Does Singapore Have Relevance to an Eventual Trump-Putin Summit? by Gilbert Doctorow

Even if Trump and Kim reach a meaningful agreement, Gilbert Doctorow cautions against thinking it will have much applicability to US-Russian relations. From Doctorow at antiwar.com:

Now that the document concluding the US-North Korean summit in Singapore has been signed by President Trump and Chairman Kim, the world’s political commentators are busy making their assessments of what exactly its vague points on denuclearization really mean, in what ways it is historic and unlike previous agreements between US administrations and the North Korean regime of Kim’s father and grandfather.

In this brief essay, I will not join the pileup on that scrimmage line but look in a slightly different direction. I will be asking how the image of Donald Trump, the courageous peacemaker, as he immodestly styled himself in his remarks about this “very historical” event at the press conference which followed the signing ceremony, how this Trump can or cannot now move on to a similarly epochal summit with Vladimir Putin to end the risky and volatile confrontation with the world’s other nuclear super power so that we all can sleep calmly.

The idea of such a summit has recently been advanced publicly by some of my friends and colleagues in the Russian expert community who are alarmed by the recent incidents we have had with Russia in places like Syria where our troops are engaged backing opposing forces within close proximity. And they also think back to the promise of normalization of relations with Russia that Trump held out repeatedly in speeches during the electoral campaign of 2016 that brought him to the presidency. Some of these friends even hope that a Putin-Trump summit could be the starting point of a global strategic partnership between the United States and the Russian Federation.

In our times, Russia and its president are reviled daily in US media. In our times, the House of Representatives votes 419 – 3 and the Senate votes 98 – 2 for the Russia Sanctions bill (August 2017). Under these circumstances, it takes a large measure of courage to speak out in favor of a summit with Vladimir Putin and I take my hat off to these colleagues. However, I firmly believe they are dead wrong in their optimism over what is feasible and they are dead wrong in their pessimism over the risk of a great power war today.

To continue reading: Does Singapore Have Relevance to an Eventual Trump-Putin Summit?

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