By Arun Srivastava
The sudden shift in President Donald Trump’s stand on Russia and calling on the world’s leading economies to reinstate Russia to the Group of 7 nations four years after it was cast out for annexing Crimea is a gift to President Putin for helping him in winning the trust of the South Korean president.
This overture is undoubtedly an indicator of a larger change that the global fraternity is waiting for. Trump is being held as a rogue ruler who does not have his ears to the ground, but the bare fact remains he is the only leader who has the guts to take on even the worst situation head on and break the glass wall. Look at the way he despised and ridiculed the South Korean autocrat ruler. But at the available opportunity he built up a strong bilateral friendship, which saved the world from worst kind of disaster. Bush or Obama could not have done this miracle.
Why Trump made this overture may sound intriguing, but he was sure that only Putin being a super sleuth and a diplomat of class can achieve the feat and make South Korea befriend America. Recall the statement Trump gave just before reaching Canada: “Russia should be in this meeting,” Trump said. “Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting? And I would recommend – and it’s up to them, but Russia should be in the meeting, it should be a part of it. You know, whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run and the G-7 – which used to be the G-8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”
One thing is absolutely clear and there is no doubt about it that Barack Obama has been the worst enemy of the global fraternity. He was primarily responsible for creating schism in Muslim world, warring global powers getting ready to force a world war. He blew the Crimean crisis out of the proportion. He made the global powers to expel Russia. Obama expelled it in a sign of global resolve not to let international borders be redrawn by force.
Nevertheless, Trump’s initiative to readmit Russia to the world’s most exclusive club reflected the unusual approach of Trump. His decision has been at odds with both Republicans and Democrats in Washington as well as leaders in Europe.
Apparently Trump did not come out with any explanation about his move, but the fact remains that Russian president Vladimir Putin has played a key role in calming down the temperature between Trump and South Korea. Yet another reason has been Putin’s help to Trump during his presidential election. Putin has personally authorised an operation to intervene in the 2016 American presidential election with the goal of helping Trump win.
Trump has heatedly denied any collusion with Russia, but his skirmishes with the leaders of Canada, France and other members of G 7 over entry of Russia in G 7 and trade and other issues made it explicit that Trump was not willing to sacrifice Putin. This obviously raises the question; why was Trump so adamant not to leave Putin?
Dmitry Peskov, the US spokesman had said that Trump’s meeting with Kim in Singapore on June 12 — the first ever between a U.S. President and a North Korean leader would have helped reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula. No doubt the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un showed Russian President Vladimir Putin had been right to advocate direct dialogue as the only way of reducing tensions with North Korea.
It also cannot be denied that Russia has its own gains and benefits at stake. Putin, who is outright a nationalist, has the interest of his Russia more than any other gain his mind. Putin prefers peace in the region. Russia and China have long been pushing a joint de-escalation plan that suggests Pyongyang suspend its ballistic missile programme in return for the United States and South Korea ceasing large-scale missile exercises. As Trump was the right American leader to accomplish this task Putin threw his weight behind him.
It was unlikely that Washington and Pyongyang would be able to fully solve all the problems on the Korean Peninsula. For achieving this task a new security system was needed for all of north-east Asia. This task desperately needs the involvement of Russia without which it cannot be accomplished. The presence of Russia would ensure a certain check and balance.
Trump trusts Putin is a known matter. Throughout his presidential campaign, Donald Trump consistently broke from political orthodoxy in his effusive praise of Putin. At that point of time this gave rise to the suspicion that he and his campaign were somehow connected to Russian interference in the election.
Trump knows to effectively handle the global political scene he must have Putin along with him. Trump came to have an idea about how to counter the nuclear threat posed by North Korea only after speaking to Putin. The Russian President had told Trump that if the USA really intended to counter nuclear threat he must stop joint military exercises with the South Koreans. It could help moderate Kim Jong Un’s behaviour. This discussion between Putin and Trump had taken place in the summer of 2017.
Kremlin has every right to feel elevated and congratulate itself for supporting the Trump-Kim meeting in Singapore. Trump sent the message to the global fraternity that “Putin was right.” True enough Putin has long back called for direct dialogue to resolve the standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes. (IPA Service)