President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet face-to-face Monday at the presidential palace in Helsinki – a move author Joel Rosenberg believes is a bad idea.
"Personally, I don't really want President Trump in the room with Putin. I don't think we have a lot to say to President Putin," Rosenberg told CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell. "I don't believe in walking into the room with a world leader who's an enemy, who's a strategic threat, unless you have a specific game plan."
On Friday, the U.S. Justice Department announced charges against 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking offenses during the 2016 presidential election. In response, congressional leaders urged Trump to call off the meeting.
Rosenberg warns of potentially bigger threat – Russia’s growing influence in the Middle East.
"The challenge with Vladimir Putin is that he wants to expand the influence of the Russian empire...The only place he really has to maneuver is the Middle East. He's got Iran in his pocket, he's pulling Turkey into his orbit," he explained, adding that Syria has also grown closer to Russia in recent months. "He's trying to flip all of them [Middle East countries] away from the United States, away from the West and into the Russian orbit," he continued.
So how does Rosenberg advise President Trump to approach his upcoming meeting with Putin?
"Start treating Putin like you do with the Democrats – tough, strong, 'we're not going to take your nonsense," he said. "Stop looking like you're cozying up to him."
Rosenberg does not want Trump to pick a fight with Putin, but to remember that he is talking to someone opposed to U.S. interests.
"For some reason President Trump thinks that if he gets in the room with him, maybe he can warm Putin up and Putin will turn out to be a good guy – he's not. Putin is not a good guy, he's evil, and so we've got to make sure we get out of this meeting that should have never happened in the first place without doing something that's not helpful," he said.
Despite his harsh criticism of President Trump's meeting with Putin, Rosenberg is happy with how he has handled NATO.
"We need to stay on the course that President Trump's policies are -- rebuild American military strength, strengthen NATO, get NATO to spend [more] money on their own defense and stop having Europe make these multi-billion dollar oil and gas deals with Russia."