Home Page

The President and Putin

“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” It’s an old adage that holds a great truth.  We trust our friends but it is vitally important to keep our enemies close enough to know what they’re up to.  No one knows or can know what President Trump thinks or why he acts as he does.  Some consider him an idiot while others think that he is a first class strategist.  There has been much ado about the recent summit between President Trump and President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.  First of all, why meet at all?  Obviously, to begin to get the enemy “closer”.  Trust, even the impression of trust can open the door of opportunity for serious communications that can prove valuable when trying to ascertain the enemy’s thoughts and movements.

Secondly, why not press the accusation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, even at the cost of badmouthing our own intelligence agencies?  The best way to alienate someone is to pound the fist of accusation.  How far would that have gotten Trump in his efforts to befriend the enemy?  It no doubt would have immediately put the enemy on the defensive and crushed any relationship building that was required to get the enemy closer.  As far as badmouthing our intelligence agencies, the biases of those agencies and their questionable actions are known throughout the world.  Disavowing these facts would have put Trump on the defensive with Putin. Trump’s implication is that improvements in these departments are needed.  That’s a no-brainer. Why attempt to defend them? 

Thirdly, why walk on eggshells with the enemy while acting aggressively with our allies?  Diplomacy demands that one interface differently with friends then with enemies.  We should be able to speak candidly and bluntly with allies, realizing that we all want the same thing and are pursuing the same goals and objectives. There should be no reason to pussyfoot around.  However, when communicating with the enemy, communication should take on a much different character.  Offensive issues are not initially discussed and controversies are ignored.  Just as with North Korea, baby steps are required in order to bring the enemy in closer. 

Diplomacy and strategic positioning is not familiar to most Americans.  As I have mentioned many time before, we are a nation that acts on impulse.  Driven by ignorant “news” media, we jump on the most popular bandwagon with little thought or examination.  Are Trump’s actions unorthodox? Certainly. Does he act outside of the political norm? Most definitely.  Is he a man gone mad or a shrewd strategist?  Consider: the country is in great economic shape.  We have established vital communications with North Korea.  We have made inroads into gaining better trade agreements with China and some of our allies. We have insisted that our allies in NATO pay more of their share of expenses. Now, we are laying the groundwork for bringing our greatest enemy into a relationship where we can more easily understand and anticipate their thoughts and actions, keeping our enemy close. You might not like him but, objectively speaking, you must respect what he has accomplished.


More Essays