Mr. President, I wouldn’t call NATO a “foe” as you did the other day.  NATO is hardly our foe.  The word is not really interchangeable with “opponent,” which I’m sure is what you meant when you described NATO members as foe whom you’re exhorting to pay their full share.

No, a foe is not someone with whom you play golf or tennis.  Those are much friendlier opponents, competitors.

The guy who swaggers like a diminutive John Wayne whom you’re summiting with today fits perfectly the foe description.  Pilgrim Putin won’t be carrying a racket or clubs.  No, he’s an enemy who is clearly cyber-attacking and hacking us.  He’s an existential threat packing nuclear bombs.  That’s a foe!

So good luck, Mr. President.  Be careful.  Sure, meetings are useful.  Even foes can find common ground.  Much better to sit and talk than wrestle in the mud with ruffians.

BTW, he lives near where I’m pictured above as I stood nearly frozen in Moscow.  I made a speech there some time ago, not far from KGB headquarters.  My audience was a group of Russian public relations professionals who invited me to speak to them about . . . crisis management.


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