President Biden shouldn’t meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday because Mr. Putin is going to eat his lunch.
Based on Mr. Biden’s G-7 performance – mistaking Syria for Libya three times in 12 minutes, blaming “120 days” in office for his inability to answer a simple question, and arriving two hours late to a press conference where he only called on five reporters – he is simply not up to the task. It’s probably why Mr. Biden’s advisers said no to a joint press conference with Mr. Putin at the end of their meeting – they both don’t trust Mr. Biden‘s ability to deal with the press nor do they want the visible comparison with him standing side by side with Mr. Putin.
Mr. Biden started out talking tough about Mr. Putin, calling him a “killer” – seemingly wanting the press and the U.S. audience to believe he’s going to relish the confrontation. But the first meeting with then-Vice President Biden was anything but a pleasant affair. Mr. Putin intentionally body-slammed him at the start of the meeting, stunning Mr. Biden. Then, during their joint press conference, Mr. Putin cut off Mr. Biden’s microphone and turned off the lights for the press and televisions, leading Mr. Biden “dumbfounded,” according to Mike McCormick, a former White House stenographer who was on the 2011 failed “Russian Reset” trip. Almost the same exact thing happened months later in China.
“It’s all in my book, these examples of Joe Biden getting bullied by authoritarian leaders and then rolling over and basically doing what they want,” Mr. McCormick said during a radio tour last year promoting his book “Joe Biden Unauthorized.” He surmised from his interactions with Mr. Biden and other world leaders, Mr. Biden was a “horrible negotiator.”
Indeed, if Mr. Biden was a good negotiator, then why would he give up so much leverage prior to meeting with Mr. Putin? Weeks before their meeting, the Biden administration withdrew U.S. sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline Russia is building into Germany – without getting anything in return. Mr. Biden also renewed the START 5 (ph) nuclear arms treaty with Russia at the beginning of his administration, again, without getting any concessions from Russia.
Meanwhile, Russia has recently cyber-hacked vital U.S. resources, taking down a pipeline on the East Coast and crippling U.S. gas supply, and attacking a beef production plant, hamstringing the world’s largest meat provider — all without any U.S. retaliation.
Mr. Putin has also been building up Russian troops near the Ukraine border, representing the highest force mobilization since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. In March, the U.S. European Command raised its awareness level to “potential imminent crisis,” in response to the more than 100,000 Russian troops stationed there.
So far, the Biden administration has done nothing. So why should Mr. Putin be scared? He’s entering the summit with Mr. Biden with the wind at his sails.
Mr. Putin, in a recent interview, said Mr. Biden is a career politician and should be treated as such. Mr. Putin most likely sees the Biden administration as a return to the Obama era, where he posed for photo-ops pledging a “Russian reset,” proposed by Mr. Biden, while he invaded Crimea and continued to be a bad actor on the world stage without any U.S. repercussions.
It was Mr. Biden who, as vice president, failed to provide lethal aid to Ukraine. It was Mr. Biden who, as vice president, failed to respond to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Even fellow Democrats admitted the Obama administration “choked” in countering Russian aggression at the time.
All talk, no action.
Mr. Biden, before becoming president, spent nearly half a century in Washington as a career politician — with little to no foreign policy accomplishments. According to Obama Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Mr. Biden was “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
Mr. Biden supported and defended the war in Iraq for years, then lied about it. He opposed the raid to bring Osama bin Laden to justice, and then lied about it. He supported (and still supports) the Iranian nuclear deal that sent pallets of unmarked cash to the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. He claimed Iraq would be “one of the greatest achievements” of the Obama administration just a few years before the rise of ISIS.
Mr. Putin knows all of this, and is probably looking forward to pushing Mr. Biden around again. Instead of talking to Mr. Putin, Mr. Biden should act. Demonstrate to the Russian authoritarian his administration is more than just bluster. Yet, as it appears to Mr. Putin and everyone else on the world stage, Mr. Biden’s administration is just that.