17 July 2018

Helsinki, 16th of July, 2018- the first Trump-Putin official meeting. - Another “Yalta 2.0”? better not!

Adriean PÂRLOG

First considerations: Helsinki hosted for the fourth time a meeting between a US president and its homologous from the Russian Federation (or USSR). The last three were majorly important for world’s security. We are talking about the meetings in 1975 (Ford- Brejnev), 1990 (G.W.Bush- Gorbachev) and 1998 (Clinton-Eltin). This one from July 2018 approached actually all the big files regarding the contemporary international stability. For the updates of the event, from Finland’s capital, were appointed more than 200 journalists coming from more than 60 countries.

Image source: Mediafax

After the NATO summit from 11-12 of July, so popular due to Trump’s behavior, on 16th of July was held the first official meeting between the presidents of the US and the Russian Federation. The tensions in Brussels, especially the ones referring to the defence budget spending, continued due to the relative lack of trust between the Europeans allies and the US.

For this, on 15th of July, just one day before the meeting in Helsinki, Germany’s Government asked the US president to not have a unilateral negotiation with the Russian homologue, as the US risks to lose its traditional allies.

On 16th of July, began Donald Tusk’s, president of CE, official visit in China, an occasion for him to ask the American president, the Russian and Chinese one, to work together with EU to prevent the economic chaos, conflicts and war that are on the corner. According to Tusk, the “four big ones” should work together, having a common mission, to prevent the actual world’s devastation.  It is possible that the European leader’s critical accent to be a result of some of Donald Trump’s affirmations as “EU is a worse competitor for America than it is the Russian Federation or China”.

Let’s remind that Trump and Putin had another two meetings in 2017, for the G20 reunion, in Germany (Hamburg), and APEC, in Vietnam (Danag), when the two leaders had unofficial encounters. From these two, the one that got all the attention was the G20 one, when Donald Trump gave up his translator, choosing to accept only the Russian translator’s services. Although the activity was planned for only 30 minutes, this ended up after 135 minutes. The event made Chris Coons, the American Senator, to say for CNN, that the way the American president acted it is a mistake, which can have consequences over the US national security.

Immediately after the NATO summit in Brussels, the Justice Department of the US, made publicly that they incriminated 12 GRU informational officers (Main Intelligence Directorate) that got illegally to Democrat’s Party information, which after that they used in the electoral campaign from 2016. President Trump denied any kind of political connection between his team members and eventually cyber interferences of the Russian Federation, during his electoral campaign. Actually, the same idea was repeatedly underlined by Vladimir Putin or the Foreign Minister in Moscow. Probably, to reduce media’s possible subject impact regarding destructive informational operations (cybernetics) that Russia is suspected of, on the final of the world’s football championship, Vladimir Putin said that his country successfully staved off over 25 million cyber-attacks, whose target were world’s infrastructure, but they cannot make any concrete reference about the attack’s origins.

Continuing the internal political conflict in the US, between the democrats and the republicans, immediately after the world’s football championship ending, held in Russia, an event really appreciated by president Trump, regarding its organization, Hillary Clinton posted on social media two ideas. One regarding to Russia and the other one at the American president: “1. Great World Cup. 2. Do you know which team do you play for?”.

Plus, American mass media, which sympathizes the democrats, reminded for the public the relation almost friendly between the two presidents. Donald Trump stated, during his electoral campaign, that “Putin is way likeable than I am” and said that he (Putin) is a better president than Barack Obama. In the same time, Putin’s archives and appreciations made in 2015 to Trump, got to light: “He is, no doubt, a very smart and talented person. It is not our business to evaluate him, but he is the absolute leader for the presidential run”. The same mass media sources made publicly that the first Trump-Putin meeting was actually in 2013, in Moscow, when it was held the Miss Universe competition, followed by a change of gifts between the two.

Ending the first grounds we remind you the main high level meetings that Vladimir Putin recently had, in Moscow, and before the meeting with Donald Trump in Finland’s capital: with Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, with Mahmoud Abbas, president of Palestinian Authority, with Moon Jae-in, president of South Korea, with Mohamed bin Salman, the Prince of South Arabia, Emmanuel Macron, president of France, Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor and with Igor Dodon, Moldavia Republic’s president. All these events suggest once again that a lot of important political leaders reconsider Russian Federation’s condition regarding its involvement in security’s most important subjects.

The meeting agenda from 16 July, 2018

Even it was not officially announced, augmenting the interest coming from the international community for this event, it is hard to say that the presidents could have ignored subjects as:

Syria- remaking the economy, coming back to constitutional normality, getting the refugees back home;

The Iranian military presence in Syria and Yemen

Ukraine, after Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation and the issues regarding the economic sanctions applied against the Russian Federation;

The Minsk 2 peace process;

The nuclear file (the future of the nuclear Treaty with medium range of action) with references regarding Iran and North Korea files;

Russian Federation’s involvement in the electoral results in US, 2016

Energetic cooperation- a subject less promoted but still important, including Russia-Germany’s cooperation in this field;

Commercial relations with China and EU;

Some details of the meeting

Confronting for getting the first “advantageous” public image, the attention went on the fact that the Trump-Putin meeting began with a delay of almost 1 hour, due to the Russian leader’s delay in Helsinki, who did not offer any explanation for this. Similarly happened for the meetings between Putin and the Pope or the Great Britain’s Queen.

Those who were at the event thought that the way Putin acted wanted to be a lection about how a chief of state should enter the scene, including by using abroad for the first time the new presidential car from Aurus Senat Kortezh, made by the Russian auto industry, in collaboration with Porsche, Germany.

 

Conclusions

Practically the Trump-Putin meeting had two talk rounds which lasted around 4 hours.

The first one, was an activity “one-to-one” type, with the two chiefs of state and their translators. This decision was taken to reduce any chance of overflowing of information regarding the subjects they talked about. Related to this subject, the ex CIA Director, John Brennan, asked himself publicly “what did the American president had to hide by taking this decision? What did he had to hide from Pompeo, Bolton, Kelly and the American public? How will Putin use, to benefit Russia, what Trump wanted to hide?” Obviously the time will give us the proper answer to each question.

Surprisingly, the first agenda initiative, made by Donald Trump, for the meeting, had no reference to the possible involvement of the Russian Federation in the American electoral process and none regarding Crimea’s annexation. At the journalists’ nudges of a possible discussion about the subjects, president Trump gave no answer and Vladimir Putin offered a sarcastic smile. Regarding these things, President Putin, who spoke first in the common press conference after the meeting, stated that Russia did no interfered in any US internal political subject, including the electoral one. He also added that there will be new elements, which will be carefully analyzed, commonly by the two parts, as the ones about the cyber security. Regarding this subject, during the press conference, president Trump said that the proofs that Robert Muller III have, in the investigation regarding Russia’s involvement in the American elections, are a true disaster for US.

We need to say that in the statements of the two presidents, during the common press conference, none of them said a word about Crimea, which confirms an obvious tendency for anyone, except for Ukraine.

And now an atmosphere element, that got the American journalists attention. During the introduction remarks of the American president, where the press was too, president Putin, without waiting for the translators interventions, made some comments which attests his great English fluency.

The second round was in the plenum of the two delegations that consisted also in foreign ministers, security issues counsellors, the ambassadors of the two states in Moscow and Washington. In this session were approached, technically, the subjects that they agreed to discuss and that we presented above.

We will have to wait for the supplementary details, as the common press conference was monopolized by Russia’s possible involvement in the 2016 elections and subliminally, by the lack or any reference to Crimea’s subject.  

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