The #trump-#Putin meeting was by far the most important event of the #G20 Summit held in Humburg, Germany on 7 July 2017. One reason was that leaders of two of the world's most powerful states were meeting. This was the first meeting between President Donald Trump and Vladamir Putin. It was important as accusations had been leveled against Russia for having interfered in the American election. The ostensible aim was to help Trump win.

After the election, President Obama, who was aware of the Russian hacking, took an unprecedented step by expelling scores of Russian diplomats and also shut down two compounds used by them.

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Trump was conscious of the atmosphere back home where an orchestrated campaign has been mounted by his opponents citing Russian influence in the election. A Congressional committee is already investigating the Russian connection.

President Trump is a suspect having repeatedly praised Putin during the campaign. His hands were thus tied and he was fearful of showing any weakness in his dealing with Putin for fear of a terrible backlash back home. In such an atmosphere the fact that the two leaders met for over two hours is itself an achievement. Al Jazeera has reported this news.

The meeting

The meeting practically yielded nothing except for an agreement to coordinate efforts in Syria. The status quo ante before the Obama expulsions has not been restored and the sanctions have not been watered down.

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In a way, Trump's hands are tied as any act by him on these issues will open a Pandora's box and his opponents will latch on to him for having "betrayed" America.

The Russian president also used the meeting to assess Trump and he must have realized that even if Trump wants to ease the sanctions and cooperate in the war on terror he is unable to do so. There are hawks in his administration and the party like Generals McMaster, Mattis, and McCain who have spent their entire life in facing Russia as an enemy and one cannot accept them to change colors. Trump has characterized a "witch hunt" is on to find out who in his entourage cooperated with the Russians during the election campaign. He has pointedly not blamed Russia for hacking into the American electoral system.

Psychosis of fear

Trump is hemmed in by a psychosis of fear. Alistair McClean wrote, "fear is the key" and this perhaps was behind his mind during his meeting with the Russian president. Putin must have realized that Trump for all his bravado cannot go against the majority, who for decades have been fed on the fear that Russia is the main enemy. In following this line of thought, the Americans will not be able to exert fully against Islamic extremism as well as North Korea. Trump should beware as the Russian connection may still catch up with him.