Ahead of the first meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G20 summit, Richard Weitz, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute told valdaiclub.com that he has low expectations for the Putin-Trump meeting. According to Weitz, the lack of an agenda and things the sides could offer each other is not likely to make the meeting productive.
Though both Trump and Putin want to improve bilateral relations, and have not expressed personal criticism of the other leader, there is no stated agenda for the bilateral encounter.
There are no clear “deliverables”—no arms control agreement in the works, no Syrian peace settlement, no Korean nuclear freeze, no removal of US sanctions on Russia, no Georgia or Ukraine settlement.
At best, the two sides may announce some minor agreements, but most likely they will make some statement to cooperate in principle—for example against terrorism—without any concrete outcomes.
At least on the US side, there is substantial pressure on Trump to take a hard line—US public opinion, most of the US Congress, major NATO allies, and even many of Trump’s senior ministers view skeptically the hopes for Russian-US reconciliation that Trump raised during the campaign.