Thursday, July 12, 2018

Nothing Happened

Nuts of Fury Breakfast brown ale, made with local grain from Appalachian Malting and fresh Vienna Roast coffee from Iron Star Roasting Company, from the Fury Brewing Company of Huntingdon, PA, via untappd.

So it was all bullshit. The Breakfast of Fury was a performance, as Steve notes, for Trump's base in the United States to watch their God-Emperor filling the hearts of the foreigners with fear and trembling, and what actually happened at the NATO summit in Brussels was, precisely, nothing.

That's not what he said at his own press conference, of course (via Telegraph):
Mr Trump refused to deny that he had threatened to pull the US out of the organisation, and said the atmosphere in the meeting was "a little tough for a little while," but cordial after the spending commitments went up "like a rocket ship".
"Everyone in the room thanked me," he said. "There is a great collegial atmosphere in that room, that I don't think they've had for many years."
Asked directly whether he had threatened to withdraw, he replied: "I told people I'd be very unhappy if they didn't up their commitment. Yesterday I let them know I was extremely unhappy."...
"Nato is much stronger than it was two days ago," Mr Trump declared.
"We had a fantastic meeting at the end. Germany has increased very substantially what it is doing. I brought it up, no one brought it up but me.
"And frankly maybe everyone is going to have a good relationship with Russia."
It's just nonsense, as we learn from the AP report of the press conference of the president of France:

French President Emmanuel Macron has denied reports that U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to withdraw the United States from the NATO military alliance in a dispute over funding.
“President Trump never at any moment, either in public or in private, threatened to withdraw from NATO,” Macron told reporters....
And the president of France finds himself in the odd position of clarifying for those who don't get it that Trump was telling lies in his own press conference; that is, the agreement on NATO funding made during the Obama presidency in 2014 remains in effect, unchanged in any way:
French President Emmanuel Macron has denied President Donald Trump’s claim that NATO allies have agreed to boost defense spending beyond 2 percent of gross domestic product.
Macron said: There is a communique that was published yesterday. It’s very detailed.”
He added: “It confirms the goal of 2 percent by 2024. That’s all.”
The summit statement affirms a commitment made in 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea that NATO allies would halt defense spending cuts, start spending more as their economies grow, with the aim of moving toward 2 percent of GDP within a decade.
Maybe he'll feel obliged to have another explosion later today, to show his displeasure at this truth telling, or even "withdraw his signature" from the joint communiqué as he did with the G7 meeting in Quebec, or maybe he won't. Keep looking forward! He may well get to meet the Queen, and he'll have his opportunity to lecture Mrs. May about how he's more popular in the US than she is in the UK (it's true—he's got 43%!—and she's a pretty awful prime minister, too, in any case, and Macron has his own Trumpy insistence that he has a mandate to do things French people really don't want him to do). It doesn't matter. I may get back to the press conference when the transcript shows up, but I didn't hear any poetry in it in the NPR broadcast. A reporter from Georgia tried to ask him what he thought of Russia's occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and he gave no clue of knowing what the question was about but bluffed his way through unfazed as he did through everything, deflecting from any mildly technical question to the social relationships of the participants, who all get along really well, according to him, and he got more valentines than any kid in the class.

I can't believe we all keep getting snookered by these events. "NATO's much stronger than it was two days ago." FFS. "The spending went up like a rocket ship!" Overnight, as if all 28 parliaments had secretly met overnight to pass the appropriations.

There's video of him looking the way he told them at the rallies he was going to look, angry and unbending and rude, so that's what he wanted. Winning!

What's done by the nasty and often incompetent people working for him in the domestic departments is much more important than these diplomatic pantomimes where the adults have a good idea how to manage their way through from point A to point A without consequences much worse than the embarrassment. Kelly may be suicidal while he's on camera, but eventually it's over.

"It's my party and I'll... I'll..." Photo by Felipe Trueba/EPA, via Mr. Bumface.

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