The Helsinki Summit between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin was always going to be relatively disappointing for those who eagerly follow the geopolitical developments of our day. In the end neither side made any important concessions nor agreements simply because they have nothing to offer each other.
Russia can’t sell out Iran or Syria to the Americans and the Israelis. It simply cannot afford to, it has invested too much in them. Neither can the US release its iron grip on Ukraine, since there are too many powerful interests involved who would not tolerate that.
The Russians won’t cancel Nord Stream 2 for the sake of American liquified natural gas producers and the US won’t end its military presence on Russia’s borders.
The eternal stalemate shall continue for the foreseeable future largely thanks to the fact that anything Russia could offer the Americans would be utterly unaffordable and what the US is credibly capable of offering in return are cheap minor concessions.
It also doesn’t help that the Russians believe the United States to be ‘agreement incapable’ and have serious doubts about the power of the presidency.
The summit was always going to be a damp squib and so the timeless battle will continue most likely until one country collapses or suffers a major political upset.
What was not disappointing however, was the reaction of the western media and political establishment. That was immensely entertaining. For a summit in which nothing was agreed and yielded no obvious results, the reaction would lead you to believe it was the worst event in American history since Pearl Harbour.
Former CIA director John Brennan (who voted for a communist presidential candidate in 1976 I might add) went as far as to call Trump’s conduct an act of treason – simply because the president repeated his belief that there was no ‘election hacking.’
Other political figures called for impeachments and a few even went as far as endorsing the idea of a military coup against Trump. The mainstream media was utterly vicious in their unfounded attacks, repeating the thoughts of Brennan and other perennial opponents of Trump.
If paying attention to the coverage of this meeting you could be forgiven for thinking that Trump, acting as an undercover KGB agent (forget that agency has been defunct for 25 years), had arranged the summit to meet with his handler – the dark lord of the Kremlin.
So overwhelmingly hostile was the reaction from establishment figures across politics and the media that Trump, in a demonstration of some of the worst word-twisting I’ve ever seen, decided to backtrack on his comment that Russia had nothing to do with any mysterious election hacking.
The elected President of the United States of America was forced to backtrack on comments he made jointly at a top-level summit with the other most powerful man on earth thanks to the efforts of the political and media elite. Just imagine if they had pulled this on Reagan after meeting with Gorbachev in Reykjavik.
The world had its fair share of issues back then, but at least international diplomacy was somewhat sacred and didn’t bend to the whims of the public elite and their twitter accounts.
Naturally Trump’s voter base had no issues with his handling of the summit, and for the most part the American public sees ‘the Russian threat’ as minimally important compared to the economy, immigration and other pressing internal problems. But since when did the will of the people ever stop the establishment from exerting its influence?
With any luck Trump will double down on trying to improve relations with Russia and make good on his promise to invite Putin to the White House. Yes, the establishment will have violent seizures and act like the end of the world is upon us, but surely good relations between the two countries with 8000 nuclear warheads aimed at each other is more important than John Brennan and Lindsay Graham’s doddery twitter breakdowns?
If we continue to let the media and elite who have little to no backing among the public dictate international relations to the world, I fear for where we are headed.
We can only hope that more politicians follow the words of Trump in one of his more coherent moments: “I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics.”