SU Russia Expert: Trump-Putin Summit a Big "Nothingburger"

Jul 16, 2018

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin answer questions in Helsinki, Finland.
Credit Chris McGrath/Getty Images / via NPR

The Chair of the Political Science Department at SU's Maxwell School says the summit between the U.S. and Russia amounted to a big nothing-burger.  Brian Taylor has written several books about Russian politics. 

He says President Trump and Vladimir Putin were combative against the American Press about the topic of the Russian-electoral interference.  Taylor says this comes on the heels last week’s Mueller indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence officers but, it seems Trump is looking the other way.

"The Russians have really been nailed on this matter, and their involvement has been demonstrated quite conclusively.  For him not to want to recognize that and instead to talk about Hillary's emails or the DNC server or all sorts of other issues that aren't really directly related to the Russian interference is a surprising thing to watch.” 

Taylor says everyone was anticipating talks during the summit to include nuclear arms control but, nothing was mentioned.

The existing U.S Russia arms control treaty is set to expire in 2021.  Within the next couple of years, there has to be an agreement either to extend that treaty or come up with or a follow-on treaty.  If that does not happen, we'll be in a situation we haven't been in since the 1970's of no existing arms control and verification agreement in place between the United States and either the Soviet Union, or currently Russia.” 

The professor says President Trump primarily focused on international relations.

He seems to think that good relations in an of itself constitutes a victory, where I would suggest that making progress on important international issues such as Syria, such as Ukraine, such as nuclear arms control, is really what the U.S. should be seeking.” 

Taylor says he’s awaiting for concrete step following the summit on what will take place moving forward.  His latest book is “The Code of Putinism.”