Summary List Placement
During his long campaign for the presidency, Joe Biden presented himself as the consummate Russia hawk — a man who would hold the Kremlin accountable for a litany of sins ranging from cyber-espionage to meddling in US elections.
Whereas Biden called China a competitor, he referred to Russia as an “opponent,” a country seeking to bully its neighbors in the post-Soviet space and challenge US hegemony around the world.
In the first 100 days of his term, however, now-President Joe Biden has adopted a more pragmatic mindset with respect to the Kremlin.
While Biden is no dove when it comes to Russia — the administration has enacted several rounds of economic sanctions against Moscow, the latest on April 15 in response to the SolarWinds cyber-breach — he is also cognizant that the US-Russia relationship is too big to fail completely.
If the first several months of Biden’s tenure are any indication of where things are going, dialogue will remain a key plank of US Russia policy going forward.
While the US and Russia won’t be resetting their relations anytime soon, the world’s two largest nuclear-weapons powers have a unique responsibility to ensure tensions between them are mitigated, one another’s core interests are respected and cooperation on common agenda items is preserved.
Currently, US-Russia relations can be categorized charitably as unproductive. Anatoly Antonov, the Russian Ambassador to the US, hasn’t been in his Washington, DC, office for a nearly two months. US Ambassador John Sullivan isn’t in his Moscow office either, having traveled back to Washington for consultations partly at Russia’s urging.
Only weeks ago, Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin were calling each other names. Before the Russian Defense Ministry ordered a pullback of forces last week, Russia’s troop buildup near Ukraine’s eastern border prompted senior US officials to warn Moscow of unspecified consequences in the event of a second invasion.
And of course there’s the situation with Alexei Navalny, Putin’s political foe who the Russian government has tried to silence in more ways than one — first by poisoning, then by a two and a half year prison sentence for violating his parole.
The imminent branding of Navalny’s organization as extremist will re-confirm in the minds of many in Washington that Putin’s Russia is on an irreversible authoritarian track.
However, the question isn’t whether Russia is becoming increasingly autocratic or whether Washington and Moscow can see the world through the same lens.
The question, rather, is whether two powers that control 90% of the world’s nuclear stockpile can find a way to coexist peacefully and settle on a relationship that at least stalls further confrontation.
Biden’s remarks at the White House on April 15 are a positive step in the right direction. Stressing that additional deescalation would have negative repercussions for both the US and Russia, Biden emphasized that “[t]he way forward is through thoughtful dialogue and diplomatic process.”
Assuming Biden’s proposed summit with Putin actually happens (the meeting could …read more
Source:: Business Insider
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