Mr. President, do you really think it was right to call the EU or NATO a “foe” as you did just prior to your Helsinki summit. 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 must exhort to pay their fair share.
A foe is not exactly someone with whom you’d play golf or tennis, however. Don’t we save those occasions for friends, for friendly opponents or competitors?
When he swaggers like a diminutive John Wayne, and won’t ever admit to doing anything even remotely wrong, doesn’t Putin fit perfectly the description of a foe? No, you won’t see pilgrim Putin carrying a racket or clubs.
He’s a bare-chested enemy who is clearly cyber-attacking and hacking us. Is he not an existential threat packing nuclear warheads? That’s a foe!
And isn’t that dastardly hacking into our democracy’s lifeblood, our elections, more nefarious than simply meddling? Meddling means to busy oneself unduly with something that’s not one’s concern. I’d say a stronger term is in order.
So I hope those terms were on the table in Helsinki. I’d be careful with vocabulary if I were you, Mr. President. Sure, meetings are useful. Often productive as even foes can find common ground. Sure it’s much better to sit and talk than wrestle in the mud with ruffians.
BTW, Putin lives near where I’m pictured above as I stood nearly frozen in Moscow one night. I made a speech there 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.