Presidents Trump and Putin held a 90-minute telephone conversation on Friday.  Hopefully, it is the start of a long-overdue strategic dialogue to repair the damage done by Russia-gate and other political roadblocks thrown up in the way of a resumption of Russian-American efforts to find areas of common global interest and set aside points of conflict in the interest of global stability.

The list of shared concerns is long:  Extension of the New START Treaty covering strategic weapons; efforts to either salvage or replace the INF Treaty before both Russia and NATO begin deploying intermediate range missiles along a European front; Korean denuclearization; a diplomatic solution to the Syrian War, now that it is clear that President Bashar Assad has survived the eight-year regime change effort.

While the MSM continues to assail Trump every time he tries to strike up a conversation with Putin, a number of Cold War veterans have come out recently, pressing for US-Russian dialogue.  William Perry, Sam Nunn and George Shultz penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on April 10 headlined "The Threat of Nuclear War Is Still With Us."  They argued for a multi-track resumption of US-Russian diplomacy, involving the Executive and Legislative Branches.  Most urgently, they called for the US and Russia to agree to abandon the "launch on warning" doctrine of nuclear retaliatory strikes, which give leaders only moments to decide whether to launch Armageddon.  A majority of Democratic Senators recently wrote to President Trump, urging the beginning of direct dialogue with Russia over extension of New START beyond the 2021 termination date.

Before the Trump-Putin phone call, two Administration officials traveled recently to Moscow to confer with counterparts.  Fiona Hill, the National Security Council director for Russian Affairs visited around the same time that the President's envoy for North Korea, Stephen Biegun made an April 17-18 visit to the Kremlin to discuss US-Russian collaboration to revive the stalled Korea denuclearization talks.

The Hill and Biegun talks were a very cautious first step towards reconstituting a Russian-American diplomatic engagement.  Still far from plans for the Trump-Putin summit that has been on hold since July 2018, when the two presidents met in Helsinki.

All of the bitching and moaning about Donald Trump's personality, his unpredictability and worse cannot any longer stand in the way of some effort to resume real substantive Washington-Moscow engagement.  Nuclear war and the other pressing issues on the US-Russian table are adult stuff.  The Beltway infantile fits about Trump-Russian "collusion" have played their course.  It's time to let it go.

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  1. Mr Harper – in the mean time the Ukrainian shambles runs and runs. Claims that Western Special Forces, UK included, continue to assist over there and that some of those being trained and equipped are the old Right Sector/Neo-Nazi forces – street fighters who learned soldiering the hard way and are still anxious to do more.
    Maybe if detente occurs R2P could switch from meaning fomenting local division to meaning straight disaster relief. Seems that’s what the Ukrainians need most of all. Any prospect of that on the horizon?

  2. Per/Norway says:

    yes they really are old right sector, the ukrainian nazi scum was led by a ww2 “lady” until she died.

  3. Taras 77 says:

    Thanks, Harper, very much needed arguments for dialogue. Maybe, just maybe with the slow and agonizing death of the farce that was russia gate, some adults will step forward and begin the process.
    This is another indicator of possible change for the better:
    I fear, however, that the zio and neo cons are very much embeddedthe in the “foreign policy” establishment,to state the obvious, and will fight this process of dialogue tooth and nail. And of course, they have the prostituted press backing them 110%.
    I would think that the first order of business in this process would be to kick foaming at the mouth bolton and pompeo to the curb, to include their zio con staffs. I am not optimistic that this will happen any time soon, altho trump’s inititation of the call to putin was a surprise for me.

  4. Cortes says:

    A resumption of top-level contacts is, surely, welcome. Recent descriptions by the Russians that the USA is “not-agreement-capable” – see the third paragraph of
    for example, suggest to me that building trust and really developing mechanisms for cooperation will require much effort and time. Utmost good faith on the part of all involved also.

  5. Harper, you are absolutely right. The Trump administration should be talking with Putin’s government. They should also be talking with the Assad government and the Rouhani government. I applaud his willingness to talk with KJU. That’s far better for all of us than threatening him with destruction of his country.
    And English Outsider’s comment that “Maybe if detente occurs R2P could switch from meaning fomenting local division to meaning straight disaster relief” is one of the most magnificent ideas I have heard in a long time. EO deserves an award for that concept.

  6. Harper says:

    In spite of neo and zio cons in Administration, Trump seems intent on using occasion of Mueller exoneration to start talks with Russia. Trump initiated call with Putin and Pompeo is to meet Lavrov soon. Trump is the decider, and if Bolton, Pompeo and others try to sabotage, as they’ve already been doing, either Trump capitulates or has to dump them. New Yorker allegations that Bolton called Trump a moron a good start, but New Yorker not on Trump’s favorite reading list, so impact was minimal.
    Ukrainian elections could bode well for deposing neo-Nazi Banderists from their perch in Kiev. New president elected as an “anyone but Poroshenko” candidate. US got a reality TV president, Ukraine now has a sit-com president. Can’t be worse than Ukraine leadership installed by Nuland and NATO.

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