Biden lays bare the American fear of Vladimir Putin
The Russian media decided to soften the statement made by Joe Biden in an interview with ABC News. On the RIA Novosti website, the original headline “Biden says he believes Putin is a murderer” was replaced with “Biden says he knows Vladimir Putin”. In most domestic publications concerning this news, Biden's statement is presented in the context of threats of punishment for allegedly interfering in the 2020 US presidential election. However, in my opinion, this is done completely in vain and distorts the picture of what is happening.
If you look at the video clip of the interview itself, it becomes obvious that the question of the presenter is extremely specific: “So you know Vladimir Putin. Do you think he's a murderer?” and has little overlap with the previous topic of conversation, and Biden's answer is very clear: “Yes, I do.”
We must be well aware that what is said in this interview is not improvisation. This is a deliberate and prepared provocation. This is what the interview was prepared for. 78-year-old Joe Biden has already shown signs of dementia, and it was noticed that he was confused in reading the teleprompter, so it is unlikely that the recording took place with one take.
Let me remind you that the only American politician who called Vladimir Putin a murderer in an interview with a wide audience was the well-known Russophobe John McCain. 4 years ago, the topic of the interview was also Russia's interference in the American presidential election. McCain back then called Putin a murderer, a bandit and a product of the KGB, and also explained that it is impossible to find a common language with Putin and it is necessary to return to Reagan's concept of “peace through force”.
It is unlikely that the producers of the interview on ABC News did not know about these statements. In my opinion, the moderator's question is a direct reference to John McCain and, accordingly, Reagan's concept of “peace through force”.
The personalisation of the threat in the rhetoric of the new administration could be seen earlier. In a speech at the Munich Security Conference, Biden said that “Putin seeks to weaken the Europeans – the European project and our NATO alliance.”
This focus on Putin is a hint to domestic elites about the need to remove Putin from power. The next stage of the rhetoric is “Putin must go”, which we already remember well from the situation in Syria, when western politicians said this about Assad and the events that followed.
In part, the attacks against Putin are a reflex reaction to domestic political processes in the United States. I mentioned the possibility of such actions in the article "Trump and political radicalisation in the United States".
Much to the dismay of the Democratic Party, Trump failed to marginalise and kick out of the political arena. And now they are using the topic of “Russian interference” in the presidential election to raise associations in the memory of Americans about Russia's unfriendly actions linked to Trump.
In addition, the American liberal media has repeatedly accused Trump of worshiping Putin. Now Biden appears to be the direct opposite of the “soft” Trump and promises to punish Putin.
However, we should have no illusions about the new administration in the White House. Joe Biden's team consists of officials promoted by the Clintons, people who started the war in Yugoslavia, Georgia and contributed to the coup in Ukraine.
The old rut of their policy will sooner or later still lead the United States on the path of a confrontation with Russia, despite the fact that it would be more logical to do exactly the opposite, so as not to bring the positions of Russia and China closer together against the background of American pressure.
Therefore, the softening of the domestic media level of aggression on the part of Biden against Putin, in the future, plays a negative role for Russia. Those to whom the “hint” was addressed would have found out about it anyway, and the majority of citizens now do not fully realise what the level of intensity of interstate relations between the United States and Russia is.
Proper emphasis in the coverage of this news could unite the public more strongly around the figure of the Russian president, since the threat of serious conflicts of interests between the United States and Russia is by no means virtual, and the aggravation of the situation in Ukraine is a clear example of this.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said it had invited the Russian Ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, to Moscow for consultations. Probably many people have heard that in difficult situations, the ambassador is recalled for consultations, but in this case, a softer wording was used:
“For us, the most important thing is to determine what can be the ways to correct Russian-American relations, which are in a difficult state and which Washington has brought to an impasse in recent years. We are interested in preventing their irreversible degradation, if the Americans are aware of the risks associated with this,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mariya Zakharova.
Even in such a situation, our Foreign Ministry is trying to “smoothen the edges”, hoping that the Americans will understand the risks of the rhetoric expressed. However, please pay attention to the first sentence in the comments of the deputy head of the press service of the State Department, Jalina Porter, on the current situation:
“As far as engagement with Russia is concerned, we have made it clear that we will engage with them in a way that is always in the best interests of the United States. When there are opportunities for our relations with Russia to be constructive, it is in our interests to work together.”
The White House's even more specific position was expressed by Press Secretary Jen Psaki: “Our administration will take a different approach to relations with Russia than the previous administration. We will be straightforward, and we will act directly in those areas where there are issues of concern to us,” Psaki said.
Thus, Biden's attack on the Russian president is not a mistake and not at all an unsuccessful improvisation, but a substantive and thoughtful position of the United States, which will be followed by other steps. Accordingly, we need to prepare not just a well-thought-out response strategy, but also a well-thought-out strategy of comprehensive and coordinated actions, to which the Americans will have to think how to respond.