French President Emmanuel Macron Talks About His Meeting With President Trump

All eyes are on Angela Merkel because of her unhappiness over Trump’s lecturing her on Germany’s anemic defense budget and his refusal to sign onto the fraudulent Paris Agreement on climate change. (See Kimberly Ross’s post on that subject.)

Let me digress for just a moment. Germany has no room to talk about anyone being an unreliable ally. Throughout the latter decade or two of the Cold War, the possibility that Germany would go the way of Finland and Austria was never far from the minds of NATO defense planners. Three years ago I posted on how we ended up with an armored brigade near Bremerhaven in Northern Germany. No one believed that a Soviet invasion of Germany would not involve the use of tactical nuclear weapons because Soviet military doctrine made no distinction between tac-nukes and conventional ordnance. The tac-nukes just gave a bigger bang. Yet we were not allowed to even simulate the use of, or reaction to, tac-nukes in Germany because the Germans befouled themselves at the thought of it. Germany really has no business calling anyone else unreliable. Merkel reminds me more and more of the jilted mistress in Fatal Attraction.

Back to the post.

Trump spent some time with Emmanuel Macron at the G-7. Unlike Merkel, he was upbeat about his experience.

Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron showered high praise on President Trump’s “capacity to listen” after meeting the U.S. president at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Italy, The Associated Press reported Saturday.

“I found someone who is open and willing to deal well with us,” Macron said.

Macron’s commendations of Trump followed tense discussions between G7 members about whether Trump would withdraw the United States from the Paris climate deal. Trump was the only leader who declined to pledge his support for the agreement, saying on Saturday he’d make a final decision on the deal next week.

But Macron, who was elected earlier this month, spoke more fondly of his discussions with Trump, recalling that the two men were able to communicate respectfully and productively.

“I saw a leader with strong opinions on a number of subjects, which I share in part — the fight against terrorism, the willingness to keep our place in the family of nations — and with whom I have disagreements that we spoke about very calmly. I saw someone who listens and who is willing to work,” he said.

I think The Hill grabbed this one comment a bit out of context. The Guardian has a bit of a different take on it. Their set-up is the famous white-knuckle handshake between Macron and Trump.

“My handshake with him – it wasn’t innocent,” Macron told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper in an interview on Sunday. “It’s not the be-all and the end-all of a policy, but it was a moment of truth.”

The much commented-upon power play, during which each man held the other’s gaze for a long moment, was described by one observer as a “screw you in handshake form”. It ended when the US president, after two attempts, finally succeeding in disengaging.

“Donald Trump, the Turkish president or the Russian president see relationships in terms of a balance of power, Macron said. “That doesn’t bother me. I don’t believe in diplomacy by public abuse, but in my bilateral dialogues I won’t let anything pass.”

The French president, who had never held elected office before decisively defeating far-right leader Marine Le Pen in this month’s runoff, added: “That’s how you ensure you are respected. You have to show you won’t make small concessions – not even symbolic ones.”

I think Macron has that completely correct and I think Trump would probably agree with him. The fact is that international relations are about a balance of power. A third tier nation, like France, has little value in that system except where it can make its power felt in relentlessly protecting its national prerogatives. Merkel seems to think that everyone is striving for a win-win, no matter if it is the Russians or Erdogan sending waves of refugees to destabilize Germany.

Overall, the view expressed by Macron shows that there is a greater chance of improved relations with France than there is of working closely with Merkel.

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Vox Honors Memorial Day by Insulting Marines

Today, we honor the fallen, those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Unless, of course, you’re Vox. No, they ran a piece entitled “The Marine Corps has a ‘toxic masculinity’ problem” instead.

The article is a piece about how feminist piece about how awful men are in the marines, highlights a couple of actual instances of problems and blows them out of proportion, and makes a couple of blanket statements. Is this really an appropriate way to celebrate the fallen? Of course not.

Twitter was quick to respond with mockery.

 

 

 

And, maybe it’s just me, but isn’t the military supposed to be…toxic?

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Donald Trump’s Memorial Day At Arlington National Cemetery (VIDEO)

I’m going to be upfront and admit it. I was in that small percentage of military people who loved military ceremonies. The ceremonies are what link generations of soldiers together. When you understand that the 30-inch step at the pace of 120 steps per minute was brought to the American Army by von Steuben at Valley Forge it has meaning. Similarly honoring our fallen brothers is a tradition that goes back to the dawn of history. So I’m a sucker for the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns and the iron discipline of the Old Guard keeping watch 24/7.

Here’s President Trump at the Tomb of the Unknowns today.

And this is his speech.

What I think is really interesting is that he recognizes the personal story of Homeland Security John Kelly. As you know, Kelly is a retired USMC 4-star. What you might not know is that Kelly’s youngest son, Robert, was killed in Afghanistan and another son, John, is a USMC major with several deployments under his belt. It’s a little known fact that the modern military is very much a family business and members of the Armed Forces, particularly the officer corps, are very, very likely to come from military families.

This is some of the speech:

Trump honored Gold Star families calling their fallen loved ones “angels sent to us by God,” in his first public address since returning from his first trip overseas as commander-in-chief.

“They all share one title in common—and that is the title of ‘hero’—real heroes,” Trump said. “Though they were only here for a brief time before God called them home, their legacy will endure forever.”

Trump went on to honor former Sen. Bob Dole and his wife, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, and other Gold Star families and service men and women in the audience.

“While we cannot know the extent of your pain, what we do know is that our gratitude to them and to you is boundless and undying—will always be there, Thank you,” Trump said. “Their stories are now woven into the soul of our nation, into the stars and stripes on our flag, and into the beating hearts of our great, great people.”

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Watercooler 5/29/2017 Open Thread: Memories…of many sorts…

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Memorial Day: Reflections of an Army widow

May is traditionally a month of delight and expectation. Summer is drawing near, the school year will end soon, pools begin to open, maybe a beach trip is planned. I look forward to all of that. But, for me and my family, an underlying twinge of pain, sadness and loss invades our hope and anticipation of an otherwise joyful month.

They finally caught the midnight rider.

I got the news and felt at loose ends. How can this be happening? Death is final, you mean he’s never coming back, I’m never gonna see him sing “Midnight Rider” one more time, how can that be, what am I supposed to do with myself now, now that I’ve dedicated my whole life to you and your ilk, I’m not ready to join that great band in the sky, but it seems they’ve got better players than we have down here.

The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ turns 50

A half-century later, Sgt. Pepper’s, which ushered in the rock ‘n’ roll “concept album” — a collection of songs written around a central theme — and inspired musicians from Pink Floyd to Radiohead to Stevie Wonder, will be celebrated anew this month and next.

Three memories for your consideration. Enjoy the open thread…

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