Refreshing Change

Source NPR website – Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Five years ago, in July 2018, Donald Trump met with Vladimir, in Helsinki, for a two hour secret meeting. There were only two other people in the room, those being translators. Meeting notes were never shared. After the meeting, the two held a press conference. During the press conference, Trump, when asked about Russian interference, in the 2016 elections replied, as follows,

 “I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

Trump went on to say that he had no reason to doubt Putin’s denials and that it was foolish to have relations between the two countries fray. The meeting was held, at a time, that Trump was throwing cold water on NATO and there were serious concerns that if Putin invaded a NATO country that Trump would not raise a finger. Troubling times for Western allies of the US.

Turn the clock, five years later, and the environment has completely changed. Joe Biden, in Helsinki, met with the leaders of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland, where the key theme was cooperation. Biden, in a closing press conference, stated,

“At this inflection point, the world is watching to see: will we do the hard work that matters to forge a better future? Will we stand together?… Will we stay committed to our course?” This week, Finland and the United States and our allies and partners said a resounding, loud yes. Yes, we’ll step up. Yes, we’ll stand together. And yes, we’ll keep working toward a stronger, safer, and more secure world.”

Furthermore, in contrast to Trump bending at the knee, to Putin, five years ago, Biden, went on to say,

“Putin has already lost the war. Putin has a real problem. How does he move from here? What does he do? What agreement is ultimately reached depends upon Putin, and what he decides to do. But there is no possibility of him winning the war in Ukraine. He’s already lost that war.”

I am old enough to remember when Republicans were the hard-liners on the Soviet Union and Democrats were accused of cozying up to the Soviets. Now, with hard-right congress members such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, calling for defunding the war, in Ukraine, the roles have completely reversed. Compared to Trump’s submission, five years ago, Biden, this week, in Helsinki, is a refreshing change.

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