Will Trumps Russian Gambit be his endgame?

bMural by the Lithuanian artist Mindaugas Bonanu shows Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in a passionate embrace (Credit: Petras Malukas/AFP/Getty Images)

“After all, however loudly Putin and Trump may have blown each other’s trumpets, the actual compatibility of their political temperaments remains to be seen. Kelly Grovier, BBC

The World’s eyes are on thees two men and our judgement is all in the Optics

It is generally the optics, not the substance, that defines a meeting such as this.
How will the two leaders present themselves? The body language and demeanor of the short public portion of Trump’s meeting with Putin will be analyzed, analyzed again and then over-analyzed for days and weeks. Will they be standing or sitting? Does Trump shake Putin’s hand? Does Trump use his height to lord over Putin? Or does Putin stay stoic and distant?
Trump has grown more aware of the optics that come with a bilateral meeting since his first visit with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the White House in January, where the president famously held May’s hand while walking. Months later, Trump failed to shake German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hand during their meeting in the Oval Office, cementing the global view that their relationship was icy.
Trump was far chummier in May when he met with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, at Putin’s request. Photos of the encounter showed Trump laughing, pointing to Kislyak and slapping Lavrov on the back. Later it came out that Trump revealed highly classified information during the meeting. But the optics of the encounter already cemented the public view of Trump’s relationship with Russia: friendly.
The World no longer has a leader

European leaders, led by Merkel, have taken note of Trump’s isolationist, protectionist, xenophobic and climate-denying rhetoric and expressed their displeasure and determination now to go it alone.  In a widely noted campaign speech in Germany Merkel appealed to national pride and European solidarity at the same time.

“The times when we could fully count on others are over, to a certain extent. I have experienced this in the last few days,” she said, referring to the Group of 7 meeting and the climate change issue.

“We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands, of course in friendship with the United States, in friendship with Great Britain, with other neighbors wherever possible, also with Russia. But we must know that we need to fight for our future ourselves, as Europeans, for our destiny.”

If Trump is Putin’s puppet who’s pulling the strings for Putin, one person stands out;

Jared Kushner is sort of like Donald Trump’s less savvy version of Don Corleone’s consigliere. But did he make the Russians an offer they couldn’t refuse? Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill

Donald Trump, Democracy and Media

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