The stated issue in the pending summit between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump will be nuclear weapons. Given that Putin has already proposed nuclear weapons as the topic for the meeting that seems like a safe projection. The context of the talk will be that of security guarantees, guarantees which will allow Russia to feel comfortable with pulling back on the actual construction of at least some of the aggressive new designs which they have under development. That would include Russia’s ongoing development of a nuclear powered cruise missile – a weapon system the U.S. began at the height of the Cold War and determined to be so insane that it cancelled the project, Project Pluto.
Why Russia would be developing a weapon of this at this date is virtually impossible to fathom in light of any external threat to itself. The same can be said for their work on a megaton class atomic torpedo:
While we are not sure about the torpedo, there are definite signs the atomic cruise missile is real and has been in testing, creating nuclear contamination in the process.
Of course what both nations have now begun much more broadly is a total update their ICBM systems and even the re-introduction of tactical nuclear weapons. It is a very real and horrendously expensive effort, so here would be much to be gained politically (at least in American politics) by reducing that budgeted spending. The carrot and the stick are both plainly in view in a Putin/Trump summit meeting. Doing a deal would indeed be largely painless since nobody really needs the new weapons or the budget drain.
Which brings us to the motivation for the new Russian atomic weapons and a bit closer to something else that Putin will want, most likely unstated, in any such deal. And that will be quite simple, he will want assurances that America will focus internally, that it will cease funding all its democratic initiative programs and that it will make an effort to curtail the democracy initiatives carried out by those non-governmental entities that it can overtly or covertly control. Putin’s view is that those actions were conscious American meddling, a threat to Russian sovereignty which has to stop – that is no real secret since it is exactly how he responds to questions about Russian meddling in the American political process.
Putin himself is convinced that the last four American administrations, over some thirty years, waged democracy initiative programs which not only created the color revolutions in the former Russian dominated eastern European nations but across North Africa and into the Middle East – all areas which had historically seen heavy Russian economic and political influence (from Libya through Egypt up into Syria and across into Iran and Iraq). And he wants that stopped. He wants America focused internally, the NATO nations dealing with internal problems and the opportunity to reassert Russian economic and political influence. Beyond that in certain border areas (Novorossiya), he wants to reassert basic Russian cultural control and political dominance
What will make the proposed meeting between the two Presidents’ most interesting is that it appears the American President largely agrees with the Russian President’s world views on American global meddling. And that brings us to the subject of “synchronicity”, the topic for the next post in this series.