(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LOS ANGLES TIMES)
But on Monday, with a world audience looking on, the summit looked far more like a culminating moment in the political life of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
The 65-year-old Russian president was by turns commanding and confident as he stood side-by-side with Trump at a news conference, artfully mixing in occasional expressions of boredom or bemusement as he spoke. Virtually unchallenged by Trump, he asserted that Moscow has “never interfered” in an American political contest, and would not do so in the future.
That, of course, flies in the face of U.S. intelligence assessments that Moscow mounted a comprehensive campaign against the U.S. electoral system in 2016, and is pressing ahead with that effort, with midterm elections just four months away.
For Putin, a former spymaster who once lamented the breakup of the Soviet Union as the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century and has long sought at least symbolically equal footing with the world’s only other nuclear superpower, Helsinki was a moment of triumph.
But while the joint news conference was perhaps the apex of Putin’s nearly two decades on the global stage, it was also in some ways a return to his roots. The Russian leader made explicit reference to his long career as a KGB operative, alluding almost teasingly to his intimate knowledge of tradecraft even as he listened to the U.S. president cast doubt on the conclusions of his own intelligence agencies.
“I was an intelligence officer myself,” he said dryly at one point. Asked directly by a U.S. reporter whether he had compromising material on Trump, Putin dodged the query by pointing out that hundreds of American business figures had visited Moscow, as the U.S. president did years before his candidacy.
“Do you think we try to collect compromising material on each and every single one of them?” the Russian leader asked scornfully.
Later, in an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News, Putin categorically denied that Russia had anything compromising on Trump. “Unlike you, unlike the United States, we don’t do this. We don’t have enough resources,” he said.
It was in 1999, in a chaotic and floundering post-Soviet Russia, that Putin was plucked from relative obscurity as a KGB functionary to assume first the post of prime minister and then the presidency. He has never since been out of power.
To survive in the cutthroat world of Russian politics, Putin drew upon the ruthless persona he cultivated during his intelligence career. Few serious challenges to his power have emerged, but when they have, critics and human rights groups say he has repeatedly shown himself willing to sideline foes by deadly means if necessary.
Over the years, Putin learned ways large and small to keep adversaries off balance, once bringing a dog to a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was known to fear them. In Helsinki, he employed a longtime strategem, keeping Trump waiting for nearly an hour as he arrived late for the summit’s start.
And he carried over a long-held habit from his intelligence days: strict attention to detail, with the ability to regurgitate arcane information at will.
Putin crisply demonstrated his comprehensive grasp of policy questions, including provisions contained in decades-old arms treaties; Trump, by contrast, seemed confused during a pre-summit meeting with Finland’s president as to whether the host country is a member of NATO. (It is not.)
At the news conference, Putin was studiedly bland in characterizing the closed-door talks with the U.S. side, discussions that included more than two hours spent one-on-one with Trump. “Businesslike” was his description of the summit talks.
But his veteran foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, was freer to telegraph the Kremlin’s sentiments, wearing a broad smile as he entered the room where the news conference was held. Russian media afterward quoted him as summing up the summit as “fabulous … better than super.”
In Helsinki, Putin reverted to a classic Kremlin playbook when U.S. reporters asked him about election interference, protesting that he had not been provided with the details of accusations against his government, and offering Russian investigative assistance to get to the bottom of the affair.
That echoed Moscow’s response to the poisoning with a military-grade nerve agent this year of Russian turncoat spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter on British soil. A British woman died and her companion was seriously sickened after apparently coming in accidental contact with a remnant.
Like any good KGB case officer, Putin managed Monday to weave subtle and not-so-subtle threats into seemingly conciliatory statements.One was directed at the American-born British financier Bill Browder, who made billions in Russia before running afoul of the Kremlin.
Browder has lobbied governments around the world to adopt a sanctions-imposing mechanism named for his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who died under suspicious circumstances in Russian custody. In offering to “assist” in the U.S. probe of Russians accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential election, Putin suggested that Russian authorities should be allowed to question U.S. intelligence officers who, he suggested, were complicit in supposed tax violations by Browder.
At the news conference, Putin did not even have to offer up defenses for Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula or the downing that year of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over eastern Ukraine that killed some 300 people. Trump in essence did that for him, saying he held “both countries responsible” for the fraught state of U.S.-Russia relations.
In Putin’s early years in power, his heavy hand with the country’s oligarchs and mafia impressed the West, and domestically, Russians embraced his policies even as he stifled independent media and muzzled critics.
There was no indication that Trump brought up Putin’s pitiless style in confronting perceived enemies, but in the Fox interview, aired hours after the summit, Wallace pressed the Russian leader on opponents who “wound up dead.” Putin retorted: “Haven’t presidents been killed in the United States?”
Putin’s course toward a more authoritarian government became most apparent four years into his presidency, when two former Soviet republics, Georgia and Ukraine, sought to turn toward the West. The Kremlin perceived this as a threat, and Putin tightened his grip on dissent at home.
The United States and the European Union placed harsh economic sanctions on Russia for the Crimean annexation, and Putin’s position on the world stage deteriorated. Meanwhile, he was praised at home for defying the West, but economic malaise and dissatisfaction over corruption have dragged down his approval ratings.
Heading into the summit, Trump insisted that personal chemistry with Putin would be key to resolving U.S.-Russia tensions. At the news conference, the U.S. leader suggested that the initial one-on-one meeting, with only interpreters present, had eased prior antagonisms.
“That changed as of about four hours ago,” Trump said, referring to the time frame of the start of the private session. “I really believe that.”
Putin, though, swiftly pivoted to a far more realpolitik-style description of the relationship between the two, declaring that both leaders pursued the interests of their own countries.
“Where did you get the idea that the president trusts me?” he asked. “Or I trust him?”
Special correspondent Ayres reported from Helsinki and Times staff writer King from Washington.
Hello again! I’ve just finished reading the brilliant ‘Persuasion’ by Jane Austen, and I thought it was about time for another classic literature review, as this blog is about books from all genres!
I started reading this book because I haven’t read many Austen books, and I wanted to read another one! Recently, it was Austen’s birthday, and so I was really excited to try her writing again. I didn’t know anything about the book before reading it- the blurb gave lots of the plot away at a glance, so I decided not to read it- and I really enjoyed it.
‘Persuasion’ is about a young woman, Anne, who had an ‘attachment’ to Captain Frederick Wentworth when she was nineteen, and she was encouraged (‘persuaded’ ;)) by her friend, Lady Russell, on whom she depended for advice because of the early death of her mother, to break off the engagement…
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A door is opened
some call it a prison
I am refreshed
you are there
dressed in yellow
your face lights up
moments float like petals
come to mind
I take off my uniform
reminded of a perfect day
in a world
Alzheimers is a not allowed
More than forty years ago,I took care of my first Alzheimer’s patient. Back then we called a patient confused. The trade marks were the same: little by little the mind ebbs and the memory recedes.
I have learned much as I have looked through the window of an elderly person’s life. There is a store house of information, experience, history that is so close. My challenge as a caregiver is to find the key that unlocks the treasure chest.
By the time I enter a client’s life, they have “lost” quite a bit of memory. But there is always some treasure if I am patient. “Patient” is the operative word – I cannot have an agenda, be pushy or in a big hurry.
Mary loves children and she most often sets the tone for the conversation. Her years of experience as a school teacher are like gold for me as…
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It’s easy to get discouraged when reading about the millions and millions of other folks who also blog.
The good news?
Most of them kind of suck, because they never bother to do a bit of research, to learn from their mistakes, so they keep doing them over and over again.
What about you? Are you guilty of committing these seven deadly sins of blogging?
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My earnest dedication to my favorite poet, Robert Frost from whom I have borrowed the title of this poem.
Of all the amazing places I see
The roadside stand is just for me!
Girls and boys and poles that stand,
And a crawling marriage band.
Of all the noise and laugh and glee,
The roadside stand is just for me!
Numerous memories made and shared,
With friends and foes and all that cared.
Oh! I also get to see with grace,
Some exquisite, foreign face.
But they can’t seem to fulfill my plight,
More than a roadside gentlemen’s fight.
While riding home I get to see,
Why the roadside stand is just for me!
Life moves on that’s all we know,
But when I’m bad and can’t let go,
The only thing that makes me right,
Is a roadside stand in sight.
Various relations made and torn,
Various voices of…
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Open Your Mind To What Could Have Been
I believe that every one of us could have had many different lives than the one we now have, this is what I mean by alternate history’s. I also believe that we could all also have many different alternate futures lying before us, it is all a matter of choice. Do I believe as some do that as we speak and breathe that there are ‘alternate universes’ playing alongside the Realm we are living in right now, no. But I could obviously be wrong, it is not like I am God and know everything.
This article today is designed for the purpose of simply getting people to think, to contemplate their own personal past and even their future. For the purpose of opening up people’s minds I will start the process rolling using myself as an example. I will start at the age of 18 (44 years ago). I got my girl friend pregnant and we got married, the marriage lasted less than 2 years, we had 2 kids, one year and nine days apart. What if I had not gotten her pregnant and I had gone into the military at 17 or 18 instead of at age 20, how would my life have been different? Would I have gotten ‘fixed’ and have had no ‘blood’ kids of my own? Would I have met someone else while in the military and gotten married to them? Would I have gotten killed while in the military if I had tried to make it a life long career? Would I have never been hit by lightning if I had decided to not go into the military at all? If I had not gone into the military would I have stayed in the same States that I did, personally I doubt that one. Is it possible that if I had stayed a civilian that I could have walked into a store or a bar that was being robbed and the gunmen would have shot and killed me when I was just 18 or 20? Would I have gone to the ‘Sun Set School Of Preaching’ in Lubbock Texas and have been a lifelong Minister? What if I had done this and would have married a woman whose family was from Spain or Mexico or California, would I have moved to a Church near her family? Only God knows these answers, but I believe that the questions are all valid, for each of us.
How would your life be different if you would have made different choices? The choices could be as simple as times we chose to go right instead of going left. There was a time down in Florida that I was checking trailers late at night and my flashlight had gone dead and I was at a drop yard way out in the country. As I started to check the first trailer as I was walking toward the back I happened to hear a very loud rattle. As I started to put my right foot down I heard the rattle get louder and louder, so I withdrew that step, then another step and another and the rattle stopped. What if I was wearing ear buds and was not paying any attention, would I have still been here today? As I said earlier I do not believe that there is another parallel universe, singular or plural running in ‘threads’ alongside this one but that concept is not what I am speaking of today. I am just asking you to think about the ‘what if’s’ of life. What if you had married a different person than the one you did, how would your life have changed? What if you never got married at all, or if you have never married, what if you had? How would your life be different? There are all of these past tense ‘what if’s’ and there are future one’s also, choices, life always comes down to choices, as well as other people’s choices in matters that concern us as well in ways that we can’t even contemplate.
A Journey in My World
Poetry, Short stories, Blog, Titan
Sharing the World We Love
poetry infused with art
Trickling words on running pages....
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Female. Feminist. Feminine.
a girl living in the wrong century who loves reading, writing and all things book-ish