By J. D. Heyes
(National Sentinel)Â Foreign Policy:Â There’s no telling what the unhinged Washington media will make of it, given that they’ve been pushing a bogus “collusion” story for months now, but President Donald J. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin finally met face-to-face on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany on Friday.
With Trump pledging the two men had “much to discuss,” the actual meet-and-greet handshake was something of an intelligence coup for the Germans. According to the UK’sÂ Daily Mail, “The German government captured the ordinarily hidden handshakes and back-slaps by mounting a video camera on top of an official photographer’s camera.Â Trump is seen shaking Vlad’s hand rightie-to-rightie, and using his left hand to pat the underside of Putin’s arm.”
And, to add that media conspiratorial touch to the Trump-Putin “election collusion narrative, theÂ Daily MailÂ added:
The surprising gesture was more familiar than anything else shown on the 40-second video clip, which was first published on Facebook.Â
When Putin greets UK Prime Minister Theresa May, for instance, the handshake is formal, curt and respectful â€“ with the leaders bowing to each other slightly.Â
But when Trump comes up to the same table to see Putin, the how-do-you-do is more congenial â€“ the stuff of fishing buddies or bowling teammates.
Oh,Â well then….conspiracy!
Predictably, the White House downplayed that BS, noting that Trump would try to build a rapport with Putin, in a bid to avoid another costly, and dangerous, Cold War.
And if you want to get conspiratorial, during the G20 group photo, Trump stood at one end of the front row of leaders, while Putin the other — next to Chinese President Xi Jinping, with whom Putin just inked $10 billion worth of mutual investment and cross-border infrastructure projects, describing the Russia-China relationship as at its “best in history.”
Frankly, Trump and PutinÂ do have much to discuss: The matter of Syria; Russian planes harassing U.S. Navy warships; Russian bomber flights edging U.S. and NATO territory; Russian subs lurking off the Atlantic and Pacific coast of America; North Korea’s rising threat to both; competing energy interests in eastern Europe; and so on.
‘I look forward to all meetings today with world leaders, including my meeting with Vladimir Putin. Much to discuss,’ Trump tweeted earlier, adding the hashtag #USA and an American flag emoji.
But of course, the press painted its usual image of Trump – always the sap, always the buffoon on the international stage, waiting to be taken advantage of by the craftyÂ opponents he faces — like Putin. Per theÂ Daily Mail:
The Republican president and his administration have held off on slapping Moscow with new sanctions as they assess Putin’s willingness to work with the US to defeat ISIS and remove Bashar al-Assad from power in Syria.Â
Experts on Putin have said it is Trump who should be worried that the Russian president will try to earn concessions.
Putin, like other world leaders who have Trump’s number, is most likely to get what he wants by flattering him.
Right. As if no one in Trump’s administration has briefed the president on Putin’s tactics and behavioral history. Meh.
Anyway, Trump’s greatest strength may be that his opponents reflexively believe that he’s a sap and a buffoon. But when the rubber meets the road, it is Trump, not the opponent, who comes out on top, as we’ve already seen time and time again in his young presidency.
We are entering a new phase of American diplomacy, in which we have a habitually underestimated president who is keenly aware of our strengths and weaknesses — as well as those of other nations.
We’re going to be just fine.