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martes, 3 de abril de 2018

President Trump makes surprise offer to host Vladimir Putin at White House

U.S. President Donald Trump believes that building cordial relations with Russia while simultaneously pursuing narrow American interests is the most pragmatic way to deal with America’s old Cold War rival.

This explains why Trump just offered to host Russian President Vladimir Putin at the White House — after joining U.S. allies in “the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers ever” by expelling 60 Russian diplomats and shuttering the Russian consulate in Seattle.

Keep your friends close …

In a move that is certain to inflame Trump’s most persistent critics in Congress and the mainstream media, the president reportedly floated the White House as a possible venue ahead of a planned U.S.-Russia summit. The invitation was revealed by Putin aide Yuri Ushakov, who explained the informal plans to the RIA Novosti news agency:

Trump proposed to hold the first meeting in Washington, in the White House, when our presidents spoke by phone.

That telephone call was placed on March 20 and earned the president a fresh round of verbal broadsides from liberals who accept the conspiracy theory that Trump is a Kremlin puppet.

Trump responded to the criticism with a series of tweets the following afternoon:

The President then followed his first tweet, saying, “…..They can help solve problems with North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, ISIS, Iran and even the coming Arms Race. Bush tried to get along, but didn’t have the “smarts.” Obama and Clinton tried, but didn’t have the energy or chemistry (remember RESET). PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH.”

Apparently, even Trump’s national security advisors felt that congratulations were inappropriate following the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury, England. Western nations are united in their outrage, unanimously accusing Moscow of perpetrating the assassination attempt and expelling dozens of Russian diplomats from embassies around the world.

After Trump announced the expulsion of 60 Russian intelligence officers posing as emissaries, Moscow responded in kind by expelling 60 U.S. diplomats and closing the American consulate in St. Petersburg.

During the same phone call, an unknown White House official told NBC News that Trump provided a warning for his Russian counterpart:

If you want to have an arms race we can do that, but I’ll win.

The president’s threat came after Putin boasted earlier in the week that his country possessed advanced nuclear-grade weaponry capable of reaching the U.S. and defeating America’s anti-missile technology. An official close to Trump confirmed that this development “really got under the president’s skin.”

… and your enemies closer

Despite the tense nature of the exchange, Trump later told reporters that the two world leaders shared “a very good call.” Trump’s advisors were said to be caught off guard when he gave the first hint that the pair planned to meet in the near future.

However, any prospects for a peace-oriented summit in the near future have been complicated by developments since the March 20 call. Ushakov admits that tensions are simmering and threatening to compromise the meeting.

“Against the backdrop of these events, it’s difficult to discuss the possibility of holding a summit,” Ushakov said.

President Trump continues to maintain that building rapport with Putin is key to improving relations with the former superpower. Considering that Moscow has taken the lead in Syria, planted the Russian flag in the Arctic Circle, and threatens the sovereignty of U.S. allies in the Baltic, Trump is wise to pursue this even-handed course of action.

Hopefully, something positive would come out of a U.S.-Russia summit — if it ever takes place.