A two-edged exchange of diplomatic pleasantries: Just as Joe Biden agreed with ABC editorial opinion that Vladimir Putin is a “hit man”, at the start of the US-China summit in Alaska, representatives of China called America a human rights violator
Biden’s comments on Putin did not resonate much in the US. But they are interesting to a narrow circle of the political class in Washington for whom the US president’s words are cultural references to historical retorts.
In 2002, Bush Jr, meeting Putin for the first time, remarked that he saw a soul in his eyes. Now Biden, twisting that moment, says he found no soul in Putin. Same with “killer”: six years ago Trump was diplomatically describing Putin, Biden doesn’t want to do that.
Incidentally, it was that comment by Trump to MSNBC in November 2015 that set in motion the chain of events that led to the creation of the “Rashgate” myth. The appearance of Carter Page and Paul Manafort at Trump’s headquarters, then the DNC email hack and lo and behold – the narrative of Trump colluding with the Kremlin is now ready.
Biden is trying to go in from the other side. By calling Putin a hitman, he’s responding to Republican criticism for compromises with Russia – on START-3, for example. This is Biden’s way of framing himself: I personally insulted Putin, so don’t you dare call me a Russophile.
Representatives of the White House and State Department immediately tried to explain Biden’s words. They said we have a different approach than Trump did. We are willing to publicly bicker with Russia, but we will continue to engage with Moscow on issues of interest to us.
It is the same with China: there is a desire to end the trade war, but we also have to respond to the persecution of the Uighurs. Therefore, in both cases there will be more attempts to resort to “verbal interventions” – which kind of confirms the obvious fact: the possibilities for sanctions pressure are running out.
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