The Russians had just beaten the President of the United States. It was quite predictable. And he allowed it to happen.
Formally, going to this meeting, Vladimir Putin was not to dictate terms.
Let’s start with the fact that against Russia there are sanctions, which were imposed more than three years ago in connection with the annexation of Crimea.
And most Americans — with the exception of some officials, including the President of the United States — believe that Putin was head of Russia’s intervention in presidential elections in the United States and many other countries.
In December, President Obama expelled from the US for more than three dozen Russian spies and shut down two diplomatic complex. Many representatives of both parties are still calling for tougher sanctions against Russia.
We were supposed to have certain advantages. What happened?
For a start it is worth mentioning that the Russians are masters at manipulating public opinion.
When I worked in the state Department, a country with which the us was the easiest to work in logistics — whether it’s providing access to the press or public speeches and interviews — was Russia. They understand — better than most other countries — how important is the public side of diplomacy. This greatly simplified the planning process, however, it also demanded the ability to instantly make changes and adjust our actions to the Russian could not comment on the negotiations without taking into account the standpoint of the United States. But from time to time they still managed to stay ahead of us.
They know how to conduct behind-the-scenes preparation and as necessary to form expectations about global events. The Minister of foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov is a clever manipulator who knows how to stay in front of the cameras and captivate an international audience. He constantly appears on international events and it is always followed by an entourage of admiring representatives of the state media. He rarely leaves the answers to the questions, conducting press conferences and making statements on the outcomes of various meetings. He is on the international scene for 13 years, and before that he spent 10 years successfully working as a UN Ambassador.
Putin may not have such strong diplomatic talents, like Lavrov, but he is also well skilled in the art to present itself and knows how to set traps.
And he just set another trap.
Before the meeting of the leaders of the Russian party reported that during this meeting it plans 1) to improve relations between the two countries, 2) to learn more about the policy of the United States, 3) to discuss their shared concern about the threat of terrorism. And the Russian got the advantage on all three counts.
According to preliminary estimates, expectations of the Russian side was not too high, and they made clear that they simply do not have enough time to talk about Ukraine.
What about the US? What preliminary assessment they gave to this meeting, and how they prepared for the most important diplomatic event of the summer?
Only yesterday, the President of the United States Donald trump has questioned the effectiveness of U.S. intelligence in foreign countries, and then asked, could other countries or entities to take part in hacking attacks.
However, earlier the adviser to the President on national security, G. R. McMaster (H. R. McMaster) stated that trump’s meeting with President Putin, “there is no specific agenda — the President will be speaking about what you want.”
The problem lies in the fact that the formation of expectations and preliminary estimate of major diplomatic meetings not just filling newspaper pages and air time. They play a much more significant role. They send signals that the United States can expect as a result of these meetings, as we prepared to interact, and on what complex issues will be discussed during these meetings.
We always hold briefings with policy experts on the eve of the visits of Secretary of state John Kerry (John Kerry), when I worked in the state Department. These briefings were often held on Board the aircraft late in the evening or early in the morning, sometimes even at joint base Andrews Naval aviation USA. The press demanded that we conducted such briefings, but they also benefit US because they allow to prepare the ground for our interactions.
Immediately after the meeting, trump and Putin, Secretary Rex Tillerson appeared in front of cameras and tried to focus on the fact that the President of the trump several times raised the issue of Russian interference in presidential elections in the United States. It sounded pretty promising, but then he noted that the President trump decided to focus on “how we can move forward, despite current insurmountable differences.”
Immediately after Tillerson spoke to journalists, foreign Minister Lavrov, who stressed that President Putin denies Russia’s intervention in the elections that, according to trump, reports of interference were exaggerated and that trump has taken a refutation of Putin, believing them to be true.
Leading U.S. intelligence Agency, the Republicans and Democrats of Congress and many members of the administration trump sure that Russia intervened in last year’s US presidential election. However, simple verbal assurances from President Putin was enough to refute all their arguments.
In the field of diplomacy to put pressure do not appear too often. And as soon as you let your opponent off the hook, you lose the opportunity to influence him. As for the Russians, everything has been decided.
The problem is that such public concessions to give Russia a chance to continue to intervene in the mechanisms of American democracy, to provoke confusion and turmoil within our system.
And there are a lot of possibilities.
In November of this year should pass elections of the governors of two States and 36 States in 2018. In 2018 the U.S. will need to select 34 senators and all members of the house of representatives. It will be recalled that last year the Russians hacked into the electoral system in 21 States.
And instead of during a meeting with President Putin to present evidence and to make clear that he supports the position of Republicans, Democrats, and leading intelligence Agency, trump received assurances from Putin, continuing to smile at the camera. And Russian already have the pictures — they quickly spread around the world — proving this fact.