President Joe Biden gave Russian President Vladimir Putin almost everything he wanted at their Geneva summit. Biden failed to force any real concessions on Russian policy.
By most accounts the summit was a disaster it became evident when Putin emerged for his press conference — alone with a forum to himself.
An uneasy Biden did not want to appear on the same stage as Putin at a joint conference after the meeting– Biden appeared frail and is forgetful and next to Putin, his shortcomings were too obvious to spin.
Putin was handed softball questions from Russian news agencies, but is strong enough to handle hostile questions from the U.S. media. (In fact, Putin, an enemy of press freedom, was more polite than Biden would be, and took far tougher questions.)
Without pushback Putin was handed a golden opportunity to defend his own position, while attacking the United States, without contradiction. Win win for Putin,.
The old Soviet tactic of pointing to American problems as a way of deflecting from questions about human rights and political opposition worked beautifully. Biden was hiding somewhere off stage as Putin had his way with the press.
Putin cited Black Lives Matters as an example of human rights abuses in the U.S., he knew no liberal American journalist would dare object.
Biden water downed press conference claimed to make all kinds of tough talk to the Russian president during their two-hour meeting. (Biden falsely claimed, that a meeting of that length was unprecedented between two heads of state: in fact, Trump met with Putin for two hours in 2017.)
Biden’s fictitious claims went unchallenged without Putin there to respond — and Biden has a history of exaggerating his own bravery when citing conversations with foreign leaders.
Reporters pressed the two leaders, separately, to reveal what commitments, if any, Putin had made to change Russia’s aggressive behavior. But there were none.
Putin Walked Away From The Summit With:
- No significant response to cyberattacks;
- The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which Trump had opposed;
- No real pushback against his aggression in Ukraine.
The response of the American media echoed Biden’s posture of appeasement:
Biden was lured and accepted Putins charming allure and even had to “walk back” an apparent nod when asked of he trusted Putin.
Biden seemed unable to use any leverage against Putin — a fact that even the American media noted, with one journalist desperately asking whether the administration might consider using the U.S. military to stop cyberattacks.
Biden’s strategy toward Putin seems to be that he can be convinced to behave more responsibly if he is told that he needs a better global “image”.
What Biden, Obama, John Kerry do not get — is that Putin does not care. The graciousness of style is an America career politicians’ style, NOT and never have been Putins.
Putin cares about oil, and guns, and currency, and power.
Putin plays by what Kerry once called “19th century” rules. Biden does not understand or know how to do the same.
During the 2020 campaign, Biden claimed that Trump was “unwilling to take on Putin.” But Putin leaves Geneva a winner, and Joe Biden got nothing.
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