Columns, Opinion

Burke’s Bully Pulpit: What I want from Putin’s potential visit with Trump

The Kremlin has announced that a meeting between Russian leader Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump could be on the horizon. With speculation as to whether or not Russia interfered in our 2016 election, this news comes as a surprise to many.

Former President Barack Obama met with Putin in Moscow in July 2009. Before the meeting, Obama had high praises for the leader, saying: “And I’m aware of not only the extraordinary work that you’ve done on behalf of the Russian people in your previous role as prime minister — as president but in your current role as prime minister.” This also might come as a surprise to the many that loved and adored the former president, given our current standing with the country.

I think this potential meeting should be good for both nations. Putin is a polarizing figure and is one of — if not the — most important player in world politics at this very moment. It would also give Russian officials and citizens a sense of the kind of man Trump is, depending on how our president chooses to present himself.

Putin has an iron grip over the citizens of Russia as well as tensions in Syria. I think this could be a main talking point between the two leaders. I would hope Trump denounces the current Syrian regime and offers another way to expel extremist forces in the area rather than working with President Bashar al-Assad, given his history of using chemical weapons on his own people.

Another talking point should be about the election. Many people would be calling for our president to directly ask Putin to clarify the role Russia had in influencing our election. While this investigation might still be underway at the time of the meeting, I think it would be more than beneficial to try and clear the air with the man behind the proverbial mask.

On a lighter note, I hope that Trump asks Putin for Bob Kraft’s Super Bowl ring back, which he took from the Patriot’s owner in 2005 on a visit to Moscow. It would probably lighten the mood, and as a Patriots fan, I would be interested in hearing why Putin felt so compelled to take a ring for a sport that isn’t that popular in Russia.

Jokes aside, I hope the American public responds well to this potential meeting. Nothing will get done in regards to the relationship between the two countries without an open and honest dialogue. I understand this might not be the most popular stance, but I think it is extremely important in ensuring that no conflicts arise while Trump is in office. We are currently starting a trade war with China, and it has not been kind to our stock market as of late.

Trump has the chance to get what he wants: answers to make everyone stop talking about the election. Maybe with these answers from the mouth of the man behind it all, we can put the Russia investigation to rest for good. We also might be able to make a strong ally, although history tends to disagree with that ever happening.

However, there is no progress without open dialogue. Let’s all just hope that both leaders bring the truth and have the same mindset. It is better for Americans and for the world.

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