After months of diplomatic dispute over the details, President Joe Biden’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin took place recently. It was Biden’s first face-to-face encounter with Putin and he set expectations low.
Foreign policy views
At his concluding news conference, Biden deconstructed his view on foreign affairs as being
about the person. “I know we make foreign policy out to be this great, great skill, that somehow is sort of like a secret code. All foreign policy is a logical extension of personal relationships. It’s the way human nature functions,” he stated.
Biden mentioned that he conveyed to the Russian President that there ought to be some basic rules of the road that they can all abide by. Putin seemed to concur. He viewed Biden as a balanced, professional, and experienced man. Yet, he maintained his rhetoric — denouncing Alexey Navalny and rejecting Russia’s roles in cyberattacks.
Biden not like Trump
The recent summit was unlike the spectacle that took place in Helsinki in 2018 where Donald Trump and Putin had a two-hour-long meeting. Putin said Biden’s reply was nothing like Trump’s. On the other hand, Biden revealed the subjects he confronted Putin on, including election meddling and human rights.
An elevation for Putin
Those skeptical of the summit questioned whether Biden’s encounter with Putin would translate into an elevation of the Russian leader’s repute on the world stage. Therefore, having considered that risk, Biden’s aides were against holding a joint press conference. But unlike American officials who downplayed Russia’s influence in the past, Biden, seated with Putin inside the Villa la Grange, described the United States and Russia as “two great powers”.
Nod from Putin
The Russian President stated that the meeting with Biden proved to be constructive. He concluded that “both sides manifested a determination to try and understand each other and try and converge our positions.”
Before his talk with Putin, Biden clearly stated that addressing cyber-attacks — especially the ransomware hacks carried out by criminal syndicates operating inside Russia — was part of his agenda. An outcome of the summit was to have experts “work on specific understandings on what’s off-limits and to follow up on specific cases.”