A fairly clear strategy seems to be emerging out of the White House, but it seems the press refuses to acknowledge what President Trump is doing.
President Trump appears to be putting talks between himself and Putin on an intensely personal level and letting his administration do the actual legwork and actions on behalf of the United States. Trump appears to be attempting to build a personal relationship between himself and Putin where the two can speak freely and negotiate without so much of the clutter, obstacles, and landmines impeding progress. More than likely, the majority of the actual work will be done prior to, in conjunction with, or after the personal talks. After the talks, the President would have the opportunity to issue directives and guidance with more clarity.
In many ways, this way appears to be much more efficient. The path, however, is strewn with even more obstacles and can be easily disturbed.
I’ve never seen this personal-leader approach before, but if it works, it works.
Two leaders could meet at White House for talks amid lawmaker concerns
The White House on Monday did not dispute a Kremlin claim that President Donald Trump invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to the U.S. for talks.
“As the President himself confirmed on March 20, hours after his last call with President Putin, the two had discussed a bilateral meeting in the ‘not-too-distant future’ at a number of potential venues, including the White House,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
She was responding to a Putin foreign policy adviser, according to reports, telling reporters in Moscow about the invitation. But after recent moves by the Trump administration to punish Russia for a list of aggressive actions, the adviser reportedly said planning is not going smoothly.
The two leaders spoke during a call in which Trump congratulated Putin on an election win. Opposition figures and experts have questioned Trump’s move. Trump also did not bring up Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. election or the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the United Kingdom.
White House officials say planning is ongoing. “We have nothing further to add at this time,” Sanders said Monday.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers were alarmed by Trump’s continued efforts to warm relations with Putin and his unwillingness to criticize him in public. His administration, however, has gotten tougher on Moscow with two rounds of recent sanctions, the closure of a major diplomatic facility in Seattle and the expulsion of 60 diplomats and intelligence officers in reaction to the poisoning, election interference and an attack on the U.S. energy sector.
Shortly after the March 20 call, Trump told reporters he likely would meet Putin soon to discuss a range of issues — but the Kremlin’s efforts to tinker with U.S. elections and the poisoning did not make his list of possible topics.
Trump said that summit likely would occur “in the not too distant future.” Among the topics: an arms race the American president said is getting out of control.
“We will never allow anybody to have anything close to what we have,” Trump said of the U.S. military. Also on the potential agenda: Ukraine and North Korea.
“So I think we’ll probably be seeing President Putin in the not too distant future,” Trump said following a phone call during which he said he congratulated Putin on his re-election win.