The excitement around the meeting between Putin and Trump has already surpassed all possible limits. While this is indeed the most important meeting of this year, this wrap-up is explained, first of all, by the most complicated internal political situation in the United States. Nevertheless, the first meetings of the leaders of the two countries have a long history, in which it is possible to find parallels with the present event.
If Trump and Putin were Hitler and Stalin, the media atmosphere around their meeting in the West would be just as negative. The global media outlets do not like the two presidents so much, they do not know what else to offend at each of them and together.
At the same time, the two most powerful men of our time meet against the wishes of the Western establishment - which, if it was his will, would simply forbid them to communicate with each other. The current meeting will begin at a quarter to four in the Hamburg time and it is unlikely to take more than an hour.
Because it takes place on the margins of the G-20 summit. That is, its duration is limited to the general events planned for the day and evening of this Friday. Two leaders pose to photographers, perhaps, they will say a few words after the end of the conversation - but no more.
And this despite the fact that Trump, and Putin, and, most importantly, US-Russian relations need a full-fledged thorough conversation between the two presidents and the resumption of the dialogue. But due to the internal political crisis in the US, Trump is simply afraid to immediately organize a full-fledged separate summit meeting. Not in the fields, but before or after the G-20 summit, so that you can calmly and seriously talk.
Such a meeting, undoubtedly, will also take place in the coming months - and it is likely that an agreement on it will be reached by the two presidents during Friday's meeting in Hamburg - but so far we will confine ourselves to such a "cautious conversation".
By the way, this is the first time in the history of Russian-American summits. Never before had the first acquaintance of the first two persons been so brief and timed to some other event. The Russian-American summit meeting was always held separately (or within the framework of the USSR-West meeting), and in itself became the main event of the world agenda - as, in principle, it will happen this time too. The Putin-Trump meeting will eclipse the G-20 summit not only in American and Russian, but also in the world media.
Opponents of Trump and the Russian-American dialogue managed to limit the two presidents in choosing an independent communication schedule. But as a result, only the two-day summit of the G20 will suffer, which in the information plan will prove to be an appendix to the hourly conversation between Trump and Putin.
The history of bilateral Russian-American meetings totals only 74 a year - until 1943 the leaders of our countries have not met, although diplomatic relations were established in 1807. While in Russia there was a monarchy, the American presidents did not go abroad. To Russian emperors especially not with a hand was to visit the far and wild country with the republican form of government. After the October Revolution, the United States did not recognize the USSR, and the restoration of diplomatic relations in 1933 did not mean political rapprochement. Only a common enemy brought the two countries closer together, making the inevitable meeting of the two leaders.
In November 1943 in Tehran met three - Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill. But the Anglo-Saxon pair was then in the process of changing the guard - Great Britain was inferior to the first role of the United States, and everyone understood that Roosevelt was "more important". The meeting in the Iranian capital was not just long-awaited, it was historical in the strictest sense of the word. Yesterday's enemies became allies, the Soviet leader and leaders of the Anglo-Saxon world looked closely at each other and determined the destinies of the whole world. In that victory will be, then there was no doubt. As in the fact that the red Russia will become as the result of it the most powerful country in Eurasia, which happened in 1945.
In 1943, Stalin needed to get to know Roosevelt - he had already met Churchill with 1942 when he arrived in Moscow. As a result, American and Soviet leaders did not just find a common language, but also began to trust each other. And if it had not been for Roosevelt's death shortly after their second meeting in the spring of 1945, the post-war history could have followed a different scenario.
At a minimum, there would not be a hot war in Korea - in which the United States and the USSR actually fought each other (although only pilots participated in the fighting from our country). The Cold War, which began in the 1946, made contacts between the leaders of the two countries impossible - and the next time the summit was held only in 1955. Then in Geneva, a new version of the "big three" - the "big four". France and the United States were added to the United States and Great Britain, but in fact it was still a USSR-US summit, camouflaged for a meeting between the USSR and the West. The English and French colonial empires lived out the last years, and the US became the absolute hegemon of the Western world. In July 1955 Nikita Khrushchev met in Geneva with Dwight Eisenhower, but their relationship could not change the world.
In Geneva, Khrushchev was not even formally head of the USSR delegation - it was headed by Prime Minister Bulganin, and the first secretary of the Central Committee was an informal leader. However, the delegation was also Molotov, the most experienced foreign minister, so, against his background, Khrushchev, who did not have international experience, looked pale. And on the west side was British Prime Minister Eden, the chief of the State Department Dulles - the most serious players. Negotiations were multi-faceted and with a large number of participants, so that the Khrushchev-Eisenhower pair then simply did not work out. But she appeared a few years later.
In September 1959, Khrushchev flew to the United States for a visit. This was the Soviet leader's first trip to America. This time, he had already had several conversations with Eisenhower. Some contact has been adjusted - but Eisenhower's return visit to Moscow for next year, which could prove very useful, was thwarted. Soon the second presidential term of the general ended, and Kennedy became Khrushchev's new partner.
Their meeting in June 1961 year was waited with great attention. The two countries were in constant confrontation, but unlike Trump, the new US president did not have internal political problems with a trip to Europe to meet with the main communist villain (let's not forget that at that time in the US the Soviet Union was portrayed not simply as an empire Evil, but as the descent of hell).
Khrushchev and Kennedy spent many hours in conversations in the Austrian capital - they had time to discuss in detail all the major world problems. But the contradictions were too strong, and mutual distrust was very great, and the Berlin and then the Cuban crises that followed it showed it very clearly. Nevertheless, in June 1963, a few months after the missile crisis, Kennedy delivered a "speech on the world", containing an appeal to the USSR calling for rapprochement and detente. Khrushchev reacted, and in September an agreement was signed in Moscow on the banning of nuclear weapons tests. But to meet the two leaders was no longer possible - in November, Kennedy was shot in Dallas. One of the motives for his murder was resistance to the possible taming of the Cold War.
And the new American-Soviet couple was formed only ten years later, when President Nixon flew to Moscow in May 1972. They were already introduced to each other with Leonid Brezhnev (Nixon visited 1959 in July for the opening of the American exhibition, but then Khrushchev was his partner), but they really got to know right now. This was, perhaps, the most interesting "pair" in Soviet-American relations. And they could go far - the beginning of detente is evidence. But already in the summer of 1974, Nixon is forced to resign. And again - relations with Moscow are one of the important, though not publicized, claims of the establishment to the too independent president.
Then Brezhnev still had Ford and Carter, but none of them had the scale and ambitions of Nixon. With Reagan Brezhnev will not meet - the US president waited until in Moscow in power will be Gorbachev.
The meeting of the two leaders took place in Geneva in November 1985-th - since the coming to power of Gorbachev was only seven months. The weakness of the new Soviet leader was not yet apparent to the Americans - it will manifest itself later, at the next summits, especially since the famous meeting in Malta in December 1989, which will take place with Reagan's successor, Bush Sr..
Putin has his own history of relations with American presidents - Trump is his fourth. But if we compare the current meeting with the summits of the last century, then Trump can be likened to Kennedy in 1961 (the newly elected president meets with an experienced leader). Trump himself, of course, is more impressed by the comparison with Nixon sample 1972 year, and the current situation is closer to the parallel with the beginning of the 70. At the same time, on our part, the partner of the American president is, of course, not the new Khrushchev or even the new Brezhnev - Putin's experience allows him to compare him with Stalin of the 1943-type.
Whom Trump will become will be shown by the time - if his presidency does not end as well as that of Kennedy or Nixon.