PATRICK LAWRENCE: Pompeo, Pence & the Alienation of Europe

If the objective was to further isolate the U.S., the two officials could not have done a better job last week, writes Patrick Lawrence.

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

What a job Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did in Europe last week. If the objective was to worsen an already critical trans–Atlantic rift and further isolate the U.S., they could not have returned to Washington with a better result.
We might have to mark down this foray as among the clumsiest and most abject foreign policy failures since President Donald Trump took office two years ago. 

Pence and Pompeo both spoke last Thursday at a U.S.–sponsored gathering in Warsaw supposedly focused on “peace and security in the Middle East.” That turned out to be a euphemism for recruiting the 60–plus nations in attendance into an anti–Iran alliance.

“You can’t achieve peace and stability in the Middle East without confronting Iran,” Pompeo said flatly. The only delegates this idea pleased were Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and officials from Gulf Arab nations who share an obsession with subverting the Islamic Republic.

Pompeo leaving Warsaw, Feb. 13, 2019. (State Department photo by Ron Przysucha)

Pompeo leaving Warsaw. (State Department photo by Ron Przysucha)

Pence went on to the annual security conference in Munich, where he elaborated further on a few of the Trump administration’s favored themes. Among them: The Europeans should ditch the nuclear accord with Iran, the Europeans should cut off trade with Russia, the Europeans should keep components made by Huawei and other Chinese companies out of their communications networks. The Europeans, in short, should recognize America’s global dominance and do as it does; as if it were still, say, 1954.

It is hard to imagine how an American administration can prove time and again so out of step with 21stcentury realities. How could a vice-president and a secretary of state expect to sell such messages to nations plainly opposed to them?

Pounding the Anti-Iran Theme 

Pompeo, who started an “Iran Action Group” after the Trump administration withdrew last year from the 2015 nuclear accord, returned repeatedly to a single theme in his Warsaw presentations. The Iranians, he said, “are a malign influence in Lebanon, in Yemen, and Syria and Iraq. The three H’s—Houthis, Hamas, and Hezbollah—these are real threats.”

Pence ran a mile with this thought. “At the outset of this historic conference,” he said, “leaders from across the region agreed that the greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East is the Islamic Republic of Iran.” To be noted: all the “leaders from across the region” in attendance were Sunnis, except for Netanyahu. The major European allies, still furious that Washington has withdrawn from the nuclear accord, sent low-level officials and made no speeches.

The European signatories to the Iran accord knew what was coming, surely. While Pence insisted that Britain, France and Germany withdraw from the nuclear pact—“the time has come,” he said—he also criticized the financing mechanism the three set up last month to circumvent the Trump administration’s trade sanctions against Iran. “They call this scheme a ‘special purpose vehicle,’ ” Pence said. “We call it an effort to break American sanctions against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime.”

There were plenty of European leaders at the security conference last weekend in Munich, where Pence used the occasion  to consolidate what is beginning to look like an irreparable escalation of trans–Atlantic alienation. After renewing his attack on the Iran agreement’s European signatories, he shifted criticism to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

Now under construction, this will be the second undersea pipeline connecting Gazprom, the Russian energy company, to Germany and other European markets. Last month the U.S. renewed threats to sanction German companies working on the $11 billion project. “We cannot strengthen the West by becoming dependent on the East,” Pence said at the security conference Saturday.

These and other remarks in Munich were enough to get Angela Merkel out of her chair to deliver an unusually impassioned speech in defense of the nuclear accord, multilateral cooperation and Europe’s extensive economic relations with Russia. “Geo-strategically,” the German chancellor asserted, “Europe can’t have an interest in cutting off all relations with Russia.”

Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin in Moscow, 2015. (The President of Russia)

Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin in Moscow, 2015. (The President of Russia)

US Primacy V. Europe’s Future  

Merkel’s speech goes to the core of what was most fundamentally at issue as Pompeo and Pence blundered through Europe last week. There are three questions to consider.

The most obvious of these is Washington’s continued insistence on U.S. primacy in the face of full-frontal resistance even from longstanding allies. “Since day one, President Trump has restored American leadership on the world stage,” Pence declared in Warsaw. And in Munich: “America is stronger than ever before and America is leading on the world stage once again.”

His speeches in both cities are filled with hollow assertions such as these—each one underscoring precisely the opposite point: America is fated to continue isolating itself, a little at a time, so long as its leaders remain lost in such clouds of nostalgia.

The other two questions concern Europe and its future. Depending on how these are resolved, a more distant trans–Atlantic alliance will prove inevitable.

First, Europe must soon come to terms with its position on the western flank of the Euro–Asian landmass. Merkel was right: The European powers cannot realistically pretend that an ever-deepening interdependence with Russia is a choice. There is no choice. China’s Belt and Road Initiative, as it progresses westward, will make this clearer still.

Second, Europe must develop working accommodations with its periphery, meaning the Middle East and North Africa, for the sake of long-term stability in its neighborhood. The mass migrations from Syria, Libya and elsewhere have made this evident in the most tragic fashion possible. It is to Germany’s and France’s credit that they are now negotiating with Turkey and Russia to develop reconstruction plans for Syria that include a comprehensive political settlement.

As they do so, Washington shows no sign of lifting sanctions against Syria that have been in place for more than eight years. It may, indeed, impose new sanctions on companies participating in reconstruction projects. In effect, this could criminalize Syria’s reconstruction—making the nation another case wherein Europe and the U.S. find themselves at cross purposes.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author, and lecturer. His most recent book is “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century” (Yale). Follow him @thefloutist. His web site is www.patricklawrence.us.

Support his work via www.patreon.com/thefloutist.

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64 comments for “PATRICK LAWRENCE: Pompeo, Pence & the Alienation of Europe

  1. Archie1954
    February 28, 2019 at 17:17

    Unless and until the US understands and acknowledges that, the Europeans are now going to look at their best interests instead of simply following Washington dictates, the US will continue to lose influence worldwide. Only as a unified Western bloc can the US have any say in what is to occur. If it decides that it’s only the US way or the highway, then its empire will continue its downfall to redundancy.

  2. David Gamble
    February 28, 2019 at 13:54

    Why do American sanctionscriminalize anyone but Americans. Is Congress the UN NOW? Only the Security Council can do it internationally, no?

  3. February 24, 2019 at 20:56

    Patrick, I find myself agreeing with you. Many of the curses brought to the do0rsteps of our European allies have been due to our blunders of foreign policy brought about by our own mistakes in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya, as Russia (and others) have fully realized. By attempting to isolate others countries who earn our disfavor because of their autocratic practices, or more precisely not playing by the Washington playbook for them, we have set about arrogantly holding their futures in our hands alone – plowing in with a take it or leave it attitude they all resent. In short, we end up isolating ourselves from our once valued allies. How useless is that?

  4. February 24, 2019 at 08:57

    “America leadership” is a term American politicians bandy about as a positive goal while to much of the world it is simply a euphemism for American hegemony.

  5. OlyaPola
    February 23, 2019 at 06:44

    “Sheep who think they can swim with sharks often drown, where as sharks don’t tend to attack sharks unless the attacked shark proves to be a significant threat to the environment, and “threats” are functions of perception.”

    Illustrating Belief in What You See Is What You Get facilitates What You Don’t See Is What You Get.

  6. OlyaPola
    February 23, 2019 at 04:56

    “Hide Behind”

    A very appropriate title and illustration of the opponents’ practice of attempting to deflect agency onto others, perhaps as an indication of aversion to sharing?

    However perhaps it would benefit from a more expansive survey of agency apportionment and its role in rendering the “opponents’ populations” human shields of the opponents.

    Some are of the view ““the two officials could not have done a better job” where as some others are of the view that

    “There is always room for improvement but the opponents are always helpful.”

  7. Jeff Harrison
    February 23, 2019 at 01:15

    Well, Christina, since you ask, I’m 69. I spent 6 years in the USAF (1969-1975). Yes, military types tend to have a different view of things. That’s why civilians tend to be the ones in control because military types generally only know how to make war. And yes, we should just pick up our ball and go home. The fucking war has been over for neigh on 75 years.

  8. Hide Behind
    February 22, 2019 at 17:08

    Europe will mostly react as children whose parents are very strict whine and cry when told no but reluctantly obey.
    US did not soley invade Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, Europeans joined in those violations and manipulations of international law and voted in UN the way US told tj
    hem.
    Instead of Europ reducing its NATO footprint at death of Soviet threat they have only increased it and while making hundreds of billions supplying US military has Increased numbers and places it now are based.
    How is Jordan or when was Jordan under threat of Russia that IN expanded to; the same goes towards all the ex-Soviet natoons since their break from Soviets. Russia has never directly threatened them since break up but today are armed to the teeth with US and NATO NATIONS weaponry and financial/Industrials.
    Today US is attempting to overthrow Venezuela, a sovereign Nation with a Democraticly Elected by populace Government, and who are allied and approving of US actions, yes the European Nations.
    Europeans willingly turned themselves into vassal states of US and it has benefited mightily while doing so, and those performances European political leaders put on of being independent national states is soley to pacify their citizenry.
    Like children scolded by parents to stop doing something the child nods and smiles saying OK while trying to figure out ways to get around their US mommy and daddy’s restrictions.

    • David Gamble
      February 28, 2019 at 13:57

      Right on. I wish PM Trudeau got that. With his sidekick Freeland

  9. exiled off mainsteet
    February 22, 2019 at 02:37

    Europe needs to regain a measure of independence. Perhaps the odium of Trump’s yankee regime will help move things in this direction, though the European regimes are so used to client state status that this may be too much to hope for.

  10. Brian James
    February 21, 2019 at 17:03

    Never believe the CIA. Ever! January 26, 2019 CIA Was Aiding Jihadists Before Soviets Invaded Afghanistan

    According to recently declassified documents [1] of the White House, CIA and State Department as reported by Tim Weiner for The Washington Post, the CIA was aiding Afghan jihadists before the Soviets invaded in 1979. The then American President Jimmy Carter signed the CIA directive to arm the Afghan jihadists in July 1979, whereas the former Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December the same year.
    Author Originally, there were four parties involved in the Afghan conflict which are mainly responsible for the debacle in the Af-Pak region. Firstly, the former Soviet Union which invaded Afghanistan in December 1979. Secondly, Pakistan’s security agencies which nurtured the Afghan so-called “mujahideen” (freedom fighters) on the behest of Washington.

    https://www.veteranstoday.com/2019/01/26/cia-was-aid

    • tina
      February 21, 2019 at 22:01

      what you say is true and correct. Fast forward to 2019. I never thought I would have to believe those “authorities” or organizations to stop our own president. How far down the rabbit hole we are. Keep it up . I should mention that consortium news was one of the sites that was hit by a barrage of not true things. Do you remember KIllary Shillary, world war 3 on this website? That is when I stopped. No defence of Ms Clinton, but the attacks were relentless. I do believe consortium news was hijacked by some really partisan people.

    • OlyaPola
      February 22, 2019 at 03:12

      “Before Soviets Invaded Afghanistan”

      The Soviet forces were invited to Afghanistan by the Afghani Government – they never invaded Afghanistan or Syria.

    • David Gamble
      February 28, 2019 at 13:59

      Thank you. All legal.

  11. Jeff Harrison
    February 21, 2019 at 12:32

    I’m surprised he didn’t say the 4Hs – Hamas, Houthis, Hezbollah, and Hypocritical Americans.

    What surprises me is that so many didn’t appear to see this coming. The European satraps spent 60 years shivering in fear of the big bad Russian bear who was trying to export its economic system on everybody who couldn’t defend themselves. The old SovU is dead and gone. Why would the European satraps continue to be terrorized by a non-existent threat? Especially when THEIR master has started to go into a full on export mode of OUR economic system to god and the gang. I would like to think that they would realize that US and EU priorities, objectives, and needs were bound to diverge. The only problem is that the European satraps surrendered their economic sovereignty and now they’re screwed.

    • christina garcia
      February 21, 2019 at 22:13

      Jeff, how old are you? The USA ARMY spent decades building their nuclear arsenal in the guise of preventing Europe going to the influence of god forbid communism. Did you serve? I would like to know. My dad, 1958-1962 , Gelnhausen Germany, by the way same unit as your Elvis Presley, so are you suggesting that after almost 80 years investment, we just take our ball and go home? I have a feeling you never served one single day in the Military. I am in no way a military person, I do not believe in any military, but personal experience has shown me that people in the military have a completely different perspective on life.

  12. John2o2o
    February 21, 2019 at 11:38

    Unfortunately, a number of commenters seem to be under the illusion that Christians consider nuclear war to be a good thing. I can assure such bigots that they do not. The most pacifist church is the Catholic church (heavily smeared by leftists because of it’s stance on abortion and same sex marriage). And no, our opposition to abortion is not tied to a contempt for those who have been born.

    Completely off topic and totally irrelevant to the discussion in hand. I apologise to those who are less bigoted than some of the commenters here, but feel I have to defend Christians against this persistent, ignorant slander. I suggest a look at the twitter feed of the Pope for a masterclass in peace and forgiveness.

    And finally, I do not support in any way the likes of Pompeo and Pence, whose personal religious views I know and care very little about. Their genocidal stupidity is entirely tied to their belief in American exceptionalism and the delusion that the United States is a force for good in the world, when in it’s current incarnation is very clearly is the opposite.

  13. February 21, 2019 at 06:39

    ‘If the objective was to further isolate the U.S., the two officials could not have done a better job last week”

    Well said, indeed.

    Whenever I read stuff about American foreign policy and diplomacy today, I just can’t help thinking of that brilliant line, “Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.”

    It fits so perfectly.

  14. February 20, 2019 at 21:16

    Positive signs in the year 2019 are powerful, unmistakable, and they are everywhere. On planet Earth, war will soon be over – forever.

    Peace.

  15. mike k
    February 20, 2019 at 17:56

    Idiots make idiotic decisions. And they are incapable of grasping their own idiocy – instead they take their blunders to be “genius”!

  16. February 20, 2019 at 15:45

    If I were one of the New World Order boys and wanted to destroy or weaken the United States I couldn’t choose a better group of incompetent leaders than Pompous, Pence, Bolton, Trump, etc. Their arrogance truly demonstrates the possibility that they really believe what they are saying. A great man once said it well: “If the blind lead the blind they both shall fall into the ditch. Iran is no threat, but has been on the Israeli target board for years. And the Christian Zionists, being deceived by a false interpretation of scriptures, bow to Israel like the lap dogs they are.

    • OlyaPola
      February 21, 2019 at 04:01

      “If I were one of the New World Order boys and wanted to destroy or weaken the United States I couldn’t choose a better group of incompetent leaders than Pompous, Pence, Bolton, Trump, etc.”

      The systemic errors were inherent in the design of the social relations self described as “The United States of America” from inception, and in large part the history of these social relations have been coercive attempts to maintain these social relations within linear frames both internally and externally.

      This facilitated and required certain cultures and practices including the culture of conformance/wanting to belong maintained by restricting variance within acceptable parameters through notions of social norms – “The American Way”.

      When these acceptable parameters were questioned, the predictable outcomes were Messrs. Bolton, Pence, Pompeo and Trump.

      No external forces were required to encourage such choices, these choices were made by and facilitated by “We the people hold these truths to be self-evident.

      Some may seek to extend their illusions by a return to an elysium which never existed through “reform” of “The United States of America” and cooperation with others, however some realise that transcendence of “The United States of America” is required to facilitate cooperation.

    • OlyaPola
      February 22, 2019 at 07:11

      “When these acceptable parameters were questioned, the predictable outcomes were Messrs. Bolton, Pence, Pompeo and Trump.”

      https://consortiumnews.com/2019/01/29/the-making-of-juan-guaido-us-regime-change-laboratory-created-venezuelas-coup-leader/

      OlyaPola
      February 1, 2019 at 6:24 am
      ““You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you should concentrate on.”

      “The Washington favorite”

      Some of the opponents have an assay of emotionalism as well asssays of notions of utility, including the utility of having insurance policies in the amalgam, since the opponents’ “intelligence agencies” as subscribers to the means justify the ends persuasion do not typically subscribe to the “We the people hold these truths to be self-evident” illusion; except when in interaction with those of the people who hold these truths to be self-evident.

      Amongst the clauses typically included in the insurance policies are:

      1. He who giveth can also take away.

      2. Useful fools have a shelf-life often co-terminous with their utility as useful fools.

      3. Assets have a shelf-life often co-terminous with their utility as assets.

      4. Bearers of information have a shelf-life often co-terminous with their utility of bearing information.

      5. Engagement in emotionalism including favouritism will arrogate the policy of insurance.

      As a prologue to the insurance policies there is sometimes a reminder that policy renewal is often contingent in not demystifying the conditions above especially to third parties including but not restricted to believers of “We the people hold these truths to be self-evident.”

      Messrs Bolton, Pence, Pompeo and Trump have qualitative similarities to other useful fools including Mr. Guaido, and some quantitative differences.

      Sheep who think they can swim with sharks often drown, where as sharks don’t tend to attack sharks unless the attacked shark proves to be a significant threat to the environment, and “threats” are functions of perception.

      Perhaps investigating “What ever happened to Mr. Mitrone ?” or “What ever happened to Mr. Bandera?” may prove illuminating.

      Some have different purposes and hence have different evaluations of the utility of useful foolery.

  17. Mg
    February 20, 2019 at 14:25

    Arabes countries ruled by puppet ,in Egypt ,MBS,MBZ..the leaders of those countries are under control of CIA since 60 years as well as Iran before revolution ..

  18. Andrew Thomas
    February 20, 2019 at 13:33

    I keep reading about how the US isn’t what it used to be. Then I see what happened in Ecuador, in Venezuela, in Brazil, in Argentina, the continuing and expanding drone terrorism all over the world, etc., etc. It is going to take more than stony silences when Trump’s name is royally invoked by the Pencerino to make it so. I am not holding my breath waiting for an”international community “ completely in the thrall of the cult of neoliberalism and austerity to actually do anything.

  19. Cratylus
    February 20, 2019 at 13:30

    The author writes: “What a job Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did in Europe last week. If the objective was to worsen an already critical trans–Atlantic rift and further isolate the U.S., they could not have returned to Washington with a better result.
    We might have to mark down this foray as among the clumsiest and most abject foreign policy FAILURES since President Donald Trump took office two years ago. ”
    Depends on how you look at it.
    If you see the US as the greatest threat to world peace, as most people in the world do, this was a great SUCCESS. It has weakened the US Empire and moved us closer to a genuine multipolar world.
    Congrats to the two Mikes (Pompeo and Pence) and to you too John. Even such worthless creatures and poor excuses for human beings can make a contribution.

    • Frederike
      February 20, 2019 at 16:16

      I like your statement.
      Could I just ask you whom you mean with “Congrats to the two Mikes (Pompeo and Pence) and to you too John. ”
      Who is John? (Maybe I missed something?)

    • Frederike
      February 20, 2019 at 16:17

      Bolton> I get it. Sorry to be so dense.

    • michael
      February 20, 2019 at 19:50

      Agreed. Clumsily, transparently our foreign policy has become clear to the EU and the world (it is mostly based on Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s needs), not just since Trump, but since Reagan. The veil has been lifted and all the previous BS and talk of the shining city on the hill is now recognized as political gaslighting and self aggrandizing.
      A slight correction to “the more than eight years of sanctions” on Syria: there are two current National “Emergencies” sets of sanctions on Syria going back to 2004. If Trump had lost, a no fly zone would likely have been implemented in the country, forcing the EU to join another coalition against their self interest. It is much easier to say “NO!” to the abominable Trump than to the slick Obama or the psychopathic but respected Hillary.

  20. February 20, 2019 at 12:39

    Just in case Europeans, with short memories, needed the dots to be connected, the Russian President, with time on his hands now that the mid-terms are done with, told the Duma that, when the INF treaty ceases to apply, command and control centres in Europe will have to be targeted in order to deter first strike threats from the west.
    In other words if the United States puts missiles into European countries the capitals of those countries, and other potential HQ sites, will become high priority targets for Russian missiles.
    The US is well past the point at which it jeopardises generations of effort to reduce European countries to satellite status, all of which, money, influence, propaganda/ideology, will be lost once the electorate realises that it could now be annihilated, in a minute, should there be an error which triggers an automatic response from Russia.
    The nuclear war, long feared, has never been closer.
    But that is great news for idiots like Pompeo and Pence who believe that Armageddon is greatly to be desired, since it could bring the Messiah in its wake.

    • Andrew Thomas
      February 20, 2019 at 14:17

      Right on, bevin. Despite the enormous amount of clearly visible evidence to the contrary, the “international community “ is acting as if the US governing elite is sane. It is not. It is a death cult that insists that every living thing be a member.

    • John2o2o
      February 21, 2019 at 11:29

      The US government elite is indeed insane, but Bevin’s comment is not to be applauded. I get it, he’s an atheist. Good for him.

      I am not an atheist, but I do not in any way support the likes of Pompeo and Pence.

      Bevin’s comment is a bigoted rant and and insult to Christians.

    • Broompilot
      February 21, 2019 at 15:13

      I’m with John.

    • thestarl
      February 24, 2019 at 01:10

      In that you believe in a book of made up BS

    • John2o2o
      February 21, 2019 at 11:25

      Nuclear war is great news for no-one. The most pacifist church is the Catholic church.

      Have you considered applying for a job in Trump’s government Bevin?

  21. February 20, 2019 at 12:33

    First, let’s acknowledge the people’s right to choose its president. Trump’s incompetence is probably something we should live with until 2020;

    Having said that, the anti-hysteria and Trump’s blundering may turn out well for the world.

    It is time for Europe to stop acting like a vassal state and Trump may accomplish that by his bullying and blundering.

    It is time for the world to recognize the need to act independent of the United States when it continues to insist on dividing the world into its allies and enemies.

    Trump deserves credit by forcing the issues like Europe’s relations with Russia, Iran and China. It’s like a light bulb going off. Like the rest of the world saying we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore.

    Have to say I think we are witnessing the dividends of that guy Putin who stood up and said you’re not my boss or anybody’s boss. It took awhile to catch on but with Trump’s help, we may see a Uncle Sam who stops and looks in the mirror. Not that simple, but what is happening, if we can keep a desperate US from pulling the trigger, is good thing.

    • Skip Scott
      February 20, 2019 at 14:13

      Herman-

      I have thought the same myself. It is ironic that Trump may inadvertently do some real good. He has laid bare the shenanigans of the “Deep State” which became unhinged at the thought of detente with Russia, and quite a few people are seeing through the psyop that is RussiaGate. His buffoonery and boorishness has made many European leaders reconsider their vassal status, and they are thinking of looking out for their own citizens’ welfare for a change. Here we are seeing that no matter who is president, our foreign policy continues to be determined by the Oligarchy. Obama’s “hope and change” was “more of the same”, and Trump’s MAGA is too. The rich get richer, the forever war continues, and the middle class steadily shrinks. Maybe the average voter will see through the two party flimflam for what it is, and finally demand change. We might soon come to a tipping point where a third party candidate could have a real shot. Undoing the two party monopoly and reining in the war machine is the only way to open the door to real change.

    • michael
      February 20, 2019 at 20:20

      Germany is the only functional leader of the EU, they need Russian natural gas to replace their lignite coal for some time. Merkel and other East Germans have no illusions about but a good understanding of Putin and Russia, and both countries see free trade and a multipolar world in their self interest.
      I don’t even see a hope for two REAL parties in America, let alone three. Just depressing entertainment.

    • OlyaPola
      February 21, 2019 at 10:37

      “First, let’s acknowledge the people’s right to choose its president. Trump’s incompetence is probably something we should live with until 2020;

      Having said that, the anti-hysteria and Trump’s blundering may turn out well for the world.”

      https://consortiumnews.com/2019/02/14/the-most-dangerous-weapon-ever-rolls-off-the-nuclear-assembly-line/

      OlyaPola
      February 17, 2019 at 5:33 am
      “I think many of us have long since realised that “The most dangerous weapon”for the next war is the media.”

      Whilst many practitioners continue to realise that ““The most dangerous weapon has been and continues to be the human brain in interaction” without prejudice/pre-judgement on to whom it is the most dangerous weapon.”

      rgl
      February 15, 2019 at 12:11 am
      Follow the cash. The truckloads and truckloads and truckloads and truckloads of cash dispensed to congress-critters to legislate bigger and better boom.

      Understand the obscene amounts of money that (some) people make off of nuke weapons – weapons period! – and you will understand why they will *not* “Stop the madness”.

      The American arms industry is the *only* sector of the economy firing on all cylinders. They cannot afford to give up that cash. They’re next to broke.”

      “OlyaPola
      February 18, 2019 at 2:29 pm
      “The American arms industry is the *only* sector of the economy firing on all cylinders.”

      Perhaps a cursory investigation of design faults, design modifications during production, re-work rates, productivity rates, production phasing and cost-overruns may prove illuminating?”

      https://www.globalresearch.ca/shocking-quotes-from-high-ranking-government-officials-on-unaccounted-for-military-spending/5669203

      ————
      https://consortiumnews.com/2019/02/19/u-s-and-china-redefining-the-terms-of-war/

      mike k
      February 19, 2019 at 4:26 pm

      “This is the world we are now living in.”

      “If we cannot create a world based on sharing and cooperation, we will be destroyed by our selfishness.”

      “Destroyed” is a derivation of win/lose binary and we the people hold these truths to be self-evident.

      Wise strategists would likely formulate the phrase as “…. we/they will continue to be transcended by our/their hubris whether a world based on sharing and cooperation including some of “we/they” or none of “we/they” is created or not, since such creation will benefit from our complicity but will not necessarily require our concious participation .”

      “Exceptionalists” tend to assign significances to themselves that others do not assign to them, but have difficulty “believing” this as a function of their continuing hubris.

      OlyaPola
      February 20, 2019 at 5:19 am
      ““U.S. and China Redefining the Terms of War”

      “All coercive social relations are war (coercive interactions) but war being interaction is never a zero sum game although the opponents seek to evangelise this notion, where as others are not enmazed in win/lose binaries or in attempts to deny time.”

      Consequently those pretending to be strategists are increasingly resorting to the conflation and use of we/them and of civilisation/destruction (apres nous le deluge), them including but not restricted to Mr. Bolton, Mr. Pompero, Mr. Pence, and Mr. Trump in the hope of using “their populations” as human shields, as some suggest Israeli has done and continues to do in respect of “their populations” both within and without the state of Israel.

      ———

      https://consortiumnews.com/2019/02/19/patrick-lawrence-pompeo-pence-the-alienation-of-europe/#comments

      OlyaPola
      February 20, 2019 at 8:52 am

      “the two officials could not have done a better job”

      There is always room for improvement but the opponents are always helpful.

      On various ocassions some even considered nominating some opponents for the Nobel Peace prize in recognition of their efforts, but some thought this ill mannered, whilst some were lost for choice and others were doubtful on the benefits of competition.

      The proposed wording of the citation was suggested as appromiately “For their efforts as pretend strategists and useful evangelists in encouraging/facilitating the transcendence of “The United States of America” through hubris.

      Enjoy your journey.

    • OlyaPola
      February 22, 2019 at 03:16

      “..the opponents are always helpful.“

      On the prevalence and levels of saturation facilitating useful foolery.

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51140.htm

    • February 21, 2019 at 17:56

      basically you are right, in what you are saying Herman. Except that it seems to me, that you have not accounted for the fact, that virtually all European politicians are American vassals, who owe their political career to transatlantic institutions like “Atlantic bridge” or “Council on foreign relations”. Like i.e. Angela Merkel, – she may be at odds with Trump, – but not with the American political elites. They hope, that they can somehow survive the Trump era – and then return to the “safe and good old times” – of Clintons, Obamas etc. ( but that will not happen)
      I am German and I confess, that I preferred Trump to Clinton. Even to Obama.

    • OlyaPola
      February 22, 2019 at 03:57

      “OlyaPola
      February 21, 2019 at 10:37 am

      Temporarily disappeared 22nd February 2019 03:30 am EST

      “as some suggest Israeli has done and continues to do in respect of “their populations” both
      within and without the state of Israel.

      In illustration:

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51148.htm

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51145.htm

      https://www.globalresearch.ca/fraught-times-for-europes-jews-now-advised-to-reconsider-their-unqualified-support-for-israel/5669269

  22. Rob
    February 20, 2019 at 12:32

    Sometimes I cannot decide whether the likes of Pompeo and Pence are dumb or evil, and then it dawns on me that they are both. In any event, they are indeed hastening the end of American world hegemony, which should be a good thing, so long as the U.S. does not perform an act of murder/suicide, such as starting a nuclear war, as it goes down the tubes.

    • Rob
      February 20, 2019 at 12:37

      Regarding my comment above about a nuclear war, it bears noting that both Pompeo and Pence are Christian fanatics who believe in end-time prophecies. To them, a nuclear holocaust might not seem like a bad outcome.

    • Frederike
      February 20, 2019 at 16:27

      “and then it dawns on me that they are both.” Yes, they are stupid and evil. Often one state of being creates the other. And they have no idea what it would be like to be the victim of a nuclear holocaust. They assume they and their family are immune.

    • michael
      February 20, 2019 at 20:26

      Reagan was sending Islam fundamentalist fanatics Bibles, George W was also waiting for the Rapture, and Hillary was in training to become a pastor of the United Methodist Church (until, in character, her sponsor and mentor had his book pulled for plagiarism). Faith-based, evidence-free mindset, theology or otherwise (Russiagate?) is an important component of American psyche and policy.

    • Sulo
      February 20, 2019 at 21:09

      Because Pence and Pompeo hold incredibly stupid ideas and do incredibly stupid things does not necessarily mean that they “stupid” in the common sense of the word. They are zealots, and what’s worse, christian zealots, and that makes them incapable of rational thought and all the more dangerous.

    • John2o2o
      February 21, 2019 at 11:31

      No Christian believes that nuclear war is a good thing, bigot.

    • Skip Scott
      February 21, 2019 at 11:38

      Onward Christian Soldier? The Spanish Inquisition? Salem witch burnings? The Vatican/Nazi connection during WWII. I could go on. I had five years of Catholic school, the priests were sexual predators, and the nuns beat us regularly. I suppose you could argue that they weren’t “true” Christians, along with Pompeo and Pence, but they were members of the church “in good standing.”

    • Josep
      February 22, 2019 at 00:11

      He did not mention Catholicism. Catholicism is not the same as Protestantism or Orthodoxy.

  23. February 20, 2019 at 12:00

    We are supposed to “celebrate”:
    The “Achievements” of “Our Leaders”
    https://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2019/02/the-achievements-of-our-leaders.html

  24. bobzz
    February 20, 2019 at 11:36

    “The mass MIGRATIONS from Syria, Libya and elsewhere have made this evident in the most tragic fashion possible.”

    A very fine article but for the word in all caps. The mass movement is not a voluntary ‘migration’ of the willing; it is a movement of REFUGEES forced out of their homes by American military meddling in MErn affairs at the behest of Israel and oil tycoons.

  25. TomG
    February 20, 2019 at 09:26

    In my years of management, I always thought it sound advice to hire people smarter than me. The narcissist in chief loves to scrape the barrel as born in fact by the idiots Pompeo and Pence. If it steers other countries from endorsing our idiocy then that is at least something. When it comes to European refugees the EU countries care. Venezuela? Well, not so much. Endorse regime change–yet again.

  26. Kevin Brooke Hudson
    February 20, 2019 at 09:22

    Pence and Pompeo may have alienated Europe further with their pompous pronouncements which may be viewed as a failure for US foreign policy, but I couldn’t be more pleased to see Europe develop some backbone and stand up to the disastrous Foreign Policies of the US. I hope I witnessed the beginning of the end of US unilateralism.

    • Sam F
      February 20, 2019 at 12:32

      A failure for US oligarchy foreign policy is a win for the US and the rest of the world.
      Let’s hope we see the end of NATO as an excuse for US bully tyrants to “defend” us with greedy aggression.
      Perhaps that will lead to strengthening the UN and isolating it from the economic power of US tyrants.
      The UN would be far stronger if it taxed its members instead of begging for support, on pain of embargo by all members, and monitored for corrupt influence.

  27. Alan Ross
    February 20, 2019 at 08:54

    Pompeo and creepy Pence show that arrogance makes for stupidity.

  28. OlyaPola
    February 20, 2019 at 08:52

    “the two officials could not have done a better job”

    There is always room for improvement but the opponents are always helpful.

    On various ocassions some even considered nominating some opponents for the Nobel Peace prize in recognition of their efforts, but some thought this ill mannered, whilst some were lost for choice and others were doubtful on the benefits of competition.

    Not being prone to cutting Gordian knots, some decided to have tea and cakes (blinis with honey included in the definition cakes), instead.

  29. GKJames
    February 20, 2019 at 08:51

    At first glance, palpable is the sense that these cheap phrase makers — “The three H’s…”; really? — are talking to themselves, like people in search of car keys they’re holding. A closer look suggests they’re signaling to the only two constituents who matter: Evangelicals and Israelis, a/k/a Obtuse Central. What to do when the opposition at home is on board, and the opposition abroad far too polite?

    • Sam F
      February 20, 2019 at 12:27

      But “the opposition at home is on board” may be a mass media illusion, whose acceptance may be changing.

    • GKJames
      February 20, 2019 at 16:42

      Maybe. But a survey of Congress shows that Democrats, too, continue to be obsessed with Iran-as-source-of-all-evil and regime-change there.

  30. February 20, 2019 at 08:20

    Here’s my latest piece as well. Would enjoy your feedback, Patrick, as well as that of the fine peanut gallery assembled here at CN. Thank y’all!

    http://opensociet.org/2019/02/20/can-bernie-sanders-win-dr-jekyll-mr-hyde-answers-this-question-for-us

  31. February 20, 2019 at 07:36

    Spot on. Thank you Patrick Lawrence. Well done as usual. The Trump regime is Hanlon’s razor in action.

  32. KiwiAntz
    February 20, 2019 at 06:31

    The “Exceptional Nation” has now become the “Detestable Nation”! The Puppet show display by Pence & Pompeo to rap Europeans over the knuckles for everything from not exiting the Iran Nuclear deal to not stopping the Nordstream pupeline & trying to contain Hiawei is blowing up in the Trump Administration’s faces as these so called Allies or Vassals of the American Empire are refusing to tow the line? Trump has alienated & disgusted it’s Allies, so much that they can now see how deranged, unworkable & destructive is the Americans Foreign Policy & its bankrupt disfunctional , delusional Policies? It’s ridiculous, irrational & pathological hatred for Iran has shown that the US is the main Terrorist Nation on Earth not Iran who has never invaded anyone unlike the hypocritical US Empire! Meanwhile in Sochi, the real Diplomacy for peace is taking place with Russia, Iran, Turkey & Syria having won the War against the US Empire & its cowardly, crony white helmeted, ragtag bunch of proxy Army misfits made up of Israel, ISIS, SDF & the Kurds now scurrying out of the Country like rats leaving a sinking ship! And what was really laughable about VP Pences speech in Warsaw was the defeating silence to the pauses in that speech expecting people to clap on demand which never happened? How embarrassing & really showed the lack of respect & utter contempt that everyone has for America these days!

    • OlyaPola
      February 24, 2019 at 04:55

      “like rats leaving a sinking ship”

      When rats leave a sinking ship where do they go?

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