The summit meeting of US Presidents Joe Biden and Russian Vladimir Putin is the largest event on the agenda of Biden’s first foreign visit, as it coincides with the decline of the two countries’ relations to their lowest level in decades, but the two leaders affirmed the desire to cooperate.
And it will not be the first Geneva meeting between them, as they met for the first time in 2011 when Putin served as prime minister and Biden was vice president.
The two men clashed again after 2014, when former President Barack Obama instructed Vice President Biden to support Ukraine in the wake of its revolution and pressure Russia to scale back its military intervention in eastern Ukraine.
After Biden came to power, he said in a television interview last March that he believed Putin was a “murderer”, and then added during a press briefing yesterday, that “he was speaking honestly when he described him as such.”
Putin’s reaction was ambiguous, and he said in an interview with the “ABC” network (ABC), that he was not “surprised, the term killer, like the term macho, is common in Hollywood, and such discourse is part of the American political culture where it is considered normal there, and is not considered Naturally here.”
Relationships are not limited to personal knowledge between them. Putin’s foreign policy and American affairs team has not changed over the past decade, while Biden’s team previously served with the Obama administration, and dealt a lot with their Russian counterparts.
Low Expectation Ceiling
Washington cannot ignore or downplay its relationship with Russia, even though American opinion makers recognize that Russia is working tirelessly to reduce American influence around the world.
Announcing the summit, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Biden’s goal was not to bring about a dramatic shift in relations with Russia, but rather to “restore predictability and stability to relations between the United States and Russia.”
Biden has said on several occasions that he wants a “more stable and predictable relationship with Russia,” but has also said he would raise several controversial issues, including Russian incursions into Ukraine, interference in the US election, and the poisoning and imprisonment of Russian dissident Alexei. Navalny, and repeated cyber breaches of American facilities and interests.
Many American commentators believe that their country has no choice but to engage in constructive relations with Russia. Moscow has put forward ideas related to nuclear disarmament, confronting the “Covid-19” pandemic and climate change as possible areas for the two countries to cooperate in.
Refusal to cooperate on these issues would undermine the idea of US foreign policy based on principles and global responsibility.
For her part, Angela Stint, director of the Center for European Studies at Georgetown University, told US public radio, “It’s a very important meeting, we know that at the end of Trump’s term, the relationship between the United States and Russia was worse than it was before Trump took office despite all his attempts We were really in a situation where we hit rock bottom in relations between Moscow and Washington.”