So one day in, we see things playing out on the global stage slightly differently than what President Trump had planned or expressed to the American people during his candidacy.
To give some context, as of the end of Obama’s presidency, US-Russia relations are at their lowest since the Cold War, due largely to the US standing up –and justifiably so–to Putin’s Russia with regards to the genocide-ridden conflict in Syria and Russia’s unilateral and unprovoked incursion into the Ukraine which brought about the subsequent annexation of the sovereign state of Crimea to Russia. In other words, Putin rolled up in there and, basically, took a whole country for his own.
Throughout his 2016 campaign and even after the election, Trump often had words of praise for the Russian dictator and words of disdain for US allies and allied institutions such as Japan and NATO, to name a couple. Trump often proffered a sense of chumminess with Putin and led the American people to believe that an in-person meeting would happen between the two world leaders in “a matter of weeks” of him taking the reigns of the US Presidency.
Well, Putin has a completely different idea.
As reported by Reuters news agency, Kremlin Spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, states that Putin will not meet with Trump for at least a few months from now, effectively setting the tone and agenda of the relationship with the new US President to Putin’s liking.
Additionally, Trump as stated openly that he his willing to lift Obama-era sanctions against Russia but Putin has responded that, essentially, he sees that has no olive branch or incentive to concede its oppressive domestic policies or imperialistic world view. Putin has stated that, the US should expect nothing in return for lifting the sanctions Obama very justifiably leveled against Russia.
Furthermore, Putin has flat out rejected even the thought of a unilateral draw down of US/Russia nuclear arms, signaling that the dictator is still far more interested in insuring Russia is seen on the world stage as a powerful, war ready nation than he is interested in pursuing peace with his most formidable rival, The United States of America.
By consistently praising Putin and injecting in the conscience of the electorate that the totalitarian just may be a friend of the United States, Trump has painted himself with bright colors into a very narrow, very tight corner with little to no room to maneuver. By repeatedly extolling Putin’s “virtues” as a potential partner to America, Trump has effectively placed himself in the position of being the great cheerleader and sycophant to Putin. Which, of course, gives Putin the psychological, tactical and strategic upper hand against the new and clearly politically novice US President. Which is why, at this point in time, our US President will meet with the leader of our biggest and most dangerous rival on the terms set out by a dictator. Round 1: Putin 1, Trump 0.