President Trump has been pilloried by some for “cozying up” to President Putin at the Helsinki summit and seeming to ignore Russia’s geo-political threat to the United States as well as Putin’s poor human rights record.
Words like “sellout” and “treason” have been tossed about. Dark suggestions have been made that the President Trump acted as if Putin “had something” on him.
One wonders, though, how these critics would explain why an American president, duly invested with the power to conduct the nation’s foreign policy, should be unduly restricted in the manner in which he carries out his duties. Should he be forbidden to, piecemeal, pursue a hierarchy of goals, playing one off against the other? Should he be required to operate with counterintuitive transactional transparency throughout his negotiations?
It was not too long ago, actually in 2015, when the same folks leading the charge against Trump applauded President Barak Obama and his Iran nuclear deal. That president gave tens of billions of dollars to an Iran that was the world’s leading state financier of terror and possessed a human rights record every bit as shameful as Russia’s.
He also ended the rigorous economic sanction regime that had succeeded in hobbling Iran’s economy. And, as we all learned later to our chagrin, all of this took place in the context of stunning secret protocols, deals, and understandings.
In contrast, President Trump continues to increase the economic sanctions against Russia. His critics, though, don’t seem to care.