W2W - US President ruffles feathers

THE President returned to the USA this week widely accused of treason, foolishness and pandering to Russia.

Even Mr Trump’s most diehard supporters found his summit with President Putin in Helsinki hard to digest.

Syria, Ukraine, Crimea, Novichok and much more were simply ignored.

Mr Trump added fuel to the fire by appearing to undermine the US Justice Department, which only last week indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers on hacking charges.

Then, at their joint press conference, Mr Trump said he saw “no reason to doubt” Mr Putin’s denial of Russian involvement in the Presidential elections, a position he swiftly reversed on returning home, saying he had “misspoke”.

However, I suspect the damage was done.

Not trusting your own FBI in a country such as America is unwise, even for a leader notorious for disrupting the status quo, and he has.

Meeting Kim Jong Un, embarrassed the G7, cancelling the Iran nuclear deal, launching new steel tariffs and, according to the Washington Post, wrecking NATO, are a few examples.

On the other hand, “America first” is stamped firmly on many of the President’s actions and they mustn’t be totally discounted.

It’s undeniable, for instance, that only five of NATO’s 29 members meet their two per cent commitment, while America contributes a mighty $618 billion.

The fact that Germany is scrimping on defence expenditure, while depending on Russian oil pipelines, is worrying.

At the same time, European banks are scrambling to lend Iran millions to circumvent draconian new US sanctions, thereby saving their own trade deals.

Looked at this way, Europe’s condemnation of Mr Trump for his overtures to Mr Putin appears hypocritical.

So, more feathers ruffled, however, I still wouldn’t bet against another Trump presidency in 2020.