Yesterday, Friday July 7, 2017 was the big day. It may not matter to you or me individually, it does not change the course of our daily life and it may not even be that big of a deal, but according to the media, the political pundits, and the policy wonks yesterday was a big deal. What happened that’s such a big deal you ask? President of the United States Donald J. Trump met with President of the Russian Federation Vladimir V. Putin for the first time at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. I don’t see this being as significant as suggested due to the fact that President Trump has already met with several world leaders such as Theresa May (Prime Minister of the U.K.), Narendra Modi (Prime Minister of India), Xi Jinping (President of China), Shinzo Abe (Prime Minister of Japan), Moon Jae-In (President of South Korea), Malcolm Turnbull (Prime Minister of Australia), Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister of Canada), Angela Merkel (Chancellor of Germany), Emmanuel Macron (President of France), and many others. The big deal seems to be that America and Russia are two of the worlds leading nuclear powers and the leaders should officially meet and develop a relationship and have communication channels so we don’t end up in a potentially dangerous situation. The actual numbers aren’t known to the public but it is assumed that Russia and the United States have approximately the same number of nuclear weapons with one country occasionally having an edge on the other. I believe Russia currently has a larger nuclear arsenal compared to the United States. Another point of significance is that President Trump is being accused of colluding with the Russian President and his intelligence/spy community in order to win the U.S. Presidency. The idea is generally that Vladimir Putin wants to remotely control America and therefore he chose Donald Trump as his puppet to run the country in ways that are only beneficial to Russia, it is also suggested that he either bribed Mr. Trump or blackmailed him into this. Personally, I do not believe this line of thinking because Russia does not yet have that kind of sway in the international community due to it being a much smaller economy and global power compared to the United States. Even during the height of the cold war, the United States was generally more powerful than the Soviet Union. According to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the Presidents spoke on a wide variety of issues such as alleged Russian interference in the American election process, Russia’s activities in Ukraine, the Syrian Civil War, North Korean denuclearization, and other possible areas of cooperation. The U.S. and Russia agreed to a ceasefire in Southwest Syria to calm down the fighting and ensure there is no military confrontation between U.S. and Russian troops. I think this is largely symbolic to ensure worried people all over the globe that the two powers can work together and keep the peace. The prospect of a U.S. and Russia military confrontation or conventional war frightens people in America, Russia, and all over the world. It could possibly turn into World War III and Nukes could be used, causing death and destruction on a scale never seen before. People just don’t have the stomach for that kind of war anymore unless it is absolutely necessary in order to protect the country and its citizens. I believe America would win the war decisively of course, but our countries sons and daughters would die in massive numbers and our debt and economy would likely explode. It simply is not worth it unless they strike our homeland or allies. We must work together, at least on a few initiatives in order to keep the peace. The Reagan doctrine of peace through strength is an important thing to remember here. The stronger America is economically, diplomatically, and militarily the worse off any potential enemy will be. If our economy starts growing at ~3% again, our international relationships are grown and strengthened, and our military readiness is back up to the level it should be, then we will be absolutely fine and will have much more leverage to negotiate and maneuver.
Back to the ceasefire, I think this will not hold for too long because the U.S. backed forces are not only interested in defeating ISIS, they are also interested in ridding themselves of the Assad regime which is backed by Russia and Iran. The U.S. is also uninterested in having Assad continue to lead Syria after the war is over but I doubt this administration will plunge into a war in Syria over that determination. Also, it seems that President Trump who supposedly colluded with the Russians went in swinging into the meeting and pointedly asked President Putin whether he or his subordinates interfered into the U.S. election process. President Trump asked for him to fess up if he did it and of course President Putin denied he nor his associates had done anything of the kind. Folks on the left may believe Trump was soft on Putin, folks on the right may believe it was just right or nothing special, but I believe Trump is looking to hone in on Russia’s sphere of influence. And that is energy and mineral exports, Trump wants America to become energy independent and start heavily exporting oil, natural gas, and coal to Europe and overtake Russia as the main energy supplier. Maybe this is all the Art of the Deal in practice or maybe its nothing. We’ll just have to see.
This is Saint Reagan signing off