ISSN 2330-717X

Putin Wanted Talks With Trump But Instead Kim Got Them – OpEd


Vladimir Putin made it crystal clear in his speech to the Federal Assembly that he wants talks with Donald Trump as an equal, but Washington’s response was to ignore or at least dismiss the Kremlin leader’s message and choose instead to have a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, Ivan Preobrazhensky says.

This represents almost an American “spitting in the face of Russian politicians” who expected an entirely different response, the Moscow analyst says. But “it turns out that the US doesn’t fear Russia with its enormous nuclear arsenal but has agreed to risk its president by sending him to Pyongyang for talks” (

One can understand Washington’s calculation, he suggests. “If North Korea is a country with obviously unpredictable behavior that might do anything including launching a nuclear attack on the US, then no one seriously expects anything of the kind from Russia.” The Trump Administration simply doesn’t believe Moscow poses that kind of unpredictable threat.

Obviously, one very much wants to hope that the American leadership has “assessed correctly the Kremlin’s level of responsibility for its actions,” Preobrazhensky concludes, thus implicitly suggesting that Putin may decide to adopt even more risky maneuvers to achieve his goals given that in the last two weeks Kim Jong-Un has “eclipsed” him.

If that should prove to be the case, of course, the risks of a graver crisis will increase exponentially, especially if the Kremlin leader is convinced not only that the West will not respond in a tough manner to almost anything he does but also that it may give him what he wants if he behaves even worse than he has.

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Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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