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PutinWillUse Every KGB Skill To Outwit Trump

Vladimir Putin wants to create the impression that Moscow and Washington are on an equal footing defining the world order the way itwas during the years of the Cold War.

06.Jul.18 6:47 AM
By Shawn Highstraw


PutinWillUse Every KGB Skill To Outwit Trump
When Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet in Helsinki on July 16, the one who loves to be photographed shirtless on horseback in the middle of Siberia will beat the guy who likes riding around in golf carts, Guardian columnist Natalie Natalie Nougayrède wrote on Wednesday.
"The biggest losers, of course, will be the rest of us," the columnist believes. The summit in Helsinki will, in her opinion, be a miserable get-together of two nationalist populists.

Both leaders are trying to undermine the international order, based on generally accepted rules. Trump could not care less about the alliances and multilateral arrangements that his predecessors so patiently built after 1945. Putin annexed the Crimea in 2014, by force, redrawing borders in Europe the first time since the end of World War II. No surprising then that the European allies of the US are bracing for another attempt to undermine the post-war order, which they are trying to preserve. The security of Europe, the European Union and liberal democracy are at stake.

Trump will meet with Putin a few days after the NATO summit, which, as all observers expect, will be difficult, and after a visit to the UK, where he is expected to face mass protests.

Trump's "America first" approach is undoubtedly the best political gift for Putin since Boris Yeltsin's entourage told him in 1999 that he would soon move to the Kremlin to replace the weakening leader.

The split between America and Europe has long been one of the main goals of Soviet foreign policy, and Putin can now believe that this goal is in reach.

The master of the White House, who disparages allies, questions the NATO, and says that the EU is as bad as China, only smaller is a god-sent gift for the Russian president.

At the summit in Helsinki, Putin will employ everything he learned in the KGB to outplay Trump. It will be easy for him to take advantage of Trump's ignorance, his self-righteousness. He will also like that Trump will be as unpredictable for his advisors as for his allies.

To say that the meeting in Helsinki will not be a meeting on an equal footing is to say nothing.

Putin heads a strictly controlled system of power in Russia, a kind of militaristic autocracy.

Trump theoretically is restrained by the congress, for example, in the issue of the sanctions regime imposed on Russia, which he cannot abolish on his own. Putin has extensive experience with American presidents trying to mend ties with Moscow. But he also noted that the idea of ​​confrontation with the United States brings political dividends at home.

Putin will try to outwit Trump with empty promises, such as saying that Moscow will restrain Iran's regional ambitions.

Russia is no longer a superpower. Its stagnant economy is the size of Italy's. Social stratification in Russia has reached a record level, and there is a growing discontent in the country. Russia's defence budget is dozen times smaller than that of the US. Educated Russians flee the country by thousands, as well as Russian capital.

The mere fact that the summit with the American president will take place is a big victory for Putin.

Vladimir Putin most wants to create the impression that Moscow and Washington are on an equal footing defining the world order the way it was during the years of the Cold War. The summit in Helsinki will give him this chance. The question is not whether to meet or not with Putin. It is important that he will be told during such a meeting.

Trump the narcissist will think hes making history. Putin the operative will be secretly chuckling, Nougayrède concludes.

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