On November 17, just a day after Donald Trump struck an optimistic tone on trade while speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, Mike Pence delivered a laughably hawkish foreign policy speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Papua New Guinea.
Specifically, Mike insisted that the US would “not change course until China changes its ways” and he went on to take the extremely ill-advised step of mocking Xi’s Belt and Road initiative. “We donâ€™t offer constricting belts or a one-way road”, Mike said.
Xi took it in stride. â€œAttempts to impose oneâ€™s will on others should be rejected,â€ he said, adding that â€œhistory has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a cold war, a hot war or a trade war, will produce no winners.â€
The summit ended without an agreement on a final communique. It was the first time in nearly three decades that the marquee Pacific Rim summit did not reach an agreement on a joint declaration.
Things were so contentious that, according to several reports, Chinese delegates attempted to literally storm the office of Papua New Guineaâ€™s foreign minister in an apparent effort to strongarm the communique.
â€œThe entire world is worriedâ€, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter Oâ€™Neill told reporters.
That wasn’t the first time Mike flopped on the world stage while attempting to convince a skeptical international community that Donald Trump’s policies aren’t destined to undermine global peace and security and it wouldn’t be the last.
Pence was in Europe this week and suffice to say he didn’t win any “hearts and minds” among America’s allies (or “foes” as Trump is fond of calling them).
The Vice kicked things off at a conference in Warsaw organized by the Trump administration. Ostensibly, the event was about “Middle East security”, but it ended up being a forum for the US to castigate Iran.
Of particular note were Pence’s comments about the European powers’ efforts to form a special purpose vehicle aimed at facilitating legitimate transactions with Tehran in the wake of US sanctions.
We’ve been over the details surrounding the SPV on multiple occasions and we would suggest readers take a moment to review, because clearly, this is going to be (another) point of contention between the administration and Europe.
Read more on the Iran SPV
In Brazen Move, EU Set To Officially Launch Iran SPV Designed To Circumvent Trumpâ€™s Sanctions
Europe, Russia, China Establish SPV To Circumvent Trumpâ€™s Iran Sanctions
Essentially, Europe is trying to ensure that US sanctions donâ€™t end up causing an outright economic calamity for Iran that then leaves the regime with no choice but to restart its nuclear program in order to gain leverage over the US. Also consider this (from one of the linked posts above):
Itâ€™s also likely that despite the worldâ€™s generalized disdain for the Iranian regime, nobody (with the exception of John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, the Saudis the Israelis) wants to see a scenario where the country is thrown into chaos by some kind of haphazard coup attempt orchestrated by loosely-organized opposition groups. Remember, this ainâ€™t Venezuela â€“ so to speak. Regime change in Iran would be a nightmare of epic proportions in the near- to medium-term and thereâ€™s no telling what the political ramifications would be for Iraq.
The Europeans have never been amused with Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the nuclear deal. Iran was always in compliance (Netanyahuâ€™s farcical “they lied” presentation notwithstanding) and as such, Europe is not going to happily acquiesce to Washington’s demands when it comes to dealings with Tehran.
Well, Pence isn’t having it. In comments that echoed previous warnings from Pompeo and John Bolton, Pence blasted what he called a “scheme”.
“They call this scheme a â€˜Special Purpose Vehicle,â€™” he said in Poland, adding that the Trump administration “calls it an ill-advised step that will only strengthen Iran, weaken the EU, and create still more distance between Europe and America.”
Pence also called on European nations to pull out of the nuclear deal, a bombastic demand that, according to The New York Times, was “significantly harsher than what [he] had planned to say, based on an earlier copy of his speech that was widely circulated on Thursday morning.”
Pence went on to officially (and absurdly) move the goalposts. “Compliance is not the issue”, he said. “The deal is the issue.” You’ll forgive Tehran for being a bit confused.
In any case, Pence attempted to stick the dismount in Warsaw by suggesting that if the European powers pulled out of the nuclear deal, it would bring peace to the Middle East.
He pretty clearly assumed that was going to be an applause-generator, because he paused to soak in what he thought would be a ringing endorsement. Instead, he was met with deafening silence. Watch below as Mike struggles, in real time, to come to terms with his own epic fail.
Now that is bad. Any comedian who’s ever bombed on stage can identify and now that you mention it, that’s a particularly apt allusion, considering most of the world (with a couple of predictable exceptions) views any speech by a Trump official as akin to a standup comedy routine.
It’s also worth noting that Pompeo’s remarks about “Iranâ€™s aggression [bringing] Arab states and Israel together” is dubious. There’s some truth to it, but as the Times writes in the same article linked above, “the Arab leaders who attended were hesitant to appear on the stage at the same time as Netanyahu; they kept their distance, lest images from the conference, which was closed, circulated back in Arab capitals.”
Germany and France didn’t even bother sending their foreign ministers.
But if Mike thought Warsaw was bad, he was in for an even more embarrassing episode at The Munich Security Conference.
On Saturday, Pence had the misfortune of having to speak right after Angela Merkel, a daunting task for any politician, let alone one as hopelessly inept as Pence.
Making matters immeasurably worse for the vice president was Merkel’s unexpectedly direct tone. The chancellor dropped her normally reserved demeanor in favor of a frank, surgical critique of US foreign policy. It was, for Pence anyway, devastatingly pointed.
At one point, Merkel embarrassed Ivanka Trump, lampooning her father’s assertion that German cars are a threat to US national security. Here’s the clip:
And while it is indeed amusing to look on as the most powerful woman in modern political history humiliated the daughter of a sitting US president in front of the entire world, that was hardly the most important part of Merkel’s speech.
The chancellor’s performance was deemed a masterpiece in some circles, although it’s possible (indeed, it’s likely) that the circumstances served to exaggerate its relative greatness.
“To the predominately European crowd, which like the chancellor is deeply skeptical of Trumpâ€™s aggressive approach to foreign policy, Merkelâ€™s words acted like a salve with some listeners declaring it the best speech sheâ€™d ever deliver”, Politico wrote.
“The speech appeared to provide much-needed catharsis”, the Washington Post said, casting Merkel’s decision to take Trump to task as an effort to address “two years of accumulated grievance in much of Europe” that, until Saturday anyway, “had been met with few substantive answers on how to effectively challenge it.”
Well, consider it challenged.
Merkel’s speech was met with a (long) standing ovation at its conclusion. The applause, WaPo notes, was “a rare display at the normally button-down Munich Security Conference [and] the customarily reserved Merkel beamed as she took her seat.”
Below, for those interested, is the full speech.
To call that a sweeping review of the current state of international affairs would be to grossly understate the case. Merkel’s remarks demonstrate an astonishingly firm grasp on a range of issues so multifarious and wide-ranging that one struggles to comprehend how she managed to fit it all into 28 minutes.
That is the antithesis of Trump’s approach to foreign policy, which eschews deliberation, experience and fact finding in favor of a haphazard appeal to the instincts of a man who has demonstrated (over the course of decades) that his instincts are almost always wrong, whether he’s calling for the execution of black teenagers, defrauding would-be college students or selling mail order steaks.
Again, Merkel’s speech was first and foremost a rebuke of isolationism in general and of US foreign policy under Trump more specifically. There was no ambiguity. Europe will not abandon its commitment to multilateralism and there is zero chance that the European powers will be pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.
Obviously, Pence had no hope of upstaging that. Even if Mike had delivered a modern day Gettysburg Address it wouldn’t have mattered.
Of course he didn’t – deliver a modern day Gettysburg Address, that is. Instead, he delivered something that, to quote Amanda Sloat, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, “sounded more like he was speaking to a Trump rally than to transatlanticists in Europe.”
We’ll spare you any lengthy clips from Pence’s speech, but we will most assuredly show you what happened on Friday when, while speaking at the conference’s John McCain Dissertation Award ceremony, Pence told the crowd that he “brought greetings” from Donald Trump.
Why Pence thought it was appropriate to include those second hand “greetings” at an event for the man Trump once maligned as “not a war hero” is anyone’s guess, but here is the clip, which has since gone viral:
Crickets. Just, crickets.
18 thoughts on “Mike Pence Went On World Tour This Week – It Didn’t Go Well”
Pence is the perfect bootlicker.
The silence made him shiver – a little double shake! Anyone who follows trump around expounding on trump’s theories and successes (?) like he is some born-again saint here to save the world is too ignorant to be even be a possible successor to trump’s throne. It’s bad enough that most of America is somewhere between laughing out loud and seething with rage every time trump or his second-fiddle opens their mouths, taking their act to a world stage is beyond scandalous.
The hug between Merkel and Pelosi is acknowledgement from Merkel with respect for Pelosi. Really good to see!
Now that was fun!
Pray there is no impeachment, folks. The vice “decider” is even worse than his boss.
I suspect Mueller has him in sight as well — he full out lied about Flynn and he was hand-picked by Manafart for VP. He’s marked X – everyone close to trump is marked!
There are many interesting articles on Pence and Russia, here’s one: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/11/15/is-mike-pence-wrapped-up-in-the-russia-scandal-or-just-a-gullible-rube/?utm_term=.a4eb25092ca8
Impeachment = President Pelosi. ðŸ¤“
Trump is symptomatic of what happens to super powers once the super is gone… There will be no impeachment because even if the attempt were made it would be campaign time for 2020 and Pence is even worse than his master.. The Republican establishment has tolerated this Kabuki show only because some of the right wing agenda which was once in a lifetime opportunities has been put in place to the further detriment of this country (Supreme Court picks and Tax benefits to corporate America )
The problem is the Democrats imploded their prospects with the ill fated choice of Hillary .. Probably a third party is the best option if restoring a valid Governing system were the goal (doubting the motivation is the later though).
we don’t need a third party. VOTE BETO (I am hoping!)
Right on! Trump is really, really bad – but it is out in the open for all to see. POTUS pence would be a real disgrace that most do not see for what it would be.
I like the comment above stating Pence as Trump’s ” Bootlicker”…
The Third Party Presidential candidate in 2020 will split the center’s moderate vote from the Democrat’s vote and let Trump’s 35% base carry the day. The majority of Americans don’t want that.
Before we start singing and dancing to the words “ding dong the witch is dead”, I would like to remind everyone that the bond market still forecasts a major collateral call.
A ding dong correction’s on its way I believe…
(the love of) money is the root of all evil — trump is living proof.
You forgot “wicked”.
, T-rump is the Black Swan….and he does not care what happens to this country.
I just shake my head wondering why in the world Ivanka is with real leaders of the world. Makes the US look like an even bigger joke (which is not easy). She should go back selling her junk made by Chinese slave labor from what I understand.
I fear these neoplasms are long lived. When the Manchurian Mango goes down, and he will, all hell is going to break loose from these engorged cancers. They will not let go because they are one way – destroy the host.
cut off the head of the snake . . . when the snake dies they will all run back to hide under the same rocks they have hidden under for decades. These abnormal humans have always been there and we only heard bits and pieces of them over the years. The snake encouraged them into the light. They are still the same cowards now exposed as their true selves.
The massive millions of intelligent socially acceptable humanoids are frustrated but continue to follow the rules of law and will successfully and legally remove the nucleus of the tumor known as trump.
What can I say >shrug< He licks my boots. Somebody needs to do that. >pinch fingers< He does it well, Super well. He’s the best booty licker ever. And I can tell you this, you’d love to get yours licked too. And you will! Tax cuts! Those emails! Make ‘Murica Great! AGAIN!