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The summit offered up a graphic reaffirmation of what was already known


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THE story of the meeting between President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki has a beginning and an end, but no middle.

It began with a statement from the American president. The lowly state of Russo-American relations, he tweeted, was not the fault of the Russian government for seizing Crimea, shooting down a passenger airliner, interfering in America’s presidential election or using a banned nerve agent to kill citizens of a close ally on its own soil. No, it was the fault “of US foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt”.

It ended with a joint press conference that John McCain, a Republican senator, described as, “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

In the middle was a void, in which the two presidents met with nobody else in the room but their interpreters. For those who watch Mr Trump daily and have observed his habit of being confrontational with other people when at a safe distance and then seeking to please them when face-to-face, this encounter seemed freighted with risk. Would he give away Crimea by mistake? Would he commit to some Russian-led military initiative in Syria? In fact this part seems to have gone relatively well. Both presidents reported that they talked about nuclear weapons, including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) which covers short- and medium-range nuclear missiles. The chances of them signing an extension to the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) are perhaps greater now than they were before the meeting. That is not nothing.

Yet it is hard to pinpoint a decisive change in American foreign policy that came out of the Helsinki meeting. What it offered instead was a reaffirmation of things that America already knew about its president. Mr Trump thinks that the world benefits when America and Russia have close relations, and that “the United States has been foolish” on this point. He takes the judgment of America’s intelligence services that Russia intervened in the 2016 election campaign to be a personal insult, an accusation that he needed outside help to beat Hillary Clinton. He will readily believe the word of a former KGB agent over the views of the CIA or FBI on this point. Americans who question this are liable to be described by their president as enemies of the people. The probe run by Robert Mueller is “a disaster for our country”. It was jarring to see Mr Trump say these things standing on a podium next to Mr Putin, but they are all things he has said before, countless times. This is not a performance. He really means it.

One part, near the end of the press conference, is worth quoting at length to give an unmediated sample of the president’s thinking: Supra HAMMER RUN NS women's Shoes (Trainers) in Grey,The floral dress, but cooler. With a skater silhouette, high neck and a fluted sleeve, just find somewhere you can't wear this carnation print dress. Looks just as great with heels as it does with trainers. 0301177618,Bonanza (Global) ps354 sweet crossover ankle sandals, candy color,US Size 5-10.5,red,Dubarry Galway Boots, Walnut, EU41 (UK7),TORY BURCH ANCHOR FLAT SLIDENeous Boots - Women Neous Boots online on United Kingdom - 11454320PR, Vagabond CASEY women's Shoes (Trainers) in Gold, So Size ZOZI women's High Boots in Brown, Wonders MORINADO women's Low Boots in Brown, Marc O'Polo ODETTAR women's Shoes (Trainers) in Beige,Bonanza (Global) pp420 elegant chunky pumps, square heels, nubuck leather , Size 4-8.5, blueNike Mayfly Lite BR - Grijs,Mephisto 'PACO' Brown Leather - 8.5 OUT OF STOCK,Mephisto 'FINA-TEX' Black - 3.5Pf16 Boots - Women Pf16 Boots online on United Kingdom - Diadora EVO AEON POWER men's Shoes (Trainers) in Grey, Asics GEL-LYTE III women's Shoes (Trainers) in Black, FitFlop LOAFF SNUG SLIPPER women's Clogs (Shoes) in Brown,Bonanza (Global) Classic Black Converse All Star Shoes Animal Panda Canvas Sneakers for Men Women,Scarpa Vortex Gtx WMN - EU 41,Bonanza (Global) Painted converse sneakers, Denver, Skyline, Handpainted shoes,Vans Old Skool - Zwart,Charles Tyrwhitt Tan Bennett Toe Cap Oxford Shoes Size 6.5 W by Charles TyrwhittSebastian Boots - Women Sebastian Boots online on United Kingdom - 11445848WS, Sweet Lemon PACITI women's Casual Shoes in Silver, Minnetonka CALF HI 2-LAYER FRINGE BOOT women's High Boots in Black, Superdry SUPER SLEEK LOGO LO women's Shoes (Trainers) in Black,Superga 2754 COTU MIDTOP 12.5 (EU 48) WhiteTina 2 heel - Multi Stardust - UK 4.5,Charles Tyrwhitt Black Work Trainer Size 10.5 R by Charles Tyrwhitt, For readers who are rubbing their eyes at this point, it is important not to lose sight of a few things that will endure once this summit is over. Mr Mueller’s probe has gathered so much detail about the activities of the GRU that its future activities would seem to be compromised. Russia’s economy is weak, and American sanctions will not be lifted by the Senate anytime soon. Some of America’s institutions are not doing their job. But some of them quietly are.

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