Press Gives Biden the ‘Trump Treatment’ for Initiating Strategic Stability Talks with Putin
June 16, 2021 (EIRNS)—President Joe Biden opened his press conference with the White House press corps with him in Geneva after his summit with Putin, by stating that this meeting proves that
“there is no substitute ... for a face-to-face dialogue between leaders. None. And President Putin and I share a unique responsibility to manage the relationship between two powerful and proud countries—a relationship that has to be stable and predictable. And we should be able to cooperate where it’s in our mutual interests.”
Biden made clear that he views the strategic stability agreement as key, and is “pleased” that they had agreed to launch a bilateral strategic stability dialogue:
“We discussed in detail the next steps our countries need to take on arms control measures—the steps we need to take to reduce the risk of unintended conflict,” he reported.
“And I’m pleased that he [Putin] agreed today to launch a bilateral strategic stability dialogue—diplomatic-speak for saying, get our military experts and our diplomats together to work on a mechanism that can lead to control of new and dangerous and sophisticated weapons that are coming on the scene now, that reduce the times of response, that raise the prospects of accidental war. And we went into some detail of what those weapons systems were.”
Biden cited once again the U.S. list of issues and differences (human rights, democracy, values, Aleksey Navalny, prisoners, cybersecurity, Ukraine, Syria, Iran, etc.), but he called the tone of the talks “good, positive,” without “any strident action taken.... Where I disagreed, I stated where it was. Where he disagreed, he stated. But it was not done in a hyperbolic atmosphere. That is too much of what’s been going on,” he said. Biden reported he had listened to a significant portion of Putin’s press conference, and agreed with him that “this is about practical, straightforward, no-nonsense decisions that we have to make or not make.”
“We’ll find out within the next six months to a year whether or not we actually have a strategic dialogue that matters,” and likewise with the release of two Americans in Russian prisons, and whether we have a cybersecurity arrangement or not, Biden said. But as he told Putin, “it’s clearly not in anybody’s interest—your country’s or mine—for us to be in a situation where we’re in a new Cold War.... I think there’s a genuine prospect to significantly improve relations between our two countries without giving up a single, solitary thing based on principle and/or values.”
The press corps went wild, pounding Biden for attempting to leash the dogs of war for whom they scribble. Tell us what “concretely” did you achieve to keep Putin from repeating his crimes? Did you discuss any military response if another cybersecurity breach occurs? What penalty, what ultimatum, what threats did you deliver?
By the time he was asked, “Why are you so confident he’ll change his behavior, Mr. President?” as he was walking away from the podium, Biden had had enough. “Where the hell—what do you do all the time? When did I say I was confident?” he shot back. CNN came back at him:
“But given his past behavior has not changed and, in that press conference, after sitting down with you for several hours, he denied any involvement in cyberattacks; he downplayed human rights abuses; he even refused to say Aleksey Navalny’s name. So how does that account to a constructive meeting, as President Putin framed it?”
To which President Biden responded: “If you don’t understand that, you’re in the wrong business,” a remark he apologized for an hour later when meeting the press before boarding Air Force One to return home—but not really. You reporters are always negative, he complained. You said NATO, the G7, everyone would be very unhappy that I was meeting with President Putin, but
“I didn’t get one single person—not one of the world leaders said to us anything other than thanking me for arranging a meeting with Putin.... We have an agreement to work on a major arms control agreement. I started on working on arms control agreements back all the way during the Cold War. If we could do one when the Cold War, why couldn’t we do one now? We’ll see. We will see whether or not it happens.”