US and Russia have given the world epic examples of historic summits which surprisingly took place neither on US nor on Russian soils. Roosevelt-Stalin summit in Iran or Yalta, Truman-Stalin meet at Berlin, Kennedy-Khrushchev summit at Geneva etc. All these meetings or encounters have presented memorable moments to the world. President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin are all set to give shape to another historic meet at Helsinki- a summit which will catch the entire media spotlight because of the chaotic state of affairs shared by both the superpowers ever since President Trump’s election especially amid allegations of Russian meddling in latter.
Despite the above, President Trump has always expressed great admiration for Putin. The meeting is bound to have deep consequences and real-time significance in times to come. Helsinki has great historical importance for both the nations as it was here in 1975 US, Russia and European nations had agreed to a meaningful security framework for Europe and committed themselves to uphold human rights in Eastern bloc. It, is thus, a wise idea to have a deep insight into the outcomes of 1975 wherein the joint agreement had taken toll of years of hard diplomacy and tough compromising choices on both sides. It was a typical example where a successful agreement was achieved amid pressingly low expectations and years of hard-work which was shadowed by media speculations. The upcoming Trump-Putin summit, is yet again mired in inflated media sensation but still has the potential of giving concrete results.
The Trump-Putin meeting has equal potential of becoming the perfect summit to a completely wrong kind of meeting as it could see US showering concessions on Russia to bag a triumphant Summit rather making efforts for some serious business. Russian President Putin will meet Trump in midst of allegations of Russian meddling in his election success, apparent turbulence in NATO and ofcourse after the high-stakes decisions of Trump administration to pull-out from JCPOA. The possibility of grave missteps emerging from the hype the event has already created cannot be ruled out especially as it involves President Trump. Many international analysts have also expressed fears about frivolous phrases- a signature Trumpism which may shadow the whole show. The fears are amplified due to age of social media which has a peculiar way of creating a theatrical version of such sensational events. President Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un at Singapore cannot be brushed aside at this moment as a highly critical summit was dwarfed into a non-committal meeting in terms of denuclearisation yet the way it was oversold by Trump administration was remarkable. Although the personal equations of both the leaders did take a step forward yet nothing concrete materialised and latter will only happen after long painstaking efforts mutually. The Singapore Summit was merely a step towards a long-journey which so far has no near end in sight.
Likewise, the Trump-Putin meet may not have much substance but definitely has great geopolitical significance especially as there has been no such meeting seen in about last 8 years. Starting from the Cold War days, both the nations share limitless sense of wrongs done by the other. Helsinki thus, holds great promise to lay down the blueprint for future engagements. The most contentious issues being Syria, Iran and Ukraine will invoke pressing discussions from both sides. Reinstating sovereignty of Ukraine especially in Donbas region will top the US list of priorities while Russian side will push for better coordination on over the increasing volatility in Syria especially as Assad regime gaining control and rebels taking a backfoot. The situation has all the fuel to flare into a serious confrontation between Iran and Israel, a consequence which the world will want to avoid at all costs. Further discussions about space, the Arctic, energy, arms race etc. will also figure in. President Trump may also confront Putin on the issue of Russian interference in US Presidential elections which will definitely not be accepted by Putin. US should not seek an acceptance as a precondition for moving ahead with diplomatic ties.
The Summit should not happen and end in isolation even if no breakthrough commitment is achieved. It is better than a non-relationship with Russia which US has maintained over the years. A normal, yet boring relation is better than a hyped and troubled one. West has attempted to isolate Russia to bring it to knees to accept their demands, failing badly in its intentions. The flashing success of World Cup Soccer has completely overruled the possibility of isolation of Russia in near times.