Trump Putin Meeting in Helsinki: A Non-Summit


The most charitable thing that can be said of the Trump-Putin Summit Meeting in Helsinki yesterday, 16 July, is that it was the celebration of a non-summit, just like Alice in Wonderland’s non-birthdays.
Watch the highlights of this incredible moment in History, a “non-Summit” that sees an American President raging against his own country’s institutions while standing next to the leader of America’s historic enemy, Russia, whose avowed goal is to bring down Western democracies:


In the Video - As reported by the UK Guardian: Trump refused to back US intelligence agencies on their findings on Russian interference in the US presidential election. Trump declared the US and Russia's relationship to be strong, while Putin dodged questions on rumored compromising material he held on Trump, and gave him a commemorative football . Trump condemned as treasonous after press conference with Putin. Most papers saw the Summit as a win for Putin: Trump portrayed as a “traitor” and  “Putin’s poodle”.The full text of the transcript is here.
Trump is putty in Putin’s hands. He wanted Putin to vow that he never meddled in American elections. Putin happily complied. That’s exactly what he wanted to say and has been saying all along. What a win for Putin!

The non-Summit had all the elements of fantasy: lots of handshakes, pats on the back and smiles; a two-hour, behind-doors, closed meeting, eye-to-eye with no interference from any Minister of Foreign Affairs (who needs them in the age of Trump?); a friendly lunch with all the aides ranked according to a strict protocol around a well-laid table (no tea kettles like in Alice’s world but close); long, serious discourses about peace and friendship prepared by each leader’s attendants to open the press conference that was to tell the world all the wonderful things they had agreed to.

Can a Non-Summit have a Positive Result?

The show fell apart when reporters asked questions. Trump began acting as if he were on Twitter, venting his usual obsessions, the Mueller probe, a witch hunt, no collusion, Hillary Clinton’s emails, where are they? Once again, he was on the defensive: “I beat Hillary Clinton easily ... We won that race. And it’s a shame that there can even be a little bit of a cloud over it ... We ran a brilliant campaign and that’s why I’m president.”

This is the kind of thing you say privately, but surely not on the world stage. With Putin smiling and shaking his head, giving him support, offering him a football, saying “the ball is in your court”. As it indeed was. An own goal. With Trump, way over his head, ranting against some of America’s founding institutions, the Department of Justice and the FBI.

It is interesting to see how this happened.
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