Living in a bubble is a very dangerous thing. Unfortunately the deaf, dumb and blindness of the current administration is affecting us all in ways which will have a profound effect on the future of this country, and not in a positive way. The latest example of this trend was graphically illustrated this weekend at the Munich Security Conference, which in better days, served as an affirmation of the powerful bond between members of the western alliance. This year’s meeting only pointed up the widening chasm of interests between France and Germany, and the United States. Politico:
The two sides aren’t just far apart on the big questions facing the West (threats from Russia, Iran, China), they’re in parallel universes.
Most alarming: The biggest disconnect concerns the U.S. commitment to Europe, the very essence of the transatlantic alliance itself.
In speech after speech, whether in public or private, European leaders lamented what they perceive as the U.S.’s disengagement from both the region and the world at large.
If you weren’t following the news this weekend, both the president of France, Emmanuel Macron and the president of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said that the U.S. was “rejecting the idea of the international community” and that “what Europe wants is not quite the same as the U.S.” Mike Pompeo found these words insulting, apparently, because he went on record stating, “I’m here to tell you the facts. Those statements do not reflect reality.” No, they do reflect reality. They just don’t reflect an endorsement of his wingnut talking point, “The West is winning and we’re winning together.” That might be a great line to drop to the rubes at a rally, or to please Pompeo’s real audience, which is Trump, but the people in attendance at Munich are anything but fools. They see through the Trump mis-administration like glass and they know what a disaster the past three years have been. But Pompeo forged ahead, convinced, again apparently, that if you just spin the lie enough different ways people will believe eventually.
“Is this an America that rejects responsibility?” he asked. “Let’s be straight up: The U.S. is out there fighting for sovereignty and our friends.”
Aside from representatives from Poland and the Baltics, who consider the U.S. the guarantor of their sovereignty, few of the Europeans in the room seemed open to being convinced. After the speech, a consensus formed among the Germans and French that Pompeo’s audience wasn’t the Europeans in the room, but Donald Trump. Pompeo’s insistence that the “West is winning, we’re collectively winning,” was registered by many attendees as “the U.S. is winning.”
The reaction to Pompeo reflects the toll Trump’s aggressive, often abusive, rhetoric toward European allies has taken on the relationship. Even when confronted with facts that disprove the narrative of American disengagement, European officials simply don’t believe it. In private, U.S. representatives tell their European counterparts to “ignore the tweets,” but that’s proved to be a tall order.
The likes of Jared Kushner may take to the airwaves and sneer derisively about how he and the other know-nothings in this administration have a “fresh approach” and “new ideas” for foreign policy. So far, all that adolescent hyperbole has devolved into nothing but embarrassment and an erosion of key alliances, not in some brave new world solutions that exist only in Donald Trump’s two-dimensional black and white broad brushstroke world. In the real world, negotiations between countries are filled with nuance and compromise.
This old world keeps on spinnin’ and right now our allies are looking to negotiate world relationships with or without us. And increasingly it looks like without. Macron spoke of a “rapproachment” with Russia and another major divisive issue at the Munich conference was China. Trump thinks China is an evil behemoth that he, personally, has bludgeoned into submission and that fantasy is not shared by the rest of the world. Trade with China is in no way viewed by other countries according to Trump’s moronic sound bites.
The era of Trump has caused a major schism in our relations with our European allies. One can only hope and pray, once again, that Trump is defeated in November, because as disastrous as Trump has been domestically, internationally his foolishness has been catastrophic and another four years of this will take us God only knows where. But it won’t be a good place, of that you may be certain.