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Inside Trump and Polish President Duda’s Explosive Talks on Ukraine War: What You Need to Know

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NEW YORK – In a rendezvous that seemed ripped from yesteryear, former President Donald J. Trump hosted Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, for a tête-à-tête at Trump Tower on Wednesday. The meeting, which stretched over two and a half hours, centered on the20-month-old Russian bombardment of Ukraine that has redrawn maps and scattered multitudes.

Afterwards, Duda depicted the discussion as “friendly” and marked by “nice atmosphere” – a rosy characterization that clashed with the gory realities unspooling in Ukraine. Trump, seeking a return to presidential grandeur after his 2020 ouster, hailed Duda as “fantastic” and reminisced about their “four great years together” before 2021.

“We may have to do it again,” Trump teased, foreshadowing another shot at regaining the Oval Office.

Poland, a stalwart U.S. ally via NATO, has gone all-in backing embattled Ukraine, admitting millions of refugees while funneling weapons and gear to Kyiv’s forces. Duda has been Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s closest international friend, goading Western nations to supercharge military and economic lifelines as ammunition dwindles.

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The Trump-Duda tête-à-tête took place just days before Congress is slated to vote on another tranche of assistance for Ukraine and Israel – proposals facing headwinds from Trump’s own Republican hardliners queasy about the fiscal toll. One compromise could be mandating repayment of economic aid, mirroring past Trump musings.

A Trump spokesperson said the ex-presidents discussed Duda’s exhortation that NATO states fork over 3% of GDP for defense, higher than the existing 2% target that Trump frequently panned allies over. At one point, Trump appeared to question if America would truly defend delinquent allies, sowing angst across Europe about U.S. resolve.

For Duda, reconnecting with his old buddy Trump revived tensions with Poland’s new ruling party that trounced Duda’s populist Law and Justice allies last fall amid the Ukraine tumult. Prime Minister Donald Tusk forewarned this week that Trump’s return would “be detrimental to European security and the future of NATO.”

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Duda follows Hungary’s authoritarian leader Viktor Orban in making a pilgrimage to Trump’s citadels in Florida and Manhattan recently – visits that drew Biden’s ire as the ex-president tries rekindling global clout.

As the Ukraine morass festers with no resolution ahead, Trump’s stance will remain a cipher absorbing attention from allies and American voters alike. While periodically backing Ukraine’s cause, Trump has continued praising Vladimir Putin – the Russian autocrat who greenlit the onslaught that has killed multitudes.

Trump’s mercurial views could alienate diehard Republican hawks while straining ties with Poland and other NATO partners immersed in the crucible. Yet his earthy nationalism resonates with the same Republican base he’ll need to recapture the presidency in 2024 after his 2020 debacle.

In dueling bids to court these conservatives, Trump wants to showcase himself as defier of pointy-headed globalists too slavish about arming Ukraine at any cost. Duda, in turn, seeks to lasso Trump as firmly as possible to NATO’s united front against Putin’s carnage without ceding any ground to America’s populist-leaning isolationists.

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It’s a high-wire act that will only intensify as Ukraine’s fortunes ebb and flow against the Russian goliath gnawing at its borders. For Trump and his like-minded admirers, ending or freezing the conflict economically could represent an shrewd power play. But for Duda and NATO’s hawkish vanguard, anything short of total Ukrainian triumph bolsters Moscow’s revanchist ambitions.

Maneuvering between these irreconcilable realities, the two presidents – one current, one prospective – must continuously reevaluate their Ukraine policies through the distorting lens of domestic American politics and international upheaval alike. Wednesday’s meeting was likely only an opening salvo in that evergreen psychodrama.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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