Two Finnish journalists, Laura Saarikoski and Saska Saarikoski, have written an open letter to President Putin and President Trump. It was published in Finnish, English and Russian in yesterday's Helsingin Sanomat, the leading Finnish daily. I will quote some passages from it.

Finns have long been worried about the developments in Russia. Our neighboring country seems to have chose a policy of putting national power and prestige above democracy and civic freedoms. As a neighbor of Russia, Finland has expressed its worries about it.

This kind of criticism is not anti-Russian but rather pro-Russian. During the one hundred years of our independence, we Finns have learned how strong a foundation democracy, rule of law, and free civic activity can provide for the development of society. These are the same good things that we wish for Russians too.

The United States is more remote from Finland in terms of geography, but mentally its is close. The United States is a good friend that has supported stability and security everywhere in Europe, including our neighboring regions.

However, recent developments in the United States have worried Europeans, including us Finns.

President Trump is not afraid of rocking the boat. Last week, he repeated his demand for Europeans to assume more responsibility for their own security. We Finns understand this kind of talk, as we have taken care of our own defense in times of both war and peace.

What is difficult to understand is the fact that President Trump has intimidated friendly countries while speaking warmly of autocratic leaders, and even of a tyrant like North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

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It is currently difficult to expect a quick turn for the better in the relations between Russia and the West, as the East and the West see the world from completely different viewpoints. If the West wishes to influence Russia, it must change the result of the calculations being made in the Kremlin, either by increasing the price of unwelcome actions or by rewarding a real and genuine change of course. As Ronald Reagan showed in the 1980s, this is the only effective way of influencing Russia.

Pressuring Russia would require a persistent policy led by the Unites States and a solid front of Western allies, but neither of these is anywhere to be seen. For this reason, Putin arrives in Helsinki with a whole bunch of aces up his sleeve.

As the summit nears, there have been warnings that the U.S. may make real concessions in exchange for a bit of glib publicity and empty promises. Some have even raised the specter of a new Yalta, where Trump and Putin would divide the world between them in spheres of influence. This worry shows the kind of dread the inconsistent policy of the United States has caused. Hopefully everyone will nevertheless understand that European matters can no longer be agreed on over the heads of Europeans.

The former U.S. ambassador to Finland, Derek Shearer, has commented on the summit as follows:

"I think it will be political theater. There aren't even any actual matters to be dealt with. Rather, we hope that no damage is done.

"Political damage" is a reference to last week's NATO conference, in which Trump took part. Mr. Shearer is quite straightforward in his words. He thinks Putin is a gambler who is trying to strengthen Russia and weaken the West with his actions. Trump doesn't take the advice of his advisors but believes that he can attain results through his personal qualifications.

"Putin is a leader with clear-cut objectives while Trump only has his attitude. Putin is well prepared for the summit, while Trump is not. Such a U.S. president should worry everybody. If you want to think of them from the point of view of an espionage novel, Putin is a master spy, and Trump is a person who unwittingly benefits Russia more than the United States."

CB

How condescending.

anonymous

How condescending.

Emotion: surprise Emotion: tongue tied

Would you care to expand on that? (It doesn't seem to be much different from about a million other articles published all around the world on this topic.)

CJ

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Trump beat Putin in a Finnish opinion poll before the summit. Four percent of the people thought Trump had made the world a safer place. Only two percent thought Putin had made the world safer.

CB

Cool BreezeTrump beat Putin in a Finnish opinion poll

Wow! Twice as many people in Finland like Trump than like Putin.

Please don't tell him that or we'll be listening to him brag about it for weeks over here. Emotion: big smile

Will no one rid us of this meddlesome priest?

CJ

CalifJimWould you care to expand on that? (It doesn't seem to be much different from about a million other articles published all around the world on this topic.)CJ

Just because other people do something, that doesn't automatically make it good or mean that you should copy. If you do, where does it end?

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anonymousJust because other people do something, that doesn't automatically make it good or mean that you should copy. If you do, where does it end?

Emotion: tongue tied

If the two of us share the same opinion on a given topic, it doesn't mean you copied from me or that I copied from you. Emotion: smile

CJ

CalifJimIf the two of us share the same opinion on a given topic, it doesn't mean you copied from me or that I copied from you. CJ

That can be the case but, it can also look to others like a case of copying.

Yes, but that aside, you still haven't explained "condescending".

Condescending of whom? Hesingin Sanomat, Derek Shearer, or Cool Breeze?

Condescending to whom? Trump, Putin, the reader? Or some other person or group?

CJ

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