US Deep State Gnashing Teeth and Worried: Trump and Putin Might Become Best Buds in Helsinki
On Monday, July 16, a one-day Russia-US summit will be held in Helsinki, the capital of Finland. It will be the first full-length talks between Presidents Putin and Trump. Hopefully, they will both change a lot in our bilateral relations, which are worse than ever; and fulfill the potential of our countries in terms of global security, if we manage to unite our efforts.
Is Putin ready? He is. And the Kremlin has always confirmed this. Is Trump ready? According to Trump himself, he «has been preparing for this meeting for his whole life.» But, perhaps, this is a hyperbole which is typical of Trump's vocabulary? It's slightly alarming that the meeting between Lavrov and Pompeo planned to prepare the summit is canceled.
That's what Lavrov himself said.
Sergey Lavrov: «Summits are being prepared at various levels, in various formats, and one of the stages of preparation for the Helsinki summit, which will be held on July 16, was the visit of the US National Security Advisor John Bolton. During the visit, it was the American side who proposed to hold a meeting of the foreign ministers prior to the summit. We agreed, of course. But yesterday, Mike Pompeo said in a telephone conversation that his schedule was extremely tight and he just physically couldn't meet before the summit.»
So, he refers to the lack of time. But, in fact, we always have time; the question is, what we spend it on. Does it mean that for the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the summit, for which his president «has been preparing all his life,» is not a priority? Where is the truth here? But maybe I'm just finding fault, and everything, as Trump says, will be «perfect»? Let's hope so. In any case, on Wednesday, Putin politely wished Trump a happy Independence Day. Putin did not neglect this formality and took the time to send his compliments.
Our correspondent Valentin Bogdanov is reporting from the USA.
Part of Americans which opposes Donald Trump is afraid to leave him face-to-face with Vladimir Putin. However, the American president himself shows confidence in Great Falls, VA while meeting with his supporters 1,5 weeks before the summit. The head of the White House is going to get along with the Russian leader despite ill tongues.
Donald Trump: «Now they're discussing the meeting with Putin. Like, Putin is ready for the meeting, but will Trump be ready for it? Trust me, it will be just fine. We'll do it. Fake news, bad people.»
These bad people also got at American congressmen who had recently visited Russia. Headed by Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, they were almost labeled as Moscow's agent of influence.
John Brennan, CIA director (2013-2017): «This is alarming: first, it should have been a bipartisan delegation. It's unclear if the American media will go and will be allowed to attend the talk behind closed doors. Have we forgotten what the Russians did to the 2016 elections? Have we forgotten about the Crimea? Unfortunately, there is no John McCain, who would tell his Republican colleagues that that's not the right way to maintain the US national security.»
People like Brennan dream that the upcoming bilateral meeting in Helsinki looked like last year's APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam, where Putin and Trump only met on their way to photographing. They shook hands and exchanged several phrases. Frightened by his own environment, Trump did not dare to have a long conversation with the Russian president, although he had intended to hold a fruitful meeting. Now, the head of the White House got his own way. He wants to talk to the Russian president behind closed doors face-to-face, without aides.
John McLaughlin, CIA former Deputy Director: «As a former intelligence officer, I can say that President Trump is a recruiter's dream. He's completely transparent with his public statements and tweets. You can easily find out what he's not satisfied with, his desires, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Usually, one has to study a person deeply to learn such things, but he presents it all by himself. Of course, Putin is a seasoned intelligence officer.»
As a venue, Finnish Helsingin Sanomat named the Presidential Palace. Built at the beginning of the XIX century, it used to be the residence of Russian emperors. It is in this that Trump's opponents see a bad token. Russia will allegedly play almost at home.
“Putin is going to be in high spirits after the exciting World Cup in Moscow He will enjoy a considerable advantage at the summit.”
Malcolm Nance, MSNBC analyst: «Yes, he's going to play home, and it's his advantage. What is strange is that President Trump sent messages to our NATO allies, severely criticizing their contribution to the Alliance. He somehow adopted the Russian paradigm that NATO is a threat to Russia, that NATO is to be dissolved, that NATO members don't pay fees.”
The US president will arrive in Helsinki from Brussels from the summit of the North Atlantic Alliance. Trump still succeeded to improve the discipline of NATO members. 26 out of 28 member states agreed to increase their contributions to the defense budget despite their resentment. But it is not enough for Trump. According to the US president, Europe continues to bite the hand that protects it, and Germany is the worst of all.
Donald Trump: „We're paying from 70 to 90% to protect Europe, and it's normal. Of course, they're outdoing us not only in trade, they made it impossible for us to have business in Europe. Then they come here to sell their Mercedes' and BMWs. The trade deficit with the EU is $151 billion. And they're killing us with NATO. We contribute 4% of the GDP, while Germany, the EU strongest country, pays only 1%.”
It is now clear that the trade war, which Trump, in fact, declared to his allies, was only a curtain-raiser for an even larger battle. Having imposed this week 25% tariffs on imports from China worth $34 billion, the head of the White House opened a new front of the world trade battle. In such an old-fashioned way, the US administration is trying to bridge the $ 500-billion gap in the trade balance with China. It is old-fashioned as the response of Beijing was predictable, that is, tit-for-tat and immediate. The rules of trade that Trump rewrites by virtue of power, as well as his desire to meet with Putin face-to-face, may only surprise those who missed the American president's election agenda. Even if he hasn't made America great again, with only 47% of the US population being proud of being Americans, Trump increases his chances to remain in power. He hasn't ridden so high since the beginning of his presidency.