In response to President Trump’s controversial statements at yesterday’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, ASP Fellow Matthew Wallin has authored an op-ed for The Hill.
At the summit, Trump blamed the US and its past leadership for Russian aggression and the strained US-Russia relationship. He even tweeted before the summit, “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity.”
In response, Wallin argues:
“Contrary to President Trump’s statements at the press conference, the U.S. has tried to play nice with Russia before. It has tried to reset the relationship. It has made efforts to reach out and work on areas of cooperation. But Putin has chosen to rebuke these efforts in favor of territorial annexation and international destabilization.”
Wallin goes on to outline areas of mutual interest in the US-Russia relationship, including counterterrorism, disarmament, space exploration, scientific research, medical cooperation, and management of the Arctic. He also notes that pursuing such cooperation with Russia has been difficult.
Despite sharing mutual interests, Wallin argues that Trump’s behavior has made the situation with Russia even more dangerous. He writes:
“The President has built his reputation on his ability to secure deals, and there are a great number of deals to be made with Russia. But we mustn’t forget that Putin’s goal is not to secure deals, it is to divide.”
The events of yesterday’s Trump-Putin summit are cause for concern. Wallin concludes with a warning:
“Russia would like nothing more than to see divisions and squabbles in and between its rivals. Based on what we saw play out in Helsinki yesterday, and at the NATO conference last week, Russia is winning. Some deal, some mess.”