Rep. Steven Palazzo is back from a tour of five European countries, his office said in a press release Friday.
“In light of the growing aggression of our enemies abroad, last week I traveled with a small group of House Armed Services Committee colleagues to meet with senior military and diplomatic officials amongst our closest allies in Eastern Europe,” Palazzo said in the release. “We were welcomed by officials in each of the five countries we met and had open discussions centered around the vital role of the United States as a presence in the region and an active partner in global security efforts. As the United States reclaims our role as the leader on the world stage, it’s extremely important that we continue to sustain and strengthen our relations with our NATO allies.”
Palazzo seems to implying our standing in the world was lower during the recently completed terms of President Barack Obama. I checked with Gallup. They asked this question of Americans: “Do you think leaders of other countries around the world have respect for ___________ or do you think they don’t have much respect for him?”
When they filled in the blank with President Donald Trump, the answer was 29 percent said other countries respect him. For former President Barack Obama, in the comparable time in his first term, 67 percent said they believed other countries respect him. That percentage steadily declined over the next eight years but still was at 45 percent in Obama’s final year in office.
Gallup a year earlier polled 1,000 adults in 130 countries. They found the U.S. had the highest standing; Russia, the lowest.
But I digress. Here are highlights of the rest of the tour from the congressman:
“In Poland we met with Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of National Defense Mr. Tomasz Szatkowski. We discussed matters of the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence and Mr. Szatkowski also expressed his full support for U.S. operations in Syria,” he wrote. “In Powidz, Poland we also visited US troops and the construction site of the future U.S. Navy operated Ballistic Missile Defense.”
“Marko Mihkelson, chairman of the Estonian parliament's foreign affairs committee expressed how crucial the relationship with the U.S. was during these times,” Palazzo wrote. “We also discussed the role of the U.S. Military presence and the contingency of expanding our presence there.”
He also met 1st Sgt. Josuan King of Mississippi, who is stationed at Tapa Army Base.
“We met with Defense Minister Gabriel Les in Romania and discussed the importance of military cooperation and strategic partnership. I was also pleased to hear Defense Minister Les reaffirm the Romanians’ commitment to the efforts against ISIL and fight against terrorism.”
“In Lviv, Ukraine, we visited the International Peacekeeping and Security Center of the National Academy of the U.S. Army. We were met by the head of the National Academy of the Army, Lieutenant General Pavel Tkachuk, and head of the Joint Multinational group training -Ukraine, U.S. Armed Forces Colonel David Jordan.”
“In Brussels we had a meeting with General Scaparrotti, Commander, U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe.”