After a two-hour, private, no-observers meeting between a Russian dictator and what looks like his understudy, the news conference that followed required no training in body language interpretation to conclude which one of them enjoyed the upper hand. The one, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin presented himself with a cocky smile built on a confident, in-charge stride while the other, President Donald J. Trump, appeared nervous, petulant, unsure, and emasculated.
The two stood at separate podiums for a press conference where the American president displayed deference to his Russian counterpart, lavishing high praise on him while assuming a subordinate role. In answering the very first question from an audience of reporters, Trump blamed disputes and problems between the U.S. and Russia on his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, and his challenger for the presidency, Hillary Clinton. He also recognized Putin for being honest in claiming Russia did not interfere in our 2016 election and repudiated his own intelligence appointees.
Then, Trump returned to Washington, D.C. and the next day changed one word in his giveaway to Putin before the whole world. He followed over the next week by reversing himself and, to date, has done so multiple times (as before Helsinki and now after). Meanwhile, we’ve gotten familiar—from his 18-months in the White House—that whatever he says the first time is what he really believes. What’s become clear is that Trump listens primarily to himself, sometimes to daughter Ivanka, but is most influenced by Putin, a KGB agent dedicated to returning Russian to the Soviet Union-era and its former sphere of influence, adding, presently, and his greatest ambition, the West, too.
If the reader does not know it already, every objective fact relating to America’s special counsel, Robert Mueller and his team of U.S. assistants, had already disclosed that Putin’s Russia helped Trump into the presidency. Putin has also confirmed that he wanted Trump elected to the presidency. At this juncture in U.S. foreign affairs, it must be remembered that, in Philadelphia during the 1787 convention, the authors of what became the U.S. Constitution, the founding of our democratic-republic design, worried a lot about foreign corruption of the new nation’s presidency.
The month of July, 2018, has provided, compliments of Donald Trump, other mind-boggling actions besides his throw away in Finland. He also denounced the European Union as our “foe,” threatened to terminate NATO, wrecked the US-led world trading system, and intervened in the United Kingdom and German politics in support of extremist and pro-Russian forces. These matters in addition to his refusal to stand up to protect and preserve the integrity of our voting system. Is our sovereignty about to become a victim of a Russian’s ambitions? Will we let it?
Can we actually wait for another election several months away when our president, who swore to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America” has subordinated himself to Putin? Special counsel Robert Mueller now investigates how deep and destructive the union between Trump and Putin is. In the meantime, Trump has invited Putin to visit the White House for another private meeting where, it’s surmised based on Helsinki, the fate of more than 320 million Americans will remain a secret.
The world’s people want to avoid a nuclear holocaust and that’s why it is critically important that our president maintain an open line with Russia’s president. However, because Vladimir Putin is a dictator who seeks to spread his power, he sees the West’s democratic principles and practices as standing in his way. Hence, to help himself, he’s using Trump, a naïve, self-centered leader who admires his strongman status. Those who value our way of life, our laws, institutions, norms and freedoms, are encouraged to give serious consideration to what’s at stake before willfully surrendering the 229-years-old great American experiment to the wiles of a foreign totalitarian.
(Gene H. McIntyre shares his opinion every week.)