Lewandowski: Trump-Putin meeting advances goal of world peace

Lewandowski: Trump-Putin meeting advances goal of world peace
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President Donald J. Trump follows in the footsteps of presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan by engaging in groundbreaking talks with superpowers that traditionally were seen as enemies of the United States, as a means to find common ground on trade and foreign policy in a way that has preserved the peace today.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpArizona GOP Senate candidate defends bus tour with far-right activist Alyssa Milano protests Kavanaugh in 'Handmaid's Tale' costume Bomb in deadly Yemen school bus attack was manufactured by US firm: report MORE’s trip to Helsinki to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin has drawn criticism from many Democrats and some “Never-Trump” Republicans. Yet, this trip serves an important purpose to open up relations between two powerful nations that do have some common interests, even though both disagree on some very important trade and foreign policy issues.

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President Nixon went to communist China and was attacked by many for meeting with a communist dictator. President Reagan engaged in a summit in Reykjavik with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and was attacked by many on the right and left. Now comes President Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The president is currently the subject of attacks – both partisan, from cable-news talking heads and from Never-Trump Republicans – because he wants better relations with another superpower.

 

In 1972, President Nixon visited Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong. Many credit that meeting, and resulting better relations with China, as an event that shifted the Cold War balance between China, the old Soviet Union and the United States. There was enough opposition to his trip that Nixon drew a Republican presidential primary from then-Rep. John Ashbrook (R-Ohio) which failed to register much support but showed that opposition to groundbreaking, disruptive forces in politics is not a new development. One result of Nixon’s trip to China was a peaceful solution to the Taiwan question and the start of U.S.-China trade relations. The fear-mongering, that Nixon was selling out our allies, was proven false.

In 1986, President Reagan met with Gorbachev in a summit dealing with the arms-control issue. That summit did not end up concluding with a deal but later summits did end in a history-making agreement on an arms control treaty, signed in 1987. Again, Reagan was hit by some on the right and by the opposition party as engaging in appeasement with the Soviets, yet Reagan’s move to reduce Russian and American nuclear arms stockpiles was an historic achievement.

History is repeating itself. Today, some Republicans understand the need for better relations with Russia. Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulArizona GOP Senate candidate defends bus tour with far-right activist Trump plays 'quick round of golf' with Rand Paul in New Jersey Hillicon Valley: Trump escalates feud with intel critics | Tesla shares fall after troubling Musk interview | House panel considers subpoena for Twitter's Jack Dorsey | Why Turkish citizens are breaking their iPhones MORE (R-Ky.) wrote on July 16 that “Russia doesn’t need to be considered our friend. But we certainly have overlapping interests — Syria, Islamic terrorism and energy — that require us to have an open dialogue and relationship. I am thankful that Trump is once again willing to go against the political elite in Washington and keep the lines of communication to Moscow open.”

It is important to understand that President Trump is a disruptive force in traditional politics and he is willing to take bold actions to make American foreign policy great again.

President Trump’s meeting with NATO allies in Europe was important to push for a restructuring of the financial agreements between the allied nations to take some of the burden of defending Europe off the backs of American taxpayers. Both the NATO and Putin meetings were important to push hard to get Europeans to recognize that they need to pay more for NATO and to open up a dialogue with a nation that, traditionally, has been considered America’s staunchest opponent. Dialogue is important, and talks can only lead to better relations and a better understanding between nations. Those who denigrate talks between the U.S. and Russia ignore the history written by Presidents Nixon and Reagan.

Mere weeks ago, President Trump engaged in talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that have led to progress on a lowering of tensions. Trump, who earlier had threatened North Korea with “fire and fury,” did not retreat from his tough stance by meeting with North Korea in Singapore in June. Historians will look back on the Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin meetings as groundbreaking moments when the United States engaged in “peace through strength” and had the confidence to meet with world leaders in a way that will forward world peace and the national security interests of the United States.

Don’t believe the hand-wringing and perpetual outrage of our news media over Trump daring to meet with world leaders. In time we shall see if these historic meetings bear the same fruit that Nixon and Reagan accomplished, yet the continuous opposition that President Trump receives domestically is not helpful. Trump’s opponents suffer from a serious case of “Trump Derangement Syndrome” that does not allow them to give President Trump credit where credit is due.

Corey R. Lewandowski (@CLewandowski) served as a campaign manager to Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States. He is co-author of “Let Trump Be Trump: The Inside Story of his Rise to the Presidency,” and senior adviser to the Great America Committee, Vice President Mike Pence's political action committee.