Ray McGovern: It’s the Two Presidents, Stupid
Jan. 10, 2022 (EIRNS)—Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, in a column posted on Jan. 7 Antiwar.com, attributed any move towards a reduction of tensions between the United States and Russia—if any—that comes out of this week’s diplomatic engagements, to the personal diplomacy between the American and Russian Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin. “As senior U.S. and Russian negotiators begin talks early next week in Geneva, the makings of a first-step-in-the-right-direction deal are already at hand. And for this we can thank Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin for serious, attentive, one-to-one conversations in the past several weeks,” McGovern writes. “You don’t need a degree in Kremlinology or tea leaves to understand how this came about and what led to the Biden-Putin talks: in one key respect the second (Dec. 7, virtual) was a carbon copy of the first (June 16 in Geneva).” Both came at Biden’s initiative, McGovern reports, but the summit in Geneva wasn’t their first conversation.
Things were coming to a head over Ukraine last spring,
“culminating in President Biden’s strange call to President Putin on April 13,” McGovern reports. “During their conversation on April 13, Biden—out of the blue—called for a summit meeting with Putin. At the same time, Biden promptly ordered two warships on their way into the Black Sea to turn around and instead visit Greece; and Kiev was told to cool its rhetoric.”
On Dec. 25, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that 10,000 troops that had been deployed to training areas in southern Russia and Crimea were returning to their barracks. Western news media said almost nothing about that withdrawal.
Biden and Putin spoke again on Dec. 30, this time at Putin’s suggestion where, according to the Russian account of the call, they agreed on the meetings in Geneva now underway. “In this context, Joseph Biden emphasized that Russia and America shared a special responsibility for ensuring stability in Europe and the whole world and that Washington had no intention of deploying offensive strike weapons in Ukraine,” the Russian statement said. “Assuming the White House does not disavow that Biden made this undertaking, the step can be seen as a significant quid from the U.S. side,” McGovern concludes. “The quo can be quick in coming if Defense Minister Shoigu is told to announce the next withdrawal of Russian troops from areas near Ukraine—and get someone in the Establishment media to report it this time.”