The first handshake between President Trump and President Putin took place earlier today at the tumultuous G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany. The two world leaders are scheduled to have a 35-minute meeting later today, and there is a host of topics on the table.

In the US, the issue of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections is important, but this is a very tricky issue. While many Democratic leaders have expressed certainty that Russia played a role in the election of President Trump, there is little evidence to support this conclusion.

President Trump has not been willing to concede that he came to power with the help of Putin's Russia, though many intelligence agencies in the US have said that Russian interference was likely. The reasons for this position haven't been disclosed, so they remain extremely suspect for the moment.

A flawed base

The allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election have been public and aggressive. But as of yet, there has been no evidence to show how Russia or Putin did anything to help Trump win the office.

Despite a string of high-profile investigations, by both the FBI and US Senate, there has been absolutely no proof of any kind of Russian misdeeds. While on the other hand, Vladimir Putin has told Oliver Stone that the US actively supported opposition parties in all the major Russian elections over the last 15 years.

He went so far as to describe how US-backed NGO's gave financial and staffing support to Russian political parties that wanted to oust him from power. Recent comments from Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York drive this point home, He was quoted as saying, “The upcoming elections cannot be a playground for President Putin.”

The United States has been actively destroying democratically elected governments over the course of its history, and examples like Iran under the Shaw or Chile under Pinochet are more than enough.

To say nothing of the current conflict in Syria.

The US has demonstrated time and again that it will stop at nothing to push its view of “Pax Americana” on the world. Despite the clear lack of evidence of Russian meddling, President Obama stripped Russia of sovereign property held in the US, and President Putin may want to chat on that issue.

Failing alliances

The past few months have been rough ones for US-Russian relations, with a downed Syrian fighter jet creating a freeze in communications between the two powers in an active war zone. How that complex situation is going to be addressed in 35 minutes is unknowable, but it would seem that the two men will have much to talk over.

While the US relationship with Russia is on the rocks, Sino-Russian relations are improving all the time. President Trump has made a number of tactless moves in the Asian theater so far, the most recent one involving a US destroyer that trespassed into waters that China claims as its own. This makes it much harder for the US to achieve any sort of constructive dialogue over North Korea, despite the three major powers all sharing the goal of North Korean nuclear disarmament.

President Trump visited Poland immediately before attending the G20 summit, and this is another point of contention between the US and Russia. The US is deploying nuclear-capable missiles to Poland, and President Putin has spoken out against this act. It will be interesting to see what kind of results the two leaders are able to achieve during their time together, though it would seem that the issues both nations face are potentially irreconcilable.