Why is Trump silent on Putin’s belligerent nuke speech?

In Putin’s annual state of the nation speech he announced that Russia now had weapons no other country possessed, not only the new intercontinental ballistic missile complex (ICBM) codenamed Sarmat, but that it was developing a new supersonic cruise missile capable of overcoming Nato defence systems. He said “No anti-missile system – even in the future – has a hope of getting in its way.”

How could the following portion of the speech not be constructed as a threat against the United States, which at least for the present is a member of NATO?

On cue, an animation showed the new submarine destroying a Nato-resembling aircraft-carrier strike force and a seaside town. On cue, the audience applauded.

There was more. “Heroic” military developers had delivered a new class of supersonic nuclear cruise missiles. The new missiles had a range “dozens” of times above current models and were capable of flying at unpredictable trajectories and low-altitudes.

“Their ability to move around missile shield intercepts make them invincible for all current and projected anti-missile and anti-aircraft systems,” said Mr Putin.  UK Independent

Then more animations of destruction with applause from the audience was added into the speech.

So far I could only find two responses from Washington. Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said “we’ve been watching Russia for a long time. We’re not surprised.”  Sarah Sanders said “President Putin has confirmed what the United States government has known all along, which Russia has denied: Russia has been developing destabilizing weapons systems for over a decade in direct violations of its treaty obligations.”

Contrast this with what Trump said in response to Kim Jung Un on television:

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Mr. Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., where he is spending much of the month on a working vacation. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Referring to North Korea’s volatile leader, Kim Jong-un, Mr. Trump said, “He has been very threatening beyond a normal state, and as I said, they will be met with fire and fury, and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.” Aug. 8, 2017 New York Times

This isn’t the first time Trump has remained silent about Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling. Back in  March when Putin first revealed what was then called the Satan 2 missile. This is when he said “you will listen to us now,” referring to other countries. He showed a video animation of nuclear missiles Florida’s Tampa Bay area home of the U.S.Central Command.

This only White House response I could find. (from Newsweek)

“We’re not going to react to every word or idea that world leaders express.

“It was certainly unfortunate to have watched the video animation that depicted a nuclear attack on the United States,” she said. “We don’t regard that as the behavior of a responsible international player.” Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert

Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president “understands the threats facing America and our allies in this century, and is determined to protect our homeland and preserve peace through strength.” She said Russia is developing weapons “in direct violations of its treaty obligations,” and pointed out that the administration has undertaken a Nuclear Posture Review to “modernize our nuclear arsenal and ensure our capabilities are unmatched.”

What is Trump doing about this now? For one thing he is attacking NATO by Tweeting that ….”We are substantially subsidizing the Militaries of many VERY rich countries all over the world, while at the same time these countries take total advantage of the U.S., and our TAXPAYERS, on Trade. General Mattis did not see this as a problem. I DO, and it is being fixed!” (Dec. 24th)

Apparently with the news that Russia has the United States in its nuclear cross-hairs doesn’t bother him as much as the threat from a few barefoot hungry migrants trying to seek asylum in the United States. Here’s the Tweet from this morning: “Have the Democrats finally realized that we desperately need Border Security and a Wall on the Southern Border. Need to stop Drugs, Human Trafficking,Gang Members & Criminals from coming into our Country. Do the Dems realize that most of the people not getting paid are Democrats?”

This all comes after Trump gave a presumably unsolicited gift to Russia by revealing that SEAL Team 5 was on a mission in Syria and as a bonus showed photos of the faces of their members and even gave the name of a team member.

I don’t think it is hyperbolic or unreasonable to ask whether Trump is committing treason.

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More fact-less fiction from truth-challenged Trump

President Donald Trump waves after a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in the East Room of the White House, Monday, July 30, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump isn’t telling the straight story on NATO.

He spoke of NATO on Monday as if it’s “essentially” a business, and a failing one until he came along. That was the latest twist on one of his most enduring fictions. It’s not remotely a business but rather a military alliance. It wasn’t going bankrupt, and Trump hasn’t performed a turnaround.

A look at his comments at a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte:

TRUMP:

On the recent NATO meeting: “I went to NATO. And NATO was essentially going out of business ’cause people weren’t paying and it was going down, down, down.”

On NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: “He said we couldn’t collect money until President Trump came along. And he said last year we collected $44 billion. And this year the money is pouring in. … So the bottom line is the NATO countries are now paying a lot more money.”

THE FACTS:

Countries don’t pay to be in NATO and don’t owe the organization anything other than contributions to a largely administrative fund that Trump is not talking about. Member countries are not in debt to NATO. Money is “not pouring in” now. Collections have not increased, as he asserted.

Trump’s actual beef is with how much NATO countries spend on their own military budgets.

The Trump administration is not the first to push countries in NATO to spend more on their own armed forces to lessen their dependence on the U.S. In fact, it was in 2014, during the Obama administration, that NATO members agreed to move “toward” spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on their own defense by 2024.

The somewhat-vague commitment was made as a response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea. No one expected all allies would immediately move to 2 percent; the increases were to be gradual.

It’s possible, though not established, that Trump’s hectoring may have spurred some countries to increase their spending faster than they planned or to become more serious about moving to the 2 percent goal.

But at the NATO summit this month, when Trump claimed that he wrung a new commitment out of NATO partners on their military spending, those partners did not back him up. Several European leaders said they merely agreed to keep doing what they’ve been doing — raising military spending under the goal set in 2014.

Trump’s faulty claim that NATO “collected” $44 billion in 2017 refers to one estimate of how much Washington’s partners in the alliance collectively raised their own military spending by last year.

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TRUMP: We’re shouldering anywhere of 70 to 90 percent of the cost of NATO. That’s not fair. That’s not fair. Especially when you take Germany and Germany’s paying 1 percent, a little more than 1 percent.”

THE FACTS: That’s not right. The U.S. military budget comprises about 70 percent of the military spending of NATO countries together, but that’s for worldwide military commitments, not just Europe.

Although he called out Germany for spending only 1 percent of its economy on its armed forces (actually an estimated 1.24 percent in 2017 and 2018), he did not mention with his “new friend” Conte at his side that Italy spends even less: an estimated 1.15 percent in 2017 and 2018.

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Associated Press writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report.

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Find AP Fact Checks at http://apne.ws/2kbx8bd

Follow @APFactCheck on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APFactCheck

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Anti-war sentiment runs rampant among Iraq and Afghan war veterans

Veterans join the NATO protests in Chicago (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

During the Vietnam war, many who served in that controversial conflict became anti-war activists and some turned in their medals or tossed them over the fence at the White House.

It’s happening again.

Irag and Afghan war vets joined in the protests at last week’s NATO summit in Chicago.  At one point, a group of more than three dozen veterans of both conflicts lined up and threw their medals over a fence.

Said former naval officer Leah Bolger:

We’re standing up to the illegal wars of both NATO and America.  The atrocities have to stop.  We have to to make America and the world aware.

A recent Pew Research Center poll found 33 percent of veterans who have served since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying neither war was worth the cost.

Retired Army Co. Ann Wright resigned from the State Department in 2003 to protest the U.S. invasion of Iraq.   The 29-year-military veteran told The Christian Science Monitor:

Military personnel know America will always have a military, but there is growing concern over the way it is being used.  These concerns include the use of torture, illegal detentions, and both soldiers and the public being lied to about the actual reasons for going into combat.

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