Fresh off the heels of his summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, President Donald Trump is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, in a one-on-one meeting on July 16th.
A report in Newsweek drawing on diplomacy experts who have long observed or dealt with Putin suggests that although he paints himself as a great deal-maker, Donald Trump might be out-performed by Vladimir Putin in the negotiations and end up giving away too much.
“Putin can be charming. I saw that at the Bush-Putin meeting in Slovenia in 2001. He is a master of detail, he is quick on his feet, he is articulate, he is very good at sizing up his interlocutor,” Ambassador Daniel Fried, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs in the George W. Bush administration, told Newsweek. “My guess is he is looking to get unearned gifts.”
Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, former ambassador to Russia and former deputy secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), told Newsweek that former President Barack Obama had been caught off guard by Putin's diplomatic strategy when the two men first met face-to-face.
“Putin is extremely immersed in the details of policy; he is very cunning in how he approaches meetings with foreign leaders,” the ambassador told Newsweek. “Obama found this striking in their first meeting, that Putin gave lectures on the Russian version of history to make the other party feel guilty, that all of the problems [between Russia and the West] are about betraying Russia, taking advantage of Russia.”
One of those might be more explicit US backing for Russia's support of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad—and the continued maintenance of Russian military bases in Syria. Donald Trump has signaled that he wants US troops out of the embattled country, despite the ongoing human rights catastrophe that has triggered a global refugee crisis.
On Friday, the Syrian Army continued its assault on the city of Daraa, an offensive that has already displaced close to 50,000 people, according to UN estimates. They've tried to flee to Jordan, but Jordan's leader King Abdullah II — who met with Donald Trump Wednesday — has closed the country's borders to the desperate refugees. "It was a great honor to be with King Abdullah II of Jordan and his delegation this morning. We had a GREAT bilateral meeting!" gushed President Trump on Twitter after the meeting,
37-year-old Mohammed is an internally displaced Syrian refugee, stranded in the northern part of Syria.
He worries he'll never have a normal life that could include marriage and kids. "I can't dream or feel as other people," he tells Raw Story. "To be displaced person not easy."
Mohammed, who entertainingly refers to the Russian President as "Dracula Putin" worries that the world has stopped caring about the horrific plight of the Syrian people.