“To be, or not to be”
– William Shakespeare
While onboard Air Force Once, President Trump talked to the accompanying media and said that he believes Putin’s claim of no-interference in the US election:
“Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it. But he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ I think he is very insulted by it if you want to know the truth. Don’t forget. All he said was he never did that, he didn’t do that. I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”
The following statement of U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was published on November 11, 2017, on his official website:
“President Trump today stated that he believed Vladimir Putin is being sincere when he denies Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and reiterated that he hopes to cooperate with Russia in Syria. There’s nothing ‘America First’ about taking the word of a KGB colonel over that of the American intelligence community. There’s no ‘principled realism’ in cooperating with Russia to prop up the murderous Assad regime, which remains the greatest obstacle to a political solution that would bring an end to the bloodshed in Syria. Vladimir Putin does not have America’s interests at heart. To believe otherwise is not only naive but also places our national security at risk.”
Below you may read the joint statement by two Presidents, the “naive” Donald Trump and “KGB colonel” Vladimir Putin made in Vietnam, Danang, on November 10, 2017.
“President Trump and President Putin today, meeting on the margins of the APEC conference in Danang, Vietnam, confirmed their determination to defeat ISIS in Syria. They expressed their satisfaction with successful US-Russia enhanced de-confliction efforts between US and Russian military professionals that have dramatically accelerated ISIS’s losses on the battlefield in recent months. The Presidents agreed to maintain open military channels of communication between military professionals to help ensure the safety of both US and Russian forces and de-confliction of partnered forces engaged in the fight against ISIS. They confirmed these efforts will be continued until the final defeat of ISIS is achieved.
The Presidents agreed that there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria. They confirmed that the ultimate political solution to the conflict must be forged through the Geneva process pursuant to UNSCR 2254. They also took note of President Assad’s recent commitment to the Geneva process and constitutional reform and elections as called for under UNSCR 2254. The two Presidents affirmed that these steps must include full implementation of UNSCR 2254, including constitutional reform and free and fair elections under UN supervision, held to the highest international standards of transparency, with all Syrians, including members of the diaspora, eligible to participate. The Presidents affirmed their commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, unity, independence, territorial integrity, and non-sectarian character, as defined in UNSCR 2254, and urged all Syrian parties to participate actively in the Geneva political process and to support efforts to ensure its success.
Finally, President Trump and President Putin confirmed the importance of de-escalation areas as an interim step to reduce violence in Syria, enforce ceasefire agreements, facilitate unhindered humanitarian access, and set the conditions for the ultimate political solution to the conflict. They reviewed progress on the ceasefire in southwest Syria that was finalized the last time the two Presidents met in Hamburg, Germany on July 7, 2017. The two presidents, today, welcomed the Memorandum of Principles concluded in Amman, Jordan, on November 8, 2017, between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America. This Memorandum reinforces the success of the ceasefire initiative, to include the reduction, and ultimate elimination of foreign forces and foreign fighters from the area to ensure a more sustainable peace. Monitoring this ceasefire arrangement will continue to take place through the Amman Monitoring Center, with participation by expert teams from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Russian Federation, and the United States.
The two Presidents discussed the ongoing need to reduce human suffering in Syria and called on all UN member states to increase their contributions to address these humanitarian needs over the coming months.”
Over 30K of Senator’s base liked his vote of no confidence for Trump actions in dealing with Putin. But I am still taking the freedom to remind us of George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin 2001 meeting in Ljubljana.
George W. Bush: “I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialog. I was able to get a sense of his soul, a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country. And I appreciated so very much the frank dialog. There was no kind of diplomatic chit-chat, trying to throw each other off balance. There was a straightforward dialog. And that is the beginning of a very constructive relationship. I wouldn’t have invited him to my ranch if I did not trust him. [Laughter] Secondly, I appreciate the opportunity to be able to talk about a new relationship, and we will continue these dialogs. The basis for my discussion began with this simple premise, that Russia and the United States must establish a new relationship beyond that of the old cold war mentality. The cold war said loud and clear that we are opponents and that we bring the peace through the ability for each of us to destroy each other. Friends do not destroy each other. People who cooperate do not have a basis of peace on destruction. Our nations are confronted with new threats in the 21st century: terror in the hands of what we call rogue nations is a threat. I expressed my concern, and so did the President, very openly, about nations on his border and nations that can’t stand America’s freedoms developing the capacity to hold each of us hostage. And he agreed … We’ll be able to develop a constructive relationship as to how to use our technologies and research and willingness to keep the peace, in a way that makes the world more peaceful … The President is a history major, and so am I. And we remember the old history. It is time to write a new history in a positive and constructive way.”
I belong to the older generation that believed in the axiom “Trust but verify.”
In our case, I see the “verification” is being dragged on for too long …
How many opportunities in the relations between US and Russia were lost after the Cold War ended?
It’s hard to imagine.