At this point — just over two years into this disastrous presidency — even the critics who were most skeptical of the Trump-Russia story in the beginning are being forced to admit that there is something deeply suspicious about the president’s behavior towards Vladimir Putin’s cryptocriminal nation.
It seems like hardly a week goes by without some new development that points towards the Trump campaign colluding with Russia or even worse President Trump himself bending over backward to deliver some concession to Putin. Our foreign policy is in shambles, and the president shows no interest in curbing Russian aggression and influence around the globe.
According to The Associated Press, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is now claiming that the Trump administration is asking Russia for advice in advance of the summit between the United States and North Korea scheduled for later this week. The Russian diplomat said Washington “is even asking our advice, our views on this or that scenario.”
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Russia, in turn, has suggested Trump offer “security guarantees” to encourage Kim Jong-un to disarm his nuclear arsenal. Precisely what these guarantees would be is unclear, but the safe bet would be that they coincidentally happen to be things Russia wants the United States to do regardless of the negotiations.
While it’s possible that this is just more misinformation from Russia aimed at sowing distrust between the American people and their government, this story is unfortunately perfectly in keeping with other behavior we’ve witnessed from Trump.
Recently, former Acting Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe revealed that Trump refused to believe the intelligence community when they informed him that North Korean missiles posed a threat to the United States. Trump decided this was simply not the case because Putin told him so.
It hardly needs pointing out that trusting Russia on matters such as this is incredibly ill-advised. Their geopolitical goals are not the same as the United States’ and are often the polar opposite. Russia wants more instability in the world, not less, and one can’t rule out the possibility that they want the North Korea summit to go poorly.
The North Korean-United States dynamic is incredibly complex and dangerous and requires the light touch of a seasoned diplomat. Instead, we’re saddled with a reality television star who’s taking our adversary’s advice on how to conduct negotiations. Hopefully, things don’t go as poorly as they seem poised to.