Helsinki summit: Russia, China and the logic of power

How's this for a thought experiment the day after United States President Donald Trump provoked bipartisan disgust over his performance with Russian President Vladimir Putin: Try to think charitably and ascribe rational, non-corrupt motives to political actors.

Looking at domestic politics, Mr Trump may simply think that any acknowledgement on his part of Russian efforts to elect him discredits his presidency. Looking internationally, it would be possible to explain Mr Trump's behaviour as an expression of a radically realist foreign policy coupled with a radical downward revision of US power in the world.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2018, with the headline 'Helsinki summit: Russia, China and the logic of power'. Print Edition | Subscribe