At the conclusion of President Biden’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Switzerland, the White House declared the goal with Russia is “Strategic Stability.” Is this what we need? Is that the correct goal in dealing with this adversary of the United States? What does that even mean? The very term “Strategic Stability” implies that the U.S. wants to maintain the status quo with Putin’s Russia. But how things are with Russia; the status quo is troubling on every level. Do we want to maintain that?
Here is the present situation as it pertains to Russia:
This is the status quo, the “Strategic Stability,”being lauded by the Biden team. This is the real situation with Russia as it exists today. It runs counter to the vital strategic interests of the United States and violates the values and morals of America and all nations who value freedom and international norms.
President Biden’s warning to Putin is that if he continues to misbehave, it will hurt his international reputation and the rest of the world will not like him. Does this matter to an oligarch and former KGB agent like Vladimir Putin? Is that the best deterrent our President could come up with in a four-hour meeting with the Russian leader? It appears to be a major psychological projection on the part of President Biden: Since Biden wants to be accepted and liked by other world leaders (he essentially touted this in his meetings with the G-7 and European Union leaders), he assumes—quite incorrectly—that this will motivate Putin to behave and play nice. President Biden apparently naïvely assumes that Putin has a moral compass. History and Putin’s past actions indicate that is not the case.
On Air Force One after the meeting in Geneva, Biden stated that the “message to the world is the U.S. is open, accountable, transparent.” No doubt we are. That has no bearing on the motives and behavior of a man like Putin. The message the world needs is that America is strong, principled, and a leader. Rather than cajoling and attempting to flatter Putin, Biden should have put the Russian on notice that there are things America simply will not tolerate. The leader of the free world should have unequivocally stated that Russia’s malign activities—whether they be cyber-attacks, invading another country, or whatever—will be met with a forceful response. We should be telling Putin that there is a price to be paid for further bad acts.
This is not to imply that the U.S. would engage in a military response, short of an attack on America. But as the world’s last remaining superpower, the United States has many responses at hand to counter Russian aggression and interference that would make Russia, or any other adversary, pay a high and painful price for acts that target the United States, our allies, and our strategic interests at home and abroad. It is a shame that this message was not delivered at the meeting in Geneva.
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