After a series of disquieting meetings with European and NATO allies last week, President Trump met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in a bid to restore relations between Washington and Moscow. In the lead up to summit, President Trump sought to temper expectations, but repeatedly affirmed his longstanding belief that improved relations with Russia would be beneficial for U.S. interests. With so many high-stake issues for the two to discuss—ranging from Ukraine to Syria and arms control to Russian meddling in U.S. and European democratic processes—it remains to be seen if the summit will lead to further rapprochement.
Ahead of the highly anticipated Trump-Putin meeting and the NATO summit in Europe later this month, Ambassador Taylor discusses the key issues that will be on the agenda at both, including Russian meddling in U.S. elections and Moscow’s aggressive actions in Europe as well as NATO members’ progress as it relates to U.S. concerns over burden-sharing.
Following a meeting between U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton and President Vladimir Putin this week, the White House announced that President Trump will sit down with his Russian counterpart for their first formal summit on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland. While both presidents Trump and Putin have repeatedly emphasized the need for improved ties, there are a host of contentious issues—such as the invasion of Ukraine and subsequent U.S. sanctions, Russia’s interference in U.S. and European elections, and the Syrian civil war—that could derail the effort to improve the bilateral relationship.
The alleged Russian use of a chemical weapon against a former Russian spy turned double agent in the United Kingdom led to scores of Russian diplomats being sent packing from the United States and Western Europe. Ambassador Taylor discusses the strong showing of unity among Western nations, and its effect on Russian intelligence gathering efforts and additional U.S. and international economic sanctions.
Ambassador William Taylor updates us on Ukraine’s efforts to upgrade its military with U.S. assistance to defend eastern Ukraine from Russian-led militias. Taylor weighs in on U.S. efforts to find a diplomatic solution to ease Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine, the effect of U.S. and European sanctions on Putin, and the recognition of the U.S. National Defense and National Security Strategies that Russia is a top threat.
Ambassador Bill Taylor reflects on the significance of the Arab Spring and the changes brought about by the movement, including the democratic transition in Tunisia, the major political changes in Egypt and the role of the United States in these type of events.
Earlier this week, Russia’s Vladimir Putin began his fourth term. Ambassador William B. Taylor explains that Putin’s political longevity is a combination of Russia’s desire to feel important in the world again, Putin’s power over the media, and the support of powerful, wealthy friends. Nevertheless, Taylor says harsh U.S. sanctions combined with those from the international community have isolated and punished Russia for Putin’s provocations in Ukraine and elsewhere, meddling in elections, and cyberwarfare.
Amid central Tunisia’s dry farmlands, the city of Sidi Bouzid bustled one recent day under warm autumn sunshine. Street vendors and shoppers jostled under the roof of a new, open-air market, selling and buying produce or cheap clothes. Seven years after an impoverished street vendor in this city immolated himself and ignited the Arab Spring revolutions, his homeland has achieved a precarious stability. By many measures the Arab world’s only democracy, Tunisia remains hobbled by corruption, unemployment and violent extremism.
The White House account of President Donald Trump’s first phone call with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi is a good sign that the U.S. might continue to work cooperatively with moderate Muslim political leaders who can contribute to global stability and aid in reducing violent extremism.
The Obama administration’s announcement this week that it plans to quadruple military resources devoted to deterring Russia in Europe highlights how seriously U.S. and NATO leaders view the threat posed by Russia. Ukraine is struggling to save its young democracy and stave off public disaffection with the new government’s valiant but halting reforms, even as Russia continues its campaign of military and economic goading.