Donald Trump came to Helsinki to clear his name of collusion. Instead he soiled it and with it, dragged the world further down a path toward previously unthinkable instability.
It is 70 years since the future of the western democratic alliance has been so precariously and ambiguously poised between chaos and certainty.
Standing next to Putin following their secretive two-hour meeting, it seemed the pair wanted nothing more than deny they ever knew each other before Trump's election.
Yet in a rare fumble, Putin admitted he wanted Trump to win the tarnished 2016 US election that his, Putin's intelligence agents are indicted with interfering in. "Yes I did" he told a stunned audience.
This perhaps was not so much a concession, rather an overexuberance born not out of his KGB training that teaches always to remain in control of emotions, but of a job well done: undermining his biggest global adversary, setting in motion fractures that will further cleave America from its traditional allies.
As Putin left Helsinki, his foreign minister captured the Russian mood, calling the day "magnificent" and "better than super."
Only days earlier, Donald Trump had sat in Winston Churchill's chair in the house where the great British wartime leader was born.
He struck a pose that suggested he was reliving those moments where Churchill's resolve was all that stood between the chaos and calamity.
It feels appropriate to paraphrase Britain's best-loved leader to understand President Trump's utter failure to deliver on US national security interests and that of its allies in Helsinki.
Never before in the field of presidential summits has one leader given so much for so little at the cost of so many.
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