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Withdrawal of German troops highlights the increasing wealth of the two White House allies amidst Esper’s isolation

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Withdrawal of German troops highlights the increasing wealth of the two White House allies amidst Esper's isolation

Usually, plans that involve the removal of large numbers of troops are coordinated with the Pentagon to achieve achievable goals. But this time a special order to withdraw nearly 10,000 troops from Germany came from inside the White House, despite concerns from the Pentagon that it was endangering European-based American defenses against Russia.

“Their stock is very high now,” an administration official told CNN.

Since resigning as acting DNI last month, Grenell has taken several new positions both inside and outside government, including part-time work at the national security council working under O’Brien. Returning to his time as US Ambassador to Germany, Grenell had become the driving force behind the push to bring down troops there.

Since Grenell returned to the White House last year, there has been widespread belief among current national security officials that he and O’Brien have worked to isolate Esper, according to three sources who know internal dynamics. Others believe that Esper’s influence has diminished in large part because he has refused to get involved in politics.

The secretary of defense has been on shaky ground with the White House for the past few weeks. Two days after Trump’s photo-op in front of St. Church. John, he openly broke up with the President for using active duty troops to extinguish a large scale protest was triggered by the death of George Floyd. CNN reported at the time that Esper was ready to resign afterwards and believed Trump was ready to fire him.

On Thursday, Grenell pushed back to the notion that he and O’Brien had actively tried to put Esper aside, which Grenell said was present throughout the months of discussion about pulling troops out of Germany.

“The president wants a wise process from DoD,” Grenell told CNN. “At that time the whole discussion was about how much we adjusted so that some (troops) went to Poland, and how much we brought home.”

As talks continued, key disagreements arose over how many of the approximately 34,500 US troops were withdrawn. While Pentagon officials are willing to adjust the level of troops in Germany if that does not undermine US deterrence against Russia, the President openly calls the withdrawal he ordered as retaliation against Germany, which he claims does not contribute a fair share of funding to NATO.

On Wednesday, Esper left for NATO, where the topic of the potential withdrawal of US troops from Europe could not be avoided.

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“Secretary Esper met with President Trump on Wednesday to discuss our presence in Europe,” said Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman. “On Monday, the Secretary will give a brief explanation to the President at the White House about the choices for the posture of our troops in Germany.”

Grenell and O’Brien

National Security Advisers Robert O, Brien, left, and Rick Grenell have known each other because both of them worked in the George W. Bush administration.

Some sources say that O’Brien is trying to position himself as the next Secretary of Defense if Trump wins a second term, and that Grenell positions himself as the next foreign minister – something he has refused or refused to admit. On Tuesday at the Students For Trump conference in Phoenix, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, Trump’s ally, asked Grenell if he would serve as foreign minister in the second Trump administration. Grenell answered, “I don’t think I can answer that.”

O’Brien and Grenell have a close relationship and have known each other since the mid-2000s, when they both worked at the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration, according to a source familiar with their relationship.

O’Brien was key in calling on Grenell to act as DNI acting following the removal of Joseph McGuire, according to one current official and a former government official.

O’Brien, saw Grenell as a loyal soldier to be sent to DNI, and also felt that by appointing Grenell, a figure who was very controversial even in conservatives, they might pave the way for quick confirmation of whoever was to be nominated, people said this.

While the pair has managed to gain support with Trump, their maneuvers have angered some of President’s main allies, including the Republican Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, Senator Jim Inhofe, who said O’Brien failed to give him a head. about plans to expel US troops from Germany.

“It came from O’Brien. He signed it. That’s what I understand,” the Republic of Oklahoma told reporters on Wednesday.

“I was the last to know about it,” he added. “I should be the first.”

Get rid of Esper

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper attended a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda and US President Donald Trump at the Oval Office of the White House on June 24, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Sources throughout the administration told CNN that O’Brien had encouraged the President’s increasingly negative views of Esper.

For months, Trump and O’Brien have lost confidence in Esper, noting his tendency to avoid offering the President full defense or his policies, several government officials had previously told CNN.

Trump personally expressed frustration with Esper, including venturing at length during a recent weekend at Camp David, according to various sources.

O’Brien has spoken to the President about Esper’s television statement, which the White House feels is problematic or has not been sent on several occasions. In at least one example, O’Brien gave a printout to the President who compared his public comments on the topic to those made by Esper to highlight his differences.

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Proximity also played a role in the division, said one source close to O’Brien. With his office in the West Wing, O’Brien can be in the Oval Office within one minute, while the time needed for Esper to travel from the Pentagon after being summoned by Trump sometimes upsets the impatient President, the source added.

Trump doesn’t seem to have a problem with O’Brien stomping on Esper’s feet, telling reporters at the White House on Monday that he intends to follow up with the recommendation of his national security adviser to move US troops stationed in Germany.

Trump reaffirmed his stance during a press conference at Rose Garden on Wednesday with Polish President Andrzej Duda. “We might move them from Germany to Poland,” Trump said, adding that he wanted to bring the level of US troops there to 25,000. “Some will go home and some will go elsewhere and Poland will be one of those places.”

Although Widower supported the transfer of troops to Poland, he insisted that he opposed reducing the total number of US troops in Europe, saying it would “seriously damage European security.”

Deeper tension with the Pentagon

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was right, since then calling his presence in the Church of St. Trump

Trump’s frustration with Esper is an indication of wider tension between the President and military leaders at the Pentagon.

Amid criticism for his appearance in battle uniforms during the photo-op of President St. John, General Mark Milley, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also considered whether he could effectively survive, according to several current officials and retirees who spoke to CNN.

Milley was so uncertain about his future that he personally consulted with his close colleagues, including several retired senior generals.

Tensions over how to respond to protests have flowed into steps to withdraw troops from Germany, according to several current and former officials.

While defense officials have considered moving troops from Germany in the past, US and NATO officials told CNN earlier this month that the size and timing of the reduction was unexpected.

Discussions about moving troops from Germany began early last fall, according to a government official. When the idea began to be mobilized, “middle-level” officials with the Department of Defense pushed back, instead of asking to increase the number of troops there, the person said.

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In December, top US officials who attended the NATO summit in London took on the discussion and Grenell raised the issue with Esper, highlighting the President’s interest in withdrawing troops, the person said.

The Pentagon said it was working on options “consistent with the President’s direction” to significantly reduce troop numbers in Germany, but defense officials were stunned by Trump’s initial request and were largely excluded from the decision making process, sources said.

Now, it’s up to Esper to do it, despite believing that Trump’s request is logistically impossible and something NATO’s allies are personally fighting.

“Mark Esper is very aware of the physics problem” of such withdrawals, said an official.

GOP pushback

National Security Adviser Robert OBrien listens when President Donald Trump talks about Syria at the White House in October 2019.

O’Brien, on the other hand, defended the move.

In the Wall Street Journal op-ed this week, he believes the reduction in troops is crucial to “against China and Russia, the two big competitors.”

If successful, the move could mean a signature victory for O’Brien, but some GOP lawmakers are not happy about it. A group of Republicans, led by Rep. Michael McCaul, top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran – urged Trump not to reduce the number of troops in Germany in this week’s letter. , arguing that the move would negatively impact NATO’s ability to prevent Russian aggression.

More than 20 Republicans on the House Armed Forces Committee, including the panel chairman, Rep. Mac Thornberry, echoed that point in a separate letter earlier this month where they asked the White House to reconsider its plans.

Two congressional aides who were familiar with the outreach told CNN that they did not expect the letters would succeed in convincing Trump to change course unless Esper or Milley could intervene in certain ways.

For Inhofe, who remains Trump’s strong ally on Capitol Hill, the blame lies with O’Brien, not Trump. “He loves our troops very much and he will not do anything that will cause unbearable difficulties for our troops,” Inhofe said Wednesday about the President.

“I only know that it’s not something he will start because he knows him well.”

CNN’s Kylie Atwood and Ryan Browne contributed to this report.

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Prize for the Portuguese. Andre Silva is Champions League Player of the Week

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Prize for the Portuguese.  Andre Silva is Champions League Player of the Week

BUTndre Silva won the competition and became the best player of the week in the Champions League, informed UEFAthis Thursday.

The former Porto striker scored in Jota’s 3-1 victory over Celtic Leipzig, scoring a brace in a match that was signed after his Portuguese compatriot equalized.

In addition, Andre Silva also provided the assist for Nkunku, scoring the first goal of this Wednesday’s game in which huge show of foreign fans.

In addition to the Leipzig striker, Di Maria (Juventus), Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund) and Di Lorenzo (Napoli) also fought in the fight for the prize, but it was the Portuguese who managed to smile after voting for the third round of the competition, the famous This Thursday is the fair.

Read also: Diogo Costa and Andre Silva named to Champions League Team of the Week

See also: Andre Silva among the nominees for the title of the best player of the week in the Champions League

See also: double dose. Andre Silva returned to celebrate and sentenced doubts

See also: Andre Silva took advantage of Hart’s colossal mistake and responded to Jota’s goal

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Eternal Portuguese deja vu – Renaissance

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Eternal Portuguese deja vu - Renaissance

At the end of the summer of 1972, exactly half a century ago, SEDES – Associação para o Desenvolvimento Económico e Social (the most famous reformist think tank during Marseilles) issued a document for the country entitled “Portugal: The country we are, the country we want to be “. The Marseille spring had already turned into autumn: Américo Thomas had just been re-elected, the colonial war had dragged on, repression had intensified, and an economic crisis was already brewing. Seeing the general frustration, and at the same time willing to go against it, the signatories of CEDES began by asking “Where will we be and how will we be in 1980?” to criticize the obstacles that overshadowed Portugal in the early 1970s.

Among the “problems that are getting worse without a solution”, emigration stood out, indicating the country’s inability to offer better living and working conditions to those who left; the growing inflationary process, reflected in the cost of living; the inevitability of economic integration in Europe when the country is not ready for international commercial competition; “disaggregation of regional economies” with “continuous depopulation of municipalities and regions” within the country; or “deterioration of public administration” when the government fails to promote a “prestigious, moralized, revitalized and efficient public sector”. “No one will have any difficulty,” continued the text, “to add to a new list of urgent questions that seriously endanger national life, about which much has been said and which, year after year, continue to wait for a sufficient solution.” Therefore, “the prevailing feeling in the country” in contemplation of the recent past and present could not but be “annoyance at urgent battles, the need for which was endlessly discussed, at decisions that were changed or postponed, and at rejected goals” or which were not clearly formulated ” .

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Between “untapped resources” and/or “lack of organizational and decision-making capacity” there was “widespread anxiety” stemming from the inevitable observation that “we are very far from the results that we could achieve thanks to the progress of the Portuguese and Portugal”. This was the macro goal of the reformist, humanist and liberalizing technocrats that SEDES brought together. “Ultimately,” they reminded Marcelo Cayetano, “the real obstacle can only be associated with the low political priority of economic and social development in our country.” So, in short, there was an urgent need to “radically change our economic, social and political way of life”, since “a national balance based on general anemia, repression and weakening of various participants” is unsustainable and pernicious.

SEDES did not know that the Estado Novo would fall in April 1974, that democracy would come in 1976, and Europe from the EEC (after EFTA) in 1986 of repression, finally gained the freedom that was discussed between the lines of the 1972 manifesto ., there would be conditions for solving (almost) all economic and social problems of development and cohesion.

Fifty years have passed since this manifesto, and almost the same number has already been in democracy. However, if we compare the above quotes with the Portuguese present, the feeling of deja vu is indescribable. SEDES wondered what the country would be like in 1980 and is wondering today (in its recent study “Ambition: Doubling GDP in 20 Years”) where we will be in 2040. It may be a replay of a sad fate: knowing (some) where to go, but never getting there!

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Algeria interested in Portuguese companies investing in renewable energy – Observer

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Algeria interested in Portuguese companies investing in renewable energy - Observer

Foreign Minister João Gomes Cravinho met this Wednesday with his Algerian counterpart Ramtan Lamamra, who expressed interest in Portuguese companies investing in Algeria’s solar and wind energy.

Speaking with Lusa, João Cravinho also said that for 2023 it was decided to hold a “high-level meeting chaired by the prime ministers” of the two countries, a meeting to be held in Algiers, in addition to the state visit of the President of Algeria. Algeria to Portugal.

The Portuguese foreign minister said today’s visit to Algeria, where he was with Ramtan Lamamra, whom he has known since 2005 when he was ambassador to Lisbon, is “based on old knowledge”, but also a visit to a country that “does not to be a neighbor”, shares “a lot of fears”. “Not being a neighboring country, it almost shares many concerns about the region, the Mediterranean, the European Union’s relationship with Africa and the Arab world. It was important for us to talk about what we can do together as part of the geopolitical and geo-economic transformation,” he explained.

João Cravinho stressed that the issue of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a factor “which could not but be the subject of dialogue”, and also added that “geo-economic issues related to energy, renewable energy sources and the opportunities that come with the digital transition” also were on the table.

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“While Algeria is a major exporter of fossil fuels, it is also a country with huge potential in terms of solar and wind energy. We have very qualified companies in these areas, and the Algerian side has expressed interest in [ter] Portuguese investors in these areas,” the minister said.

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The official said that it would be a matter of working with the Portuguese Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade (AICEP), with the Secretary of State for Internationalization, as well as with a sectoral ministry, namely the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. A “high-level meeting chaired by the prime ministers” of the two countries is scheduled for 2023, a meeting to be held in Algiers, in addition to the Algerian President’s state visit to Portugal.

“We have a very busy calendar between the two countries. Now we will try to organize a mixed commission, where technical specialists from both countries will gather,” he said, stressing that there are “14 legal documents that are practically finalized and will be signed” in 2023.

João Gomes Cravinho was on a visit to Algiers today to assess bilateral relations in the economic sphere, as well as in terms of cooperation, language and culture, and to discuss international issues.

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