“Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it,” Mr. Trump stated of Mr. Putin. “I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”
Mr. McFaul predicted Mr. Putin can be a formidable counterpart in a one-on-one assembly, properly briefed on American overseas coverage and decided to make use of that data to undermine the administration’s insurance policies, particularly on Ukraine.
A standard thread in Mr. Trump’s method to autocrats, Mr. Haass stated, is that he views these relationships as having no historical past, no baggage that constrains how these leaders could act. They are private encounters, with not one of the trade-offs or compromises that often characterize summit conferences.
Mr. Trump just isn’t the primary president to place a premium on constructing rapport with Russian leaders. Bill Clinton did it with Boris Yeltsin; Mr. Bush tried to do it with Mr. Putin; Barack Obama cultivated Dmitri A. Medvedev, who served as president between Mr. Putin’s phrases. But solely Mr. Trump has made it just about his complete agenda.
That is to not say that he and Mr. Putin lack meaty points to debate. Some analysts speculated that Mr. Trump would search for widespread floor on Syria. During the transition, his aides had thought of lifting sanctions on Russia in return for Russia’s cooperation with the United States in opposition to Iran in Syria. The thought fell to the wayside, however some ponder whether the president might revive it.
“Is Trump trying to get Putin to move against the Iranians in Syria?” stated Martin S. Indyk, a former American ambassador to Israel. “And if so, what price is he prepared to pay for that?”
Such a proposal would make Mr. Trump’s assembly with Mr. Putin extra substantive than these with Mr. Kim or Mr. Xi. But persuading Russia to vary its technique in Syria can be exhausting, and lifting sanctions on Moscow would trigger one other rift with European allies already bruised by Mr. Trump. It would, in brief, require the president to interact within the diplomatic heavy lifting he has to date shunned.
As Henry A. Kissinger, the previous secretary of state, as soon as wrote, “It is dangerous to rely on personality or negotiating skills to break deadlocks; they cannot redeem the shortcomings of an ill-considered strategy.”