President Trump meets with Russian President Putin today, days after meeting with our NATO allies in Europe. Both meetings are important, and both cause confusion among politicians and those who report on them back home.
Foreign policy is difficult. It comes in many shades of gray, and those who treat it like a team sport do harm to our safety and to our politics.Politicizing international affairs is a dangerous game, but that hasn’t stopped far too many in Washington, who seem to have forgotten that a vital part of keeping America safe and secure is avoiding war through strong and consistent diplomacy, from playing politics. One way they do this is to insist we not meet with or speak openly to our adversaries on the world stage.
I disagree. Dialogue is especially important when hundreds of millions of lives are at stake, as is the case in relations between the United States and nuclear-armed Russia. So I applaud President Trump for both chiding our NATO allies and greeting its expansion with skepticism, and I applaud him for sitting down with President Putin. We should be doing more of this self-examination and dialogue.
Throughout history, including during the height of the Cold War, both sides maintained constant dialogue and communications. Even during the Cuban Missile Crisis, we had diplomatic relations and constant communications.
Unfortunately, over the last two years, some have fueled a hysteria that has created such a paralysis regarding Russia that regular meetings and communications have ceased, and one can be accused of “collusion” merely for agreeing to a routine meeting with elected Russian officials who might be visiting Capitol Hill.