Wednesday, August 4

Forced thaw of Biden and Putin


The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and the American, Joe Biden.
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and the American, Joe Biden.PETER KLAUNZEREFE

No substantial progress was expected in the battered bilateral relationship between the United States and Russia, which is experiencing its lowest hours since the disintegration of the USSR. And yet the meeting of Joe Biden Y Vladimir Putin Yesterday in Geneva it was covered with the ornaments typical of the great international summits and preceded by enormous expectation, because to a large extent world stability depends on the efforts made by both leaders so that their ties do not deteriorate further.

still. So it is to be congratulated that they initiated the dialogue, committing to advance on such thorny issues as cybersecurity or arms control, and that they announced the return of the ambassadors. There was not much more, although the meeting itself was good news. Because it is enough to remember that the president of the United States, upon taking office, branded his antagonist a murderer. He did not walk with finesse, interested in making it clear to world public opinion that, without Trump, Washington began a new era on the international scene: it was not going to stand still in the face of the neo-imperialist policy and foreign confrontation that the Kremlin has been developing. Putin said yesterday satisfied by the explanations of his counterpart about such epithets.

With this appointment in Switzerland, Biden has concluded his first and intense foreign tour on European soil. And both in

the G-7 meeting as in summits with the EU or with NATO partners

, has emphasized a core idea: the need to strengthen democracies, threatened throughout the world by populism, and the obligation to confront common against authoritarian regimes, with special emphasis on China and Russia. In the endless list of disputes and hostilities that today separate the White House from the Kremlin are cyberattacks from Russian territory, with consequences as serious as interference in electoral processes. Starting with the elections that led Trump to win the US presidency against Hillary Clinton or the recent closure of one of the largest oil pipelines in the country due to a massive cybersecurity failure. But there are also many other geopolitical questions, such as Moscow’s attempts to destabilize Eastern Europe and Central Asia, or the role of the Russian regime in Syria. The White House is no stranger to Putin’s authoritarian drift, with the systematic trampling of human rights in his country and the fierce campaign of repression against the opposition that has the detained Navalni as a sad symbol. It was precisely this issue that the Russian president refused to address in his icy bilateral meeting with Biden.

The US president approved in April

tough sanctions against Russia

, whose economy is being hit hard in a context dominated by the pandemic. The White House will not raise its hand without movements on the part of a Putin who, nevertheless, needed the photo with Biden to relaunch his suffocated international leadership before his own citizens. We all win if the confrontation between the two superpowers is prevented from becoming uncontrollable.

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