It’s easy enough to trash talk domestic rivals when the press is in your pocket and happy to take your side. But playing the tough guy on a global stage? That is a little more complicated.
After fewer than 100 days in office, Biden is already in trouble.
Four years of the press warning us that Trump would blunder his way into an international conflict never did materialize. Real-life showed us quite the opposite.
Trump managed to wrangle peace deals that were supposed to be impossible. He got North Korea to back down from his aggressive posture and missile testing. He used economic leverage rather than military might to curb petty regional tyrants like Iran as well as more significant rivals like China and Russia.
All of that is the result of interpersonal skills Trump had honed over a lifetime of negotiation business deals worth eight figures and higher.
If Biden inherited a situation in which many of America’s rivals were playing defense, how could Biden possibly already be finding himself in trouble on the international stage?
For one thing, he hired a bunch of those ‘lead from behind’ guys that Obama had surrounded himself with. For another, he thinks diplomacy includes trash-talking his global counterparts. Was he not expecting that Putin would have anything to say in response?
Biden is trying to talk tough against Russia for their alleged support of Trump in 2020. We look forward to Joe’s similarly robust denunciation of Xi and his robust support of Biden in 2020 to which that same report makes reference. (Just kidding. That day will never come.)
Biden said in an ABC News interview Wednesday that Putin would “pay a price” for meddling in the 2020 election, referencing the conclusion of a declassified intelligence report that Putin had authorized an influence operation aimed at hurting Biden’s candidacy and aiding Trump.
And the president has expanded sanctions against Moscow for allegedly using a banned chemical weapon to poison Navalny, the prominent Russian opposition figure currently imprisoned. The administration has blocked exports of certain high-tech components and blacklisted Kremlin officials and business entities involved in biological agent production.
In the ABC interview, Biden further sharpened his rhetoric against Russia by responding in the affirmative when asked if Putin is a “killer.”
Shortly thereafter, Russia recalled its ambassador to the U.S. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Biden’s comments were “very bad statements” and indicated that he “definitely does not want to improve relations” between the U.S. and Russia. —TheHill
How did Putin respond? He hit Biden where it hurts. A direct challenge to his transparency and unwillingness to speak in front of the public.
“I want to propose to President Biden to continue our discussion, but on the condition that we do it basically live, as it’s called, without any delays and directly in an open, direct discussion,” Mr. Putin said.
The Kremlin chief said “it seems to me that would be interesting for the people of Russia and for the people of the United States.”
Not a few conservatives on Twitter cringed at the prospect, as Mr. Biden has yet to hold a live press conference with a far-friendlier U.S. press corps and even in scripted appearances often loses his train of thought or refers to Vice President Kamala D. Harris as the president.
That was something Mr. Putin himself seemed to acknowledge without his tongue in his cheek.
“With regard to my U.S. colleague’s remark, we have, indeed, as he said, met in person. What would I tell him? I would say ‘stay healthy.’ I wish him good health,” Mr. Putin head, going on to add that “I am saying this without irony or tongue in cheek.” –WashingtonTimes
Biden’s team has assured us he’s ‘quite busy’ and not interested in taking up Putin’s offer.
He’ll be busy washing his hair that night, no doubt.
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