Putin and Trump Have Lots to Discuss
by Stephen Lendman
They’ll speak by phone Saturday evening Moscow time, the first conversation between both leaders since Trump’s inauguration.
He expressed eagerness to get along with his Russian counterpart, calling bilateral relations “horrible,” saying working cooperatively to combat ISIS is a good thing.
Surely the possibility will be discussed in the context of defeating this scourge, combating terrorism overall, and resolving Syria’s long-running conflict.
Obama launched it for regime change, raped and destroyed the country. He bears full responsibility for hundreds of thousands of deaths, mostly defenseless civilians, along with displacing half the population internally and externally.
Trump intending safe zones, perhaps no-fly ones along with them, will surely be discussed – a reckless scheme risking escalated war, not a prescription for resolving it – Moscow, Damascus, Tehran and anti-war activists worldwide strongly against what Trump announced.
He acted unilaterally without consulting Russia. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned about “excerbat(ing) the situation.”
Without permission from Damascus, establishing safe zones is illegal. Assad strongly opposes them. So does Putin.
He’ll invite Trump to get involved in Geneva peace talks next month. Responsible US participation is essential to have any chance for conflict resolution. Obama began it. Trump can end it by working cooperatively with Russia and other countries involved in talks.
America’s provocative military footprint near Russia’s borders is another key issue for Putin. So is lifting sanctions, illegally imposed, even though they proved beneficial to Russia, creating greater self-sufficiency.
They failed to marginalize, contain, weaken and isolate the country, or damage it economically. They facilitated more durable Sino/Russia unity – both countries cooperating on major issues an important counterbalance to NATO.
Everything US-led Western countries threw at Vladimir Putin had the opposite effect intended, making Russia more resilient, self-reliant and independently strong while US influence wanes.
Sanctions will be lifted. It’s just a matter of when. They never should have been imposed in the first place, Washington and US allies it pressured acting solely for political reasons.
Of major concern is reducing tensions between the world’s two dominant nuclear powers, taking steps to normalize relations, cooperating with each other instead of remaining adversaries without just cause.
During his Friday press conference with UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump said it’s “very early” to discuss lifting sanctions. May wants them maintained.
Putin may or may not tell Trump Russia didn’t interfere with America’s election. His US counterpart believes it despite saying otherwise ofter his intelligence community briefing. Earlier he called Russian interference “ridiculous.”
He knows claiming it is a scheme to undermine his legitimacy. He’s well aware Putin wants adversarial relations ended.
It’s up to Trump. It’s his call if he’s strong-willed enough to the right thing despite overwhelming polar opposite Washington sentiment.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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