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Guest post by Ted Malloch:
President Trump blamed the “foolishness” of past US administrations, particularly Obama’s, for the deplorable and dangerous state of current affairs with Russia. Down playing expectations in advance, Trump said, he had “low expectations” for the meeting, while the MSM media castigated him for even holding such a session at all, condemning Trump for his supposed collusion and failure to be “tougher” on Russia. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, Trump strode confidently into the Finnish Palace.
Results - Leaders - Time - Items - Time
The results of the leaders time revolved around five items that truthfully deserve more time and attention to detail and an on-going structured working dialogue. They include: the extension of the START Treaty on nuclear weapons after 2012; the end of the Syrian civil war; the annexation of Crimea; the hot violence in eastern Ukraine; and, the “meddling” in US and other elections. All these issues were discussed and Trump added one more, China and by implication North Korean denuclearization.
Through it all Trump made it abundantly clear that two realities color US thinking about Russia.
#1 Russia is weak.
The US is a superpower, alone in the world. Russia, by contrast, is a middle-power aspiring to be greater. Militarily the US is far stronger than Russia, has bases around the world and is also far superior technologically. It also has a robust alliance of allies, which Russia lacks. Legally, institutionally, and freedom-wise, the US is in a league far beyond Russia. The US is a vibrant democracy, Russia is not. Economically the US is fifteen times larger than Russia and Russia has been declining. The US ranks far above Russia in education, technology, and intellectual capital and is and remains – unsurpassed as the leader of the free world.
Russia - Complex
#2 Russia has a complex.
After its loss in the Cold War, under Putin,...
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