President Trump misread two key factors at the historic event in Helsinki: 1) Trump’s relations with Putin, and 2) the Unites States’ relations with Russia, maintains Paul Bonicelli in The Federalist.
But key to whom? Putin for sure.
Putin wants more than an end to sanctions against Russia and an end to U.S. strikes against his allies, PB explains.
Above all Putin wants to stay in power.
It is a matter of survival for him. Unlike Western leaders, who win and hold power by elections, Putin holds and wields power by appearing strong and in charge. He needs to appear strong to the Russian people, and to his gang of elites, who regularly have to consider if Putin in power is good for their interests.
Indirectly, he needs the countries of Europe and his “near abroad” as well as his allies like Syria to see him as powerful and in charge.
So how does he demonstrate this power? By getting other leaders to defer to him. That’s how dictators get and keep power, and influence world events. After all, Russia is never going to influence world events by being a commercial giant or a beacon of hope and stability in the world, the role the United States has been playing for about 70 years.
Yes, Vladimir Putin is a murderous thug, writes Roger Kimbal in American Greatness. As Putin has demonstrated time and again you can take the lout out of the KGB, but it is difficult to take the KGB out of the lout.
That said, Russia is a world power that commands an enormous nuclear arsenal. Which means we cannot—or at least we should not—simply take our marbles out of the game and go home in a snit because they do things of which we do not approve.
Trump is correct that the United States and Russia need to improve their relationship for the sake of our few, but important, common interest, continues Paul Bonicelli.
The United States needs to return to playing the role of the great power with whom both China and Russia want to have stable relations.
But wait. Playing the role of the great power? We already are a great power. The last thing needed is the United States running around acting like the great power.