President Trump’s travels to Europe to see our NATO allies and UK Prime Minister May before meeting Vladimir Putin, provide us with an opportunity to take a closer look at Russia:
- Friend, foe or something else (like Trump’s “competitor”) to the U.S.?
- How much of a risk to the U.S. is Russia? Does Russia have the wherewithal to be more than an “irritant” to the U.S.?
- Are there areas in which the two countries should continue (or expand) cooperation–e.g., sharing intelligence on terrorist activities–or should we become more adversarial?
- What is the best strategy to get Russia “back in line” vis-a-vis issues such as Ukraine, Crimea, Georgia, Syria, election meddling, etc.?
- If you were advising Trump (or, Hillary Clinton if you can’t imagine advising The Donald) prior to the Putin meeting, what would be your advice?
- To what degree are NATO’s actions provocative to Russia?
- Do Putin’s policies reflect broad Russian themes or do Russian policies revolve around Putin (i.e., subject to change when he’s no longer in power)?
- Given their proximity to Russia, how should the Europeans deal with Russia on a commercial basis? To what degree should politics (and defense interests) influence these commercial relationships (i.e., natural gas imports to Europe, export of “strategic” machinery or other goods to Russia)?
I’m sure we’ll find lots to talk about on Monday. If you’d like to get started “studying” early, here’s a NYT op-ed piece published today.