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U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands at the beginning of a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

How Trump Could Make Uncertainty a Permanent Feature of U.S. Foreign Policy

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

President Donald Trump’s summit in Helsinki with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, will almost certainly be a watershed moment in his presidency. Trump’s refusal to publicly hold Putin and Russia accountable for the unraveling of bilateral ties since 2014—most prominently, his equivocating response to a question about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election—has generated widespread public outrage, even among Trump’s most vocal supporters in the media and political classes.

What remains to be seen is how that backlash affects his domestic base of political support. Will the Helsinki summit prove to be Trump’s “emperor has no clothes” moment, when the president whose political persona is based on strength and fearlessness was revealed to be a weak and cowering Putin fanboy? Or will this, too, be forgiven by the faithful, like all of Trump’s previous outrages? ...

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