Showing posts with label Trump-Dangerous. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trump-Dangerous. Show all posts

June 14, 2020

Trump Gets Pissed, Pulls 1/3 of American Troops Out of Germany....Is That Crazy or What?


People on both sides of the Atlantic are waiting for official confirmation whether the U.S. will pull 9,500 troops out of Germany — over a third of its total 34,500 troop presence in the country.
The possible proposal was first reported June 5 by The Wall Street Journal. A U.S. official confirmed to NPR the plan exists, but no orders have been issued.
Germany's government has also said Chancellor Angela Merkel was informed the U.S. is considering a troop drawdown from the country.
The possible plan has caused a stir among current and former officials in both countries, who view the U.S. military presence in Germany as one of the most strategic in the world.
"I would say it's essential," says Ben Hodges, a retired lieutenant general who commanded the U.S. Army in Europe from 2014 to 2017.
"They represent part of the U.S. contribution to NATO, which defends the interests of all 30 countries. But it also gives us a forward presence and access throughout Europe, Africa [and the] Middle East," says Hodges. Hodges, who now holds the Pershing chair for strategic studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis, calls Germany a "transit hub" for the U.S.-led alliance and a crucial deterrence against Russia.
Despite this, the news of a possible troop drawdown inside a close U.S. ally highlights the deteriorating relationship between the U.S. and Germany as well as other European nations, whose soldiers fight alongside American forces in the U.S.-led alliance.
The former U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell — who stepped down at the beginning of this month — has long advocated for a drawdown of U.S. troops in Germany. "American taxpayers no longer feel like paying too much for the defense of other countries," he told German tabloid Bild this week.
"With all respect to the former ambassador, it reflects a total lack of appreciation for what having forward base capability in Europe and specifically Germany does for American security and a lack of understanding of what those soldiers are doing," says Hodges. "I've read where he said, 'Hey, there's still 25,000 [troops]. That's a lot.' If this was the 19th century, 25,000 infantry with muskets walking across the field, that would be a lot." But it's barely enough in terms of modern warfare, he says.
NPR asked Grenell for comment by phone and email but he has not responded.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration plans to cap the number of U.S. service members in Germany at 25,000 and wants to remove 9,500 troops by September.
Thomas Wiegold, a German expert on NATO, says that is unrealistic. "We are talking about thousands of dependents. We're talking about civilian employees and all this. So the timeframe seems rather unreal," he says.
Wiegold, a journalist whose website is devoted to military news in the region, says another thing that's puzzling about this reported proposal is the billions of dollars of infrastructure the U.S. military has already invested in Germany. "Ramstein Air Base is the largest U.S. air base outside the United States. Landstuhl medical center is the largest U.S. hospital outside the United States. Grafenwöhr training area is one of the very few high-tech training installations and the only one outside the United States," says Wiegold. And if you cut U.S. forces by a third, he says, much of that goes to waste.
German politicians are equally baffled. "Maybe the U.S. president feels a little bit worried about the fact that Germany and the German chancellor is a little bit like a role model of corona crisis compared to what happened in the U.S.?" wonders Jürgen Hardt, foreign affairs spokesman for Chancellor Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union party.
Hardt acknowledges the Trump administration's frustration over Germany's defense contributions in NATO, but he says after years of criticism, Germany is now increasing its defense budget by more than 10% a year.
One country that seems content hearing the news of a possible U.S. troop drawdown is Russia. Its Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the Russian government welcomedPresident Trump's plan, adding that the U.S. should also remove its nuclear weapons in Germany.
Twenty-two Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee wrote a letter to President Trump saying they were "very concerned" about the possible plan to remove troops from Europe.
"We believe that such steps would significantly damage U.S. national security as well as strengthen the position of Russia to our detriment," the letter said.
Retired Lt. Gen. Hodges agrees that Germany needs to spend more on its military, but he says it's not justification to remove so many U.S. troops from the country.
That a week has passed since the Journal first reported this tells him something about the Trump administration. "That tells me that they don't have a plan and they they've come up with a solution in search of a problem. And now they're trying to make it work," he says.
Hodges says the timing of this story — in a crucial election year for Trump — tells him this was likely a political decision. And he hopes that for the sake of security in Europe and in the United States, this story of such a big troop drawdown remains just a story.

May 30, 2020

"When The Looting Starts The Shooting Starts" Trump Call for Arms and Killings, Twitter Untwist His Tweet

Twitter has placed a warning on a tweet from President Trump in which the president blamed unrest in Minneapolis on "THUGS" and said "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." 
Twitter said Trump's post violates its policy about "glorifying violence."
Trump's message on Twitter came during a night of protests and looting in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd, a black man, after he was pinned to the ground for several minutes by a white police officer. 

Trump said he would "send in the National Guard" to restore order.
"I can't stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis," Trump said early Friday. "A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right."
He added: "These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!"

The phrase "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" was also used in December 1967 remarks from former Miami Police Chief Walter Headley. The late police chief was discussing his efforts to cut crime in the city, with the message "aimed at young Negro males, from 15 to 21," according to the Miami Herald
Twitter hid the second of those messages with a warning but added that it "has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible." 
The official White House Twitter account retweeted the language from the president's hidden post. Twitter placed a warning message on that post, as well.
Trump responded Friday, saying Twitter was doing "nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party." 
"Twitter is full of [s***]"
Dan Scavino, a top White House aide who helps manage Trump's Twitter account, lashed out against the social media company using an expletive.
"Twitter is targeting the president of the United States 24/7, while turning their heads to protest organizers who are planning, plotting, and communicating their next moves daily on this very platform," Scavino tweeted. "Twitter is full of [s***] — more and more people are beginning to get it."
The president's tweets about the situation in Minneapolis and Twitter's response to it bring to a head two major stories that have dominated the news this week. 
In the first, a white officer appears to shove Floyd's face into the pavement with his knee for at least seven minutes on Monday evening. Several minutes into the video, Floyd's pleas for help go quiet. Floyd was reported dead later that night. The Minneapolis Police Department swiftly fired the four police officers shown in the disturbing video. The U.S. Justice Department said it has made the investigation into Floyd's death "a top priority." But protesters weren't placated. The 3rd Precinct police building in Minneapolis was set on fire Thursday night. Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order activating the Minnesota National Guard. 
In the second story, Twitter fact-checked a tweet by Trump that said mail-in voting leads to fraud, prompting the president to sign an executive orderThursday aimed at limiting the broad legal protections enjoyed by social media companies. But legal experts said they doubt the move would have any practical effect on the tech giants. 
Prior to this week, Twitter had not fact-checked the president, nor hidden any of his messages on the platform.
Trump's tweet condoning violence against protesters in Minnesota also highlights the discrepancy between what form of demonstrations the president and his allies deem appropriate versus others. 
Earlier this month, when armed protesters stormed the Michigan statehouse demanding that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lift coronavirus mitigation measures, Trump criticized the governor and endorsed the protesters' actions as a response to the frustrations stemmed from the emotional and financial tolls of the pandemic. 
"The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal," Trump wrote in a May 1 tweet. 
Former President Barack Obama, who has largely stayed silent on political matters since leaving the White House, on Friday issued a statement on the events in Minnesota and addressing the death of George Floyd and other recent racial incidents. 
"It's natural to wish for life 'to just get back to normal' as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us," Obama said. "But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly 'normal' — whether it's while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park." 
"It will fall mainly on the officials of Minnesota to ensure that the circumstances surrounding George Floyd's death are investigated thoroughly and that justice is ultimately done. But it falls on all of us, regardless of our race or station — including the majority of men and women in law enforcement who take pride in doing their tough job the right way, every day — to work together to create a 'new normal' in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts."



Photo: Julio Cortez/AP
Above: A protester carries a U.S. flag upside down, a sign of distress, next to a burning building yesterday amid fury over the death of George Floyd. 
Below: A woman who has been tear gassed is assisted by other demonstrators as Minneapolis police try to move the crowd Wednesday night.
Photo: Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via Getty Images
Photo: John Minchillo/AP
Above: Protesters gather in front of the burning 3rd Precinct station of the Minneapolis Police Department. 
Below: The view from the roof of the precinct building.
Photo: John Minchillo/AP

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