave the White House business advisory councils in reaction to Trump’s foolish move. In a tweet, Musk wrote, "Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.”


Unlike Trump, who played a master of business on TV while bankrupting his casinos and stiffing suppliers in real life, Musk is a real business genius who understands the future parameters of economic success. While Trump wheezes on about coal jobs, Musk and every other smart business leader in the world knows that alternative energy will be the driver of the global economy in the years to come. Even now, there are hundreds of thousands more Americans working in solar and wind power enterprises than in the grim and dirty coal mines.

The question is, how much will these growing sectors of the American economy be damaged by Trump’s bone-headed decision to fulfill a mindless campaign promise to abandon the climate deal? Will China become the leader in producing solar power hardware? Will Germany take the lead — and the profits — in wind energy? Part of the reason Brown is heading to China is to protect his state’s booming alternative energy enterprises.

In his speech announcing that he was pulling the U.S. out of the Paris agreement, Trump said he no longer wanted world leaders to be “laughing at us.” That is hilariously ironic. After his boorish, ignorant performance last week in meetings with European leaders, those leaders have been quite literally laughing at him. Trump imagines himself as a tough, savvy leader, but America’s allies and adversaries know a buffoon when they see one. Already, the Europeans have pledged to implement the Paris accords without America. There will be no new deal for Trump, the boastful dealmaker, to make.

The authoritarian regime in China will now be playing an even larger role in the world economy. Meanwhile, if anyone is the leader of the beleaguered free world, it is German Chancellor Angela Merkel. After Trump’s failure to reassert America’s commitment to come to the defense of fellow NATO members, Merkel said it is time for Europeans to “really take our fate into our own hands.”

In a campaign speech, Merkel said, “We have to know that we must fight for our future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans.”

Ukrainians may be experiencing similar feelings, given the latest revelation that, in the early days of his administration, Trump was eager to unilaterally drop economic sanctions against Russia that had been imposed as a punishment for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Under Trump, the United States can no longer be counted on to back up free societies when they are threatened by aggressive autocrats like Vladimir Putin. Under Trump, human rights are off the foreign policy agenda and thuggish dictators, like Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, have free rein to murder their citizens. Under Trump, the U.S. has quit a rational pact to address the looming threat of climate change that is endorsed by almost all other countries on the planet.

There will still be American officials like Brown and other governors and mayors taking the lead on climate change. In an MSNBC interview on Thursday, Brown said he is open to convening an international meeting to forge a climate agreement between California, Mexico and Canada.

There will still be business leaders like Musk building the new American economy on the foundation of sustainable energy. Of green power, Musk has said, "That's the vision for the future we think is the only sensible vision for the future — and the one we're building toward.”

Trump, though, has abdicated leadership. He will still be acting out the role of president the way he acted on “The Apprentice,” but he will not be leading. The rest of the world and the majority of Americans will not follow this ludicrous man.

David.Horsey@latimes.com

Follow me at @davidhorsey on Twitter

kato
02 Jun 17,, 16:57
2. Musk is a crony capitalist.
Uh, yes? Has there ever been a different opinion on that, other than among his followers?


3. Laws against free speech and restrictions against tools of self defense; Europe isn't free to the same degree we are.
So... not Paris, not Pittsburgh, but Portland?


this nonsensical cult
You realize when 7 billion people believe something that 300 million don't... then it's not the 7 billion forming the "cult"?

Mihais
02 Jun 17,, 17:22
The 7 billions are not a compact body.For a start,half of them can't read,while 2.5 billions don't care.
The whole issue is a first world issue,which is N America,Europe,the offshoots plus some Asian nations
The odds are in reality 7-800 millions vs 300.

astralis
02 Jun 17,, 17:22
kato,


You realize when 7 billion people believe something that 300 million don't... then it's not the 7 billion forming the "cult"?

sure as sh*t ain't 300 million, polling shows 70% support (http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/paris_agreement_by_state/) among registered US voters.

kato
02 Jun 17,, 18:04
Yeah, i'm assuming there's at least as many as in the US spread around the rest of the world... cults rarely are restricted to a single country ;-)

(in Germany support for the Paris Accord was only 87% either according to surveys in early 2016 - and oddly the 13% that don't support it are less than the 16% that don't believe there is a climate change)

Ironduke
02 Jun 17,, 18:27
2. Musk is a crony capitalist.
Has nothing to do with this topic - but I think Gerald Bull's ideas about putting objects in space are far superior to anything we will see for a very long time. If Bull hadn't first been perceived as a threat to established interests (and he went on to be an actual threat to multiple interests), we may have never heard of Musk.

citanon
02 Jun 17,, 19:16
Has nothing to do with this topic - but I think Gerald Bull's ideas about putting objects in space are far superior to anything we will see for a very long time. If Bull hadn't first been perceived as a threat to established interests (and he went on to be an actual threat to multiple interests), we may have never heard of Musk.

What gradually found over the course my career as a scientist is that coming up with ideas is not as special as implementing ideas.

citanon
02 Jun 17,, 19:21
Yeah, i'm assuming there's at least as many as in the US spread around the rest of the world... cults rarely are restricted to a single country ;-)

(in Germany support for the Paris Accord was only 87% either according to surveys in early 2016 - and oddly the 13% that don't support it are less than the 16% that don't believe there is a climate change)

You seem to be under the illusion that the majority of the people who signed the Accord believe in keeping your targets on climate change and implementing the same steps. They don't.

The biggest if your 'partners' believe in YOU implementing the steps YOU imposed on yourself while they reap possible benefits with the much more modest steps they are taking themselves with a different climate target, steps they will be taking regardless of the Accord.

Oracle
02 Jun 17,, 19:29
You seem to be under the illusion that the majority of the people who signed the Accord believe in keeping your targets on climate change and implementing the same steps. They don't.

We do. Indians do. Do check out our clean energy programs.


The biggest if your 'partners' believe in YOU implementing the steps YOU imposed on yourself while they reap possible benefits with the much more modest steps they are taking themselves with a different climate target, steps they will be taking regardless of the Accord.

As a developing country we're doing far more than the developed world. Developed countries rode on coal, to industrialize their economy. If because of Trumph the accord fails, we'd do the same. And whatever BS Trumph vomited about billions of dollars in aid, we take that as loans, and we pay them back.

Ironduke
02 Jun 17,, 19:45
What gradually found over the course my career as a scientist is that coming up with ideas is not as special as implementing ideas.
If you have private funding for your research, great - the stuff Bull was building in the 1960s-70s had no source of private backing. I happen to think his ideas were entirely accomplishable - but billions were already being spent on rocketry. And the withdrawal of government grants and a prison sentence really gets in the way of implementing ideas. ;-)

It just so happens the headwinds Musk is fighting against (Boeing/Lockheed/United Launch Alliance) were the more or less the same ones Bull was up against back in the 1960s/70s. Musk, however - besides playing by the rules - makes a product that competes on the same terms, he is a rocket man (no pun intended), while Bull was developing technology that may have made rockets for launch purposes more or less obsolete outside of niche uses.

Maybe we could pick this up in the Science and Technology section discussion. I don't mean to derail this thread onto a discussion that has nothing to do with the NATO Summit. I just saw Musk being mentioned, and Bull came to mind.

Oracle
02 Jun 17,, 19:45
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9suO4jrwfDE

Climate change is unreal. Death is. Why would you guys vote for Trumph? It's shocking.

troung
02 Jun 17,, 20:15
Has nothing to do with this topic - but I think Gerald Bull's ideas about putting objects in space are far superior to anything we will see for a very long time. If Bull hadn't first been perceived as a threat to established interests (and he went on to be an actual threat to multiple interests), we may have never heard of Musk.

He did give the world the GCH-45/G-5, I will be honest I don't know how feasible shooting stuff up into space would have been one way or the other.




Commentary: I Disagree With Trump on Climate Change, But Support His Paris Accord Withdrawal

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2017/06/02/commentary-i-disagree-with-trump-on-climate-change-but-support-his-paris-accord-withdrawal-n2335117

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Posted: Jun 02, 2017 10:25 AM

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Commentary: I Disagree With Trump on Climate Change, But Support His Paris Accord Withdrawal






On several occasions in recent years, Donald Trump has expressed his opinion that global warming, or climate change, is a myth. He's called it an "expensive hoax" and "bulls**t" that was invented by the Chinese to hurt US manufacturing. "I don't believe in climate change," he said in a 2015 interview. The vast majority of scientists, with some exceptions, disagree. Having no expertise in this area, my strong inclination is to defer to the overwhelming scientific consensus -- even while acknowledging the dramatic shortcomings of alarmist modeling, as well as potent allegations of unethical methods and vengeful blackballing by some prominent climate scientists determined to silence critics. The evidence demonstrates that the earth's climate is warming over time, and that mankind is a driver of that change. I therefore reject Trump's denial of this reality, which is sometimes justified by unserious anecdotal observations.

But the relevant question for policymakers is what, if anything, to do about anthropogenic climate change (data-driven skepticism about the severity of the problem should be an important factor here). At the very least, that's where the analysis of the Paris climate accord ought to begin. President Obama looked at the available evidence and concluded that it was worth absorbing adverse economic tradeoffs for US citizens, taxpayers, and consumers in order to join with most other nations in collective action to try to curb climate change. President Trump has reached the opposite conclusion. Because the last president chose not to enshrine the deal as a binding treaty through the Senate approval process, the new president is fully within his rights to reverse course. Beyond questions of authority, Trump's decision is positively defensible on constitutional, economic, and climate outcome grounds:

(1) Constitutionally speaking, Obama frequently sought to bypass Congress on big-ticket legacy items, largely because the American people saw fit to radically alter the balance of power in Republicans' favor over the course of his presidency. Voters looked at Obama's agenda and did what they could to send a clear message: Stop. The former president reacted by imposing sweeping regulations and entering and internationally-significant agreements without the consent of Congress. That governing approach has consequences, one of which played out yesterday. My preference would have been for Trump to submit Obama's agreement to the Senate as a treaty and let the process play itself out more democratically, almost certainly resulting in the agreement's lopsided demise. If the United States is going to bless a mortal enemy's previously-illegal nuclear program, or adopt a massive climate deal with sweeping economic and energy implications, such decisions should be made by consensus; not through reversible executive fiat.

(2) On the economy, various analyses anticipate stifled growth, fewer jobs, and sharp increases in energy costs for American workers and consumers under the deal. The Wall Street Journal editorialized against remaining in the Paris pact, highlighting some of its ramifications. Note the German example in particular:


While legally binding, Kyoto’s CO 2 emissions targets weren’t strictly enforced. European countries that pursued aggressive reductions were engaging in economic masochism. According to a 2014 Manhattan Institute study, the average cost of residential electricity in 2012 was 12 cents per kilowatt hour in the U.S. but an average 26 cents in the European Union and 35 cents in Germany. The average price of electricity in the EU soared 55% from 2005 to 2013. Yet Germany’s emissions have increased in the last two years as more coal is burned to compensate for reduced nuclear energy and unreliable solar and wind power. Last year coal made up 40% of Germany’s power generation compared to 30% for renewables, while state subsidies to stabilize the electric grid have grown five-fold since 2012. But the climate believers tried again in Paris, this time with goals that are supposedly voluntary. China and India offered benchmarks pegged to GDP growth, which means they can continue their current energy plans. China won’t even begin reducing emissions until 2030 and in the next five years it will use more coal. President Obama, meanwhile, committed the U.S. to reducing emissions by between 26% and 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. This would require extreme changes in energy use. Even Mr. Obama’s bevy of anti-carbon regulations would get the U.S. to a mere 45% of its target.

The Germans have jacked up energy costs on their people, yet emissions are increasing anyway (unlike in America, where fracking has partially helped to significantly reduce emissions in recent years). Regardless, even if one prefers to deny the economic science on growth and jobs, spiking energy prices are undeniable, black-and-white realities in Europe; Obama himself once candidly admitted that his preferred policies would cause related costs to "necessarily skyrocket" for consumers. This would be tantamount to a highly regressive energy tax, disproportionately impacting poor and working class families who are least able afford dramatically higher monthly bills. Dismissing these considerations is indefensible and callous; these policies, which were never agreed to by the branch of government most accountable to voters, would have real impact on real people. One of the biggest reasons Trump won is that he campaigned on a promise to put American workers and taxpayers first. His newly-announced decision adheres to that pledge.

(3) Reasonable people can disagree about whether or not it is worth deliberately sustaining some serious economic hits in pursuit of making strides against what many see as an impending climate crisis. Measuring the efficacy of such action must therefore be a crucial piece of the overall calculus. The international community seems to have settled on a goal of reducing global temperature increases by two degrees Celsius. How much progress would even a flawlessly-executed (more on this in a moment) Paris accord make on this front? An American Enterprise Institute analysis offers a succinct answer:

If we apply the EPA climate model under a set of assumptions that strongly exaggerate the effectiveness of international emissions reductions, the Paris emissions cuts, if achieved by 2030 and maintained fully on an international basis through 2100, would reduce temperatures by that year by 0.17 of a degree. The US contribution to that dubious achievement—the Obama climate action plan—would be 0.015 of a degree.

The Paris accord asks America to make drastic cuts to its fossil fuel consumption, and intentionally inflict significant harm (at least in the short-to-medium term) upon its own economy, all while willfully delivering an advantage to several major competitor nations. And the big payoff for all of this would be...contributing to a hypothetical reduction in projected temperatures of a fraction of one degree Celsius, over the next eight-plus decades? Here's how Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish economist and professor who has long argued against state coercion to "solve" climate change problems, summarizes matters:


The climate impact of all Paris INDC promises is minuscule: if we measure the impact of every nation fulfilling every promise by 2030, the total temperature reduction will be 0.048°C (0.086°F) by 2100. Even if we assume that these promises would be extended for another 70 years, there is still little impact: if every nation fulfills every promise by 2030, and continues to fulfill these promises faithfully until the end of the century, and there is no ‘CO2 leakage’ to non-committed nations, the entirety of the Paris promises will reduce temperature rises by just 0.17°C (0.306°F) by 2100.

Does anyone believe that nations with emerging economies will comply with every single objective of this non-binding agreement, which lacks enforcement mechanisms -- even when they're facing economic pressures and hardships? Does anyone believe that the Chinese will rapidly shutter the hundreds of coal-fired power plants they're currently planning and actively building just as soon as some words on a piece of parchment signed many years earlier say that they "must"? It's not anti-science "denialism" to answer those questions skeptically. I'd actually argue that optimistic expectations on these questions are quite naive. Ultimately, in considering the Paris accord, the fundamental question is whether the trade-offs it demands are a good deal for the American people. The president doesn't believe so, and I tend to agree with him -- and the hysterical dissenting conniption fits from some quarters have done absolutely nothing to convince me otherwise.

Also, there's an obvious reason why Trump's critics on this decision aren't clamoring for him to seek Congressional approval, rather than follow in Obama's unilateral footsteps: A majority of the US Senate is nearly certain to reach the same determination as Trump did, including a number of Democrats. Sixty-seven Senators' votes are needed to ratify a treaty. The Paris deal wouldn't even come close. Any treaty the United States enters must very clearly be in the national interest, which is why the founders set such a high threshold for approval. Regardless of where one stands on the Paris debate, it's abundantly clear that proponents of that agreement have fallen resoundingly short of convincing requisite numbers of the people's representatives of their view. Given the facts and prudential judgments at play, I'm not surprised. I'll leave you with this primer, via Prager University and the aforementioned Dr. Lomborg:

citanon
03 Jun 17,, 00:37
Good find on the article. I agree for the most part.

citanon
03 Jun 17,, 00:43
We do. Indians do. Do check out our clean energy programs.



As a developing country we're doing far more than the developed world. Developed countries rode on coal, to industrialize their economy. If because of Trumph the accord fails, we'd do the same. And whatever BS Trumph vomited about billions of dollars in aid, we take that as loans, and we pay them back.

You are doing nothing different than what you would have already done. That's why you signed on. The Accord was premised on you continuing along a natural course of progression given current technology capabilities and development perogatives while we make changes that are economically damaging. That's why you signed on. You'd even be happy if the treaty became binding.

http://climateactiontracker.org/countries/india.html

The two post 2030 bars may diverge nicely but that comes from the natural change out of coal into resources such as natural gas, which are becoming cheaper anyways.

For us on the other hand it means massive changes that will cause economic damage.

Thats why the treaty was not a good deal for us. The reason why Trump withdrew has to do partly with the prospect that the same people who brought us this first bad deal go on to make an even dumber binding one as a second act.

No thanks.

We need to address climate change, but in a different, more flexible and economically organic way.

astralis
03 Jun 17,, 03:01
We need to address climate change, but in a different, more flexible and economically organic way.

a non-binding pact with a Green Climate Fund in which the US has contributed a whopping $1 billion out of $10.3 billion total donated...not sure what type of "different, more flexible, and economically organic way" you envision that will cost less and still address climate change in any meaningful way.

citanon
03 Jun 17,, 03:27
a non-binding pact with a Green Climate Fund in which the US has contributed a whopping $1 billion out of $10.3 billion total donated...not sure what type of "different, more flexible, and economically organic way" you envision that will cost less and still address climate change in any meaningful way.

That's more down to distrust of the left wing domestic political dynamics in this country and the use of this pact to justify further stifling regulations or advance this pact in a binding direction using the current framework as a starting point.

astralis
03 Jun 17,, 04:05
^ then your issue is not so much the wording/structure of the Accord, but rather the very fact that it is an international pact, which you fear "left wing political dynamics" could use to put pressure on domestic politics.

if that's so, then there's no international pact that you could possibly agree with, non-binding or not, "good deal" or not.

this also makes this statement "We need to address climate change, but in a different, more flexible and economically organic way" completely meaningless, because as you well know this administration will NEVER address climate change in any form, simply because they do not view it as a problem.

Oracle
03 Jun 17,, 06:15
You are doing nothing different than what you would have already done. That's why you signed on. The Accord was premised on you continuing along a natural course of progression given current technology capabilities and development perogatives while we make changes that are economically damaging. That's why you signed on. You'd even be happy if the treaty became binding.

http://climateactiontracker.org/countries/india.html

The two post 2030 bars may diverge nicely but that comes from the natural change out of coal into resources such as natural gas, which are becoming cheaper anyways.

For us on the other hand it means massive changes that will cause economic damage.

Thats why the treaty was not a good deal for us. The reason why Trump withdrew has to do partly with the prospect that the same people who brought us this first bad deal go on to make an even dumber binding one as a second act.

No thanks.

We need to address climate change, but in a different, more flexible and economically organic way.

I am not much into global warming and climate change, so help me understand. India is a energy hungry country, and India has pledged to reduce greenhouse emissions and is going solar in a massive way, all because the US took the lead. So why not US? What I understand is Trumph wants to open up coal fields and mine it, which generates employment for Americans. This leads to the other topic of bringing back jobs from China. He met Xi, and got nothing back. Or maybe I missed something. What's happening? And what is this flexible and economically organic way? Mine the moon?

citanon
03 Jun 17,, 11:08
^ then your issue is not so much the wording/structure of the Accord, but rather the very fact that it is an international pact, which you fear "left wing political dynamics" could use to put pressure on domestic politics.

if that's so, then there's no international pact that you could possibly agree with, non-binding or not, "good deal" or not.

this also makes this statement "We need to address climate change, but in a different, more flexible and economically organic way" completely meaningless, because as you well know this administration will NEVER address climate change in any form, simply because they do not view it as a problem.

What it means is that we need to have an internal consensus in the US about approaches forward before we sign on to an international pact. The Obama Administration's efforts were done without consensus in a rush to bank another "achievement" for himself, which contributed to Trump's election and the current problems.

citanon
03 Jun 17,, 11:34
I am not much into global warming and climate change, so help me understand. India is a energy hungry country, and India has pledged to reduce greenhouse emissions and is going solar in a massive way, all because the US took the lead. So why not US? What I understand is Trumph wants to open up coal fields and mine it, which generates employment for Americans. This leads to the other topic of bringing back jobs from China. He met Xi, and got nothing back. Or maybe I missed something. What's happening? And what is this flexible and economically organic way? Mine the moon?

Oracle,

The climate action tracker link is pretty clear on what India pledged:

http://climateactiontracker.org/countries/india.html


However, India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement (PA) does not yet reflect these developments. Under current policies, with the targeted 175 GW of renewable power capacity to be reached by 2022, India is already set to overachieve its 2030 NDC emissions intensity target. The likely continued expansion of renewables after 2022, for which no targets have yet been set, would result in India also overshooting the 2030 non-fossil capacity target set in its NDC.

In addition, the Draft Electricity Plan projects that, despite the increasing electricity demand, no new coal capacity, apart from the capacity already under construction, would be needed after 2022. If the Draft Electricity Plan is implemented, India will achieve its NDC’s 2030 40% non-fossil capacity target before 2022, and will reach 57% by 2027.

What India has done is take account of its current energy trajectory and under-pledged it slightly according to real assessment of energy needs balanced against reduced emissions and other forms of pollution. For India this is actually an organic path that is formulated in line with real capabilities and challenges. In that sense the Paris Accord had no effects on your plans of record. IMO this was a sensible approach for India.

What the Obama administration did for the US, however, was to make massive new pledges over and above current plans and then immediate set about adding new regulation that was projected to cause real economic damage. And this was done in a way that did not give time for debate or consensus building within the US, with many impacted communities (eg the coal miners) feeling disenfranchised and large industries facing problematic issues down the line.

In other words, instead of considering real needs and challenges, the Obama administration went for their signature Hope and Magic in their characteristic autocratic way. This was just one of the things that helped set in motion the Trumpian backlash.

In reality nothing the Trump administration can do will bring back coal for a simple reason: the US is moving massively to natural gas for its energy needs due to lower cost. Coal is on its way out no matter what. We are also increasing our renewable energy mix with many projects:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy_in_the_United_States

However, there are massive challenges in large scale storage of renewable energy that remains unsolved today and efforts to revive nuclear energy are faltering:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_the_United_States

What the administration could have done was make reasonable pledges in the Paris Accords that took account of present developments in the US and set a range of targets reflecting realistic scenarios for meeting the challenges. Then it could have tried to move or set the stage for a movement in a bi-partisan way to stimulate investment in parts of the energy infrastructure that could provide a smoother path for growth of renewables in the future, and add R&D investment to lagging areas where solutions could be realistically found. In the long term, I think this would be the fastest way to substantive green house emissions reductions over and above present trajectories, as it preserves and builds political and economic momentum for faster deployment of technologies once they are actually ready.

Instead, to get a deal, they went with an overly ambitious goal, and then went about trying to enforce it in a politically rapacious way via very damaging regulations, many of which were done by Executive Order, hitting a lot of different industries.

This create political backlash and destroyed any near term prospect of political consensus, and also made people rightly suspicious that future steps could be undertaken in the same undemocratic and haphazard way. Had it been carried out, it would have also created increasingly difficult economic situations that would have seen us lose our industry instead of renewing them with greener technologies. China would have, of course, been the primary beneficiary of our loss, and also, perhaps India.

I am no fan of Donald Trump. I like some of his goals and policies but dislikes his ineptness in translating them into action. And then there are many other areas where I think he is just plain wrong. However, I also think that the trajectory of the approach that Obama had set us on, and the international political environment that the Paris Accords created, was not good for the US.

Oracle
03 Jun 17,, 13:08
Citanon, thank you. Things are clearer now. It's getting pretty warm every summer. Had to put up an AC in the hall too. :--)

astralis
03 Jun 17,, 18:31
citanon,


What it means is that we need to have an internal consensus in the US about approaches forward before we sign on to an international pact.

this is also a meaningless statement seeing as how the Accord has 70% support with US registered voters. of all the things that led to Trump's election, i highly doubt this was even a blip for voters.

you talk about "bi-partisan way to stimulate investment in parts of the energy infrastructure that could provide a smoother path for growth of renewables in the future, and add R&D investment to lagging areas where solutions could be realistically found. In the long term, I think this would be the fastest way to substantive green house emissions reductions over and above present trajectories, as it preserves and builds political and economic momentum for faster deployment of technologies once they are actually ready."

so my question would be, where have you seen -Republicans- support any of this, even prior to the Accord? let's not even talk about this current administration, which is heavily coal-focused as they believe (correctly) that flipping the old industrial zones was the linchpin to their political victory.

kato
03 Jun 17,, 18:43
of all the things that led to Trump's election, i highly doubt this was even a blip for voters.

Well, there was at least one headline in Germany that read: "Surprise: Trump keeps a campaign promise" with regard to cancelling Paris (referring how most of the rest is contested on various levels).

tbm3fan
03 Jun 17,, 21:54
What the administration could have done was make reasonable pledges in the Paris Accords that took account of present developments in the US and set a range of targets reflecting realistic scenarios for meeting the challenges. Then it could have tried to move or set the stage for a movement in a bi-partisan way to stimulate investment in parts of the energy infrastructure that could provide a smoother path for growth of renewables in the future, and add R&D investment to lagging areas where solutions could be realistically found. In the long term, I think this would be the fastest way to substantive green house emissions reductions over and above present trajectories, as it preserves and builds political and economic momentum for faster deployment of technologies once they are actually ready.

Instead, to get a deal, they went with an overly ambitious goal, and then went about trying to enforce it in a politically rapacious way via very damaging regulations, many of which were done by Executive Order, hitting a lot of different industries.

This create political backlash and destroyed any near term prospect of political consensus, and also made people rightly suspicious that future steps could be undertaken in the same undemocratic and haphazard way. Had it been carried out, it would have also created increasingly difficult economic situations that would have seen us lose our industry instead of renewing them with greener technologies. China would have, of course, been the primary beneficiary of our loss, and also, perhaps India.

I don't believe there would have been any other way to have done the Accords even the way you pointed out. There would always be those right wing conservatives who don't believe in climate change, those who felt we were signing away our sovereignty and those who felt God would take care of it anyway. The Donald, always willing to appease them, would have still pulled us out no matter how innocuous. This group just doesn't seem to like treaties with the rest of the world unless the U.S. comes out clearly on top as #1.


I am no fan of Donald Trump. I like some of his goals and policies but dislikes his ineptness in translating them into action. And then there are many other areas where I think he is just plain wrong. However, I also think that the trajectory of the approach that Obama had set us on, and the international political environment that the Paris Accords created, was not good for the US.

Should be interesting if the other signatories just tell the Donald to stuff it when he asks to renegotiate. Also wonder if we are not handing over the 22nd Century to China and India as all sides rush to develop renewable technology that they can patent.

citanon
03 Jun 17,, 23:59
citanon,



this is also a meaningless statement seeing as how the Accord has 70% support with US registered voters. of all the things that led to Trump's election, i highly doubt this was even a blip for voters.

you talk about "bi-partisan way to stimulate investment in parts of the energy infrastructure that could provide a smoother path for growth of renewables in the future, and add R&D investment to lagging areas where solutions could be realistically found. In the long term, I think this would be the fastest way to substantive green house emissions reductions over and above present trajectories, as it preserves and builds political and economic momentum for faster deployment of technologies once they are actually ready."

so my question would be, where have you seen -Republicans- support any of this, even prior to the Accord? let's not even talk about this current administration, which is heavily coal-focused as they believe (correctly) that flipping the old industrial zones was the linchpin to their political victory.

Many voters support the idea of being in an accord but don't support the implementation cost.

Republicans like tax cuts, repatriation of foreign corporate cash, and infrastructure spending. There's plenty of room there to get things going once one thinks a little creatively.

astralis
04 Jun 17,, 01:06
citanon,


Many voters support the idea of being in an accord but don't support the implementation cost.

what implementation cost would that be? it's a -non-binding pact-. IE, if an administration believes that current measures designed to voluntarily fulfill the pact are too onerous...they can go ahead and eliminate/redesign them, and -still- stay in the pact.

moreover, there's no reason why the Administration could not "stimulate investment in parts of the energy infrastructure that could provide a smoother path for growth of renewables in the future, and add R&D investment to lagging areas where solutions could be realistically found", pact or no.

but i don't think i'll hold my breath for this Administration or for that matter, any Republican in Congress, to propose any of those ideas. let me know when you see this environmentally-friendly Republican of yours, i'll be sure to congratulate all one of them. :-)

the only reason why the Administration would quit this pact is simply to make some political hay, nothing more, nothing less.

citanon
04 Jun 17,, 03:42
Asty,


citanon,

what implementation cost would that be? it's a -non-binding pact-. IE, if an administration believes that current measures designed to voluntarily fulfill the pact are too onerous...they can go ahead and eliminate/redesign them, and -still- stay in the pact.

Yet you had the Obama administration rapidly piling on new regulations using the Paris Accord as justification.

The same people saying "it's just a voluntary pact!" today will be turning right around and saying "OMG we are not meeting climate obligations!!!!!!!" and using that to foist more regulatory folly on our economy. People who don't like these types of regulations are not morons. We have memory spans longer than Dory. Without a domestic political consensus and a binding framework for proceeding forth in a rational and deliberate manner liberal politicians cannot be trusted with this in their hands.




moreover, there's no reason why the Administration could not "stimulate investment in parts of the energy infrastructure that could provide a smoother path for growth of renewables in the future, and add R&D investment to lagging areas where solutions could be realistically found", pact or no.

but i don't think i'll hold my breath for this Administration or for that matter, any Republican in Congress, to propose any of those ideas. let me know when you see this environmentally-friendly Republican of yours, i'll be sure to congratulate all one of them. :-)

the only reason why the Administration would quit this pact is simply to make some political hay, nothing more, nothing less.

Democrats have an opportunity to show leadership on this later this year on this very issue. When the Republicans start talking corporate tax reform and infrastructure investment, ask for a special lower rate for green investment and a preview period of lower taxes for green manufacturing companies. Give them even more incentive to move their manufacturing into coal states and communities hit hard by job losses. Ask them to incorporate upgrades to the electric grid. Make the upgrades for better cyber security and to make it easier for grids to accept power from home and small renewable installations. Do it as a part of the compromise on tax reform and the infrastructure plan.

troung
04 Jun 17,, 05:31
this is also a meaningless statement seeing as how the Accord has 70% support with US registered voters. of all the things that led to Trump's election, i highly doubt this was even a blip for voters.

Meaningless
1. The Senate was not going to ratify this treaty (may not even have gotten all the Dems depending on how it unfolded), even assuming arguendo that's not a fake news "poll" :)
2. I'm sure how ever many people sorta support the idea of it would be shocked to find out Obama agreed to a deal which would send American tax money to nations who weren't agreeing to do a damn thing, or would increase higher energy costs and lead to more taxes.


The one and only.
Ms. Merkel’s Ignorance

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/448222/angela-merkel-foreign-policy-political-ignorance
Adjust font size AA

by Victor Davis Hanson June 2, 2017 11:10 AM
@vdhanson

For all the talk about Trump’s blunderbuss approach to foreign policy and his lack of cosmopolitan manners, few could rival the political and historical denseness of Angela Merkel’s recent broadside.

Consider:

1) No German politician with any historical sense should ever give a campaign-style rally speech accentuating German exceptionalism (“we have to fight for our destiny”) from a beer hall in Munich. Period.

2) When a country serially runs up a $60 billion plus yearly trade surplus with the U.S., based on an undervalued European-wide currency, which has subsidized its defense for over 70 years, and reluctantly twice in one century has entered European affairs to save its democracies from German aggressions, it may not be wise to allude to such a partner: “The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over” and “We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.” I doubt whether either Germany’s generals, such as they are, or its Mercedes, Audi, and BMW executives would agree.

3) Ms. Merkel is upset at the Trump administration for not being willing to agree to a sizable percentage reduction in carbon emissions as negotiated on a supposedly voluntary basis. But given that Ms. Merkel’s own government itself has utterly reneged on a firm pledge to NATO to increase its defense expenditures to 2 percent of GDP, why would any American government enter into any deal, when its main promoter in the past could not demonstrate the sort of credible behavior that it now demands of others?

4) Merkel almost made the U.S. the moral equivalent of Putin’s Russia, in the sense of two powers that Germany will avoid and navigate in-between — apparently forgetting past German sins such as laundering Putin cabal money and the whole Gazprom consultancy, etc., as well as Putin’s recent digestion of former Soviet controlled lands, all in addition to the simple fact that the U.S. is a democracy and Putin’s Russia is an autocracy that does not abide by the rule of law. If Putin should wish safe spaces in Estonia for Russian-speakers, will Ms. Merkel and her forces rescue “Europe’s fate”?

5) Many independent-minded Eastern Europeans on matters of immigration from the Middle East, and bitter Southern Europeans on the matter of debt, will not find solace in Merkel’s use of the first person plural possessive “our,” as in “We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands”. For millions that is a euphemism for German paws and claws — and they still find that sort of 20th century scary.

astralis
04 Jun 17,, 05:50
citanon,


et you had the Obama administration rapidly piling on new regulations using the Paris Accord as justification.

The same people saying "it's just a voluntary pact!" today will be turning right around and saying "OMG we are not meeting climate obligations!!!!!!!" and using that to foist more regulatory folly on our economy. People who don't like these types of regulations are not morons. We have memory spans longer than Dory. Without a domestic political consensus and a binding framework for proceeding forth in a rational and deliberate manner liberal politicians cannot be trusted with this in their hands.

pretty sure "we're not meeting climate obligations!!!!!!" is not exactly what i would call a huge political winner...that's why it's non-binding in the first place.

simply put, if an Administration is interested in controlling emissions, then they don't need an Accord to make it happen. the Obama Administration put plenty of environmental regulations into place well before the Accord was agreed to.

like i said, your imaginary moderate Republican interested in environmental protection simply doesn't exist. that's why you're talking about "Democrats have an opportunity to show leadership on this later this year on this very issue", because you -know- Republicans simply don't give a flying fart about it.

snapper
04 Jun 17,, 05:50
Solar energy is cheaper than coal.

citanon
04 Jun 17,, 05:58
Asty,


citanon,

pretty sure "we're not meeting climate obligations!!!!!!" is not exactly what i would call a huge political winner...that's why it's non-binding in the first place.

simply put, if an Administration is interested in controlling emissions, then they don't need an Accord to make it happen. the Obama Administration put plenty of environmental regulations into place well before the Accord was agreed to. [/quote]

You're right, which is why they will try to install the regulations by executive action, and then try to negotiate that into a binding treaty to make it extra onerous for the next administration to overcome. No thanks.


like i said, your imaginary moderate Republican interested in environmental protection simply doesn't exist. that's why you're talking about "Democrats have an opportunity to show leadership on this later this year on this very issue", because you -know- Republicans simply don't give a flying fart about it.

So is "Democratic leadership" also an imaginary concept? What about political compromise? Coming together and getting everyone a little of what they want? That's also pretty illusive isn't it?

astralis
04 Jun 17,, 06:17
citanon,


You're right, which is why they will try to install the regulations by executive action, and then try to negotiate that into a binding treaty to make it extra onerous for the next administration to overcome. No thanks.

so your reason for getting out of a non-binding treaty is because you're afraid that some future Democratic administration will try to make it into a binding treaty, even though a binding treaty would require a two-thirds Senate vote.

that's quite the number of hypotheticals you have there. your original argument is that "the treaty is not a good deal for us", but everything you say here makes it pretty clear that -any sort- of international treaty, non-binding or no, would not be a good deal because this hypothetical Democratic administration would somehow make it binding.

it's also pretty easy to argue that were Dems in such a position of power, then they wouldn't need an Accord -or- a binding treaty to do all this...they'd just pass laws, lol.


So is "Democratic leadership" also an imaginary concept? What about political compromise? Coming together and getting everyone a little of what they want? That's also pretty illusive isn't it?

in short, you agree with me that Republicans will not do anything by themselves, either through regulation or through "a different, more flexible and economically organic way." :-)

if you're a Republican and believe that climate change is something that needs to be addressed, then you should be trying to persuade fellow Republicans the merits of such a course vice hoping Dems will take care of it for you. that's all the more true considering whom holds the levers of power in Washington right now...and their demonstrated disinterest in any sort of compromise.

citanon
04 Jun 17,, 07:30
citanon,

so your reason for getting out of a non-binding treaty is because you're afraid that some future Democratic administration will try to make it into a binding treaty, even though a binding treaty would require a two-thirds Senate vote.

First, you and I both know that even a non-ratified treaty has political and

that's quite the number of hypotheticals you have there. your original argument is that "the treaty is not a good deal for us", but everything you say here makes it pretty clear that -any sort- of international treaty, non-binding or no, would not be a good deal because this hypothetical Democratic administration would somehow make it binding.

You make it sound like a hypothetical where as in reality we've now had to withdraw from 2 climate treaties and there are treaties that we have signed, not ratified, and yet still respect (eg the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty). Saying that such prospects are "hypothetical" are like saying ducks will hypothetically swim in water. If you see a duck, and there's water next to it, and it hasn't yet jumped in the pond, chances are it's going to waddle there.



it's also pretty easy to argue that were Dems in such a position of power, then they wouldn't need an Accord -or- a binding treaty to do all this...they'd just pass laws, lol.

Even when Dems are not in a position to pass laws they still went and did plenty of regulation.



in short, you agree with me that Republicans will not do anything by themselves, either through regulation or through "a different, more flexible and economically organic way." :-)

if you're a Republican and believe that climate change is something that needs to be addressed, then you should be trying to persuade fellow Republicans the merits of such a course vice hoping Dems will take care of it for you. that's all the more true considering whom holds the levers of power in Washington right now...and their demonstrated disinterest in any sort of compromise.

No, I'm merely pointing out an opportunity for your side. I for one, am one Republican who would like that idea. I believe that other Republicans may well like the idea too. It's possible that some Republicans who care about this issue will propose it if Dems can't actually get it together to propose something along those lines first, but it's clear that the idea would have a better shot of becoming reality if at least some Democrat joins in proposing it to Congress.

Why allow some lament about lack of compromise become a self-fulfilling prophesy?

troung
05 Jun 17,, 00:30
http://www.greenclimate.fund/partners/contributors/resources-mobilized

Three billion dollars a year?

GVChamp
05 Jun 17,, 16:12
citanon,



what implementation cost would that be? it's a -non-binding pact-. IE, if an administration believes that current measures designed to voluntarily fulfill the pact are too onerous...they can go ahead and eliminate/redesign them, and -still- stay in the pact.

moreover, there's no reason why the Administration could not "stimulate investment in parts of the energy infrastructure that could provide a smoother path for growth of renewables in the future, and add R&D investment to lagging areas where solutions could be realistically found", pact or no.

but i don't think i'll hold my breath for this Administration or for that matter, any Republican in Congress, to propose any of those ideas. let me know when you see this environmentally-friendly Republican of yours, i'll be sure to congratulate all one of them. :-)

the only reason why the Administration would quit this pact is simply to make some political hay, nothing more, nothing less.

I don't see the problem with making political hay over this particular shit-field. I would've preferred Trump declare that we will be increasing our emissions and still be meeting our "obligations" under this silly little pact, though.

IME, there are plenty of moderate Republicans interested in or amenable to environmental protection, but are utterly turned off by the socialist tree-hugging anti-industrial rhetoric that passes for "environmentalism."

astralis
05 Jun 17,, 16:52
GVChamp,


IME, there are plenty of moderate Republicans interested in or amenable to environmental protection,

i've been waiting for quite some time for even the slightest legislative evidence of this. even if we take climate change off the table as a political hot potato...what other environmental protection initiatives have Republicans championed?

astralis
05 Jun 17,, 16:58
anyways, back to the original topic:

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/05/trump-nato-speech-national-security-team-215227

Trump National Security Team Blindsided by NATO Speech

They thought the president would commit to the principle of collective defense. They were wrong.

By Susan B. Glasser

June 05, 2017

When President Donald Trump addressed NATO leaders during his debut overseas trip little more than a week ago, he surprised and disappointed European allies who hoped—and expected—he would use his speech to explicitly reaffirm America’s commitment to mutual defense of the alliance’s members, a one-for-all, all-for-one provision that looks increasingly urgent as Eastern European members worry about the threat from a resurgent Russia on their borders.

That part of the Trump visit is known.

What’s not is that the president also disappointed—and surprised—his own top national security officials by failing to include the language reaffirming the so-called Article 5 provision in his speech. National security adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson all supported Trump doing so and had worked in the weeks leading up to the trip to make sure it was included in the speech, according to five sources familiar with the episode. They thought it was, and a White House aide even told The New York Times the day before the line was definitely included.

It was not until the next day, Thursday, May 25, when Trump started talking at an opening ceremony for NATO’s new Brussels headquarters, that the president’s national security team realized their boss had made a decision with major consequences—without consulting or even informing them in advance of the change.

“They had the right speech and it was cleared through McMaster,” said a source briefed by National Security Council officials in the immediate aftermath of the NATO meeting. “As late as that same morning, it was the right one.”

Added a senior White House official, “There was a fully coordinated other speech everybody else had worked on”—and it wasn’t the one Trump gave. “They didn’t know it had been removed,” said a third source of the Trump national security officials on hand for the ceremony. “It was only upon delivery.”

The president appears to have deleted it himself, according to one version making the rounds inside the government, reflecting his personal skepticism about NATO and insistence on lecturing NATO allies about spending more on defense rather than offering reassurances of any sort; another version relayed to others by several White House aides is that Trump’s nationalist chief strategist Steve Bannon and policy aide Stephen Miller played a role in the deletion. (According to NSC spokesman Michael Anton, who did not dispute this account, “The president attended the summit to show his support for the NATO alliance, including Article 5. His continued effort to secure greater defense commitments from other nations is making our alliance stronger.”)

Either way, the episode suggests that what has been portrayed—correctly—as a major rift within the 70-year-old Atlantic alliance is also a significant moment of rupture inside the Trump administration, with the president withholding crucial information from his top national security officials—and then embarrassing them by forcing them to go out in public with awkward, unconvincing, after-the-fact claims that the speech really did amount to a commitment they knew it did not make.

The frantic, last-minute maneuvering over the speech, I’m told, included “MM&T,” as some now refer to the trio of Mattis, McMaster and Tillerson, lobbying in the days leading up to it to get a copy of the president’s planned remarks and then pushing hard once they obtained the draft to get the Article 5 language in it, only to see it removed again. All of which further confirms a level of White House dysfunction that veterans of both parties I’ve talked with in recent months say is beyond anything they can recall.

And it suggests Trump’s impulsive instincts on foreign policy are not necessarily going to be contained by the team of experienced leaders he’s hired for Defense, the NSC and State. “We’re all seeing the fallout from it—and all the fallout was anticipated,” the White House official told me.

They may be the “adults in the room,” as the saying going around Washington these past few months had it. But Trump—and the NATO case shows this all too clearly—isn’t in the room with them.

***

No one would find this episode more disturbing than Strobe Talbott, the Washington wise man who as much as anyone could be considered an architect of the modern NATO. As Bill Clinton’s deputy secretary of state, Talbott oversaw the successful push to redefine the alliance for the post-Cold War, expanding to the same countries in Eastern Europe and the Baltics now so urgently looking for American reaffirmation of the commitment Clinton and Talbott gave them in the 1990s.

I spoke with Talbott, the president of the Brookings Institution and a Russia watcher going back to the 1960s when he translated Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s memoirs as a Rhodes Scholar classmate of Clinton’s, for this week’s Global Politico podcast, and he warned at length about the consequences of Trump’s seeming disregard for NATO at the same time he’s touted his affinity with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Trump’s rebuff of America’s European allies on his recent trip—combined with his decision last week to withdraw from the Paris climate-change agreement—is not merely some rhetorical lapse, Talbott argued, but one with real consequences.

“The failure to say something has had a very dangerous and damaging effect on the most successful military alliance in history,” Talbott told me. Given that all of Trump’s top officials like McMaster and Mattis had spent months promising that the president didn’t really mean it when he called NATO “obsolete” and insisting the Article 5 commitment from the U.S. was unshakable, Talbott noted, “all we needed was for the commander in chief to say it, and he didn’t say it”—an omission that “from that day forward … [means] the Atlantic community was less safe, and less together.”

Compared with his volatile management style and struggles on domestic policy, some have argued in recent months that Trump’s foreign policy is a relative outpost of competence, with strong hands like McMaster and Mattis on board to avoid major failures. But Talbott and others with whom I’ve spoken since Trump’s trip believe the NATO incident really overturns that assumption. It’s destroyed the credibility of Trump’s advisers when they offer reassurances for allies to discount the president’s inflammatory rhetoric—and cast into doubt the kind of certainties necessary for an uncertain world to function.

“I had a very high-placed Asian official from a major ally in Asia not long ago, where you’re sitting, who shook his head with sorrow, and said, ‘Washington, D.C. is now the epicenter of instability in the world,’” Talbott recounted. “What it means is something that our friends and allies around the world have taken for granted for 70 years is no longer something that they can take for granted.”

And in fact, we’re already seeing the ripple effects from the Trump NATO speech-that-wasn’t—and what several of the sources told me was an even worse rift with the allies during the private dinner that followed. In the days immediately after, European leaders like Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron went public with unusually frank criticisms. Meantime, Trump’s rebuffed national security leaders have been left in increasingly awkward positions. “Are these people going to steer Trump,” one former senior U.S. official asked, “or are they simply going to be made enablers?”

McMaster, a widely respected three-star general before he took the job, had been presumed by the Trump-wary foreign policy establishment to be a smart pick because of his track record of being unafraid to speak truth to power (and a book on Vietnam in which he specifically argued that LBJ’s generals had failed by not doing so). But he’s now being pilloried by some early supporters for his very public efforts to spin Trump’s trip as a success—and claim the president supported the Article 5 clause he never explicitly mentioned.

Mattis, meanwhile, has taken a different route.

Not only has the defense secretary, a former top general at NATO, not joined in the administration’s spinning, he set Twitter abuzz over the weekend with an appearance at an Asian security forum in Singapore. In his speech, he praised the international institutions and alliances sustained by American leadership, seeking to reassure allies once again that the U.S. was not really pulling back from the world despite Trump’s “America First” rhetoric.

But when asked about Trump moves like withdrawing from the Paris accord and whether they meant America was abandoning the very global order that Mattis was busy touting, the secretary responded with an allusion to Winston Churchill’s famous quote about the dysfunctions of democracy.

“To quote a British observer of us from some years back, bear with us,” Mattis told the questioner. “Once we have exhausted all possible alternatives, the Americans will do the right thing.”

“So,” he added: “we will still be there, and we will be there with you.”

The audience chuckled, one attendee told me, because “it was an elegant way out of an awkward question.”

But the awkward question remains: Should we believe James Mattis, or Donald Trump?

kato
05 Jun 17,, 18:40
Next thing someone's gonna suggest that the Russians switched out the script overnight.

GVChamp
05 Jun 17,, 19:15
GVChamp,



i've been waiting for quite some time for even the slightest legislative evidence of this. even if we take climate change off the table as a political hot potato...what other environmental protection initiatives have Republicans championed?

I don't even see how this is controversial. Virtually the entire modern environmental movement occurs at the exact same time as the Reagan Revolution and the years immediately preceding it. EPA is Nixon, Clean Air Act and acid rain provisions are Bush I, attempted mercury caps and Great Lake oil drill banning is Bush II. It's not even controversial to suggest there are plenty of Republicans who think Climate Change is an actual thing: Bush before he left was proposing a framework that was exactly like the Paris agreement.

astralis
05 Jun 17,, 19:53
GVChamp,


I don't even see how this is controversial. Virtually the entire modern environmental movement occurs at the exact same time as the Reagan Revolution and the years immediately preceding it. EPA is Nixon, Clean Air Act and acid rain provisions are Bush I, attempted mercury caps and Great Lake oil drill banning is Bush II. It's not even controversial to suggest there are plenty of Republicans who think Climate Change is an actual thing: Bush before he left was proposing a framework that was exactly like the Paris agreement.

yup, all in the past:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/03/us/politics/republican-leaders-climate-change.html

but i meant in the here-and-now. right now, Scott Pruitt's EPA is busy sh*tting on everything environmental, and if word "environment" is actually used with the GOP today, it is usually with the words "job-killing" somewhere in the mix.

to put it another way, ten years ago, Bush and McCain were at least making polite noises about cap and trade-- is there even the faintest hint of such a noise today?

astralis
06 Jun 17,, 15:45
https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/06/06/the-most-devastating-foreign-policy-story-about-the-trump-administration-to-date

The most devastating foreign policy story about the Trump administration to date

By Daniel W. Drezner June 6 at 6:45 AM

One of the odder aspects of that very bad, no good, horrible H.R. McMaster and Gary Cohn op-ed of last week was their claim that President Trump had affirmed Article 5 of NATO — “an attack against one ally is considered as an attack against all allies” — when he very clearly had not.

Yesterday, Politico’s Susan Glasser dropped a bombshell of a story that explains why the Trump team’s messaging on this seemed so strange:

The president also disappointed — and surprised — his own top national security officials by failing to include the language reaffirming the so-called Article 5 provision in his speech. National security adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson all supported Trump doing so and had worked in the weeks leading up to the trip to make sure it was included in the speech, according to five sources familiar with the episode. They thought it was, and a White House aide even told The New York Times the day before the line was definitely included.

It was not until the next day, Thursday, May 25, when Trump started talking at an opening ceremony for NATO’s new Brussels headquarters, that the president’s national security team realized their boss had made a decision with major consequences — without consulting or even informing them in advance of the change …

The president appears to have deleted it himself, according to one version making the rounds inside the government, reflecting his personal skepticism about NATO and insistence on lecturing NATO allies about spending more on defense rather than offering reassurances of any sort; another version relayed to others by several White House aides is that Trump’s nationalist chief strategist Steve Bannon and policy aide Stephen Miller played a role in the deletion. (According to NSC spokesman Michael Anton, who did not dispute this account, “The president attended the summit to show his support for the NATO alliance, including Article 5. His continued effort to secure greater defense commitments from other nations is making our alliance stronger.”)

Do read the whole thing.

So why is this such a big deal of a story? The United States is a member of NATO, which means that Article 5 is legally binding whether Trump says so out loud or not. Unlike NAFTA or the Paris climate treaty, I’ve been assured by smart lawyer types that Trump cannot unilaterally withdraw.

So why does this story matter? First, it puts the lie to the notion that Trump can be constrained by the adults in the room. I was dubious of the “Axis of Adults” language when it was first proffered — by last week I was laughing at the lot of them. Still, reasonable people could disagree over whether the mainstream foreign policy folks like Mattis or McMaster could sway Trump when it was important. Given that European allies were clearly fidgety about Trump’s commitment to the alliance, that speech was important.

Second, it makes it clear that Trump possesses core policy beliefs and will stick to them even if given contrary advice by policymakers. On the Paris treaty, this is a guy who “started with a conclusion, and the evidence brought him to the same conclusion” in the words of Kellyanne Conway. On the Muslim travel ban, this is a guy who tweeted the following last night despite loud warnings from Justice Department lawyers:

As Maggie Haberman tweeted out yesterday morning, “The idea that anyone can stop Trump from doing something once his mind is made up is off.”

Given that Trump’s core foreign policy beliefs are antithetical to the liberal international order, this is going to be a bumpy foreign policy ride.

The real reason Glasser’s story is so devastating, however, is that it undercuts the influence of Mattis, Tillerson and McMaster going forward. In the wake of Trump’s first overseas trip, Mattis tried to do cleanup in Asia, and then Tillerson and Mattis both tried in Australia. To their credit, they said all the right words. Except that those words don’t mean much, since Trump is not listening. They now all sound like Nikki Haley, who is going around sounding thoroughly mainstream but also not necessarily having any influence over foreign policy.

This story is particularly devastating for Tillerson. As Politico’s Eliana Johnson and Michael Crowley reported Sunday, Tillerson has focused all his energies on earning Trump’s trust at the expense of communicating with anyone within his own State Department. He has essentially relied on just two or three key staffers, such as director of policy planning Brian Hook.

That’s a defensible move, if it works. But as Johnson and Crowley noted:

The lack of Trump appointees at the State Department’s regional desks and embassies, and the sidelining of many career diplomats, has added pressure on Hook’s office to develop policy for Tillerson.

It’s also led foreign governments to seek out other avenues of communication. Trump has nominated only a handful of U.S. ambassadors, and some countries have responded simply by reaching out directly to Hook or to other White House officials, including Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

If foreign officials were trying to reach Kushner before this story, they are likely redoubling their efforts now. Unless and until Tillerson can demonstrate his ability to shape Trump’s actions, there is not much incentive in talking to him.

There is a vicious feedback loop at work here. Mattis, McMaster and Tillerson lose influence over Trump. This encourages foreign officials to look for their own back channels. This undercuts their influence even more.

Nothing fundamentally changed with this story. And yet, in its own way, it’s a devastating indictment of the influence of Trump’s mainstream policy advisers.

troung
07 Jun 17,, 14:56
So why is this such a big deal of a story? The United States is a member of NATO, which means that Article 5 is legally binding whether Trump says so out loud or not. Unlike NAFTA or the Paris climate treaty, I’ve been assured by smart lawyer types that Trump cannot unilaterally withdraw.


Treaties aren't suicide pacts or sacred texts; if NATO nations aren't taking their national defense seriously Trump was right to put them on notice, without the use of Vaseline, that they have to step things up. If not mentioning Article 5 scares them, because they don't take their defense seriously, so be it.



I spoke with Talbott, the president of the Brookings Institution and a Russia watcher going back to the 1960s when he translated Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s memoirs as a Rhodes Scholar classmate of Clinton’s, for this week’s Global Politico podcast, and he warned at length about the consequences of Trump’s seeming disregard for NATO at the same time he’s touted his affinity with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Trump’s rebuff of America’s European allies on his recent trip—combined with his decision last week to withdraw from the Paris climate-change agreement—is not merely some rhetorical lapse, Talbott argued, but one with real consequences.

Billions in direct handouts to corrupt third world states, lost American jobs, no restrictions on China/India, and the treaty wasn't ever put in front of the Senate.

Brookings, enough said.

===========
To the LOL-worthy. If states and local governments will "step up" I wonder how much state and local tax payer money they will be handing over to third world nations, or did none of them actually read the agreement?

The wrath of Gaea is worse than Fascism...


Xi's meeting with California governor: A message to Trump on climate?


By Matt Rivers, CNN


Updated 7:17 AM ET, Wed June 7, 2017

Story highlights
California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, met Tuesday with the Chinese President
The public meeting could signal how serious China is about climate change

Beijing (CNN) — China's government and its top officials don't do things by accident.


President Xi Jingping's schedule is tightly controlled, his statements meticulously scripted, and his public appearances neatly choreographed.


So his high-profile meeting Tuesday with California Gov. Jerry Brown, which was splashed across state-run newspapers the next morning, was significant for several reasons -- not the least of which was its timing.


The Democratic governor's six-day trip to China focused on combating climate change. After stops in Jiangsu and Sichuan provinces, it culminated in Beijing for an appearance at the Clean Energy Ministerial Conference, which unites public and private delegations to focus on developing cleaner energy



California Gov. Jerry Brown gives a speech on Tuesday, June 6, during the Clean Energy Ministerial international forum in Beijing.


California Gov. Jerry Brown gives a speech on Tuesday, June 6, during the Clean Energy Ministerial international forum in Beijing.


The meeting took on a different tone this year, coming just days after US President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the landmark 2015 climate accord signed in Paris.


Xi and Brown met just as the Beijing conference was kicking off. They discussed the fight against climate change and how China and California could work together to wage it.


RELATED: EU, China unite behind Paris climate deal despite Trump withdrawal


"It's highly significant that the governor of California can meet with the President of China and talk about the foremost issue of our time," Brown told CNN.


Though Brown and Xi didn't directly discuss the Paris accord, Brown told an audience at a forum in Beijing that climate change could be more dangerous than the threat of fascism during World War II. He has called Trump's decision to drop the Paris accord "crazy."



A thinly veiled message?


Xi and his government were not unaware of the governor's views or his intense rhetoric. And yet, they went ahead with a one-on-one meeting, making sure it got positive reviews in state-controlled media.


China has not explicitly criticized the US decision to leave the agreement. But Xi's meeting with Brown could easily be interpreted as a thinly veiled message to the Trump administration: China believes climate change is a problem and doesn't think the US is doing enough to solve it.




California governor: Trump's decision is crazy




California governor: Trump's decision is crazy 01:42


On its face, it might not seem odd that Xi would meet with Brown. California is, on its own, the sixth-largest economy in the world. Xi's father also knew the governor.


But the fact remains that China's president rarely meets with officials below the top cabinet level.


RELATED: How climate activist Ma Jun went from China's enemy to ally


It can be seen as beneath the president to take meetings with lower-level officials. China's government is also wary of meetings with representatives of non-nation states, given its sensitivities over sovereignty issues in places like Tibet and Taiwan.


Xi's decision to meet with Brown in spite of all that, and in such a public way, could signal how serious China is about fighting climate change.



Curbing coal use


China already spends more than any other country in the world on renewable energy projects -- more than $200 billion in 2015 and 2016. It announced plans for another $360 billion in investment by 2020.


China has curbed its coal use three years running, and although it has committed to peak its carbon emissions by 2030, experts say it likely will meet that goal ahead of schedule.



Can China pick up US slack on climate change?


Related Article: Can China pick up US slack on climate change?


As the largest remaining economy left in the Paris agreement and the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, China seems poised to take the global lead on the issue.


Taking a meeting with one of the biggest proponents of fighting climate change in the US -- and one of Trump's biggest critics -- would appear to be just the latest indication of how much importance China places on the issue -- even more so, given what could be at stake.


The Trump administration has worked hard to curry favor with China, seeking further cooperation on issues like North Korea.


How the Trump administration will respond to a perceived slight, if at all, remains to be seen. But it could call into question how effective both sides will be in working together on issues outside of climate change, like trade and national security.

kato
07 Jun 17,, 17:44
Treaties aren't suicide pacts or sacred texts; if NATO nations aren't taking their national defense seriously Trump was right to put them on notice, without the use of Vaseline, that they have to step things up. If not mentioning Article 5 scares them, because they don't take their defense seriously, so be it.

Treaties have ways to properly quit them. In case of NATO Article 13 offers the appropriate bailout for the US applicable since 1969. Article 12 allows Trump to officially revisit the treaty, such as to discuss his opinion that the European allies are not keeping to Article 3. He didn't do that, hence there is no such issue. Simple as that.

astralis
07 Jun 17,, 18:55
frankly what's even weirder to me is how Trump apparently is up in arms about Europe free-loading on the US, but has absolutely no problem with getting us more involved in Saudi Arabia/GCC shenanigans. apparently now we're part of the Sunni team against the Shias.

"billions in handouts to corrupt third world states" indeed.

kato
07 Jun 17,, 19:10
apparently now we're part of the Sunni team against the Shias.
Interestingly on Iranian state TV they're careful not to lump you in with them. As in, in the same interview Saudi Arabia is called a terrorist sponsor, while the US are only "enemies of democracy".

troung
07 Jun 17,, 22:31
Treaties have ways to properly quit them. In case of NATO Article 13 offers the appropriate bailout for the US applicable since 1969. Article 12 allows Trump to officially revisit the treaty, such as to discuss his opinion that the European allies are not keeping to Article 3. He didn't do that, hence there is no such issue. Simple as that.

He was telling you guys to step it up.


frankly what's even weirder to me is how Trump apparently is up in arms about Europe free-loading on the US, but has absolutely no problem with getting us more involved in Saudi Arabia/GCC shenanigans. apparently now we're part of the Sunni team against the Shias.

I would have assumed you would love the continuity of our support for hardline Sunni movements/governments. The last admin armed the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria with TOWs, called the Army of Islam (Alawites/Christians in cages; wanted a hardline Islamic State) and Ahrar (ex-AQI) "pragmatic" (too crazy to directly arm/but we still like them), allowed the massive expansion of AQ in Syria (Kerry tried to use joint bombing of them as a carrot to the Russians), ignored AQ's alliance with our proxies (who seem to have been numbered bank accounts/Twitter accounts/TOW missile teams), and provided weapons to Islamists who went on to join AQ (habitually fought with shoulder to shoulder with them beforehand). Hell Wapo ran an Op-Ed from Ahrar al-Sham where they didn't mention supporting establishing a Taliban style state, having founding members from AQI, or being allied with AQ; without wapo of course informing their readers.

I think we would be nice to drop all of them (not just Qatar), but hey we aren't giving AQ TOW missile teams anymore at the moment.


"billions in handouts to corrupt third world states" indeed.

Tax money to third world regimes to "green up."

astralis
07 Jun 17,, 23:17
troung,


I would have assumed you would love the continuity of our support for hardline Sunni movements/governments. The last admin armed the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria with TOWs, called the Army of Islam (Alawites/Christians in cages; wanted a hardline Islamic State) and Ahrar (ex-AQI) "pragmatic" (too crazy to directly arm/but we still like them), allowed the massive expansion of AQ in Syria (Kerry tried to use joint bombing of them as a carrot to the Russians), ignored AQ's alliance with our proxies (who seem to have been numbered bank accounts/Twitter accounts/TOW missile teams), and provided weapons to Islamists who went on to join AQ (habitually fought with shoulder to shoulder with them beforehand). Hell Wapo ran an Op-Ed from Ahrar al-Sham where they didn't mention supporting establishing a Taliban style state, having founding members from AQI, or being allied with AQ; without wapo of course informing their readers.

I think we would be nice to drop all of them (not just Qatar), but hey we aren't giving AQ TOW missile teams anymore at the moment.

bah, all piker's stuff. how many -trillions- have the US and other western governments shunted to the House of Saud? how much of that went to leakage to terrorist groups, and Wahhabi "foundations"?

but what Trump is doing goes beyond just indirectly funding terrorists and arming some ragtag militias whom can't find their arse with both hands tied behind their back, he's directly taking credit for an inter-Sunni squabble and seems to have fallen for Sunni propaganda altogether regarding Iran.

ridiculous.


Tax money to third world regimes to "green up."

$1 billion towards projects already reviewed by the USG. there's better accountability there than, say, the $68 billion the US has poured into the Afghan security services or say, the approximately $18 billion the US wasted on Future Combat Systems.

troung
08 Jun 17,, 15:26
but what Trump is doing goes beyond just indirectly funding terrorists and arming some ragtag militias whom can't find their arse with both hands tied behind their back, he's directly taking credit for an inter-Sunni squabble and seems to have fallen for Sunni propaganda altogether regarding Iran.

Rag-tag militias: "Indirectly arming the guys behind 9/11" let's get it correct. The American government/policy class isn't just on team Sunni, everyone not a hardcore Wahabbi/Salafist (as long as they hopefully don't act up here too much) is pretty much a heretic.
Qatar: Qatar for years has been alleged to support terrorism, as have the Saudis, and if they cut funding for some of the nasty groups they support that's a win.
Iran: The Donald, Number-44, and everyone else (think tank propagandists/the media/congress) are all about "ebil eyeran" so let's not pretend this is something new. As seen by the last administration working shoulder to shoulder with AQ in the hopes of ending "Iranian influence" in Syria. Unfortunately our government tying the nation to such vile regimes is a bipartisan issue.

Great that a took a change of party to wake people up for a brief news cycle. The screeching class would also be up in arms had Trump called out the whole Wahabbi block as being horrible people, who judicially murder women as witches, oppress religious minorities, beat and rape foreign workers, judicially murder domestic opponents, spread their evil ideology in the West, and fund terrorists.


$1 billion towards projects already reviewed by the USG. there's better accountability there than, say, the $68 billion the US has poured into the Afghan security services or say, the approximately $18 billion the US wasted on Future Combat Systems.

Never considered those a great use of money either, but wasting money in one area doesn't free us up to give non-existent money away to corrupt third world nations while killing more jobs here.

GVChamp
08 Jun 17,, 16:15
GVChamp,



yup, all in the past:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/03/us/politics/republican-leaders-climate-change.html

but i meant in the here-and-now. right now, Scott Pruitt's EPA is busy sh*tting on everything environmental, and if word "environment" is actually used with the GOP today, it is usually with the words "job-killing" somewhere in the mix.

to put it another way, ten years ago, Bush and McCain were at least making polite noises about cap and trade-- is there even the faintest hint of such a noise today?

That's not surprising with the environment becoming such a huge partisan issue, but Republicans don't want to drink lead and don't want to breathe in particulate matter. We even like trees! Our neighborhoods are all lined with them. At the state level, a lot of R-Midwest states have renewable energy mandates, and Utah has at least made noises about cleaning up some of their garbage. So I think there remains a lot of possible middle ground, even if it won't get accomplished in the next 4 years.

A lot of the stuff I hear Dem voters point out strike me as stupid. Opposition to pipelines is wholesale and ridiculous. Kyoto Protocol is crap. And I don't care about Bangladesh.

bfng3569
08 Jun 17,, 19:31
troung,



bah, all piker's stuff. how many -trillions- have the US and other western governments shunted to the House of Saud? how much of that went to leakage to terrorist groups, and Wahhabi "foundations"?

but what Trump is doing goes beyond just indirectly funding terrorists and arming some ragtag militias whom can't find their arse with both hands tied behind their back, he's directly taking credit for an inter-Sunni squabble and seems to have fallen for Sunni propaganda altogether regarding Iran.

ridiculous.



$1 billion towards projects already reviewed by the USG. there's better accountability there than, say, the $68 billion the US has poured into the Afghan security services or say, the approximately $18 billion the US wasted on Future Combat Systems.

a billion dollars for sheet rock... seems a tad steep....

astralis
08 Jun 17,, 20:01
GVChamp,


That's not surprising with the environment becoming such a huge partisan issue, but Republicans don't want to drink lead and don't want to breathe in particulate matter. We even like trees! Our neighborhoods are all lined with them. At the state level, a lot of R-Midwest states have renewable energy mandates, and Utah has at least made noises about cleaning up some of their garbage. So I think there remains a lot of possible middle ground, even if it won't get accomplished in the next 4 years.

so again, the national GOP has little interest in the environment, with this current administration having zero interest whatsoever.

and at the state level, at least for certain red states, there may be some more flexibility. color me not particularly impressed by such a record of environmentalism. :P

in any case, your argument is close to citanon's; there may be moderate Republicans here and there interested in environmental protection, but any actual legislation, particularly on the national level, will need to be driven by Democrats.

tbm3fan
08 Jun 17,, 20:27
GVChamp,



so again, the national GOP has little interest in the environment, with this current administration having zero interest whatsoever.

What? Did not Trump proclaim that no one cares about the environment more than him? Of course, according to him no one cares more than him about anything. However, since he has been lying since he started in real estate and no doubt believes a lie a day keeps the doctor away I guess I need to get out my grain of salt.

GVChamp
09 Jun 17,, 15:24
GVChamp,



so again, the national GOP has little interest in the environment, with this current administration having zero interest whatsoever.

and at the state level, at least for certain red states, there may be some more flexibility. color me not particularly impressed by such a record of environmentalism. :P

in any case, your argument is close to citanon's; there may be moderate Republicans here and there interested in environmental protection, but any actual legislation, particularly on the national level, will need to be driven by Democrats.
Fair summary of the current state. Median Democrat voters seem to think median Republican voters are mustache-twirling super-villains that like to dump toxic waste into orphanages.

I still tell them they should show the gas companies who is boss and turn off the pipelines to their homes. Mother Earth will keep them warm in January. :) Or better yet, they could get one of those solar roofs that "pays for itself." Bwahahahahahahaha.

astralis
10 Jun 17,, 17:09
http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/09/politics/trump-commits-to-natos-article-5/index.html

so in the end, Trump commits to Article 5 anyways...after pissing everyone off and reducing US credibility.

and how much more money did this genius of a negotiator wring out of the Europeans for doing all this?

troung
10 Jun 17,, 19:52
Signaled our displeasure with their penny pinching, and evidently caused a nice freak out among the screeching class.

He can't fix all the mistakes of the last eight years in a day.

bfng3569
12 Jun 17,, 15:02
http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/09/politics/trump-commits-to-natos-article-5/index.html

so in the end, Trump commits to Article 5 anyways...after pissing everyone off and reducing US credibility.



that's never been in question.

kato
12 Jun 17,, 18:56
that's never been in question.
The part where he pisses people off and reduces US credibility? Yeah.

S2
12 Jun 17,, 21:37
The part where he pisses people off and reduces US credibility? Yeah.

C'mon. This is very, very simple. There are some Euros who really believe that their mere presence sanctifies the proceedings beyond the need to pay their fair share.

Still, it's not well-mannered to call out the free-loaders for what they are despite it being exceedingly old news. We've had the same issues when the minimum was 3% yet the threat was far more readily visible.

snapper
12 Jun 17,, 22:12
Certainly and all have agreed (in Wales and in Warsawa NATO meetings) to 'get there' but moaning at people to fulfill the commitments they have already agreed to fulfill while not categorically endorsing Article 5 and not even mentioning Muscovy (even in private) is not entirely adding to your case.

S2
13 Jun 17,, 00:27
Certainly and all have agreed (in Wales and in Warsawa NATO meetings) to 'get there' but moaning at people to fulfill the commitments they have already agreed to fulfill while not categorically endorsing Article 5 and not even mentioning Muscovy (even in private) is not entirely adding to your case.

What case would that be? After underwriting NATO from inception I'm not sure what case America needs to make for itself. Is there some part of stationing four divisions, their families, the log infrastructure and one hell of a lot of USAF guys for the vast majority of NATO's 72 year existence right where they were most needed that doesn't buy us the CREDIBILITY to call out the tight-wad slackers?

And…as this has been a LONG-STANDING issue, not one of recent and temporal contrivance, should not anytime be just fine to make this point out in the light of day, publicly? Niceties can be set aside, I'm certain, when national security is at stake and an issue of great import is resurrected from a conveniently long-buried status.

We need to call out Muscovy? America isn't your problem in that regard. Are you suggesting that Germany has been leading the backlash (such as it is) against Russia?

snapper
13 Jun 17,, 22:34
What case would that be? After underwriting NATO from inception I'm not sure what case America needs to make for itself. Is there some part of stationing four divisions, their families, the log infrastructure and one hell of a lot of USAF guys for the vast majority of NATO's 72 year existence right where they were most needed that doesn't buy us the CREDIBILITY to call out the tight-wad slackers?

And…as this has been a LONG-STANDING issue, not one of recent and temporal contrivance, should not anytime be just fine to make this point out in the light of day, publicly? Niceties can be set aside, I'm certain, when national security is at stake and an issue of great import is resurrected from a conveniently long-buried status.

Sir, I do not deny the justice of your words; certainly the US has a right to expect it's European allies to fulfill their committments. I have never argued anything less on this forum or anywhere else. In fact in some countries (not only Ukraine) I have advised for greater than 2% defence spending.

The question is what was Trump's intention? A tricky one as one can never really 'know' these things yet we require 'mens rea' to be established in some criminal cases so it is accepted it can be implied by words and actions.

You I think assume that Trumps intention was to encourage the allies not fulfilling their commitments to do so. Perhaps it was but when he did not make a categorical endorsement of Article 5 or even mention the elephant in the room (and his Presidency) I have to question his intention in disparing them - although on the face of it he was entirely justified in doing so. If he had actually wanted them to 'stump up' he would have said "It you lot that is threatened by Moscow - we are here as our interests and yours coincide as they have done since the alliance started and will help but you have to do alot more". I must suspect therefore that his intention - his motive - was to score a few points for 'looking strong' at home and not to annoy Moscow - for reasons of his own.


We need to call out Muscovy? America isn't your problem in that regard. Are you suggesting that Germany has been leading the backlash (such as it is) against Russia?

It would be novel if Trump did call out Muscovy. I am not holding my breath.

bfng3569
13 Jun 17,, 23:16
The part where he pisses people off and reduces US credibility? Yeah.

are we reviewing the previous administration here?

astralis
14 Jun 17,, 02:14
you realize the ultimate judge of how credible the US is towards her allies would be...our allies, yes?

astralis
27 Jun 17,, 16:23
44001

S2
27 Jun 17,, 16:40
So...seems the confidence level of our allies about our president now approaches what's been my long-standing sense of confidence about them as warfighters?

These "contributors" have an agenda of deflection when questioning our reliability in the face of the highly visible, long-standing monetary evidence that speaks otherwise for both sides. We pay. We forward-station troops.

They do nothing of the sort.

I could give a fcuk what they think of Trump. I do care what they think of their own self-defense and why they believe I should continue reliably underwriting that expense. That issue shall evidently remain long after Trump has passed.

kato
27 Jun 17,, 16:47
So.... G20 summit in Hamburg.

Only news so far is that the Navy is denying it's sent a "warship" into the port for the occasion - ... it's a 500-ton LCM with some special forces on it. And that 250 out of 500 police officers from Berlin (of course Berlin, where else) have been sent home because they were using their accomodations - a future refugee home - for a bit of a party involving sex and drugs. Don't know if rock'n'roll was involved. I guess they didn't expect that the private security service of the refugee home didn't agree with them trashing the place. Uh, and a couple cars were firebombed. But that's pretty normal in Hamburg on any given day.

@astralis: i just read "Carter" in that chart instead of "Craters".

kato
27 Jun 17,, 16:49
We pay.
Last I checked you were the only one who didn't pay their bills. UN membership fees ring a bell?

astralis
27 Jun 17,, 19:11
i agree that European defense spending is far short of where it needs to be. the question is if the current POTUS can do anything to change this. given our allies seem to believe that Trump would have difficulty leading his way out of a paper bag, my feeling is...not so much.

kato
27 Jun 17,, 20:41
Realistically once Merkel gets her center-right coalition in September we'll probably see a more indepth and financially actually backed defense initiative at least between Germany, France and Benelux. The joint plans at EU level (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-summit-defence-idUSKBN19D2G8) conveniently and "completely incidentally" require approval only immediately after the German election. Conveniently those there - well, except Luxembourg - are also a "coalition" that has actually pledged towards meeting the 2% guideline by 2024, meaning raising their spending way beyond what their NATO pledge requires of them.

snapper
27 Jun 17,, 21:34
44001

You forgot someone - they may not like that; Muscovy +43% favourable to the Trump administration.

bfng3569
27 Jun 17,, 21:35
you realize the ultimate judge of how credible the US is towards her allies would be...our allies, yes?

I wouldn't necessarily agree with that as a measuring stick....

bfng3569
27 Jun 17,, 21:39
44001

'To do the right thing regarding world affairs'

that's subjective.

I bet if Trump wasn't harping on NATO members to contribute more and wasn't calling out some of the immigration polices of other countries those charts might look a bit different.

there's do the right thing, and then there's do right by us.....

citanon
27 Jun 17,, 22:52
i agree that European defense spending is far short of where it needs to be. the question is if the current POTUS can do anything to change this. given our allies seem to believe that Trump would have difficulty leading his way out of a paper bag, my feeling is...not so much.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/07/canada-increase-military-spending-nato

GVChamp
27 Jun 17,, 23:09
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/07/canada-increase-military-spending-nato


Sajjan said the boost would take total defense expenditures to 1.4% of GDP by 2024-25 from 1.2% now.

Not really talking about a huge boost here. Canada has contributed a lot, though, so it's not fair to compare them to the other NATO nations.

I don't even if care if the other nations don't contribute as long as they shut their mouths and just stick to running their own nations, and let the US run the foreign policy. We do not need to hear what the French think on Israel, and I don't care what Poland thinks about Thailand, and Greek opinions on the Straits of Hormuz are pretty irrelevant.

"Blah blah blah we're so civilized and we work to be united." Yeah, whatever. We have Germans and Italians and Polish and Spanish here in the US, and we all speak English, and we all get along pretty well. You're like, 150 years behind us. Maybe you'll land on the Moon by 2119...by which time Elon Musk will probably be in Alpha Centauri.

astralis
27 Jun 17,, 23:13
from that very article:



His announcement came after Freeland said Canada would seek to play a larger role on the world stage as the United States retreats. Addressing parliament on Tuesday, Freeland said: “International relationships that had seemed immutable for 70 years are being called into question.”

“The fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership, puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course,” she said.
“For Canada that course must be the renewal, indeed the strengthening, of the postwar multilateral order.”

Freeland told parliament that Canada would “strive for leadership” in multilateral forums such as the G7, the G20, Nato and the United Nations.

aka hegemon abdicating power, thus an individual state upping the commitment to their own defense. that's a different kettle of fish than spending for the common defense with the US as alliance leader. personally, i don't think this is a good trade-off.

S2
29 Jun 17,, 04:27
"Last I checked you were the only one who didn't pay their bills. UN membership fees ring a bell?"

Why stop there? Think we owe more in U.N. peacekeeping dues. Still, is this an attempt at distraction? Afterall, we were discussing N.A.T.O.

You do, however, raise a great point. See...our U.N. debt pales in comparison to our Nat'l debt. It's on our mercantilist minds. As it should be. Germany, too, carries significant debt though well below your GDP so you appear to have the means to service your debt comfortably. Germany also carries something of a reputation among Europeans about staunchly demanding debt re-payment.

Ogres, you are.

So too should be America. And while we carry debt, forgive me if I suggest that we naturally prioritize that which we spend hard capital to build or sustain and that obligation(s) we'll ignore or discount in order to do so.

NATO has been important to America long before Germany saved us with their immense 9/11 contribution to RC-North in Afghanistan. It still is. More than in some considerable time, actually, as it's now apparent that Russia doesn't really wish to be a contributor to the current world order and have tangibly manifested that attitude numerous times recently in your immediate neighborhood.

Seems a cause for concern.

Or not?

Afterall, who are we to decide what threats most stir the German psyche? I read this interesting quote recently from David Kilcullen regarding Afghanistan/Iraq but it's self-evident truth is applicable elsewhere-

"Resource allocation in itself is not a sign of success-arguably in Iraq we have spent more than we can afford for limited results-but expenditure is a good indicator of government attention..."

Follow the money.

So we come to the questions that really matter. Is Russia a tangible immediate/near-term threat to the rest of Europe or, at least, it's most immediate neighbors? Really doesn't matter what I think, or my government for that matter. Aside from an eminently fcuked-up president I think you know where most Americans who are careful observers of events lean on this. The question really is how Germany views this threat or lack thereof? Because, as Kilcullen so aptly illustrates, the money tells the tale.

So...is the U.N. and the monies owed by America to that august organization really a deep-seated source of angst for most Germans? If America must spend carefully and artfully manage debt would you counsel allocating our monies spent for NATO to, instead, UN Peacekeeping and other various soft-power endeavors?

If no threat exists to N.A.T.O. then to what purpose does this organization truly serve? Can it not be disgarded as its obsolescence becomes evident or has it monstrously morphed into this wastrel, needless consumer of valued resources? I ask because you seem smugly proud of gradually easing into a 2% obligation over many years. No urgency would suggest...what, exactly?

No tangible threat, correct? If so, we should just shut the whole show down and if America truly feels the freedom of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (most notably) are worth defending then we should make our own bi-lateral or confederate security arrangements and not bother the rest of Europe.

It is, afterall, such trouble defending the liberty of others in your own self-interest. Especially if somebody else might do so on your behalf.

kato
29 Jun 17,, 05:36
Ah, let's explain the German government opinion on that.

That one is that Russia - at the moment - is still a country you can talk to. One that needs firm handling, but not someone who acts irrational. Russia, not Putin; there are after all other interests at play in their oligarchy as well, ones that Putin has to be mindful of. For that need of firm handling, Germany currently maintains the third-largest contingent - after the US and the UK - in the Baltics. For that need, Germany is one of the main proponents of targeted sanctions - meaning in context with Ukraine and the Baltics, not for ambivalent, shifty reasons like the US does it these days.

And yes, follow the money. Because money is a way to control people. Yeah, we're buying gas in Russia. In fact, our companies own those gas fields. And those pipelines. And, even if we don't say it, they also own the people in Russia needed to facilitate that. Setting up such deals - on a geopolitical level - gives a measure of interdependence. One that reassures, and one that gives a negotiation tool. Which is something that, yeah, i know, Americans won't understand for the most part. For us though, it's not a new tool. We used that with East Germany. With the Warsaw Pact at large. And, for gas and oil in particular, with the Soviet Union itself. Directly. In the early 80s, right at the second height of the Cold War.

NATO ? NATO is an alliance. In itself a tool. However, to Germany it seems less a tool for guaranteeing security; more one for international cooperation on defense matters. To us that's its main purpose and main reason of existance beyond the Cold War: to present an established framework in which to cooperate with other nations on particular topics. However, we both have and we newly establish other frameworks for the same purpose - NATO isn't the only option in that regard. Mutual defense? To us, that's not a prime function of NATO anymore since the end of the Cold War - it's a side effect, and again one for which we have other frameworks in place.

The 2%? Pretty simple: If we'd spend 2% on defense we'd spend more than Russia in absolute figures just by ourselves; in per-capita figures we're already higher. For what purpose though? So far, there isn't really a threat that can't be handled with current arrangements. There are escalating events that can change that shortterm, that require a different response; however Russia has so far been successfully navigating those straits. If those come? Last year we dropped the equivalent of 60% of our military budget on refugees, unplanned and out of the blue. And we still had a considerable budget surplus. We'll do what we can to prevent such events from coming though. Without the blunt, crude and offensive measures that some other NATO members use.

astralis
29 Jun 17,, 15:24
kato,


so far, there isn't really a threat that can't be handled with current arrangements.

as S2 is pointing out, though, these "current arrangements" have the US spending a disproportionate amount of money, and are in no small part due to US presence in Europe.

to put it another way, how confident are you that the "other frameworks" you mention will be sufficient, along with your own military power, to defend Germany against Russia?

GVChamp
29 Jun 17,, 16:21
kato,
to put it another way, how confident are you that the "other frameworks" you mention will be sufficient, along with your own military power, to defend Germany against Russia?

None! But don't bank your security on someone across the ocean, particularly if you want to run an "independent" foreign policy.

S2
29 Jun 17,, 16:36
"...However, to Germany it seems less a tool for guaranteeing security...."

It was for that purpose N.A.T.O was conceived.

"...;more one for international cooperation on defense matters To us that's its main purpose and main reason of existance beyond the Cold War: to present an established framework in which to cooperate with other nations on particular topics..."

Without a defined and tangible mission we are then spending way too much money on pencils and paper alone, much less all the other expenses accrued by this organization. Especially when one considers your next thought-

"...However, we both have and we newly establish other frameworks for the same purpose..."

Established as more relevant to the identified needs. If so, then what do these other "frameworks" render N.A.T.O. but as a redundant and, evidently, obsolescent alternative system?

"Mutual defense? To us, that's not a prime function of NATO anymore since the end of the Cold War - it's a side effect..."

Fascinating. So should we consider this whole hullaballoo orchestrated by Europe about Trump and article 5 all theatrics? It would seem so, if true. Afterall, it's really not how you view N.A.T.O's current purpose anyway.

More rather a redundant, bloated and obsolescent system.

kato
29 Jun 17,, 18:25
It was for that purpose N.A.T.O was conceived.
Remember that we weren't part of it in 1949, and that joining NATO to us was a precondition of rearmament. While that isn't really driving the German opinion on NATO, it gives it a somewhat different starting point.


Established as more relevant to the identified needs. If so, then what do these other "frameworks" render N.A.T.O. but as a redundant and, evidently, obsolescent alternative system?
NATO is still more encompassing than other frameworks, mostly due to its grown structure. I call it frameworks btw because we're not strictly talking "alliances", but more generically cooperation agreements. Within NATO, such agreements exist that have not - yet - been copied over to other frameworks and there is a suitable ease with which to form such for new identified needs within NATO if partners can be found there.

These frameworks have existed for decades side-by-side with NATO too, including during the Cold War. The Western European Union for example, which has since been rendered obsolete and folded wholesale into the European Union - and, as a side effect, also brought its mutual defense clause - more encompassing than NATO's - to expand to all EU members.

Within the current drive - mostly due to Brexit and the sudden freedom from British vetos on such - there are moves towards giving the EU more of a capability set that duplicates NATO structures; frameworks within which we can do things we currently operate within NATO for. We're actively moving towards that too; not just within the EU, but - see above on "vetos" - also in a bilateral or multilateral fashion, and we're not the only ones locally. With a certain impetus to that, and a continuation and perhaps worsening of current US policy, i could see NATO becoming increasingly redundant indeed. Not right now. Perhaps in a decade.


So should we consider this whole hullaballoo orchestrated by Europe about Trump and article 5 all theatrics?
Only if you narrow your view to only "Western Europe and the US". The hullaballoo wasn't so much about Article 5 with regard to us, from our side it was more a diplomatic affront; what it was about - and why we considered it more grave than that - is that it upset strategic considerations for Eastern Europe on a much larger scale.


to put it another way, how confident are you that the "other frameworks" you mention will be sufficient, along with your own military power, to defend Germany against Russia?
Moderately confident. You also have to consider that if NATO was no longer in place we'd push "other frameworks" to a more extensive cooperation. No NATO nuclear sharing anymore? There'd probably be considerations for carrying French nukes instead. Again. No US battlegroup for posturing in Poland? We'd probably push to activate and rotate an EUBG or two through there. Beyond that? If push comes to shove, China.


as S2 is pointing out, though, these "current arrangements" have the US spending a disproportionate amount of money, and are in no small part due to US presence in Europe.
The US is barely spending any money on its endeavours in Europe.

snapper
29 Jun 17,, 18:34
The US is barely spending any money on its endeavours in Europe.

Spending more than you on 'Reassurance' alone. Look if you want a Europe great. I am by and large in favour. But if Germany wants to be the 'leader' in Europe it must accept it partners concerns regarding security and whatever else and react to them correspondingly.