No more summits with Russia
The Kremlin’s diplomatic theater with the democratic world looks increasingly deplorable these days.
The long-awaited Russian-American summit in Geneva on June 16 resulted in nothing but Russian President Vladimir Putin getting a new platform for cocky ranting against the West.
Die Zeit, the German broadsheet, has recently published Putin’s op-ed, a typical specimen of Kremlin propaganda, in which the Russian president again decried “the American-organized armed coup d’etat in Ukraine of 2014.”
Now, fresh media reports say that German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested inviting Putin to the upcoming European Union summit. This would be the first meeting of its kind since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 and was slapped with mild international sanctions.
The initiative reportedly gained support from President Emmanuel Macron of France.
“We need to have a discussion about how to get away from this negative spiral,” Reuters quoted a senior EU source as saying. “But we need to advance united.”
No one has explained how shaking hands with Putin and smiling at him in photo ops can stop the Kremlin from attacking neighboring countries, undermining Western democracies, assassinating political opponents and waging proxy wars around the world.
This spineless appeasement is quickly becoming the policy of the West’s leading powers.
Offering peace and dialogue does not work on those who directly oppose peace and dialogue. Putin enjoys when Western powers clamor for his attention. His propaganda does its best to paint Russia as a Cold War-era superpower that the U.S. has to reckon with.
Any overtures the West makes always result in Putin’s mockery and the legitimization of the Kremlin’s vicious actions. “Yes, I’m a bad guy, I do what I want and you can’t tell me anything” is the message that Putin always snidely puts forth in Western press appearances.
After all these years of wars, election infringements, cyberattacks and murder, it should be pretty obvious that summits are not working.
A street thug cannot be scared away by calls for dialogue and reason. He understands only one language: displays of power and resolve.
And this is exactly what Britain did this week by sending its destroyer across the territorial waters of Kremlin-occupied Crimea and showing the middle finger to Russia’s impotent rage.
Europe must say no to these useless summits if it wants to actually oppose the Kremlin. To do otherwise is to give up and succumb to the temptation of “business as usual.”
The latest events suggest that this is just what France and Germany want to do.