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Trump-Putin Summit

July 18, 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

President Trump has dominated all the press headlines in recent days. He met with NATO leaders and criticized them for not doing their share to pay for European defense. He is right, and they are already beginning to respond with billions of dollars more. President Trump has asked the Pentagon to consider bringing home our troops in Germany. We have 35,000 troops stationed in Germany. The European Union has a GDP greater than ours. They should accept the first line of defense of Europe.

This week, the President met with Russian President Putin in Helsinki, Finland. All the news was critical: “Don’t meet with Putin. He’s a bad guy. He interfered in the 2016 election. Can’t be trusted.”

Well, President Trump went right ahead. After 4 hours of private discussion with President Putin, they had a joint 46-minute news conference. President Trump’s review of the summit shocked the news media. Our President, to the dismay of the U.S. intelligence agencies, said that he did not believe that Russia had interfered in our 2016 Presidential election.

However, after a loud blast of criticism, he has backed away from that position. Let’s be honest. Senator Rand Paul is right – disruption and hacking. “We all do it.”

Like it or not, it is clear that President Trump’s disruptive diplomacy is different. He didn’t have much political support to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, the “Little Rocket Man,” but he did anyway.

Aside from all the noise about the Russian summit, I think it will prove to be valuable and worthwhile. We don’t have all the details of what was talked about or if anything was specifically decided. But the two largest nuclear powers in the world need to be talking. Maybe something can be resolved.

Will Russia help push Iranian forces out of Syria? Syrian President Assad remains in power in Syria – fine. We are not going to rebuild that country. Let Russia rebuild it. We have a strategic weapons treaty with Russia due to expire in 2021. Get it extended. Pressure Russia to back out of Eastern Ukraine. For our national security, I think it is vitally important to have a working relationship with Russia. And, I think it is good that relationship starts from the top down. That’s where decisions are made.

The farm bill should go to conference this week. Stay tuned.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go online to http://www.johnblockreports.com

Until next week, I am John Block in Washington, D.C.

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