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Trump-Erdogan is an oft-repeated summit between rivals

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Rebecca Valli

Today’s scheduled meeting between Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Trump at the White House will take place amid a general chilling of relations between the two countries.

Barry Strauss

Barry Strauss

Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor in Humanistic Studies

Barry Strauss, professor of history at Cornell University and author of the several books about military strategy and leadership, likens the occasion to many summits between rivals in history, when leaders put disagreements aside to focus on potential rewards.

Strauss says:

“When U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet in Washington later today they will be playing one of history’s oldest and most dramatic games – a summit between rivals.

“Trump recently outraged Turkey by deciding to arm Kurdish soldiers in Syria, troops the Turks consider terrorists and a threat to their homeland. Nor is Trump likely to yield to Turkey’s request to extradite a political opponent now sheltered in the U.S.

“Yet from Hannibal’s pre-battle meeting with his Roman foe Scipio to Cold War summits, leaders who vehemently disagree have been delighted to meet anyhow to reap rewards in intelligence, future deals and domestic political prestige.

“Today’s meeting is just the latest in a long tradition. In spite of or maybe because of various disputes, Erdogan and Trump each expects to come out ahead.”

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