Today I have dedicated my posts to the “Big Meeting” that the whole world is talking about and some of it is also just as worried.
Ukraine and Syria are the two most urgent problem sets. On the former, diplomacy has stalled. France, the United Kingdom, and the United States appear to be consumed with other problems. Talks with Russia on the core issues behind the Minsk agreements—a cease-fire, a restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty, a workable political order in the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine—might stimulate the Western appetite for leadership. With the rebels surrendering, President Bashar al-Assad’s Syria will be taking on a new form, the volatility of which could provoke a war between Iran and Israel. This is an outcome Russia and the United States would both want to avoid. They should be looking ahead in consultation with each other. U.S. leverage over Israel and Russian leverage over Iran is incomplete, but a basic degree of coordination would certainly help prevent conflict. Addressing these dilemmas should not be deferred to 2020 or 2024. Arms control, counterterrorism, the Arctic, and space are other issues that deserve real bilateral attention. Low-key discussions out of the public eye have modest potential, and the Russian and U.S. presidents could give these discussions a preliminary blessing in Helsinki.
In an ideal world, Trump would raise the issue of election interference one-on-one with Putin. Those U.S. officials who join Trump at other meetings would do the same. No less important, Trump would make an emphatic public statement about Russian meddling while together with Putin, as French President Emmanuel Macron has done at comparable moments. Putin will deny the meddling, and Trump should neither accept this denial, as he has in the past, nor make an official acknowledgment from Putin a precondition for moving forward. The confession will never come, but raising the issue with clarity and without embarrassment would convey American resolve and a willingness to respond. If Trump waffles on the issue in Helsinki, however, Russia will score a propaganda victory and will likely be emboldened to test further what redline, if any, the administration has on meddling.
Will Dear Leader take troops out of Syria? (I would not argue with that move) Or will he end “war games” in Eastern Europe?
A big meeting with low expectations from our dear leader……
With heavy expectations for the first summit between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, administration officials are desperately trying to downplay Monday’s talks, with Trump saying he’s come into the talks with very low expectations.
“Nothing bad’s gonna come out of it, and maybe some good will come out,” Trump said. He followed this up with a series of Tweets complaining that it would never be good enough for his critics.
Ambassador Jon Huntsman sought to lower the bar even more on the summit by insisting the media is making a mistake in calling it a summit at all, saying it’s only a “meeting.” He emphasized the need to hold Russia accountable.
This is where some offer a small bit of advice to Our Dear leader…….
The meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki this week comes on the heels of a turbulent NATO summit that saw the American president butting heads with the other European leaders. In an era where Trump seems to be combative with allies and collegial with adversaries, the world will be watching attentively.
Simply, the agenda of the summit is to discuss relations between the two countries. One of the most important topics will be Russian involvement in the 2016 American election. This comes as the two leaders will meet just days after special counsel Robert Mueller handed down 12 new indictments of Russian nationals in relation to election hacking.
Oh but wait….there are others that think that this meeting should be nothing more than a handshake and a photo op…….
President Trump should not seek a grand bargain in Helsinki. There is no grand bargain to be had with President Putin, a world-class deceiver. Likewise, Trump should not try to charm, flatter, or appease Putin. Previous presidents have tried that approach, and rather than resetting the relationship, it only made matters worse.
Regardless of how much American presidents wish it were not so, Russia is a prideful country with a long history that views the United States as an opponent.
Our Dear Leader has been wetting his pants for decades on the chance of getting a face to face with Putin and now he has what he has dreamed of for so long.
All in all if there is no advisers in this meeting then we will not know what the two talked about and I will bet that it has little to do with our national security and everything to do with the Trump name.
A little musical interlude in honor of the meeting held today…..
Let me remind my readers of the prediction made by Soviet Premier. Nikita Krushchev…….
What team is Our Dear Leader Playing on?(To use a football metaphor)
Need more be said?
“I really think the world wants to see us get along,” Trump told reporters
Please……What world would that be?