No Vienna 1961 for the Trump-Putin meeting
As we get ready for the Trump-Putin meeting, let's remember one consequential moment in recent history.
In late May 1961, President Kennedy and Chairman Khrushchev had their first face-to-face meeting in Vienna. It came weeks after the Bay of Pigs and only five months after Kennedy became president.
It did not go well for the new president, as Allan Brinkley wrote in 2013:
His first year was a disaster, as he himself acknowledged. The Bay of Pigs invasion of Communist Cuba was only the first in a series of failed efforts to undo Fidel Castro's regime.
His 1961 summit meeting in Vienna with the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was a humiliating experience.
Most of his legislative proposals died on Capitol Hill.
Without any doubt, the Soviet leader saw the U.S. president as weak and inexperienced. He may have even concluded that putting missiles in Cuba was worth the gamble.
President Trump has a huge advantage over President Kennedy:
1. His first year was not a disaster, at home or abroad. The U.S. economy is doing well, and our enemies respect him.
2. President Trump will not be pushed around, as friend and foe are learning daily.
What's the lesson? Project strength, and your enemies will respect you.
God only knows what will happen, but don't expect Putin to walk away thinking he can push Trump around.
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Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.