Thursday 17th of October 2019

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hairy situation

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump suggested ahead of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the Russian leader was a "ruthless" person, noting that he did not know Putin.

"I can’t tell you that, I assume he probably is. But I could name others also. Look, if we can get along with Russia that’s a good thing. I don’t know him [Putin]. I met him a couple of times, I met him at the G20… I think we could probably get along very well," Trump said in an interview with the Mail on Sunday, answering a question if Putin was a ruthless person.

Trump said that it was too early to say if he and his Russian counterpart are friends or enemies, reiterating that he and Putin were competitors right now, noting that to get along with Russian would be a "good thing" for the United States "and frankly the UK and other places."


Putin and Trump are expected to meet in Finland on July 16 to discuss bilateral ties and various issues on the international agenda, which will be their first full-fledged meeting since Trump's taking office.

READ MORE: UK Prime Minister May Welcomes Putin-Trump Summit — Reports

Donald Trump gave interview to Piers Morgan onboard Air Force One during his first official visit to the to the United Kingdom. During the interview US President commented on his meeting Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle, saying that the Queen is "an incredible woman, she is so sharp, she is so beautiful, when I say beautiful — inside and out. That is a beautiful woman."


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bucket list...

to be...

dear presidents... let's tango...

Saska Saarikoski HS Laura Saarikoski HS


Published: 15.7. 2:00, Updated: 15.7. 6:20

Dear Presidents, Ladies and Gentlemen, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin

For many foreigners, it is a surprise that we, the ferocious Finns, are in awe of the Argentinean tango. These summertime melodious tunes are making us dance across our country. That is why we remember very well how US President Ronald Reagan compared major-negotiating talks with the tango, which requires two.

As Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are now preparing for their own tango in Helsinki, we Finns are delighted to be able to offer a summer setting for the event. Soon we will see which of the presidents will take and whichever is being exploited.

The meeting arouses Finnish memories about other encounters in the past. Leaders have often come to Helsinki in tense moods but left the city with a smile on the lips. Over the years, the phenomenon was named "the spirit of Helsinki".

This time, however, it is exceptionally difficult to anticipate the meeting, as things have changed rapidly both in Russia and in the United States.

FINNS have been concerned about developments in Russia. Our neighbor seems to have chosen a line where the country's power and honor are placed before democracy and civil liberties. As Russia's neighbor, Finland has expressed concern about such development.

Such criticism is not about the Russian people, but of Russian views. During our 100th anniversary of Independence, we Finns have learned how a strong foundation for democracy, the rule of law and free civic activity, contributes to the development of society. We also hope the same for the Russians.

The United States is far more geographically distant from Finland but is spiritually close. The United States is a good friend who has supported stability and security throughout Europe, including in our neighborhood.

However, recent developments in the United States have raised concerns in Europe and also in Finland.

President Trump is not a man afraid to rock the boat. Last week, Trump reiterated his demand that Europeans should take greater responsibility for their own security. We Finns are well aware of this kind of speech, because we have handled our defense both in war and peace.

It is more difficult to understand that President Trump has threatened his friends at the same time as he has talked warmly with despotic leaders, like Korean Kim Jong-un.

In the United States, Trump's line follows that Russia has been called "Finnization", which refers to a cautious neutrality policy after the war in Finland. We Finns have never liked this term. However, Finland had clear reasons for the policy of the Cold War years. The motives of contemporary US leadership are harder to guess.

Previously, the United States has represented a strong and principled line with Russia when we Europeans have tried to smooth out differences. This time, Europe is afraid that the United States will drive it through the East.

President Trump often seeks out expedient political gains at the expense of allies, the international community and the long-term interests of his own country. It can not be without worry before this meeting of presidents - especially when a strong negotiator like Putin is on the other side of the table.

This assessment is not made as far as the United States is concerned, but on the contrary, due to respect for the United States. We know that within the United States there are very different opinions about foreign policy. The sharpest US criticism now comes from some Americans themselves.

The United States has become the world's leading state because it has generally been able to balance its great power with reason and wisdom. As the world's most powerful girl, Peppi Pitkätossu knows: If one is strong enough, one must be kind enough - otherwise one will not be anything.

It does not mean that the United States has not benefited from the world order it has created. It has, and it benefited a lot.

The United States and Russia have recently started to remind each other of this in sometimes surprising ways. One of them is the desire of the country's leaders to modify reality to their liking at the expense of the facts. As a small country, Finland has never been able to afford such luxury. We believe in our former President J.K. Paasikivi, the beginning of all wisdom is the acknowledgment of facts.

In relations between Russia and the West, it is now difficult to expect a fast turnaround to a better outcome, since the East and West worlds are considered genuinely different from one's perspective. If the West wants to influence Russia, it has to change its desires from the Kremlin either by raising the criticism of unwanted activity or by rewarding a real change. It is the only way to influence Russia, as Ronald Reagan showed in the 1980s.

Pressuring Russia would require a long-term policy from the United States, as well as the strong support of the Western allies, while neither of them would show submission. That's why Putin arrives in Helsinki with his sleeves full of aces.

The meeting has been described that the United States may make concessions in return for a smile and some empty promises. Some people have been afraid as if this was the new Yalta, where Trump and Putin would share the world with their own lackeys. Concerns stem from the problems caused by the incoherent US policy. I hope, however, everybody understands that European affairs has to be independent and agreed by the European heads.

It may be that due to our northerly position, we Finns are used to thinking that things are so bad that they can not get worse. The deterioration of US-Russian relations is to no-one's advantage. Therefore, this meeting Helsinki is, despite all the difficulties, a very important one.

Donald and Vladimir, the floor is yours, let's tango!


(Translation by Vladimir Lenanovitch)


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browbeating european leaders...

While browbeating European leaders at the NATO summit this week, US President Donald Trump used a rather unfortunate metaphor. He described Germany and Europe as “captive of Russia”.

Trump was erroneously referring to the huge and mutually beneficial trade in natural gas between Russia and Europe. He was implying that Germany and the rest of Europe are excessively dependent on Russian fuel, and thereby are "controlled" by Moscow's geopolitical agenda.

READ MORE: Merkel Says Germany 'Independent' as Trump Claims Berlin is Moscow's 'Captive'

Sometimes garbled thinking, however, inadvertently brings attention to the truth. And the truth is, Europe is far more a captive of US objectives than it is ever of Russia. A captivity that continually damages Europe's best interests in the service of American hegemonic power.

What's more, the European leaders seem to suffer from "Stockholm Syndrome". This is the name of a curious condition which psychologists attribute to cases whereby victims of a hostage-taking situation bizarrely develop a trust or deference towards their evil-doing captors.

Trump's swaggering display of bullying and humiliation was apparently accepted by European leaders in a pathetically servile way. His petulant ultimatum for increased military spending on NATO was acquiesced to by the fawning Europeans.


The American president then continued his "tirade tour" from Brussels to the United Kingdom where he made an extraordinary public attack on Prime Minister Theresa May, calling her Brexit plans a failure, in a high-profile media interview. The BBC headlined that Trump gave May's Brexit plans "both barrels". Such contempt for a political leader while being hosted in the country is shameful and mortifying.

Despite Trump's boorish behavior, European politicians gingerly shuffle their feet, mutter and grumble, but ultimately do nothing to stand up to him. It will be interesting to see the interaction when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

On his "captive of Russia" remark, Moscow slammed Trump's demeaning distortion of what it said are normal and mutual trading relations between Russia and Europe. Rightly, the Kremlin pointed out that the American president is resorting to bully tactics in order to blackmail Europeans into replacing economically and logistically convenient Russian gas with much more expensive US supplies.

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Read from top.

NYT sour grapes before the event...

MOSCOW — When President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia sits down with President Trump in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday for a meeting he has long wanted, he will already have accomplished virtually everything he could reasonably hope for.

All he really needs to make his meeting with Mr. Trump a success is for it to take place without any major friction — providing a symbolic end to Western efforts to isolate Russia over its actions against Ukraine in 2014, its meddling in the United States election in 2016 and other examples of what the United States Treasury Department has described as Russia’s “malign activity” around the world.

“If Trump says, ‘Let bygones be bygones because we have a world to run,’ that is essentially what Moscow needs from this,” said Vladimir Frolov, an independent foreign policy analyst in Moscow.

As with any negotiation, timing is everything, and Mr. Putin has been gaining a lot of momentum lately. He will arrive in Helsinki after presiding over the final game of the World Cup soccer tournament in Moscow on Sunday, and will meet an American president who has spent the last week berating his NATO allies and undercutting his host in Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May.


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donald is playing both sides of the pitch at the same time...

Hours before the long-awaited summit between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, the US leader took to Twitter to say that Moscow-Washington relations have never been worse thanks to years of foolishness and stupidity by the US.

Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt! (sic)” Trump wrote on Monday morning.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the prospect of improving ties between Moscow and Washington is in Russia’s hands. A better relationship with the Russian government would benefit all, but the ball is in Russia’s court, the top US official wrote on Twitter.


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The US president and his Russian counterpart have met in Helsinki to discuss a wide array of issues, including bilateral relations between the two countries. Sputnik has summed up the highlights from the press conference after their first one-on-one meeting.

"Very Successful, Productive Talks"

US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have labeled the talks as highly "successful," "productive" and essential for improving the ties between the countries. Vladimir Putin added that it was only a first step, although important.

Trump and Putin have extensively discussed the current state of US-Russia relations and came to an agreement that there are "no objective reasons" for tensions between the two countries and that they must work together to resolve the problems that they face.

"Our relationship has never been worse than it is now, however that changed as of about four hours ago, I really believe that," Trump said.

READ MORE: LIVE UPDATES: Putin, Trump Hold First Ever One-on-One Summit in Helsinki

When speaking about the reasons for the deterioration in US-Russia relations, Donald Trump noted that the ongoing investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller into alleged Russian meddling in the US presidential elections, launched at the behest of the Democratic Party, was a "disaster" that is largely to blame for this. At the same time, the US president added that he believed that both countries had been responsible for the deterioration.

The US president added that both countries need to find ways to cooperate "in pursuit of shared interests" and expressed hope that meetings like the one in Helsinki would occur frequently.

Alleged Russian Meddling in 2016 US Presidential Elections

Both presidents extensively discussed the issue of alleged Russian involvement in the US elections in 2016. According to Trump, Putin strongly denied Russian meddling in the democratic process and shared "an interesting idea" on the matter.

The US president emphatically stated that there had been "zero collusion" between him and Moscow and that neither of them knew each other prior to the US elections. He also suggested that Russia had no reason to meddle and said that he won due to his "brilliant campaign, not due to any collusion."

When asked about whether Putin has any compromising material on the US president, Trump stated that if that were the case, then Russia would have used it.

Putin said that claims of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign are pure "nonsense." The Russian president went on to offer assistance to special counsel Mueller and his team, adding that if they would like to question the 11 individuals who were recently charged for hacking the Democratic Party's servers in 2016, Russia would be willing to assist in facilitating that.


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