Posts tagged with "Summit"

Before meeting with Putin, Trump clarifies, ‘Who’s your daddy?’

July 17, 2018

Who’s the best deal-maker and negotiator, bar none? During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump liked to say it was him, but, according to a July 16 report by Vox, the POTUS “gave away the game” even before his two-hour summit with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin began.

About four hours before the meeting in Helsinki, Finland, yesterday was set to start, President Trump took to Twitter, saying, “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!—referring to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible Trump campaign collusion during the 2016 election.

His point was obvious: America is to blame for its antagonistic relationship with the Kremlin, not Russia.  And 40 minutes before the meeting, Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov responded to Trump’s tweet with two words: “We agree.”

That’s stunning, said Vox. Noting, “Trump and Russia are now—very publicly—on the same page about why they believe ties between the two countries are so poor. That could serve as a huge propaganda win for Russia, which has spent decades bashing the US for Moscow’s economic and political problems.”

Research contact: alex.ward@vox.com

Alone at last! Putin and Trump to meet in Helsinki

June 29, 2018

The Finnish are said to be the happiest people in the world, based on results of the annual World Happiness Report—but they may be rivaled in glee by the two world leaders scheduled to meet in Helsinki on July 16. Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold one-on-one talks with President Donald Trump on that date, the White House announced on June 28.

The summit is characterized by The New York Times as “politically delicate”—and the optics are sure to be controversial, as the two “alter egos” reconvene, even as Special Counsel Robert Mueller continues to investigate the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia.

It will be the first formal summit meeting for Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin, who have spoken together twice on the sidelines of annual gatherings of world leaders,—and often by phone, the Kremlin has claimed— and it will come at a particularly critical moment, with midterm elections looming in the United States.

“The two leaders will discuss relations between the United States and Russia, and a range of national security issues,” the White House said in a statement.

In preparation, this week, President Trump sent National Security Advisor John Bolton to Moscow, where he met on June 27 with Putin, himself. Afterward, The Times reported, an aide to Putin, Yuri Ushakov, reiterated Moscow’s denial that it had tried to influence the U.S. presidential election in 2016— comments that Trump cited in a Twitter post before the meeting was announced.:  “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!” the POTUS tweeted.

The meeting will come just after NATO members meeting in Brussels on July 11 and 12. They are sure to be unhappy that Trump appears closer to Putin than he does to his allies.

In fact, findings of a Monmouth University poll released on June 15 indicate that 27% of Americans think that Trump’s best relationship worldwide is with the Russian president—far more than any other leader listed in the poll.

There was a notable split among party lines with 43% of Democrats and 28% of independent voters saying Putin was likely Trump’s closest personal relationship among world leaders, while only 8% of Republicans said the same.

GOP voters were more likely to say Trump had a closer bond with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (12%) or the British Prime Minister Theresa May (11%).

When asked more broadly whether Trump has a positive relationship with Putin, 60% of voters agreed, as opposed to the 25% who said the president does not have a good relationship with Russia’s president.

Research contact: pdmurrary@monmouth.edu

Trump ‘makes nice’ with North Korea

June 13, 2018

It was a long-awaited meeting of two world titans,  but just one walked away from the table truly a winner, according to a June 12 report by the news outlet Mic. U.S. President Donald Trump faced off with North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on Monday night—and while the POTUS promised to stop America’s joint military exercises with South Korea on the Korean Peninsula, the North Korean ruler only committed “to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

What’s more, the document that the two men signed at the summit had few, if any, details about what the latter promise means. North Korea agreed to similar denuclearization language back in 2005 and never followed through.

Later, during a news conference—Trump’s first since January 2017, Mic reported—Trump called the military exercises “war games,” and said they were “very provocative.” Trump also suggested that while pulling U.S. troops from South Korea was “not part of the equation right now,” that could be coming in the future.

When the pundits weighed in, they said that Trump had made some major concessions without “any reciprocal concrete agreements” during the negotiations.

Indeed, Trump ultimately concluded that he might not actually be able to trust Kim after all. “I may be wrong, I mean I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘Hey, I was wrong,’” Trump said at the news conference.

Of North Korea’s human rights violations—which the POTUS declined to mention during the summit—Trump told the reporters, “I believe it’s a rough situation over there. It’s rough in a lot of places, by the way, not just there.”

Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist who has been critical of Trump, characterized the meeting as a failure. “Claims of achievements from this summit are nonsensical,” Schmidt tweeted. “Trump got nothing except empty promises. Kim Jong-un achieved global standing for his evil regime and got military exercises cancelled. The sycophantic panting and exultations across the GOP and Trump media are delusional.”

Erick Erickson, another GOP pundit, criticized Trump’s behavior during the summit, in which Trump befriended a dictator who is hostile to America., but criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is the leader of one of America’s best and oldest allies. “If Obama had had the last 24 hours that Trump has had, the GOP would be demanding his impeachment,” Erickson tweeted.

However, Trump’s base may be happy with the results and the American public may be relieved by the cessation of overt hostilities, now that North Korea has proven that it is a nuclear power.

In an AP/NORC Center for Public Affairs poll conducted before the summit, most Americans thought the relationship with Pyongyang would remain strained, even after the meeting. Twenty percent believed that the U.S. relationship with North Korea would improve, while 47% said it would worsen and 31% anticipated no change. Thus, a lull in the animus and aggression would be a reprieve.

Research contact: Young-Eric@norc.org

Chances look slimmer for Singapore summit

May 23, 2018

The budding détente between North Korea and the United States hung in the balance on May 22, as the Trump administration continued pushing Pyongyang to denuclearize as a condition of the scheduled meeting in Singapore on June 12 with the hermit kingdom’s Leader Kim Jong Un.

Meanwhile, according to a report by CNN, North Korea has released three strongly worded statements—slamming Seoul and Washington for their joint military maneuvers earlier in the month and demanding that South Korea take action against defectors it claimed were sending anti-North Korea propaganda leaflets across the border.

As tempers on both continents continued to flare, South Korean President Moon Jae In flew into Washington, DC, to meet with President Trump in an effort to salvage the summit.

But should the diplomatic deliberations even be saved?

Those in the know say the White House staff is balking—both because North Korea seems to already have taken denuclearization off the table; and because Trump has not taken the time or trouble to learn about the nuclear program, something necessary to have a substantive conversation.

South Koreans, however, blame Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton for the problems with the summit, according to The Washington Post.

Bolton has said that his goal is for the North Korean denuclearization process to go like the one that took place in Libya in 2003, when Colonel Muammar Gaddafi agreed to give up his country’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. That didn’t end well for the Libyan leader, who eventually found himself in the midst of a coup that led to his capture and execution.

While Trump continues to hold firm on the denuclearization demands, about three-quarters of Americans (77%) approve of his original decision to meet with Kim Jong Un, according to a CNN poll conducted by SSRS and released on May 10.  Trump’s approval rating for handling the situation with North Korea has jumped ten points since late March.

At press time, there were no reports coming out of the POTUS’s meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae.

Research contact: @jgriffiths