The Deeply Disturbing Trump-Merkel Press Conference

merkel_trump_meeting
Trump, in his own militarized world

W.J. Astore

Yesterday’s Trump-Merkel Press Conference was disturbing on several levels.  Worst of all was the scene of a German Chancellor listening to an American president boast about how strong his military is, and how much stronger it soon will be. Not that long ago in historical terms, Germany was a country that stressed military dominance. Two lost world wars cured Germany of its militarism. American militarism has taken its place.

As Trump responded to questions, again and again he returned to the U.S. military, vowing that he’s going to strengthen it from its “depleted” condition, perhaps to a level of power that “we’ve never seen before.”

America as a country is “very strong, very strong,” said Trump, a “very powerful company/country,” and soon the U.S. military would be “stronger,” and “perhaps far stronger than ever before.”  Naturally, the president added that he hoped he wouldn’t have to use that “far stronger” military, even as the U.S. military garrisons the globe at more than 700 bases while launching ongoing attacks against “radical Islamic terrorism” (Trump loves enunciating those three words) in places like Yemen.

Merkel and Trump hold a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington
She’s right to be worried …

This coming year, Trump is enlarging the military with a fresh influx of $54 billion.  “My generals,” as Trump likes to refer to James Mattis and John Kelly and Company, support him in part because he’s boosting military spending.  But will they continue to support Trump and his advisers like Steve Bannon when the President uses that “much stronger” military in unwise ways?

When you forge a bigger hammer, you tend not to leave it unused in the tool shed.  No — you look for bigger nails to strike.  As Trump noted at the press conference, he’s not an isolationist.  “Fake news,” he said.

That Trump, with his “far stronger” military, is not an isolationist is disturbing “real” news indeed.  Small wonder that the German Chancellor looked discomfited; her country has seen it all before.

What price military dominance?  Perhaps Chancellor Merkel could explain that to President Trump, if only he’d listen.

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4 thoughts on “The Deeply Disturbing Trump-Merkel Press Conference

  1. I didn’t watch any live coverage of the meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump. I did see a few snippets of “news” “reporting” on CNN International here in southern Taiwan, but I can usually stand only a few minutes of American TV before the “coverage” enrages me with its inane superficiality if not its studied, casual duplicity. My Chinese wife has made me promise not to watch any television programs dealing with the United States unless I first start laughing (sort of like pre-breathing for a scuba diver) two minutes before switching on the set. I have found that this helps get me through a couple of minutes of Wolf Blitzer, Christiane Amanpour, or Fareed Zakaria, et al, before I have to switch to a local weather report for something at least marginally associated with fact, truth, and reality.

    In any event, Chancellor Merkel has had to deal with several buffoon U.S presidents during her long years in office. As a matter of course, she has endured far worse treatment than anything Donald Trump can dish out. I can still remember when Deputy Dubya Bush got up at a meeting, walked around behind the seated Gernam Chancellor, and put both hands on her shoulders trying to get a laugh or something. I thought she would jump right out of her skin. Dubya the Dimwit had no idea how close he came to getting both his eyes punched out and his tiny little testicles crushed. I say this because I once took a night class in conversational German at a local junior college and the German lady teacher told us of a trip she once took back to Germany with her teenage son who spoke German but had grown up in the United States. While visiting a souvenir shop, our teacher told us that she heard a loud slap and went to investigate. It seems that her son had addressed a young lady shopkeeper with the familiar “du” (you) instead of the more formal “sie” and had received a flaming red palm print on the side of his face for his impertinence. That President Trump received only a bored glance and a thinly veiled sneer of contempt from Chancellor Merkel comes as no surprise to those who know anything at all about Germans.

    Anyway, I did happen to notice a very brief program segment dealing with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson here in Asia threatening North Korea with the usual “all options are on the table” bullshit while pushing the South Koreans to install more long-range “defensive” missiles ostensibly aimed at the North Koreans only a few miles up the penninsula. China did not find all this very amusing and so, in their understated way, cut back on Chinese tourism to South Korea whose merchants in Seoul suddenly found themselves standing outside their empty shops trying to get the occasional passer-by to come in for a look. I can just see the Chinese not showing up for their regular U.S. Treasury Bill purchase while the U.S. dollar falls through the floor. If the Chinese stop making all America’s stuff and loaning Americans the money to buy it (like a drug pusher feeding his junkie), whatever will America do? Silver bullets beat the other kind every time.

    President Donald Trump has no idea whatsoever what sort of world exists outside the fetid little swamp of a “country” which he has, with true karmic justice, come to personally embody and not just typically misgovern.

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    1. Welcome back, Mike! The focus here in the USA has been on the “awkwardness” of the press conference, and on Trump’s reference to Merkel’s cell phone calls being intercepted by the NSA, just like his calls were “tapped” by Obama!

      But as I watched the “presser,” I just sat back stunned as Trump kept beating his chest about how strong America is and will be as he expands the U.S. military. So strong that no one dare attack us! So strong that it’ll represent a peak in military strength, a veritable Mount Everest.

      Well, what can one say to a president who boasts of an all-powerful military before a German chancellor? A president who has no sense of history, and no appreciation for the reality that all-powerful militaries don’t ever sit unused on the sidelines, even as they often end up getting humbled in action? Then again, Trump sees himself as a MacArthur/Patton disciple, so perhaps he can embroil us in unwise, unnecessary, and catastrophic wars with China, Russia, and “radical Islamic terrorism.” The way he enunciates the latter three words is especially juvenile, as if by simply saying them he is being a big brave man.

      Yes, your wife is right. Stay away from the TV, but if you can’t, pre-laughing is as good a way as any to stop from crying out — or crying tears.

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      1. The consequences of a “they want to be there” military – and since they want to “be there,” let’s send them. The effects of the left’s ending our citizen military comes home to roost. Get used to it.

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  2. Thank you, Walter, for yet another beating of that long-dead horse: Military Conscription, otherwise known as “slavery or involuntary servitude,” outlawed after the Civil War by the Constitution’s Thirteenth Amendment and consigned to its grave for a generation now by the Constitution’s Twenty-sixth Amendment granting the right to vote to all U.S. citizens aged 18 or older. Should the day ever come when free young American men and women tire of their liberties and life chances for success and happiness, they can always vote themselves back into exploited military subservience as pimped-out “war workers” for the Apartheid Zionist Entity, the Saudi Arabian monarchy, those heroin-pushing/boy-buggering Afghan warlords, or just the usual Hothouse Orchids and Special Snowflakes of Corporate America’s trust-fund “ruling elite.”

    Something tells me, though, that free young American men and women will not ever vote for anything even remotely resembling the horseshit “Draft” that snagged, gagged, (body) bagged so many of my generation. And as long as I live and breathe, this veteran of the Nixon-Kissinger Fig-Leaf Contingent (Vietnam 1970-72) will do everything I can to warn my grandchildren and future generations against having anything to do with the U.S. military: the perfect bureaucratic blending of Parkinson’s Law and the Peter Principle. For an excruciatingly accurate description of the kind of militaristic morons you don’t wan’t in charge of your life or death, see retired U.S. Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich’s latest article for The Unz Review (March 21, 2017) entitled, Prepare, Pursue, Prevail! Onward and Upward with U.S. Central Command. Honest Injun, these psychotic parasites think they “command” the whole world when they can’t even command simple English.

    In any event, I fail to see what this defunct and discreditied doctrine has to do with relations between Germany and the United States, the ostensible subject of this discussion thread. No offense intended, but you might want to brush up on your reading comprehension skills, assuming that your prior association with U.S. military indoctrination has left you with any.

    As a matter of fact, Germany has a military more than adequate for its own defense from neighbors that do not threaten it. The United States, for its part (and just about everyone else’s no matter what they wish) has a bloated, confused, inept, and financially bankrupt military establishment that cannot even conduct an audit, let alone a military campaign having anything to do with genuine American national interests. And no one who remembers a single useful fact about the twentieth century would ever want to see Germany with a bigger and more aggessive military. That President Donald Trump or any other American President might insist on German rearmament testifies not just to their historical ignorance but to their rank insanity as well.

    And No Draft. Ever. So say “leftists” like President Richard Nixon and me, along with self-styled “conservative” university professors like Andrew Bacevich in his book The Limits of Power: the End of American Exceptionalism in which he writes: “The truth is that the four-star generals and admirals view citizen soldiers as more trouble than they’re worth.” They don’t want us and we don’t want them. Seems fair to me.

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