Indeed it should not be forgotten that prior to his arrival in Hamburg for the summit, President Trump delivered a bombastic speech in Poland affirming Washington's commitment to NATO and saber rattling where Russia is concerned. Moreover, the continuing presence of NATO troops and military assets on Russia's western border, along with the missile defense shield, speaks far more loudly than any handshake ever could, as do economic sanctions that stand as an indictment of the West's self-appointed role as arbiter of justice regardless of international law.
Ultimately, when it comes to the normalization of relations between Washington and Moscow, the fact there are no Russian troops, military assets or missile defense shields on America's borders, and the fact that economic sanctions have not been resorted to by Russia in dealing with issues of contention between them, means the ball remains very much in Washington's court. Gestures are one thing, actions another, with the latter more important than the former going forward.
This being said, the moral and ideological bankruptcy of Western liberalism has never been more exposed than in the wake of this first bilateral meeting between the US President and his Russian counterpart in Germany. The condemnatory response it attracted from a host of liberal commentators, politicians, and ideologues in the mainstream media leads us to ponder whether for such people the only legitimate form of exchange between the leaders of the world's foremost nuclear powers should involve missiles rather than handshakes. Their rancor comes as further evidence of a worldview so myopic after decades of US hegemony and unipolarity it would be hard to find spectacles strong enough to correct it.
What these people either don't or refuse to appreciate is that Donald Trump, as President of the United States, and Vladimir Putin, as President of the Russian Federation, head governments which together bear responsibility for the lives of hundreds of millions of human beings, not only in their respective countries, but across the world. Thus the decisions they make, the power they wield when it comes to war and peace, not only requires that they establish a relationship rooted in comity rather than enmity, it absolutely and ineluctably demands they do.
This is why the inordinate and ongoing attempt to render positive and amicable relations between both leaders impossible by the aforesaid liberal commentariat and establishment is redolent of a reckless disregard for the cataclysmic consequences, should direct military confrontation between both countries ever erupt, whether in Eastern Europe and the Baltics or in the Middle East.
Consider, for example, the analysis of the meeting between Trump and Putin provided by Jen Psaki of CNN in an opinion piece, "Putin set a trap and Trump fell into it."
"The Russians just played the President. It was predictable. And he let it happen," Ms. Psaki writes in the opening sentence.
Aside from a writing style you would expect to find in the pages of a crime thriller rather than on website of a mainstream news organization, the inference is clear — Putin is Dr. No and Trump is putty in his hands. Yet not content with the Raymond Chandleresque opening, further on Ms. Psaki informs us that after "you've let your adversary off the hook, you certainly don't get to apply that pressure again."
So there we have it, Russia is an "adversary" whom Trump has "let off the hook" in the course of a two and half hour meeting with Vladimir Putin from which both leaders emerged to confirm that progress had been made on key issues concerning both countries — namely the crisis in Ukraine, the conflict in Syria, and the deepening crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
The furor, bordering on hysteria, that has been whipped up and sustained over Trump's election at the expense of Hillary Clinton has been something to behold.
It is not so much the obsessive belief that Vladimir Putin rather than the American people put Trump into the White House, it's the lack of outrage at the content of the so-called Clinton emails, made public via WikiLeaks during the election campaign, which exposed the hypocrisy of the US liberal establishment she represents. Perhaps if the Democrats had gone with a better candidate, say Bernie Sanders, this conversation would not be happening, as the most suitable applicant for the job would now be in office and both the US and the world would be far better off.
But Sanders was not, as everybody knows, "selected" by the DNC to run off against Trump. They went with Clinton and expected her to breeze her way into office. She failed to and the liberal establishment is angry.
Trump is not the presidential aberration they would like us to believe. He is, on the contrary, America with its mask removed — uncouth, boorish, reckless, impulsive, vainglorious, and narcissistic; this is Donald Trump and this is America. But he is also the country's President, elected not by Moscow but the American people, millions of whom have been left behind as casualties of decades of neoliberal economics buttressed by neoconservative political nostrums surrounding everything from war and conflict overseas to the obsequious pandering to the rich, Wall Street, and corporate America at home. Not that Trump is about to turn the country into a socialist paradise; of course not. But a vote for him in the election was for many a protest against a corrupt status quo in Washington that has long been detached from the lives and struggles of ordinary people.
For the Jen Psakis of this world, nothing less than a Russia is reduced to the status of a US vassal will do. But what she and others seem to forget is that the Russian people have already have experienced what this looks like, with the brutal economic shock treatment they were subjected to in the 1990s leaving them in no doubt. If one thing is certain, it is that they will not allow themselves to be subjected to it again.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.