Former U.S. officials argue that Putin will come to the July 16 Helsinki summit armed with facts and figures, flaunting a familiar narrative of Russian grievance and probing for a way to get something from Trump for little or nothing in return.
I'll leave it to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to say whether there are sinister motives for Trump's consistent willingness to look past Putin's many transgressions - to name a few, Putin's attempts to subvert Western democracies, including ours; his illegal annexation of Crimea; his human rights violations and muzzling of free speech, including the press; and his alleged assassinations of dissidents overseas, including an attempt to kill a former intelligence agent in Britain with a Soviet-era nerve agent.
Member countries are anxious that Trump will spurn them and threaten to unravel the organization, their fears stemming from the G7 meeting last month. Trump has already met with Putin twice as president, including a meeting on the sidelines of a summit in Germany that stretched for more than two hours.
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The youngsters, aged between 11 and 16, faced a risky and frightening journey out of the flooded Tham Luang cave system on Sunday. Narongsak told a press conference late Sunday the rescue operation, launched at 10am, had taken "hours faster than expected".
But Hutchinson, and the US ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman, gave upbeat assessments of the upcoming meetings.
The United States' policy is simple, he added: "We are trying to make the Trans-Atlantic Alliance stronger by having European countries have militaries that are ready". Most participants in the poll (62%) believe that Putin's chief objective during the negotiations would be resolving bilateral issues, while Trump would try to strengthen the United States' position (71%).
"He will have watched the Kim Jong Un summit and he will have the same appraisal: that Trump gave away a major American card without getting anything concrete back for it", said a former senior US official. "Only Trump has billed the summit as such as a success", said Beyer, a member of Merkel's Christian Democrats. "But right now, we have sanctions against Russian Federation due to their malign influence and the things they're doing that are very disruptive - trying to divide our alliance", Kay Bailey Hutchinson said.
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But the US President will spend hardly any time in London, minimizing the risk of awkward encounters with angry protesters. They will then travel to Chequers , May's country residence, for talks on a range of foreign policy issues.
America's partners are particularly concerned about a surprise Trump giveaway during his meeting with Putin: announcing a withdrawal of significant Americans troops from Europe, cutting defence funds to US European Command, or stopping exercises with Nato's easternmost members, which Russian Federation protests as "provocative".
Administration officials have also said that subjects discussed with Putin would include Syria, where the administration is looking for a political settlement that would allow the withdrawal of USA troops there. "It helps them a lot more than it helps us, we're very far away".
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He said the situation in southern Syria was a cause for serious concern and needed to be resolved as soon as possible. Last week, rebels said it had told them not to expect any United States military support.