About the only thing Joe biden other Vladimir Putin What they agreed on while heading to a high-stakes summit on Wednesday was that the relationship between the United States and Russia is at a low point. After nearly four hours of conversations in a Geneva chalet, that doesn’t seem to have changed. “There is no happiness in life”, Putin said something cryptically wrapped up in a press conference after the discussions. “There is only one mirage on the horizon. So appreciate that. “
The leaders met to discuss a wide range of issues, including Russia’s cyberattacks and the Kremlin’s treatment of dissidents such as Alexei Navalny, but the overall goal of Biden and the Secretary of State Antony blink was to redraw red lines around the government’s evil behavior after four years of deference for Donald trump, whose disastrous visit to Putin in Helsinki three years ago loomed over Wednesday’s summit. That Biden did not appear to be charmed by the Russian strongman or at any time concerned about a soccer ball it represented a welcome departure and a re-establishment of the more traditional American leadership. “I told President Putin that my agenda is not against Russia or anyone else, it is for the American people,” Biden said at a solo news conference after the meetings. “I also told him that no president of the United States could keep faith in the American people if he did not speak up to defend our democratic values.”
Putin, meanwhile, deliberately refused to answer some questions himself, even about Navalny, the jailed opposition leader who was said to be Near death in April during a hunger strike. (If Navalny dies, Biden later said, the consequences would be “devastating for Russia.”) Biden and Putin exchanged handshakes and greetings at the start of the summit; Biden too gifted Putin a pair of aviator sunglasses, but they did not hide their disagreements. “I would like to thank you for the initiative to meet today,” said Putin, who unexpectedly made it to the summit on time (his typical power move is being late). “Still, US-Russian relations have accumulated many problems that require a meeting at the highest level, and I hope that our meetings will be productive.”
“It’s always best to meet face to face,” Biden said.
At home, Republicans disagreed, at least now that there is a Democrat in office. They saw no problem with Trump praising putin, welcome help of the Kremlin, accepting the Russian strongman denial of interfering in the 2016 elections, and disclose classified information to Russian officials in the Oval Office. But the very fact that Biden met Putin was met with hilarious criticism from these models of coherence.
It was unclear if many tangibles made it off the summit. The two sides agreed to return the ambassadors to their posts and discussed the areas that should be considered. off limits to cyber attacks. But no one realistically expected the meeting to put an immediate end to Putin’s malicious conduct at home and abroad. “This is not a time to change the light,” blinking saying Monday, seeking to moderate expectations. “This is about the president wanting to do two things, and he has been very clear about it: tell President Putin directly that we are looking for a more predictable and stable relationship, and if we are able to do that, there are areas where it is in our interest mutual to cooperate. But if Russia continues to take reckless and aggressive actions, we will respond vigorously. “