Russian President Vladimir Putin should be prepared for some "very tough" talk from President Donald Trump when the two world leaders meet at the G-20 Summit in Germany, top economist Larry Kudlow told Newsmax TV.
"He's signaling Putin that he's going to be very tough," Kudlow, a CNBC senior contributor, told host Steve Malzberg on Thursday. "He's going to be tough with respect to all of their relationships.
"[It's like] 'Putin, look pal, you got to start coming to the table and playing ball with us whether it's Crimea, whether it's Ukraine, whether it's Poland, whether it's Eastern Europe, whether it's Syria, and also North Korea.'
"Trump is saying 'we are going to be tough, you haven't done anything, there's no movement, and the economic sanctions against you are very much in play, and you're going to have to give us a reason not to have [them]."
But Kudlow believes Putin extended no olive branches to put the brakes on those sanctions.
"So I expect toughness. I really do. Probably tougher than anybody would've thought six months ago," he told Malzberg.
"I think that Putin has just got to realize that first of all Trump is not [President Barack] Obama, OK? That's the key point right there. And that may be particularly the case with Korea, but it's certainly the case with the Crimea and economic sanctions.
"I know Obama put sanctions on, but it was right at the very end of his administration. That's not going to change unless Putin has a more conciliatory role to play in these discussions. What's Putin going to bring to the table? I think Trump and the whole world wants to know."
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And Putin has plenty to lose by not playing ball, according to Kudlow.
"Russia's in trouble," Kudlow said. "All [their] prices are falling again. Their economy is in a shambles. All they have is their military. No one even knows they can service their military properly.
"I think Putin comes from a position of weakness, and I think Trump is telling him 'you're either going to play ball with us or you're going to have some important consequences.'"
Kudlow, host of "The Larry Kudlow Show," is author of "JFK and the Reagan Revolution: A Secret History of American Prosperity," published by Portfolio.
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