Why trump’s meeting with Putin one-on-one was a gross mistake

Another scandal in Washington is very reminiscent of the instructive fable of the 19th century: the President met with Vladimir Putin himself! And even did not bring your own interpreter! This unplanned meeting lasted an hour! No one knows what happened there! Now his integrity will forever be questioned.

The presenters have experienced a stroke. As often happens in moments of scandal, experts unequivocally condemn the leader of the USA — presidents never meet one on one! And they regularly put into their comments memories of “the good old days when no-one allowed himself such a thing.” This cycle will inevitably lead us to some distinguished ancestor who once sinned, and we start all over again.

Of course, presidents may hold and conduct one on one meetings with other world leaders. After summits in the network usually have numerous photos of President Barack Obama conversing with leaders such as Dilma Rousseff (Dilma Rousseff), Angela Merkel and, Yes, the President Vladimir Putin. A key point in negotiations between the US and Cuba came during a one on one meeting between Obama and Pope Francis. But, of course, President trump, who is a newcomer in the international arena, had to think twice before without any preparation to start talks one-on-one with such a cunning enemy, Putin. His personal meeting with the leader of the Kremlin, the value of which the White house is trying to downplay, calling it just the usual exchange of courtesies, for dessert, violated several important principles of diplomacy: it was unplanned, methadonemaintenance, long, held in the absence of translators and assistants, and its contents remained a mystery. However, more importantly, it made a certain impression on those who watched these two leaders at the summit Big twenty.

Every detail must be planned in advance

Imagine for a moment that trump is a normal person like you, who goes to a party. Entering the door, you will immediately see this guy — the man who spits when he speaks, believes that you and he can “work once” and accepts any awkward smile consent for the offer hands and hearts. As an adult, you usually quite able to avoid the company of that person. But sometimes you have to communicate with him. What will you do? What will you say? And what will others think?

It was at this point the similarities between you and President end: all participants always something he should do. However, the life of the leader of the free world is — or at least should be — carefully planned and prepared, and in the first this applies to international travel. His every gesture and action have or should have a purpose, despite the confusing statement of the Advisor to trump on national security, G. R. McMaster (H. R. McMaster) about the fact that his head was no specific agenda for the first meeting with Putin. Personal meetings with world leaders is a limited resource, so failure to extract from them the maximum benefit, which is manifested in the absence of a clear plan, is a huge omission.

When I took part in the presidential trip as a member of the national security Council, I was struck by the need to constantly revise the main points of controversy. Program of bilateral meetings are carefully planned, and even a seemingly casual exchanges of pleasantries were often planned and carefully thought out. In preparing for an important bilateral meeting was attended by a great many people who made the program, carefully stating the problem to be solved, specifying the issues, the discussion of which should be avoided, describing in detail the encouraging cues, contributing to the achievement of goals worthy of the trip, when planning a long legal debates and preparatory meetings. Masters of three dimensional chess, this may seem like overkill. However, a well-planned presidential trip is when the leader is impossible to surprise a mysterious request, or any complaint, or a sudden showdown with a colleague. The perfect ride is when every encounter increases the score in your favor.

Lists of people participating in such meetings were prepared with the same care. Under previous administrations, advisers to the national security personally analyzed these lists and usually accompanied the President, even during important meetings. The man standing next to the President, there is no coincidence, and if the President decides to talk with his foreign counterpart one-on-one — this is not an accident. Such decisions and actions are a signal to the entire world about whom the President considers to be its main representatives, with whom he wants to establish relations and so on.

However, the most important task for those who accompany leaders to such events is to write down what they say. The youngest officer in the meeting room, whether it’s adviser on national security or the ordinary diplomat, knows that his main task is to record every word. Such records are invaluable, because on the basis of later lists were prepared, materials for exploration and negotiations for future administrations. Without these records of high-ranking officials can slip into a destructive mindless repetition and conversation one-on-one between April Glaspie Ambassador (April Glaspie), and Saddam Hussein before the Gulf war is a classic example. Meeting at which there are no stenographers, gives more cunning of the two interlocutors able to stream a version that fits his interests, and at times is blatantly fabricated. Reports of the American and Russian sides of the first personal meeting of Putin and trump has proven controversial in some aspects. Although it should be noted that sometimes the differences can appear even in reports of American reporters.

This is not Vietnam there are rules here

Such restrictions may cause irritation in anyone, and many feel the urge to stop and submit to General rules, however, world leaders realize that playing by these rules often allows you to achieve your goals. Only a few take office, having a full view of current foreign policy entanglements. And if improvisation while posing for a group photograph of the leaders of the Big twenty is unlikely to result in war, unplanned and undeclared-hour meeting one-on-one is an extremely risky decision. How well you will be able to speak on the extremely important meeting, to which all the other participants carefully prepared, and you… just have a look? Most likely, quite poor. Preparation is key.

Despite all the trappings, the participants of such meetings sometimes completes them, convinced diametrically opposite results. The question of how the United States was ready to comply with obligations to the then Soviet Union not to expand NATO to the East and whether the United States violated its written or oral promise, is still hotly debated, and historians and diplomats to this day argue about the content of the transcripts of those conversations.

But, you say, unless the President can’t just relax for a few hours and to exchange pleasantries with my colleagues for chocolate mousse? No, it can’t. For dinner, Big twenty, before 19 other world leaders entered the hall, their senior advisers, most likely, told them: “Try to discuss with trump these issues.” About where will sit the dinner participants also communicated in advance that the leaders were able to prepare in advance for conversations. Assistants leader warned them that such-and-so may try to talk to them for about 15 minutes, so try to confront him in the lobby, so your conversation could join somebody else. And sometimes the conversations at the table, closely watched by the coordinators, which is in the next room.

The thus prepared his subordinates, a wise head of state carries out the necessary conversations with the right people, voiced their arguments, consults with his advisers, offers to postpone the meeting, if suddenly faced with some emotionally charged issues, and goes from talking with those who are pressing for too long and unplanned conversations. Teenagers at a party in honor of the birthday of skillfully cope with such maneuvers, so elected politicians can do it too.

Cake in the face

At such events there is still a place for improvisation, and if their party is skilled enough, they go in his favor. These unplanned moments can contribute to the elimination of barriers, what you will never read in the reports — remember the dizzying and exciting talks between Reagan and Gorbachev in Reykjavik, or the first handshake of Obama and Raul Castro in South Africa. However, the situations are different, and should not immediately try to conquer the “Double black diamond” for the first time standing on skis. The government has plenty of reasons to carefully plan everything in advance. Maybe trump wanted to improvise at the summit Big twenty, but the rest of the participants — first of all Putin — well to prepare for it.

Here lies the main danger of improvisation at the summit: the trump can consider yourself a master at making deals, however, regardless of your relation to him, his inexperience in international Affairs is obvious. Meanwhile Putin is behind a few decades in the KGB and diplomatic experience. Trump can be difficult to remember which statements he made and the promises were given, whereas Putin, as everyone knows, has a great memory and attention to detail. In this conversation, any statement becomes the policy of the United States recognizes it as the trump or not. If at the meeting there was no representative of the American side, carefully recording the words of its participants, even experienced and disciplined President will be difficult to control the final interpretation. In the case of the trump fiasco, Putin can do a lot of horrific insights from the green light at the intensity of aggression in Ukraine to support Russia’s interference in the Syrian conflict. And this is without the worst suspicions about why trump has decided to meet with Putin one on one, without saying anything to the public.

This is not the only problem that arose at the summit of the Big twenty. Or assistants trump was not aware that he intended to walk to the other side of the table to chat with the leader of the geopolitical enemy of America number one, or they knew about it, but he still ignored their advice. The third option — that they knew about it and thought it was a good idea — seems highly unlikely. All this leads us to another problem associated with this meeting: what conclusions drew other participants of the summit Big twenty? Most likely, they were watching his conversation with Putin, as people usually observe their colleagues, who behave indecently at the Christmas party.

A long conversation one-on-one is the choice that presidents can afford on rare occasions. It’s not just a conversation, it is also a clear signal: I trust you, we’re friends, what we say is so important that it should remain only between us. The fact that trump has decided to participate in this extremely important conversation — any hour meeting with Putin will have important implications — in the absence of McMaster or the Secretary of state’s Rex Tillerson (Rex Tillerson), and weakens their credibility too. And attempts to hide, to dismiss and to refuse to provide their interpretation of the outcomes of this conversation puts the President a fool. Colleagues of the President drank coffee and watched as they shamelessly use while he smiles in response. This is not the first impression that trump was hoping to produce.