How many times since 2016 have you read something that goes like this: “Although not a fan of Donald Trump, I voted for him”? That’s pretty much how Angelo Codevilla starts his assessment of the Trump/Putin Helsinki summit – an assessment that sharply contrasts with the “obloquy by which the bipartisan U.S. ruling class showcases its willful incompetence.”
As hosts on late-night TV trash Trump and NPR commentators seem drunk with glee over the suggestion of “treason,” Mr. Codevilla, instead, highlights “the professional quality” Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin displayed at their press conference.
Mr. Codevilla, a diplomacy expert, explains why the T/P press conference was an exemplar of how things should be done: He bestows an A+ to the two leaders’ frankness and specificity of serious business.
- For Putin: The Cold War is ancient history. Nobody in Russia (putting himself in this category) wants that kind of enmity again. It is best for Russia, for America, and for everybody else if the two find areas of agreement or forbearance.
- For Trump: Relations between the globe’s major nuclear powers have never been this bad—especially since some Americans are exacerbating existing international differences for domestic partisan gain. For the sake of peace and adjustment of differences where those exist and adjustment is possible, Trump is willing to pay a political cost to improve those relations (if, indeed, further enraging his enemies is a cost rather than a benefit).
This, writes the professor, is “a classic statement of diplomatic positions and a drawing of spheres of influence.”
Putin’s Russia agenda is as a status quo power – a power that wants stability. Putin’s Russia, diminished and dispirited (high unemployment, alcoholism, illnesses and low longevity numbers), is looking to recover as much as possible of what Russia lost in the Soviet breakup. In forcibly taking back parts of Georgia and Ukraine, according to Codevilla, Putin was pushing against open doors.
Today, no other doors are open. Now that Putin is ahead, he wants to stop the game. He knows that nobody is going to wage or even risk war against Russia in an attempt to try disgorging Abkhazia and Crimea. Putin wants Trump to acknowledge that.
With his warning against extending NATO to Ukraine Georgia, Putin was signaling that all else is negotiable.
Flexibility and Inflexibility
Putin has rebuilt Russia’s military. Now he wants to protect its edge by persuading Trump to keep U.S. missile defense in its current dysfunctional mode.
- This is an inflexible demand that deserves an equally inflexible rejection.
- Trump had already delivered it by ordering the establishment of the U.S. Space Force.
- By securing his naval and air bases in Syria, Putin succeeded in returning Russia to warm-water sea power. That required backing the Shia side in its intra-Muslim war against the Sunni in Syria, while the United States backed the other side.
- Today Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey are much as Putin wants them. He wants Trump’s acknowledgment of this Russia continues to argue to Americans that both countries have suffered far more from Sunni terrorism—ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood—than from the Shia version.
- (The) classic texts of diplomatic practice teach that diplomacy advances the cause of peace and order only to the extent that its practitioners avoid contentious opinions and stick to demonstrable facts.
- The AP reporter, who should be ashamed, is beyond shame.
- Then again, so are the ruling class representatives who have redoubled their animus against Trump. Cheap partisanship is not all that harmful.
- It is the transfer of domestic partisan animus to international affairs, however, that has the potential to start wars.
For much more read here.