There is a lot of work to be done. But Putin was likely relieved to find a kindred soul of pragmatism now occupies the White House versus the ideologues that have brought the world to the brink of madness.
What could have been a complete disaster in Hamburg on Friday thanks to Trump’s overly-aggressive rhetoric in Warsaw the day before, ended up far better than I could have hoped. Trump and Putin began the process of draining the foreign policy swamp that has existed since the 1970s.
And they did it with such style that it has the Beltway Intelligentsia frothing at the mouth and scrambling to maintain a narrative of contrived hostility that serves no one save them.
My only regret was that Zbigniew Brzezinski wasn’t alive to see it, so he could choke on his own bile. I’ll have to settle for his partner-in-regime-change-crime, George Soros, doing so. I’m sure Soros’ dinner last night was a little too rich for him even if he only ate a salad.
But it is the delicious silence from Senators John McCain (RINO-AZ) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) that is the most satisfying.
I’ve said previously that I believe Trump and Putin have before them the opportunity to broker a Grand Bargain for Middle East Peace. That process can only move forward with the U.S. and Russia as first, willing partners and second, as guarantors of everyone’s good behavior.
The announcement of a cease-fire and establishment of de-escalation zones in southwestern Syria, near the Golan Heights and Dara’a is a shot across the bow to every interested party in the bitter Syrian civil war.
You say you want peace? Prove it.
By getting Israel and Jordan to sign up for this it gives Trump the opportunity to be the hero and for Putin to test his resolve.
Putin doesn’t want the honor. He wants the results. He’s driven by pragmatism not vainglory.
Putin is also no dummy. Despite the smiles and the positive words at Putin’s press conference, he knows that Trump has a long way to go in getting control of his administration. And so, he will be watching for signs of betrayal of this agreement.
Just like the multitude of ceasefires in Syria and Ukraine which have been betrayed in the past. Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have both termed the U.S. government “Not agreement capable” and there is still the opportunity for someone to screw this up.
And that someone could still be Trump.
But, now that the two have met and gotten along constructively, it will be harder to betray this deal than before they’d met. Trump and Putin have the measure of each other. Fake intelligence reports and biased profiles won’t be as persuasive as before.
This is why the Beltway was so dead set against them meeting. They would lose control of the narrative to Trump and Putin.
My worries over Trump’s speech in Poland have come for naught. And I’m happy to see them dissipate. Putin was asked directly about Nordstream 2 and he reiterated the basic truth. He welcomes competition in the European gas market but knows Russia and Gazprom have an enormous cost advantage and therefore are not worried.
If Trump pulls back on the political pressure surrounding Nordstream 2 -- and a symbolic veto of the sanctions bill would do it -- then we’ll know that issue is truly settled between these two. While the McCain/Graham opposition to Nordstream will continue, it’ll get no support from Trump.
And that allows Trump to focus his opposition to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on immigration and national sovereignty, not petty gas politics. This is where his focus should be. These are the issues he was elected on.
No more confrontation and nation-building overseas and cultural/national pride restored at home. These are the kinds of wins that build him the political capital necessary to go after the dead-enders in D.C.
We’re not out of the woods yet. There is a lot of work to be done. But, Putin was likely relieved to find a kindred soul of pragmatism now occupies the White House versus the ideologues that have brought the world to the brink of madness.
And if Trump says some objectionable things on the stump, Putin now knows, as he said, that the public Trump is different than Trump behind closed doors, where actions matter and words have minimal value.
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