Trump and Putin

The historic summit of Presidents Trump and Putin in Helsinki was notable for its lack of discord and disagreement.  Like two gentlemen, the two leaders of the mightiest and the largest countries in the world, respectively, agreed politely to differ.   Trump was at pains to avoid blaming Putin for anything, and was certainly not going to be led into a contest over who was responsible for the so-called Russian collusion investigation.  The Mueller investigation in fact has been going on for over a year and has come up with nothing definitive.  As far as Putin is concerned, if there was any Russian cyber interference in American affairs it was not by his government.  The fact that he controls almost everything that happens in Russia, including the murders of hundreds of active critics, was, of course, not mentioned.

But, Trump is right.  The US, for good or ill, has to deal with Putin, and its better to be in the game with him talking, than merely shouting at him from the sidelines (to use a topical football metaphor).  The US has dealt with many evil and dangerous men like Putin, including Stalin (who supposedly murdered ca. 70 million Russians) with whom Roosevelt sat down and negotiated the future of the world (although it didn’t turn out as they expected).  The US has also dealt with the Chinese leaders, no less evil, such as Chairman Mao, and currently with Chairman Kim Jong-un of N. Korea, not known for his support of human rights.  No, in the real world such people who wield power have to be dealt with, rather than fought.  Time is on our side, such dictators never last.

During the Summit press conference it was expected that the leaders would refer to issues that divide them, such as their difference over Crimea.  But, what did surprise was their apparent willingness to come to terms over Syria.  Trumps stated that Russia and the US are working together to ensure Israel’s security in relation to the Syrian regime approaching the Israeli border on the Golan Heights.  This presumably refers to Iran and Hezbollah embedded with Syrian troops.  Putin said Syria could be the first example of successful joint work, that would ensure peace and stability in Syria and allow the delivery of humanitarian supplies for the suffering Syrian people.

Most media attention in the US has been on the denial by Putin that he did not interfere in the US election, and Trump’s seemingly lame acceptance of this.  But, what do you expect him to do, there and then insult his negotiating partner.  There seems to be solid evidence of Russian interference and Trump knows this, but he is a politician and he has to be diplomatic.  All those who accuse him of not being diplomatic, namely the liberal media and the Democrats, are now up in arms over his supposed “disgusting” lack of confrontation of Putin.  This is really ridiculous.