Gabor Steingart’s Morning Briefing: Biden / Putin – Reconciliation or Treason?
The Morning Briefing by Gabor Steingart – controversial, critical and humorous. Know what is being discussed politically. Today: The summit between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden.
With Joe Biden, rationality has returned to American foreign policy. Even complex characters – Trump in the election campaign and Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday – the 78-year-old professional politician knows how to take. In a troubled world in which China is trying to turn economic power into political power, and Putin is trying to cover up Russia’s economic dwarfism through political cockiness, he creates a tone of moderation.
Yesterday he managed to win Putin for himself. The Russian president did not even try to hide his appreciation for the diplomatic skill and human quality of Joe Biden.
He assessed the conversation “on the whole as productive, substantial and concrete” and spoke of “an atmosphere aimed at achieving results”. He characterized Biden as a “very constructive and balanced” man. According to the English translator, he spoke of a “glimmer of trust”.
Biden and Putin have agreed that both states will allow their ambassadors to return to Washington and Moscow. In the spring, they were recalled to their homeland after the US accused the Russians of interfering in the US elections. Putin yesterday:
“We agreed that they would return to their service. As far as the schedule, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, is a technical question.”
Alexei Navalny, the opposition politician who has been in custody since February this year, was also discussed. The Kremlin chief pointed out that by returning to Russia, Navalny intended to be arrested. Putin said:
“This man knew he was breaking the law.”
Biden assured him that he had made it clear to Putin if Navalny’s death in prison would have “devastating consequences” for Russia.
Putin’s anger over Biden’s remark that Putin was a killer seems to have faded. Biden called him right after the testimony and explained his remark. The Kremlin chief assured yesterday that he was satisfied with it.
Biden said the men had also discussed arms control steps “in detail”, including a “mechanism” to limit “new and dangerous weapons” that could increase the risk of war.
In a joint statement, the presidents declared that they wanted to create “the basis for future arms control and risk reduction measures”. “Today we reaffirm the principle that nuclear war cannot and must never be won,” the paper says.
The US president said that after the conversation, Putin understood that America would react if Russia interfered in the American elections again. Literally:
“He knows there are consequences.”
Biden made it clear that he had not put his plan, the worldwide promotion of human rights, on the back burner:
“How can I be the president and not talk to Putin about human rights?”
The triumphalism of his predecessor was also alien to Biden yesterday. Which is not to be confused with a lack of self-confidence. His conclusion in Geneva:
“I did what I came to do.”