Trump-Putin Meeting

The Trump-Putin lead up and post meet assessment.

The encounter takes place as investigators search for any evidence of collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia’s efforts to influence the presidential election. No such evidence has yet been uncovered, but the backdrop makes the Putin meeting politically perilous for the president.

Here are the key things to watch.

What will Trump say about Russian meddling?

The problem for Trump is that failure to raise the issue with Putin will only fuel criticism from his domestic political enemies. They already say he is too closely aligned with the Russian president.

The Kremlin would, presumably, be happy to inform the media if Trump decides against talking about the topic at all.

Who will be in the meeting?

The meeting will reportedly be a small one, including only Trump and Putin, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and two interpreters.

What will the body language be like?

Images taken by a Russian photographer of an Oval Office meeting that Trump held with Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in May showed the three men laughing together.

At other times, the body language between Trump and other international leaders has been seen as frosty — most obviously during a White House visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in March.

What will Putin do?

The Russian president has his own agenda going into the meeting, and it will likely include calling on Trump to ease or remove sanctions imposed on Moscow for its actions in Ukraine and for its alleged election meddling.

It is possible that Putin could call for the return of two Russian facilities in the U.S. — one on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and another near New York City — that were closed in the waning days of the Obama administration.

Any way forward on Syria?

Most experts believe this meeting will be more about each man taking the measure of the other, rather than reaching any substantive agreements.

That said, in addition to Ukraine and sanctions, the other big issue that is virtually certain to come up is Syria.

Prior to taking office, Trump argued that the U.S. and Russia might be able to create an informal alliance of convenience to “knock the hell out of ISIS.”

National security adviser H.R. McMaster has said, “We’re engaged in wide-ranging discussions about irritants and problems in the relationship and areas to explore common interests and opportunities.”

He went on to say that our goal is to see if we can stabilize the relationship and identify areas of mutual interest.

Despite McMaster’s statement and the high global stakes, Washington insiders are beside themselves that Trump may sit down with Putin without a specific agenda…

Trump knows Russia needs us more than we need it. While our economy is rebounding, unemployment is decreasing, housing is strong and the stock market is at an all-time high, Russia has been in recession since 2015.

Russia’s GDP is $3.7 trillion.

Ours is $18 trillion.

All this gives President Trump the advantage. It’s Putin who needs to make a deal.

What will he give up to make one?

In which area does he seek relief?

Will we bend on sanctions?

Are we going to bomb Russian backed Syria troops again?

Can we cut a deal in Crimea?

What punishment will we impose for election meddling? Is NATO going to be expanded?

Yes, he has an agenda and his hat in hand.

(Bold emphasis mine)

Note, as a general rule of thumb, GDP isn’t the best avenue to determine the health of an economy based on it’s relatively easy to cook the books under spending and thus create a bubble. Case and point, old school measurements estimates US GDP is dependent on the US Dollar’s world’s reserve currency status as a result of deficit to debt spending in old school accounts for over 80% of GDP and over 93% of GDP and historically the point of no return.

Tillerson told reporters that the two leaders are focused on looking forward, and that the “relationship is too important to not find a way forward.” He did add that the U.S. will work to get a “commitment” from Russia that they will not interfere in the elections of the U.S. or others.

TASS, a Russian-owned news agency, quoted Putin as saying, “I have had a lengthy conversation with the US president. Loads of questions have accumulated including both Ukraine and Syria along with other issues, some bilateral issues.” While the meeting was still going on, the Associated Press reported that a cease-fire agreement had been reached between Russia and the U.S. in Syria.

Putin added that they discussed “the fight against terrorism and cybersecurity.”

“We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes including Syria and Iran, and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself,” Trump said in Warsaw.

But nothing has deterred him from his vow to test the possibilities of diplomacy with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It was a marked contrast to the way his predecessor, President Barack Obama, glowered at Putin at last year’s last G-20 summit. For more than two years prior to that, Obama had limited his contacts with Putin in an effort to shame and isolate the Russian leader for actions like granting asylum to Edward Snowden and annexing Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

Many other presidents, for reasons of politics of principle, might have avoided a scheduled meeting with Putin. Some advisers reportedly urged Trump to limit his contact with the Russian to a short, impromptu chat instead of the formal sit-down of more than two hours they held today.

(Bold emphasis mine)

Note, we’re actually discussing pride and ego not really politics of principle.

He suggested the ceasefire would be a first step toward larger cooperation, saying Trump and Putin held a “lengthy discussion” on ways to “de-escalate the violence once we defeat ISIS” and to facilitate a political transition that Tillerson said would require Assad and his family to relinquish power.

In Warsaw, he called the Russian president’s energy bully-bluff. A few years back, in one of his finest moments, Senator John McCain said on a Sunday talk show that “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.” It was right when he said it, and it’s even more right today.

But with energy prices falling, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has essentially been in a recession over the past four years. With oil at $50 a barrel or less, Russian budgets plunge deeper into debt. It’s even doubtful the Russians have enough money to upgrade their military-energy industrial complex. Through crafty media relations and his own bravado, a deluded Putin struggles to maintain the illusion that Russia is a strong economic power. But it ain’t so. Not even close.

Now, Russia still has a lot of oil and gas reserves. And it uses this to bully Eastern and Western Europe. It threatens to cut off these resources if Europe dares to complain about Putin power-grabs in Crimea, eastern Ukraine, the Baltics, and elsewhere.

But in an absolutely key part of the speech, he took direct aim at Vladimir Putin’s energy bullying. Trump said, “We are committed to securing your access to alternative sources of energy so Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy.” Italics are all mine.

But in the Warsaw speech, Trump made it clear that America’s energy dominance will be used to help our friends across Europe. No longer will our allies have to rely on Russian Gazprom supplies with inflated, prosperity-killing prices.

The above is so much nonsense, but it’s clear that the president and his team have decided that an attempt at affectionate relations is worth the cost — namely, allowing the Kremlin to get off relatively cost-free after it attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election and as it continues to prop up the murderous Assad regime in Syria.

On cybersecurity, a more realistic view means recognizing that Russia is not interested in an alliance against other nefarious actors; it means recognizing that Russia is one of the nefarious actors, and that any realistic cybersecurity strategy will involve hardening our defenses against Russian threats, which are coming thick and fast not only against government servers but also against the digital infrastructure of major American businesses.

The White House reportedly has flirted with the idea of lifting the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration late last year. That would be a mistake. The Senate agrees. That chamber recently passed, nearly unanimously, a robust sanctions package that would codify President Obama’s sanctions and expand them, taking direct aim at Russia’s (intertwined) defense and energy sectors.

As for Syria, Russia is not leaving anytime soon — since Obama’s failure to enforce his “red line” allowed Putin to establish a foothold and flex his muscle in the Middle East. But this does not mean that the U.S. should play the patsy time and again, which was the Obama policy. The U.S. must work with allied forces to hold as much territory as possible to establish a position of strength, with the ultimate goal of negotiating a decent peace and probable de facto partition.

Three Democratic lawmakers in the House have introduced amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act hammering President Trump’s posture toward Russia.

First, Russian interference in the 2016 election cycle through promoted by the CIA, NSA, and FBI centrally are centrally an Act of War, and one really shouldn’t discuss that with the foreign power’s leader or Diplomatic Representative without concrete evidence. If you’re going to discuss an Act of War without following through with a Declaration of War, this will make you regardless of agreements reached as seen as internationally weak. Never mind, the entire premise is to assert anti-globalization, guilty until proven innocent, and expansionist foreign policy proponents and supporters are stupid to the point of feeble-minded, and it constitutes attacking the source/author rather than the content.
Second, it is a semantics argument and misleading to refer to Trade Sanctions without acknowledging a sanction is pure and simply a trade embargo that is central to a trade war. It also throws the entire argument of GDP assessments of the purposes behind the sanctions out the window.
Third, the same issue applies to examinations of contingencies focused on the region of discussion such as if Russia follows through on retailiatory measures against US-Allied aerial operations. The War College have run war-game scenarios here, and it states the US can’t fight a successful multiple regional war such as World War I or World War II with the US Military focused on unconventional warfare against Russia, against China, or against Russo-Sino as a lose-lose proposition.
People might want to take a closer look at US GDP that is by old school measurements makes the sustainability of the GDP bubble dependent on the US Dollar’s world’s reserve currency status meaning pressure exerted or being pressured reverses the roles of the US V Soviet Union analysts, which may be why authors as “What Russia Wants” Ivan Krastev discusses.

So, if the PR is accurate, it also means; many of the assessments are derived by false presumptions that dangerously creates false conclusions.


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