Trump has taken Putin's side

tags: Russia, Putin, Trump, Helsinki Summit

Tom Nichols, a professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College and an instructor at the Harvard Extension School, is the author of "The Death of Expertise." The views expressed here are solely his own. Follow him on Twitter: @RadioFreeTom.

The Helsinki summit is over, and we are all left struggling to find the words to capture the nightmare that in the space of less than 24 hours destroyed years of American diplomacy, sacrifice and leadership.

So perhaps we should just admit what our own eyes cannot deny: We have now witnessed the very worst humiliation of a president of the United States ever, and one of the lowest points in the history of the American presidency.

The summit was completely in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s control, and it showed. That was to be expected from an incompetent leader believing he could waltz unprepared into a news media event with a professional intelligence officer. A summit without an agenda is a bad idea from the start, but President Donald Trump clearly wanted to replicate the artificial media high of his trip to Singapore to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — another disgraceful episode in itself — and garner high ratings and hollow applause from his usual fans and camp-followers.

But Kim is a young and relatively inexperienced brute, whose personal stature and weird mien do not play all that well on television. And all Kim needed to do was share a stage with an American president to accomplish his mission. Kim is crude and dangerous, but he is an amateur.­­­

Putin, however, is no amateur. He performed brilliantly, turning every issue back to the Americans, and Trump took it all. Ukraine? The Americans should talk to their Ukrainian friends, not us. Espionage? Pish-posh. We’re not that kind of country, but if you’d like us to look into it, hand over Putin opponent Bill Browder. Syria? Of course, we’d love to remain involved there under the guise of humanitarian aid, thank you for the invitation. Putin did what one would expect him to do, and his behavior was icily competent and carefully executed. ...

Read entire article at USA Today