Historians will recall that former USSR Premiere Nikita Khrushchev reportedly bullied a young US President John F. Kennedy when they first met. This was a serious mistake on the Soviet leader’s part, as JFK showed just how tough he was during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
By all indications, Russian President Vladimir Putin has an even lower regard for President Donald Trump than Khruschev had for Kennedy.
Sad to say, Mr. Trump is showing again and again that he is no JFK.
Everything he says and does shows that Mr. Trump is either afraid of Mr. Putin, or is excessively enamored with his Russian counterpart.
The two world leaders met in Helsinki this week and even Republican leaders were disappointed at the president’s unimpressive showing. At worst, Mr. Trump has been accused of committing the worst crime any president or any American for that matter, can commit – treason.
In their joint press conference after their meeting, Mr. Trump went so far as to say that the US was “foolish” and therefore responsible for the decline of relations between the US and Russia. This, after Mr. Putin had all but admitted that his country did in fact intervene in the last presidential elections.
The body language of the two leaders also spoke volumes. While Mr. Trump appeared meek and apologetic, Mr. Putin looked supremely confident and almost bored, knowing full well that he had the US president in his pocket.
In short, one came across as a powerful commander while the other looked like he was struggling but failing to appear to be in control.
Mr. Trump’s lame performance in his meeting with Mr. Putin came at the heels of two unfortunate face-to-face encounters with other world leaders.
In the NATO summit last week, he again managed to make enemies of the US’s traditional allies. Then, in a visit to London, the US president displayed a lack of knowledge on the proper protocols in dealing with their Queen Elizabeth. For the latter, he was ungentlemanly at best.
For the former, however, his continued verbal attacks against such NATO allies as Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel only served to widen the growing divide between the two sides. He even managed to “advise” UK Prime Minister Theresa May to dump NATO.
The Queen and the prime minister were not amused. Nobody was.
But it is Mr. Trump’s performance after his meeting with Mr. Putin that takes the proverbial cake.
It can therefore be concluded that while the US president has no choice but to accept that there was Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, he will always stand by his claim that there was no collusion.
For now, Russia is happy in the thought that they helped install in the White House their favored candidate. After the Helsinki summit, Mr. Putin’s stature rose several notches, about the same degree that Mr. Trump’s stature fell.
Our greatest fear now is if an incident similar to the Cuban Missile Crisis were to take place today, the outcome would be far different. The US under Donald Trump will be expected to toe the Russian line.