The Trump-Putin meeting has met with a lot of criticism here in Helsinki. Is there a good argument to host the meeting?
Yes, there is, and it comes from Winston Churchill. He famously declared that it is always better to jaw-jaw than to war-war.
Today’s international relations are no longer a zero-sum game. They are a negative-sum game. Trade wars, sanctions, Brexit and Syria are case studies of how to make a bad situation worse. The Balkanisation of the Internet and the inability to agree on a price for carbon are worrisome examples of the lack of co-operation on key issues facing us all.
The Putin and Trump meeting in Helsinki will not solve any of these issues. Heck! It may even make things worse: a good deal for Putin and Trump may be a rotten deal for everyone else. But let’s ask ourselves this: Do we want to promote a world where the leaders of great powers (in this case nuclear powers) do not meet? Or should we put our efforts into influencing the content of their meetings?
My vote goes for the latter.