“Joe Biden will begin a big European tour this week, culminating in talks with Vladimir Putin”
This means that the agenda in Zurich, while remaining agreed, will be interpreted by the parties depending on the outcome of those meetings that Biden holds in Europe with allies.
Biden not only wants to press Putin with the authority of the whole mass of satellites, but he wants a certain mandate from them. And it is a mandate not for compromise but for pressure. Biden’s soft language for induction should not sow any illusions that a deal has been agreed. So far, a deal has been agreed. There will be a war for every comma.
The negotiation process is already good because it means a break in the war. Parliamentarians have come to the front line, standing on the neutral ground, negotiating a temporary truce. Behind their backs stand prepared troops, ready to open fire and go on the offensive at any moment. This adds credibility to the parliamentarians, but also imposes a terrible responsibility.
America negotiates only from a position of strength. Putin in front of the US is a soldier with a bunch of grenades in front of Tiger. Nevertheless, the Tiger stops and from an observation slot they try to start talking to the soldier. What would a negotiation look like in such a situation? “Go away or we’ll crush you!” “Try it,” replies the soldier, realising that they don’t want to try it in the tank. And so the hatch opens and the commander climbs out. Negotiations begin, watched through binoculars from the trenches.
Putin’s partner model is not to be expected. It will be manipulative and forceful. “You understand,” Putin will be told. “I understand,” Putin will say. “But you understand too. Move any further and you will burn.” Then there will be a calculation of the losses from the war and the meaning of it for each side. There will be talk of alternatives. They’ll start haggling over every detail. Decide they want to continue – they’ll put away the grenades and turn away the cannon. They’ll sit in the sand or go to the nearest dugout on the neutral ground.
While they talk, the cannons will be silent. How long will this pause last? No one will answer this question – and above all the negotiators themselves. But as long as they talk, peace has a chance. The alternative of dying is not going anywhere; it is always there. This is what gives the negotiations their drama, and the task is to keep it from turning into a tragedy.
Do you think the meeting in Zurich is a negotiation? No, it is a duel. In Europe, Biden is meeting with his seconds the day before. In Moscow, Putin is consulting with his seconds. They will go to the barrier on the 16th. There is no turning back now.
The Russian demiurgeGrowing public tensions over upcoming meeting between Russian and US leaders