Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are in the same country for the first time since their meeting in Germany at the 2017 G20 summit. Both Presidents are currently in Da Nang, Vietnam for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
While many Americans from Donald Trump’s generation dodged the draft to avoid places like Da Nang, today it would appear that the US powers that be are trying to convince Trump to dodge Vladimir Putin personally.
Putin has already held a positive meeting with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. He will also hold a meeting with his close ally President Xi Jinping of China.
But there has been much confusion over whether Trump and Putin will meet. While it was once received wisdom that they will meet, now chaos is the word of the day.
Here are some perspectives and possibilities to consider:
1. No meeting–no time
Former Fox News personality and current US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has stated that there will be no meeting as neither side has the time.
These remarks were expanded upon by Nauert’s boss Rex Tillerson who stated,
“The question is whether we’ve got sufficient substance…And we have been in contact with (Russia), and the view has been if the two leaders are going to meet, is there something sufficiently substantive to talk about that would warrant a formal meeting”.
While Tillerson’s poorly worded, off-the-cuff statement seemed surprising, he then contradicted himself by speaking of the frequent discussions both states have had over Middle Eastern affairs and the war in Donbass, both of which followed on from agreements stemming from the previous (and thus far only) Trump-Putin meeting in July.
The idea that at a time of profound diplomatic crisis, the US and Russian Presidents would not have anything of “substance” to speak about is patently absurd.
What this attitude does indicate though is that many figures in the US deep state as well as public members of the Trump administration do not want Trump to meet with Putin.
The reasons for this are both obvious and manifold:
–Trump’s ‘handlers’ do not want any more Russia related publicity to be misconstrued by the hostile US mainstream media
–Forces in the US deep state do not want to risk the already slim possibility of a partial Russia-US rapprochement
–Trump isn’t trusted by the deep state to speak freely to fellow world leaders
2. There will be a meeting–the details how are a distraction
Russia’s long time and highly professional Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that a meeting will likely happen but that the US side has not been cooperative in respect of coordinating the necessary arrangements. Peskov said,
“The protocol services are still discussing this. There still is no clarity here. We are receiving contradictory information from our US colleagues.
One way or another, the meeting will take place on the sidelines”.
This statement would seem to indicate that a meeting is all but inevitable, however the US is doing all it can to make sure that because of disorganisation, the meeting will be as short as possible, for the very reasons indicated in the previous section.
3. The art of reality
The United States, as both myself and Russian opposition leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky have postulated, is becoming less of a strong Presidential republic and more of a parliamentary system, with the added element of an increasingly collectivist executive leadership.
Because of this, the US President can no longer meaningfully exercise his constitutionally mandated freedoms in terms of diplomacy and foreign policy. Instead, the real power in the US is concentrated on an increasingly boisterous yet unimaginative parliamentary style Congress and an un-elected deep state oligarchy that tends to work in tandem with the Congress. Both the deep state oligarchy and Congress answer not to the President but increasingly to a corporate-industrial complex.
While Trump and Putin are likely to have a small meeting of sorts, the man President Putin is meeting will not be an equal in terms of the power he has over his own country, in spite of technically having similar legally defined positions and the same titular status.