Joe Biden And Vladimir Putin Won't Be Friends But See Path Together.

Joe Biden And Vladimir Putin Won't Be Friends But See Path Together

Putin described his over three hour talks with Joe Biden as "very constructive".


There was no talk of gazing into Vladimir Putin's "soul" and the Russian president didn't try to gaslight a rookie US leader.

Instead, Putin's first summit with the fifth US president of his tenure, Joe Biden, was about mutual respect -- and the meeting in Geneva could, both of them said, lead to a more predictable, if still tense, relationship.

In contrast to his predecessors, Biden made no suggestion he expected to reset the relationship and he has already piled pressure on Russia over concerns including alleged election meddling, attacks by cybercriminals against the Colonial Pipeline and other US infrastructure and over the poisoning and jailing of dissident Alexei Navalny.

But after earlier remarks that included calling Putin "a killer," Biden on the eve of the summit described the Russian leader as "a worthy adversary" and at a news conference afterward said that they would see where they had common interests.

Putin, who at his 2018 summit with Donald Trump in Helsinki was widely seen as dominating the reality television star turned president, called Biden "a very experienced politician" who was able to speak in rare detail in the "very constructive" more than three hours of talks.

"Biden generally is someone who wants constructive relations. He doesn't consider Putin a friend," said Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group political risk firm.

Similar to his view of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden "doesn't trust them but he does expect Russia will act in its interest and the two countries have some interests that overlap and where we should work together," Bremmer said.

Bremmer said the test of the relationship will come afterward.

"I want to see that in the next three months we have materially fewer ransomware incidents and nothing of the scale that we had against Colonial Pipeline that comes from Russia. That's absolutely critical."

Groundwork For Future

Putin made no promises at his news conference on cybercrime, appearing to deny Russian involvement, but Biden, signaling that he sent a warning, said that Putin "knows there are consequences" for Russian actions.

The leaders said they would return ambassadors to each other's capitals and that diplomats would work on the release of prisoners.

"I'm not sure how much better it could have gone but it could have gone much worse. This could have been name-calling, posturing, lecturing, talking past each other," said Yuval Weber, a Russia expert at the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute and professor at Texas A&M's Bush School of Government and Public Service in Washington.

Unlike in the Cold War, when US and Soviet leaders would come together to sign accords on major issues such as nuclear weapons, Biden and Putin never expected breakthroughs in Geneva, Weber said.

"What they were looking for was whether they can get along well enough in person to keep the conversation going," Weber said.

Weber said that Putin was "notoriously a very thin-skinned person" who was likely unsettled by Biden's initial comments on him.

By calling Putin a "worthy adversary" and speaking of Russia as a powerful nation, Biden is following a strategy of "saying things that Putin can then latch onto," Weber said.

US Partisan Divide

Former president Barack Obama infuriated Putin by calling Russia, which backs separatists in Ukraine, a "regional power" acting "not out of strength but weakness."

But Obama, like previous presidents, took office hoping to restore relations with Russia. George W. Bush famously said after meeting Putin in 2001 that he could "get a sense of his soul."

Trump broke the mould by voicing admiration for Putin. After his 2018 summit in Helsinki, Trump drew criticism even within his own Republican Party when he appeared to take at face value Putin's denial of election interference -- even as Putin also openly said he wanted Trump to be president.

Republicans quickly attacked Biden over the Geneva summit, saying he should have been more confrontational.

"Summits are about delivering results," said Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "To learn there was no tangible progress made with Russia on any issue is both unfortunate and disappointing."

But Senator Bob Menendez, the Democrat who heads the committee, praised Biden for "bluntly speaking truth" to Putin.

"This was a necessary reality check for Putin and a welcome departure from the past four years of Trump's coddling of the Kremlin," Menendez said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV News provides latest news from India and the world. Get today’s news headlines from Business, Technology, Bollywood, Cricket, videos, photos, live news coverage and exclusive breaking news from India.

Related news
Why internet connections in Germany are so bad - DW Analysis.

Why internet connections in Germany are so bad - DW Analysis.

For years, Europe’s largest economy has failed to roll out good internet connections across the country, and that’s increasingly becoming a problem. By telling the story of one small village in central Germany and how it’s been fighting for better...

What To Do If You Get An Eviction Notice

What To Do If You Get An Eviction Notice

3.6 million Americans say they will likely have to leave their homes in the next two months due to eviction. NBC News’ Maura Barrett shares tips on what to do if you’re facing an eviction notice. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NB...

NHS workers march on Downing St to protest 3 per cent pay rise.

NHS workers march on Downing St to protest 3 per cent pay rise.

NHS workers and their supporters march from St Thomas' Hospital to Downing Street in protest at the 3 per cent pay rise the Government has given them. Among them were nurses Janet Maiden, David Carr, Shelley Pearce and retired nurse Dave Bell. The...

Human Trafficking Survivors Share Their Stories

Human Trafficking Survivors Share Their Stories

Two survivors of human trafficking share their stories and advocates tell NBC News’ Simone Boyce what the U.S. can do to help other women.» Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection of innovative and powerful ...

‘Ludicrous’ for Dems to talk immigration reform in spending bill: Rep.

‘Ludicrous’ for Dems to talk immigration reform in spending bill: Rep.

Rep. Andy Biggs R-Az., tells ‘Fox & Friends Weekend’ Democrats should discuss immigration reform after they secure the border. #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-h...

Directors discuss their newest CNN Films Shorts

Directors discuss their newest CNN Films Shorts

Ahead of the premiere of two new CNN Films Shorts, CNN National Correspondent Omar Jimenez hosts Arianna LaPenne, director of “The Bunker Boom: Better Safe Than Sorry” and Charles Todd, director of “Lessons From the Water: Diving with a Purpose.” ...