Even before it takes place and US President Donald Trump makes concessions to Vladimir Putin in exchange for empty promises by the dictator, concessions that may include acceptance of Russian positions on Crimea and Syria, the Helsinki summit itself constitutes “an unprecedented betrayal” of the interests of the West, Igor Eidman says.
Supporters of the US president argue that what Trump is doing is no more than what his predecessors have done: “American presidents didn’t avoid meeting with Soviet dictators so why shouldn’t Trump meet with Putin,” but that isn’t true, the Russian commentator for Deutsche Welle says.
[quote]This “situation is unprecedented,” Eidman argues. Yes, American leaders met with Soviet bosses “but in absolutely different circumstances” and for absolutely different reasons.[/quote] Some were compelled to by the needs of a military alliance during World War II while others sought to promote de-Stalinization, the Helsinki Process and Perestroika.
“Thus, after World War II, American leaders met with Soviet general secretaries only when the latter moved from a harsh Stalinist course and oriented themselves toward peaceful coexistence. One can’t imagine that Reagan would have met with Brezhnev after the [Soviet] invasion of Afghanistan.”
Putin is currently conducting “several aggressive wars at once – in Ukraine, Syria and a hybrid one against the West. He has practically been declared an international terrorist (after the verdict in the Litvinenko case, the shooting down of the Boeing, the poisoning of Skripal and so on),” the Deutsche Welle commentator says.
During his time in office, Eidman continues, the Kremlin ruler has shown that he does not observe any agreements and lies as easily as he breathes. [quote] In this situation, to have a completely friendly meeting with Putin (and it will be that way judging by the statements of the representatives of the White House) is to reward his continuing aggression and other crimes.[/quote]
“This is a direct blow to security everywhere,” the commentator says. And it is thus “a betrayal not just of Ukraine but also of the interests of the United States itself.”