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‘Trump and Putin meet for the first time and the handshake wasn’t what you expected!’ read the headline on my in-flight entertainment newsfeed, on Friday afternoon.

I’m not sure what the Mirror website thought I was expecting the handshake between the US and Russian leader to be like, but by all accounts it was a relatively normal handshake given it was no doubt the most important diplomatic meeting of 2017.

The handshake between the US and Russian Presidents was always going to be newsworthy, no matter who was in power but not since the Cold War have the stakes been so high in a meeting between the two leaders.

The meeting was scheduled for 30 minutes, but went on for more than 2 hours. Both men continuously praising one another. One of the outcomes of the meeting was an announcement by Trump that the two countries would work together on cybersecurity.

This prompted much derision from senior politicians, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said: It’s not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’s pretty close.

The decision to work with Russia was described as a ‘significant’ accomplishment’ by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Then, in classic Trump-style, the US president backtracked on the proposal to work with Russia tweeting The fact that President Putin and I discussed a cybersecurity unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen. It can’t.

This move by Trump is not uncommon. He has seemingly flip-flopped since his election campaign on working alongside or against the world’s two other superpowers, Russia and China. When it comes to Russia, Trump’s less-than-slick management of his special White House advisory team has meant that the US President has not got far with Putin.

Last week a UN report stated that nationalism, protectionism and attitudes of my country first posed threats to the United Nation’s global goals. It seems that now more than ever Trump must get relations with the super powers, onto an even keel.

Trump is aware that the US has similar issues with Russia and that it must get Putin on side to a degree or at least neutral in order to confront the more powerful China. The US needs to work with President Xi Jinping on globally important matters such as North Korea. But there are elephants in the room which also must be confronted, namely currency manipulation, trade, climate change and deepening tensions in the South China Sea.

As James Rickard’s writes,one power in a three-power game, it is essential to have an alliance with the other power, or at least keep it neutral. The US needs a neutral or friendly Russia before it confronts China.

But, at the beginning of last week observers were asking if Russia and China were perhaps getting too close for the United States’ liking or advantage. Perhaps the calamitous arrival of Trump and his new approach to diplomacy (i.e. tweet it) has opened up an opportunity for both Putin and Xi Jin-ping to push ahead with their alliance. The outcome of which may be a lesson in how the US must stop overreaching when it comes to geopolitics.

SinoRussian relationship: Entente or alliance?

Ahead of the G20 meeting last week China’s President Xi Jin-ping met with President Putin in Moscow. This was Xi’s sixth visit to Russia since becoming president, and the third meeting between the two heads of states in the last six months. Neither country has ever referred to the other as an ally, but the meeting was strategic in terms of the SinoRuss