Trump And Putin Have A Little Heart-To-Heart And We Don’t Understand Why People Are Getting All Bent Out Of Shape About It
- Sure, it’s galling that Trump congratulated the Russian President for winning a totally rigged election. (Especially since, as the Washington Post reports, the President was given briefing materials by his national security advisers prior to the phone call between the two of them that advised: “DO NOT CONGRATULATE”. Just like that. IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. And he did anyway).
- Sure, it’s equally galling that Trump’s “making nice” and suggesting further talks just a few days after his own Administration acknowledged and finally put sanctions on Russia for interfering in the 2016 Presidential election.
- Sure, it’s even more galling that Trump made no mention of the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in the U.K., even though his Administration and U.N. Ambassador have squarely condemned Russia for it, and he has too, though less squarely.
But does any of this surprise any of you? Even a little? This is Trump. This is who we got.
In that context, Trump’s just giving his buddy a call. And suggesting they follow up face-to-face to work on “overcoming the problems that have piled up in U.S.-Russian relations”, as the Russians put it, is not a horrible idea. Because talking is usually better than not. Usually.
Apparently what Trump mainly talked to Putin about this time around was nuclear arms. And afterwards, in an extremely peripatetic statement, Trump seemed to both condemn and endorse a global arms race. In the same sentence.
And then he repeated himself, using almost the exact same words. Saying “the arms race…is getting out of control…but we will never allow anybody to have anything even close to what we have”. In other words, it’s going to get more out of control. Here’s that part of his Q&A with reporters, following a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and some would say de facto leader. Click on the photo to play:
Trump’s statement about how he intends to stop the arms race by winning it, was his first on the subject since Putin asserted during a pre-election speech that Russia now has an “unstoppable” nuclear missile, that cannot be detected and destroyed by missile defense systems. It was our lead story a couple of weeks back, but kind of got buried in mainstream media because there were so many other things going on, and it’s really hard to assess if what Putin’s saying is actually true or just a campaign trail boast.
Apparently, it made an impression on Trump, maybe because as far as we know, he hasn’t got one.
Meanwhile, Trump put on his arms salesman hat for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
We reported a couple of months ago on how the Trump Administration was exhorting State Department employees to work harder at selling U.S.-made weapons to overseas governments, and Trump showed ’em how it’s done:
But as the Atlantic reports, what the Saudis really want is U.S. nuclear technology. To build reactors. Because even though they’re sitting on a lot of the world’s oil, they’ve got an energy shortage. No, really.
But of course the Saudis also want to enrich uranium on their own and reprocess spent fuel, giving them the ability to build a nuclear weapon, something the Crown Prince says they’ll do for sure anyway if Iran does.