President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will sit down for their first official summit in Helsinki, Finland this month. The meeting will touch on U.S.-Russia relations, in addition to “national security issues.”
It’s yet another example of President Trump’s strong leadership on the world stage. Whenever the countries with the world’s largest nuclear arsenals can come together, it’s a win for diplomacy.
Last month, the president held a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who agreed to “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” Moreover, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is “optimistic” that American families will receive the remains of U.S. soldiers killed in the Korean War during the early 1950s — a promise made to no other White House but President Trump’s.
We can expect more of the same in Helsinki. The Trump administration has announced no change in its opposition to recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea, suggesting President Trump will put pressure on Putin to scale back Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. In Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ words: “We do not recognize Russia’s attempt to annex Crimea.” Sanders also vowed “our Crimea sanctions against Russia will remain in place until Russia returns the peninsula to the Ukraine.”
But President Trump, one of the world’s most experienced negotiators, understands that relaxed tension between the two countries is still possible. There is no better opportunity for the president to improve U.S.-Russia relations and push for denuclearization than a one-on-one meeting with Putin. For years, President Obama ducked the opportunity to engage forcefully, but reasonably. President Trump isn’t.
Of course, the left-leaning mainstream media leveraged the U.S.-Russia summit to criticize President Trump’s competency and patriotism. One Politico headline read: “Trump-Putin summit: Wing-it meets meticulous.” (The implication being that President Trump’s “impulsive” form of diplomacy is no match for Putin’s “well-rehearsed game plan.”) Two of Politico’s White House reporters claim “the president is liable to make promises to a Russian autocrat he seems eager to please.” Liberal comedian Stephen Colbert threw in his own jab: “It’s time for [President Trump’s] employee review.”
Where was Colbert’s outrage about President Obama’s infamous meeting with former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2012? It wasn’t so long ago that an American president promised a Russian leader “more flexibility” after an upcoming election—and that president wasn’t Donald Trump.
Earlier this year, the Trump administration announced new sanctions on Russia, including individuals indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller. The sanctions targeted the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm that sought to influence the 2016 election on social media platforms. Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, a deep-pocketed Putin ally, was also punished by President Trump. The White House even vowed to “instruct Mr. Putin to change his behavior.”
If President Trump is in bed with the Kremlin, then weakening the Russian economy is certainly an odd step to take.
So is criticizing Putin’s foreign policy—and his allies. After the Russian government called a chemical attack on Syrian soil “fake news,” President Trump promptly slammed Putin. In his words: “President Putin, Russia, and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay.”
At the U.S.-Russia summit, President Trump plans to demand a full Iranian pullout from Syria, where the Iranian government is assisting the Assad regime and planning attacks on Israel.
Alas, the facts won’t get in the way of the liberal media’s anti-Trump hysteria — and hypocrisy. We all remember President Obama’s “red line” debacle in 2013, and the deafening silence of many “objective” reporters.
As President Trump scores win after win on the world stage, the liberal media is stuck with blowout losses and damaged reputations.
Ted Harvey is chairman of the Committee to Defend the President.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.