The summit meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin was touted to be a major event. It’s not often that the leaders of the US and Russia meet to discuss pressing issues. So with this in mind the media, Congress and many Americans were anticipating some dramatic announcements.
Anyone who’s observed the progress of similar high-level summits knows that nothing concrete is going to be accomplished after just a few hours of one on one conversation. The media creates great anticipation that usually falls short. The two world powers are diametrically opposed to each other on many fronts. It was just an opportunity for both men to talk face to face about situations that piss them off.
The world knows Putin is a megalomaniac and a liar who dreams every day about a resurgence of former Soviet dominance throughout the world. It was dashed when Ronald Reagan bankrupted the country in 1991. Putin was not about to cede a thing on any important issue without getting a pound of flesh.
For Trump is was all theatrics and high drama. He actually believes that Putin and Xi (of China) can be swayed by his charms and superior negotiating skills. The president has been disappointed by Xi relating to North Korea and will be similarly frustrated by Putin moving forward when the negotiators have difficulty finding common ground. But Trump carries two very big sticks, military might and economic power, that he will likely use when the time is right.
Just because Trump was solicitous of Putin doesn’t mean he’s a traitor. A political hack from the Obama administration used this word to describe the president. This shtick is vintage Trump. He kisses butt so long as his adversaries agree to do his bidding. When they resist, he attacks. In recent days the president has had falling-outs with several other world leaders who he previously called good friends, great states people and allies. Trump’s act starts sweetly and always ends in conflict, for the benefit of America.
I didn’t respond to the summit immediately because nothing important happened. The negotiators have a lot to talk about and to disagree on. Hopefully the meeting between Trump and Putin will eventually lead to some progress. What might it be?
Both leaders seem inclined to keep Israel out of the Syrian conflict. Netanyahu is not shy about attacking insurgents, rebels or partisans of Assad that approach his borders. The leaders discussed keeping warring parties away from Israel.
There will be no agreement about Syria. The Russians are supporting Assad, so he is going to stay in power. But it appears that Trump made a case to extract Iran from the conflict. Russia may agree to this in exchange for the US accepting Assad’s regime. It is shameful that a mass murderer like Assad will most probably survive. With Russian support this is likely to happen.
Trump has bludgeoned NATO members to increase their funding to the organization to negotiated levels. Putin indicated that NATO poses an existential threat to Russia, which is a total exaggeration. It’s really moot. If Russia decides to pick off another former SSR that has become a NATO member, Europe and the US would look the other way. Would they initiate a world war if Latvia were to be overrun by Russia? Hardly.
Putin is irate about US support of Ukraine, but he really can’t do anything about it. The country will likely be under total Russian control in a few more years despite the tepid efforts of the US to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Critics of Trump from the left, right and center are complaining that he is cozying up to Russia. They seem to forget that Trump has initiated harsh sanctions against Russia and many of it oligarchs for meddling in US elections and for other misdeeds.
Trump has proven yet again that he is unlike any past presidents. His news conference presentation was abominable in several regards that have been delineated without end by the press and others. But it really wasn’t harmful. He’s now saying that Russia was probably trying to influence our 2016 elections. Apparently a double negative in his speech tripped him up. And not supporting his own intelligence community was a dumb error and demoralizing to members of various agencies that spy for their country at great risk.
Personally I cringed every time Trump congratulated himself for doing a great job as president. It’s more meaningful when third parties laud a president’s performance. He’s just the worst orator and there’s nothing that’s going to change. And he craves adulation, which is difficult to come by these days in political circles.
No deals were made in Helsinki so we all need to take a deep breath. If Trump starts to give away freebies to the Russians (like Obama did with Iran’s nukes) we can all join together and object. I don’t think that’s going to happen, and I’m sure Trump and Putin will not be best buddies after all the negotiating has ended. Given that the countries possess 90% of all nukes in the world, it’s probably a good idea for these guys to find a way to work with each other. Nuclear disarmament might be a good place to begin this effort.