Pence, Mattis and Kelly walk into this bar in Munich… – TTG


MUNICH (AP) — The Latest on U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Europe (all times local): 11:20 p.m.

“Vice President Mike Pence has met with the president of Ukraine and assured him of U.S. support. Pence’s office says he “underscored U.S. support” for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and underlined that the U.S. does not recognize “Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation” of Crimea.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's office says during Saturday's meeting in Munich his country "received a powerful signal that the U.S. stands with Ukraine, that Ukraine is among the top priorities for the new U.S. administration."

President Donald Trump's stated aim of improving relations with Russia had raised concerns in Ukraine and elsewhere that he would lift sanctions imposed on Moscow for its intervention in Ukraine.”

6:05 p.m.

“Vice President Mike Pence is reaffirming the U.S. commitment to the security of the Baltic states in a meeting with the presidents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Pence met with the leaders on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. Pence’s office says the vice president noted the Trump administration’s support for the collective defense of NATO allies and the need of NATO to counter terrorism. Pence’s office says the leaders expressed their concerns over the ongoing violence in eastern Ukraine and discussed the need to make progress toward the full implementation of the Minsk agreement to resolve the conflict between government forces and Russia-backed separatists.” (Associated Press)


“Pence's tough line on Russia, calling on Moscow to honour the international peace accords that seek to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine, were welcomed by Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz. Lavrov said after a meeting with his French, German and Ukrainian counterparts that there would be a new ceasefire from Feb. 20. "Know this: the United States will continue to hold Russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground, which as you know, President Trump believes can be found," Pence said.” (Reuters)


A truly wise-assed thought came to me as I read about these three acting as near spitting images of the emissaries of the Borg Hegemony that preceded them. It was as if they were a trio of Hedley Lamarrs to Trump’s Governor Le Petomane, running the real foreign policy while the oblivious Governor signs what’s put in front of him. Work. Work. Work. Work.


Having gotten that snark out of my system, I'm hoping Pence and the others are just trying to calm the spooked herd of Europeans before Trump can put a new saddle on them. Maybe even Trump now realizes the depth of anti-Russian hysteria here and in Europe and has decided to proceed slowly and slyly in his shock therapy for Europe and his pragmatic outreach to Russia. I'm more concerned with the stepped up aggressive rhetoric towards Iran and the continuing coddling of the Saudis. Those policies seem to enjoy widespread, unapologetic support throughout this Administration, this Congress and the American public. That's going to throw a big wrench into developing a better relationship with Russia. Lavrov appears as exasperated as I am.


Well, it's only been one month and it's been a lot more noise than action in that month. We'll see.


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85 Responses to Pence, Mattis and Kelly walk into this bar in Munich… – TTG

  1. Peter in Toronto says:

    It appears that the Deep State is intent on conducting it’s broad foreign policy objectives regardless of who happens to be in the White House. They’ve deposed Flynn, and arguably reigned Trump in, leaving him with few allies to reform the bureaucracy and plot the new course.
    I hope I’m wrong, but I think we’re seeing the limits of the real power of the institution of POTUS.

  2. Sam Peralta says:

    Trump was back in campaign mode today in Florida and really hitting back on the media. Maybe that is the first step. To completely discredit the Borg media that is a big purveyor of fake news. Considering the anti-Russia hysteria it is probably most sensible for him to work behind the scenes to put together a deal with Putin that could be solidified when they meet.
    I will not under-estimate Trump. I recall the media stories on how his campaign was in chaos and disarray. I also recall all the polls consistently showing how he could not win the electoral college. I also recall the constant attacks on his personality, behavior, temperament, etc. Yet, he connected to Joe6Pac and pulled that astounding electoral victory.

  3. wisedupearly says:

    Trump’s relationship with and selection of Pence is rather strange given his criticism of Trump prior to the election. How detailed were Trump’s orders to Pence re. political statements in Europe?

  4. J says:

    With Kissinger being a mouthpiece for the Borg, curious how Trump changed his tune on some key items ‘after’ his meeting with Kissinger. Did Kissinger threaten Trump unless he complied with the Borg? Damn sure looked like it. And I’m not the only one who noticed it.

  5. Cee says:

    I hope your assessment how Trump is proceedly is correct. He shouldn’t turn his back on Pence for one moment.
    Some good news. I see that one of HRC’s boys is gone after some leaking at the meeting.
    Deare comes to the post with a checkered record of support for and involvement with some of the Western Hemisphere’s most notorious human-rights abusers.
    He’s a central figure in former Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin’s request for a Department of Defense inspector general’s investigation into what role the U.S. Southern Command’s William Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies played in the 2009 military coup in Honduras.
    Read more here:

  6. Fredw says:

    In my calmer moments, I hope that this is all about bringing “the spooked herd of Europeans” into a more realistic view of their own interests and responsibilities for the future of Europe. They can’t just assume that the US will take on all the responsibilities and costs of their security. I approve of “spooking” them a bit. In my less hopeful moments I wonder how much of this is calculation and how much is and how much is just an export of administration infighting onto an international stage. It is not clear that the various policy ideas are part of any coordinated plan.

  7. Fred says:

    You left out Senator McCain. His speech was a real piece of work. Apparently it was the immigrants who came accross open borders who made western civilization, everyone else was just holding up progress.

  8. turcopolier says:

    Lavrov seemed pretty clear to me in saying that the “post cold war era is over.” I would take it from that that the fences are going back up unless there is a private signal from the WH. In the context of a Resistance seeking grounds to impeach POTUS as a traitor and spy this is not likely to happen. It is striking that McCain is always strident against any policy of relaxation of tensions. IMO he has some mental problem and never got over his defeat in running for president. pl

  9. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Kissinger expounds a widely held theory of international relations based on balance of fear, also known as balance of power. It is a consistent theory and the only theory in town. And he keeps on referring to the European Historical experience.
    I think that theory is not a complete theory; it cannot explain the break-down of the Peace of Vienna and the subsequent World War I.
    Furthermore, in places such as the Persian Gulf and Far East it fundamental assumption of Peace through Balance of Power is not applicable since there is no local power to counter Iran or China. In such cases, that theory suggest an off-shore balance be brought in, in both cases the United States – which, in my opinion, only aggravates the local situations as the midgets start having orchids and the local powerful state starts balancing against US.
    What is need is the development of Peace Interest; that is, conditions under which Peace would always be the more attractive option.

  10. David Lentini says:

    Maybe even Trump now realizes the depth of anti-Russian hysteria here and in Europe and has decided to proceed slowly and slyly in his shock therapy for Europe and his pragmatic outreach to Russia.
    I hope so too, and won’t be too surprised if this is the case. Trump is not the fool so many like to think he is; he’s shown quite often that he’s crazy like a fox. During the campaign, he could be direct to make clear the real threat from the truly crazy Hillary. Now, he has to play both sides of the street as he works to forward his policies. The question is whether he’s keeping Putin informed enough to keep the lid on.
    I’m more concerned with the stepped up aggressive rhetoric towards Iran and the continuing coddling of the Saudis.
    Agreed. But when I think of the decades of coddling that started with FDR, I have to keep in mind that we can’t just flip a switch. I suspect that we can’t go forward until the intelligence agencies (especially the CIA) and State have been cleared of at least the major Saudi agents and sympathizers.

  11. Valissa says:

    Great comment! Especially your last sentence, which bears repeating.
    “What is need is the development of Peace Interest; that is, conditions under which Peace would always be the more attractive option.”
    A main reason why the Democratic party has been losing members the past 8 years (to 3rd parties or to non-voting or simply declaring themselves to be an Independent instead of a Democrat) is the party’s increased devotion to war and loss of interest in peace as a goal.
    Until a genuine peace movement arises, with a significant percentage of citizens involved from all political parties, why should any politicians care about peace? Except in the abstract. It’s not profitable to them or some of their big donors.
    Can a BIG narrative be spun about how the Empire will be stronger due to more peace and less war? And will the Borg participate in that narrative? A look at the history of previous empires and the elites that run them indicates this is unlikely.

  12. Clonal Antibody says:

    This highlights very clearly how elected politicians and political appointees are often really captives of the “bureaucracy” and its wants and desires. The elected politician is often clueless about the actual lay of the land, and can often be conned into adopting policies that are contrary to the best interests of their constituents. The British comedy “Yes Minister” followed by its sequel “Yes Prime Minister” while portrayed as a farce, is in fact often real, and deadly serious.
    So unless the politician is strong willed, has good advisers outside the bureaucracy, and is willing to “drain the swamp” by actual firings and criminal prosecutions, nothing will actually change. I do not know where Donald Trump lies wrt this. It is still early.

  13. Valissa says:

    I don’t. And it’s not my job to figure it out. There’s a reason I left the Dems years ago and became non-partisan/anti-partisan. I tried the whole netroots strategy of “more and better Democrats” from 2005-2008. Observed the netroots was completely impotent to change the direction of empire, and those that made it to the top of the netroots almost all sold out for “access.”
    For a time I thought maybe a new political party that was antiwar and anti-corporate would be more effective. There have been numerous attempts to start third parties and there are a number of small 3rd parties floating around that have zero political power. The Greens and Libertarians are the largest of those, but the hold of the duopoly is strong, as are the lifelong allegiances many people have to their political tribe.
    Becoming a student of history turned me into a realist. If you can show me an example of a previous empire where the peaceniks were able to rise up and stifle the imperial urge I’d love to see it.

  14. Outrage Beyond says:

    One certainly wonders if Pence will be on the ticket next time around.

  15. Sam Peralta says:

    Trump has demonstrated through the campaign that he can and does fire even his top managers. Second, he has been consistent about a few things during and after his campaign. One of those is that it would be beneficial to have a positive arrangement with Russia, even while acknowledging that it would be more politically expedient to take a tougher stance.
    He is strong willed and while the Borg media loves to play him as a buffoon, I think he is much more street smart than he is given credit.
    While the IC & the military may try to roll him, like they were successful with Obama, his instincts and personal convictions may provide the necessary brakes. At the end he knows that nothing will change as far as the Borg media & punditry attacks are concerned as well as the fifth column in the bureaucracy and the warmongers in both parties. He’s gonna have to be in campaign mode, directly rallying his voters throughout his term.

  16. Valissa says:

    To be clear james, I said a peace movement would need to arise. I did not mention a political party in conjunction with that. I think it needs to be unaffiliated with any political party… for any remote chance of success, it would need to be a single issue movement, IMO.

  17. turcopolier says:

    ok. You are james2 pl

  18. Valissa says:

    “And Britain did semi-voluntarily relinquish its empire after WWII.”
    Yes, but not because of antiwar protestors or a peace movement, IMO. Not completely sure, but I think the costs of two world wars in a relatively short period of time (plus loss of colonies) had a hugely negative effect on British Empire’s ability to sustain itself financially.
    I read Overthrow a few years ago. Just because a particular president resists a particular effort to get involved in a particular war doesn’t say anything about the overall longer term trends. All presidents make decisions about where in the world to use/deploy the military or CIA based on many factors. Sometimes public pressure has a big impact on a particular decision, but I maintain that the overall trend of empire is not much effected.
    Eisenhower famously gave his warning about the military-industrial complex, yet he was very much enthusiastically a part of multiple efforts to overthrow the Syrian government of his day with the support of the very same M-I complex he later chided. Ultimately he was forced to back out of his Syrian plans, but that was because of the successful efforts of Syrian and Russian intelligence services. Had nothing to do with US citizens protesting against it or any peace movement.
    For a good overview of the long term evolution of war and how humans have dealt with it, I highly recommend “War in Human Civilization” by Azar Gat.
    [from a comment by K. Kehleron January 4, 2007] “This treatment of the history of war and warfare, or ‘human belligerency’ as Gat puts it, would overwhelm the non-specialist (it clocks in at about 820 pages**), if it weren’t for the author’s ability to synthesize material, sum up scholarship and, last but not least, write some of the clearest and most lucid prose I’ve seen in the social sciences in ages. He makes forays into evolutionary theory, state formation, antiquity, technology and the rise of science, prehistory, the transition to agriculture, democratic peace theory, etc. The chapter on tribal warfare (in Agraria and Pastoralia, as Gat puts it) is — as the saying has it — worth the price of admission alone. His careful demolition of radical Rousseauist idealism is equally fascinating, but he is no simplistic, knee-jerk Hobbesian.”
    **in reality only about 700 pages of reading, the rest is endnotes and bibliography.

  19. Mark Logan says:

    Love the metaphor. Blazing Saddles is a treasure trove of humorous ones, but I’ll suggest that Bannon is closer to being his Hedly LaMarr. It is he and his like minded Miller who have slipped badly written orders under his nose for signing…and thereby caused him trouble. Also drawn from that movie: Boy, is Bannon strict! He has been checking all appointees under the new cabinet members for any statements made which are critical of Trump and demanding all who have made such be fired. This too will likely cause trouble, however well it served to keep Abrams out of State.
    I think there is an exploitable advantage for the Pence-led Borgists. Being experienced they are less likely to cause him trouble, and those who do will be the first he will feel a need to rein in or boot out.

  20. Keith Harbaugh says:

    You can read the McCain speech here:
    Don’t Count America Out
    speech by John McCain at the Munich Security Conference, 2017-02-17
    It was covered by the Washington Post at
    That speech proves to me that McCain is either certifiably insane or a certifiable idiot.
    The poor man doesn’t have the slightest idea of what the West has been, historically.
    Consider the following excerpt (with emphasis added) from McCain’s speech:

    The next panel asks us to consider whether the West will survive. In recent years, this question would invite accusations of hyperbole and alarmism. Not this year. If ever there were a time to treat this question with a deadly seriousness, it is now.
    This question was real, half a century ago, for Ewald von Kleist and the founders of this conference. Indeed, it is why they first started coming to Munich. They did not assume the West would survive, because they had seen its near annihilation. They saw open markets give way to beggar-thy-neighbor protectionism, and the poverty that imposed. They saw a world order fracture into clashing ethnic and nationalist passions, and the misery that wrought. They saw the rise of hostile great powers, and the failure of deterrence, and the wars that followed.
    From the ashes of the most awful calamity in human history was born what
    we call the West — a new, and different, and better kind of world order
    … one based not on blood-and-soil nationalism, or spheres of influence, or conquest of the weak by the strong, but rather on universal values, rule of law, open commerce, and respect for national sovereignty and independence.
    Indeed, the entire idea of the West is that it open to any person or any nation that honors and upholds these values.

    [von Kleist’s generation] would be alarmed by an increasing turn away from universal values and toward old ties of blood, and race, and sectarianism.
    They would be alarmed by the hardening resentment we see toward immigrants, and refugees, and minority groups, especially Muslims.

    The proper response to McCain’s speech is to give a better definition of “the West”.
    Wikipedia provides some articles on that subject at
    In fact, maybe McCain was too busy carousing at the Naval Academy to learn this,
    but many used to call the West “Western Christendom”.
    McCain writes off all the glories and achievements of the West before 1945; rather, he denigrates that period.
    This really illustrates the obsession with the Holocaust of our current “elite”.
    In my opinion, the real threat to what I consider the West is not nationalism, but immigration.

  21. mike says:

    Agree with your Bannon/Lamarr assessment.
    Bannon’s strategic initiatives cabal inside the NSC is one of the reasons Admiral Harward turned down the job as National Security Advisor. He is reported as telling a friend of his that he would have had no direct access to POTUS, but would have had to go though Bannon, plus he could not pick his own NSC team. Said the job looked to be a “sh!t sandwich”.
    Bannon and his group inside the NSC bring back some bad vibes. Bannon’s group smells a lot like Wolfowitz’z ‘Office of Special Plans’ (OSP) that stovepiped raw Iraq info to the Bush WH without vetting. Or maybe Doug Feith’s ‘Office of Strategic Influence’ that mislead US newspapers with false stories by planting them initially in foreign papers. An earlier version of ‘fake news’

  22. Sam Peralta says:

    McCain is certifiably insane! I don’t get what the people of Arizona see in this guy to keep re-electing him.
    Rand Paul is spot on.
    “Everything that he says about the president is colored by his own personal dispute he’s got running with President Trump, and it should be taken with a grain of salt, because John McCain’s the guy who’s advocated for war everywhere,” Paul said on ABC’s “This Week.”
    “He would bankrupt the nation. We’re very lucky John McCain’s not in charge, because I think we’d be in perpetual war,” Paul added.

  23. Sam Peralta says:

    Bannon could turn out to be another Borgist just like Wolfowitz or Feith. OTOH, he could also turn out to be the Borg slayer. We don’t know yet.
    He’s definitely being projected as the next Darth Vader in the media with many a breathless column, but, I really doubt he’ll be another warmonger like Cheney, McCain, Hillary, Susan Rice and the rest of the Borg crew.

  24. Cvillereader says:

    Bannon may not be qualified to sit on the NSC, but by all accounts he is not a Borgist. The extreme attacks on him by the MSM should be evidence enough of that.
    Curiously, there have been many recent efforts to link him to conservatives in the Vatican who gave voiced serious disagreements with many of the ideas put forth by the current Pope.
    Something strange is afoot.

  25. kooshy says:

    Mike IMO, there is one difference that you don’t count in your analysis/comparison, that is DT is not GWB, Bush Junior had no experience of doing anything, making anything, managing anything, IMO his governorship was just daddy’s push/help for jump start to presidency, and making son & dad history, IMO Borg loved the idea since he was an easy toss over having Dick over watching. IMO this guy is an ego maniac, which could be good or bad for the country but he is no GWB. he has done stuff built stuff that you may not like or approve, but he has experience dealing with people and employees.

  26. Cvillereader,
    Bannon is a raving Islamophobe and a true clash of civilizations type. In that way he shares the Borgist crusader instinct. He also has professed that a war with China is inevitable. If he’s not a Borgist, he’s a first cousin of the Borg.
    He expressed his support for the old testament Catholic fundamentalists who are resisting Pope Francis and his message of mercy and inclusiveness. Bannon believes that “the Judeo-Christian West is in a crisis.” He calls for a return of “the church militant” that will “fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity.” In this, he probably identifies with the old crusaders.
    As a Lithuanian whose ancestors allegedly rode with Jalal ad-Din and his Lipka Tartars at the battle of Grunwald, I share no love for the crusaders. There is an old family legend that my ancestors took down and killed a crusading Teutonic Knight at that battle.

  27. kooshy says:

    You are right that is one reason I left the Dems, IMO the problem and change to DNC was instigated by southern Dems of DLC, they changed the party.

  28. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Governor of Texas is a weak administrative position, real work is done elsewhere.

  29. Cvillereader says:

    Mercy is an interesting concept. Catholics believe in God’s mercy, but also in the need for repentance. There are many serious Catholics who are not extremists that believe Francis has crossed the boundaries of what has been accepted Catholic teaching for thousands of years. I assume you are not Catholic, and are probably not familiar with, and probably not interested in the theological issues behind recent disagreements in the RCC.
    There are quite frequent reports coming out of Rome, though about Francis’ authoritarian style of ruling that are quite at variance with his public pronouncements about Mercy.
    Just yesterday, the Pope gave a homily in which he denied the reality of Islamic terrorism. How do you feel about that claim?
    As an aside, there are claims being made by some Catholics that the NSA was involved in spying on the Vatican when it held the conclave to elect Bergoglio as Pope. There are also claims that there was some kind of coordinated attack on the Vatican Bank.

  30. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Are you certain that Bannon has invoked the non-existent Judaeo-Christian Tradition?
    Is he a Catholic?

  31. mike says:

    kooshy –
    That was Mr Logan’s comparison. But I do agree with him.
    As for your other point, I agree 100% with your view of Junior.
    On the other hand IMHO there is little if any difference between a Cheney overwatch or a Pence overwatch.

  32. mike says:

    TTG –
    Grunwald!! The Golden Horde!! How can we convince you to write a post on that battle?

  33. Cvillereader says:

    He’s been married and divorced three times. He is an unlikely ally of conservative cardinals who believe In the Catholic doctrine regarding the indissolubility of valid marriages.

  34. Lex Lutheran says:

    Please also do not forget that where the British left, they made sure they left politicans who were sympathetic to their world view. British proxies, by any other name. Plus the British Commonwealth still exists. Remember also that the Governer-General of australia has the power from the Queen to dissolve Parliament. He has used this power, see Gof Whitlam. If Trump was President of Australia………

  35. Bandolero says:

    As far as I understand the speech – read from a teleprompter – by VPOTUS Mike Pence in Munich seems to have been a bit more tricky that as it was widely reported. Josh Rogin, who was in Munich for the Borgist Wapo, quoted from it like this, quote begin:
    “… “Today, on behalf of President Trump, I bring you this assurance. The United States of America strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering in our commitment to our transatlantic alliance,” Pence said. “We have been faithful for generations — and as you keep faith with us, under President Trump we will always keep faith with you.” …”
    Quote End. Source:
    The mutual faith sentence quoted here was easy to miss, since it was almost buried in the applause of the sentence before. See yourself:
    But leading German magazine Spiegel interpreted that faith sentence as a diplomatically expressed threat read to be like “If you Europeans support Trump’s America, America will support you Europeans” (and unspoken: but if you do not support Trump than else).
    As it was in the Borgist Spiegel, the leading paper in Germany, one can be sure, each and every German politician has noticed that finesse in Pence’s Munich speeech.
    But even more interesting was what Pence didn’t say in Munich. There was in recent weeks quite a bit discomfort in some circles in Europe, because Trump said once the EU was only there to improve Germany’s trade power against the US, and Trump’s favorite candidate for US ambassador to EU would like to see many countries leaving the EU and the EU dissolved.
    So how did Mike Pence address that to assure the European elite that the US sees the EU as an important pillar of the western world order? As the Borgist noticed Pence didn’t mention the EU in his Munich speech at all…
    The EU elites may well receive that as an unspoken “declaration of war” by other means, or as a confirmation of their suspicion that Trump is going to shake things up in Europe.
    Since the expansionist EU is a big problem regarding spoiling good relations with Russia I don’t see it as a bad thing, but the Borgs surely see it different.

  36. Cvillereader,
    I am a Roman Catholic, eight years as an altar boy, graduate of a Jesuit high school and, for many years, was intent on becoming a Maryknoll missionary priest. I even attended a future priest camp run by the Marion Fathers in Stockbridge, MA. I consider myself a devotee of the message of Divine Mercy. I am quite familiar with the teachings of Pope Francis and the controversies surrounding those teachings. I expect the Pope to wield the authority of a hierarchical church. I’m with Papa Frank in the direction he is steering the Church.
    Pope Francis has been consistent in his message that terrorism is not consistent with true Islam or Judaism or Christianity. The jihadist pick and choose from the Koran and Hadiths to justify their actions. I’ll yield to Colonel Lang, Brigadier Ali and Babak Makkinejad to discuss the wisdom or folly of that.

  37. Farooq says:
    He is from an Irish Catholic Family. I have come to know quite a few Irish Catholics in US whose political thought is really perplexing.
    One moment it is clash of civilization , specifically the clash with Islam their single most bugaboo even though i don’t recall Muslims ever landing on Irish shores and doing to them what their fellow European “Judaeo christian” English did to them.
    Then suddenly religion stops meaning anything when it comes to co-religionist catholic Mexicans. Suddenly Anglo Saxon culture of their tormentors becomes the most defining feature for them.
    In fact even bible is pressed into service to abuse fellow catholic Mexican immigrants:
    Mark 7:27
    “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”
    Can you imagine the progeny of Irish immigrants who themselves used to be mentioned in the same vein as dogs by English using the same meme?–008.jpg?w=300&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=694e87b8f24480903f29847a41a92571
    By the way , i don’t think that this “confusion” applies to anyone or everyone with Irish heritage. I have a cousin who is half Irish American from his mother’s side and his folks seem to be well educated and well integrated in the most productive side of American way of life.

  38. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you for your comments.
    Another lost frightened kid in the woods..

  39. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Pope is trying to prevent a religious war between Islam and the Roman Catholic Church; a good idea for the Protestant champions of Israel to emulate.
    Do you have the text of the Pope’s homily to which you have referred?

  40. Cvillereader,
    In that case, Bannon should be more appreciative of Pope Francis. He’s working on reconciling divorcees with the Church.

  41. Cvillereader says:

    Funny how that is not the case, eh?
    Did you see the article in the WSJ a few weeks ago about how the Pope is now the leader of the global left?

  42. Cvillereader says:

    It wasn’t a homily, but it was in a speech that he gave yesterday. That speech was widely reported on.
    I can’t give you the text of the speech, but here is an article that discuses it.

  43. Sam Peralta says:

    Thanks for enlightening us about the media portrayals on the continent.
    I think many under-estimate Trump’s character and expect he’ll be rolled by the likes of Pence, Mattis, Pompeo, Coats & Bannon. As Jack posted Nassim Taleb’s tweet from a few days ago, he’s been boss his whole life. He has run an organization. So, is probably very familiar with setting objectives and monitoring performance.
    IMO, he doesn’t trust any of these guys. And will only trust his close family. That’s why I think its more important to pay attention to Jared Kushner & Ivanka Trump. Notice that they’re in most, if not all of the key meetings.
    I think it would be best to take with a grain of salt all the statements by Trump as well as his cabinet and focus on what they actually do. In particular how they work with the GOP in Congress in crafting legislation. I believe they will focus on the stuff they agree on first, like tax & regulatory reform where Trump & the GOP establishment are on the same page. The media will go hysterical that this will be a huge giveaway to big business, when in reality big business hardly pay any taxes and compliance is a very small cost for them right now. The folks that will likely benefit the most will be the smaller businesses.

  44. turcopolier says:

    Islam is not analogous to the RC Church. You are either IN the RC Church and accepting of the magisterium or you are not and may be in some kind of schismatic or heretical group. Islam is many things and many consensus (ijma’) groups although Islam generally wants to think itself one because God is one. pl

  45. mike says:

    thanks TTG.

  46. Babak Makkinejad and Cvillereader,
    Here’s the text of the Pope’s address (probably a written message) to a regional meeting of popular movements in Modesto, CA. The meeting appears to be sponsored by the Church.

  47. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In a fragment of that speech that I heard, he says that it is unjust to identify Islam with Violence.
    I agree with that statement and the sentiment behind it.
    I did not hear him using the word “terrorism” in that fragment.

  48. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Those ijma’ groups do not even accept the authority of Imam Ali in Nahj al Baliqa. From all apperances, their heads is full of that mush that Abu Hurairah concocted for M’awiyah, the foremost Historical Hero of Arabs.

  49. Babak Makkinejad says:

    OK, so I think the Pope is unwilling to call a spade a spade lest the ignoramus run with it.
    I must say that the Christian terrorism in Northern Ireland and Jewish terrorism in Palestine predated Islamic terrorism emanating from non-Slejuk part of Islam.
    And it is largely that the other non-Seljuks who are suffering from this terrorism.
    I suppose stating something like Terroristic-Non-Seljuk-Sunni-Muslims will not be as easy to read and grasp as Muslim terrorists.
    One must also remind oneself of the Hindu terrorism in Ceylon against the Buddhist government.

  50. Bandolero says:

    I completely agree that it’s uch more important to look what Trump and his guys do than what they say. The current media reports of Trump being incompetent, stupid and incapable seems to me a bit like claiming Mohammed Ali was an incompetent, stupid and incapable boxer because he often had his hands down – which experts agreed boxeers shouldn’t do. But even a casual look to his record reveals that Ali was a very savvy and capable boxer. A look on Trumps primary and general election record reveals the same about him: Trump is a very savvy political operator, and all “experts” claiming Trump has no idea of what he’s doing are liars or fools.
    Regarding the question what or whose interests Trump fights for I stick to looking on how the wars develop since Trump is US Commander in Chief. And what I hear from the development of the major war in Syria and Iraq looks pretty good, and so far I’m now quite optimistic for other wars like in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Yemen and Libya to turn around, too.
    By the way: did you notice that Merkel basically agreed in Munich with Trump that better relations with Russia would be a good thing? I think an understanding of Trump and Merkel regarding better relations with Russia could move the whole table around, in the US and worldwide. So, regarding the relation with Russia, it looks to me like Trump managed to start the long-awaited turnaround in Munich.

  51. Mark Logan says:

    Thanks. It’s very strange, for me, because I personally detest Trump, but I feel the best shot we currently have for sanity would be if by some magic both the Borg and Bannons were to be stripped away from him. He would thereby be forced to do his own thinking. When he applies his mind to issues he knows, such as his name marketing and real estate, he’s done fairly well in the thinking dept. What I like is his ability to shed, and sometimes shred, long existing doctrines. I feel we could really use a bit that.

  52. Ivan says:

    Henry Kissinger is like a hundred years old. His balance of power theory is something a ten-year old can develop. George Kennan had the decency to stay in retirement at the end of his long life and productive life.

  53. LeaNder says:

    This question was real, half a century ago, for Ewald von Kleist and the founders of this conference. Indeed, it is why they first started coming to Munich. They did not assume the West would survive, because they had seen its near annihilation.
    KH, if I recall correctly…* The Kuba crisis triggered the founding of the now renamed conference in 1962.
    In other words it feels he misuses von Kleist to make his alarmist argument.
    McCain writes off all the glories and achievements of the West before 1945; rather, he denigrates that period.
    Munich wouldn’t be the best of all places to make such a point. But I still don’t think that von Kleist would agree with McCain.
    * yes. Founded in 1962 as “Munich Wehrkundetagung” – military science conference.
    That was the same year anyway:

  54. LeaNder says:

    to have a positive arrangement with Russia
    SP, I appreciated that he challenged Hilary in that context. What I was not so sure about was what his precise statements ultimately signaled looked into closer. … something along the lines I either get the deal I want or I’ll walk out quickly again? Or for that matter under what pressure he was to put it that way?
    But one should never give up hope. 😉

  55. Fred says:

    Admiral Hayward told you that himself or do you have some other reliable source for that statement

  56. LeaNder says:

    I would appreciate Condi Rice in the list or some other “vulcans”.
    Not least since she made this curious comment in a Der Spiegel interview during her earliest visit over here, I seem to have problems to forget.
    not quite verbatim:
    After 1989 everyone wondered who would be our new enemy now,
    then 9/11 happened and everyone knew.
    By now it seems to be more obvious as at the time. If I may hesitatingly: But to what extend was it produced on the scale in the ME and beyond?

  57. LeaNder says:

    thanks, TTG. Interesting. I highly respect our Jesuits here in Cologne.
    Concerning mercy. I seem to have this vague memory about the difference between Catholic and Protestant mercy from reading Lutheran theologian Anders Nygren’s Magnum Opus ages ago.
    Quite fascinating. He argues that the early Church fathers were schooled in Greek philosophy and thus brought in ‘pagan’ elements into the Catholic theology like “the soul”. I found that a very, very convincing argument.
    I guess mercy was more a sideline in his project on Agape (Christian Love) and the Greek Eros.

  58. LondonBob says:

    The only countries in Europe that want the new cold war are ourselves (UK), the Balts and Poland. Everyone else had to be forced into it by the US. The irony is that Trump is far more in line with Europe in regards to foreign policy thinking, the contortions the EU elite is going through coming to terms with this is amusing.

  59. kooshy says:

    Mike, I agree on Pence and Cheney, but I hope it don’t happen, I too like the old traditional kept in closet VPs, better.

  60. LeaNder says:

    why do you cite the Spiegel/mirror report of 2007? I assume, without having looked into matters Putin wasn’t present. Was he?
    Neither Teltschik nor de Hoop Scheffer are in charge anymore.
    Times changed since then. But I like the headline of a more recent one: the Munich insecurity conference, admittedly. 😉

  61. Cee says:

    Interesting you mention him. He’s discussed here.
    Vice-President Mike Pence is a key piece in the puzzle; after all his major role is as insider guarantor – at the heart of the Trump administration — of neocon Deep State interests.

  62. Cee says:

    I hope. I’m concerned that things can escalate in Ukraine soon.

  63. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The (Eternal) Soul idea came not out of Greeks but out of Iranians. Jews copied that doctrine from Zoroastrians.

  64. Hood Canal Gardner says:

    A little late on my part this end snip from Peter Hitchens 20 Feb weekend piece fits in where this discussion started I think/your call:
    “‘Under NATO rules, new members are required to upgrade their militaries and make them compatible with those of the Western military alliance, which oversees the most sophisticated — and expensive — weapons and communication systems in the world. The companies that win the contracts to provide that ”inter-operability” to the aging Soviet-made systems in Eastern Europe will benefit enormously from NATO’s eastward expansion.
    Thus the sums spent on lobbying and for campaign contributions are relatively small compared with the potential benefits in the new markets provided by a larger NATO, particularly from the sale of big-ticket items like fighter aircraft.’ (hcg: My guess is that DT won’t be harping for NATO on costs.)
    Well, I learned in my Soviet days that the madder something appeared to be (e.g. empty restaurants refusing trade because they were ‘full’, vodka served teapots and poured into teacups), , the more certain it was that it had, buried somewhere, a strong, simple material explanation. Have we here found the squalid, crude reason for the otherwise crazy revival of a dead conflict in the heart of Europe?”

  65. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    The Saker in essence agrees with you, Col. For him the toss of Flynn under the bus was the telling factor. IIRC this was linked in a comment yesterday but here it is again:
    “There is no way of putting a brave face on what happened. Not only because it showed that Trump is not loyal to those who are loyal to him, but because this episode pretty much killed what I would call the “Trump dream”. I chose my words carefully here. I speak of “Trump dream” as opposed to the Trump reality.”

  66. raven says:

    Until you elected this guy all we heard here was “narcissist” this and “narcissist” that . Not that you have a real narcissist it’s non-stop Borg. Sheesh.

  67. LeaNder says:

    I don’t want to argue with you. But basically, admittedly, I regret of not having studied comparative literature over diverse cultures and languages especially myth and then have taken a closer look into remnants of earlier oral traditions. …
    Maybe for the wrong reason? In this instance a more basic assumption that people are quite able to develop similar/comparable concepts independently. Surely inspired by their own culture’s histories.
    Nygren’s argument–as I recall it, read more then three decades ago– was based on the Greek myth of the fall of the Titans:
    Coupled with the biblical creation of man. Could there have been a remnant of the older Gods in the dirt used for the creation? Could that have become the soul?
    Since I love stories, I liked this part and it made me read on. I never once regretted it. Besides, see above, read in the early eighties maybe, I cannot tell you if he was aware of other similar myth or traditions in this respect. On the other hand I doubt it, or that given his special frame he may have spent too much time on it.
    Great work, anyway. 😉

  68. raven,
    I’ve noticed that, too. Perhaps it’s because Trumps’s narcissism is so ragingly obvious, it doesn’t need additional commenting. I have seen a few pieces about it in the MSM. I believe Walrus was one of the more vigorous proponents of Obama’s narcissistic personality disorder. Maybe he will comment on Trump’s particularly virulent form of this disorder.

  69. Valissa says:

    Trump taps military strategist as national security adviser
    President Donald Trump has tapped Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his new national security adviser, replacing the ousted Michael Flynn.
    … McMaster served in the first Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq. Considered a scholarly officer, he holds a Ph.D. in military history, and has authored a book called “Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam.” He has also written articles questioning the planning for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Any thoughts on this guy?

  70. Valissa,
    I consider him an excellent choice. I hope he will last since he is not known for assuaging the egos of his superiors. I’m sure Trump is well aware of this trait. It speaks well of Trump for picking him. Petraeus or Bolton would have been abominations.

  71. Jack says:

    TTG, Sir
    Since I have not read the book that Valissa linked to I assume from the title he was critical of the decision making that led to our direct military intervention in Vietnam.
    In your opinion where does he stand relative to our recent belligerence in the ME, Ukraine, etc? I suspected that Petraeus and Bolton wouldn’t be selected as they were far too close to McCain and the neocon warmongers and Trump doesn’t trust that group at all.

  72. Imagine says:

    Cooperation is exponentially more profitable than competition.

  73. wisedupearly says:

    believe that Trump has had many occasions to be given “expert advice” that is not what he wants to hear, but he takes it. Lawyers telling him that building permits will take 6 months rather than 1, engineers telling him that ceilings have to be lower. What he will not forgive is someone degrading him in the eyes of others.
    The Trump McMasters dynamics are going to be interesting what with Trump’s predeliction for late night tweets. I am more worried about people like Bannon queering the pitch.

  74. Jack,
    I have no idea where McMaster stands on our recent belligerence, but he has consistently noted and warned against the disconnect between political aspirations and our ability/willingness to pay the military price. Just my guess, but I imagine he would grade our work with the YPG/SDF rather highly and our work with the FSA and other jihadi unicorns as an idiotic failure. I can’t imagine him approving of our support of the kleptocratic nazis in Kiev other than as an object lesson in the need for Army modernization.
    He is a consummate professional soldier and astute student of history. He and Mattis will be important influencers in steadying this administration. They will certainly be good for the Army.

  75. turcopolier says:

    TTG and Raven
    Politicians and actors are all narcissists. Tell me of some who are not. pl

  76. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I also think just like the beer of Bremen, the wines of Burgundy, the grapes of Alsace, the operas of Italians, the empiricism of the English, the analyticism of the French, the Balance of Power could only be attempted among Europeans; it is very much tied to the soil of Europe.
    Is Honduras balancing Guatemala? Chile, Peru? Argentina, Brazil? Cambodia and Laos Vietnam?
    What seems to have kept the peace is either the existence of a locally very strong power or nuclear balance of terror.

  77. Bandolero says:

    Sorry, I posted a wrong Spiegel link in my comment. The link you posted is the one I wanted to post. In that article the Spiegel noticed what could be read as a diplomatically expressed threat by Pence. Quote begin:
    “Doch er streute auch einen Satz ein, der wie eine diplomatisch verklausulierte Drohung klang: “So wie Sie zu uns unter Präsident Trump stehen, so werden wir treu zu Ihnen stehen.” Mit anderen Worten: Wer der US-Regierung die Treue verweigert, darf nicht mit der Treue der USA rechnen.”
    Quote end.

  78. Kilo 4/11 says:

    Pence certainly was not needed on the ticket for electoral reasons; Indiana was not going to vote Hiligula. It was not JFK needing LBJ. Would like to know the thinking behind his selection.

  79. Kilo 4/11 says:

    I was living in Australia when Gough was sacked. Went to bed with him in office, woke up to hear he was gone – a matter of a phone call from the Queen. Stunning event that revealed in a flash what a radically different country I was now living in.

  80. Clonal Antibody says:

    Also out today – Bannon Breaks With Pence, Delivers Warning To Europe

    Two days ago, when describing the two opposing foreign policy tracks emerging within Trump’s administration (which led to disappointment inside Russia, which was hoping for a more aggressive detente between Putin and Trump), we said that “there are two clear axes developing within the Trump administration: a Pence/Mattis/Haley foreign policy and a Trump/Bannon/Miller foreign policy.”
    As a reminder, over the weekend first Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and then Vice President Mike Pence assured participants at the Munich Security Conference that Trump would “hold Russia accountable” and vowed “unwavering support” to both NATO and EU.
    Today, confirming that there is indeed a schism when it comes to the administration’s diplomatic objectives, Reuters writes that in the week before VP Mike Pence visited Brussels and pledged America’s “steadfast and enduring” commitment to the European Union, Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon met with the German ambassador and delivered a different message. Bannon, according to Reuters’ sources, signaled to Germany’s ambassador to Washington that he viewed the EU as a flawed construct and favoured conducting relations with Europe on a bilateral basis.

  81. Jack says:

    Pence, Mattis & Haley can’t formulate policy independently. Only Trump can as he is POTUS.
    If Bannon believes that “the EU as a flawed construct and favoured conducting relations with Europe on a bilateral basis”, then he is very smart. Milton Friedman predicted a long time ago that the Euro was a flawed construct and it was only a matter of time before its failure is recognized. If Marine Le Pen wins the French presidency or Beppe Grillo’s party forms the next Italian government it may be the last nail in the Euro coffin. Can the EU exist in its current form if there is no Euro? It will be very smart for the US government to plan for that eventuality.

  82. YT says:
    Some curs do not realize they have a shelf-life.
    That bagel dog knows not his limits.

  83. YT says:

    A former war refugee gives his opinion.
    “To most people, immigrants imply destitute illegals and desperate refugees, but the super wealthy are also coming.
    If they target your city, you can quickly be priced out of your home.
    Just think of London, Sidney, Auckland, Vancouver or the San Francisco Bay Area.
    Advocating for open borders, the nose-ringed crowd don’t know they’re hankering to be homeless, and not just underpaid.”

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