By John Kanelis / email@example.com
Well, that went about as planned.
President Biden said he would confront Russian strongman Vladimir Putin on issues that obstruct warm-and-fuzzy relations between the nations. He did what he vowed to do.
Putin’s response? It was to suggest — among other things — that the Jan. 6 insurrection was just an example of Americans seeking to have their grievances heard. I’ll get back to that one.
Biden vowed to deal directly with Russian interference in two presidential elections. He delivered on that one. Biden said he would challenge Putin on his invasion of Ukraine. Ditto on that one, too. President Biden promised also to challenge Putin’s harsh treatment of political dissidents. Bingo, Mr. President!
It was on that final point that produced Putin’s strange suggestion that the Jan. 6 riot was just a demonstration of Americans’ desire to have their grievances addressed. Uh, Mr. Dictator, that was a frontal assault on our democratic process … not that you would understand the value of democracy.
I continue to believe that it was smart for Biden and Putin to stage separate news conferences. Putin went first. Then it was Biden’s turn. The sequence enabled President Biden to correct the record when and where he deemed it necessary.
Both men have called their initial head-of-state summit as productive and constructive. That’s a good thing, to be sure. What must not happen ever again, though, is for the U.S. president to roll over when Russia’s leader denies doing what our intelligence experts concluded he did — which was interfere in our election. We saw that disgraceful display in 2018 when Putin met with Biden’s predecessor.
So, now they have parted company. My strong hope now is that Putin understands that President Biden — with decades of foreign-policy experience under his belt — will not be played the way he was able to manipulate the former Sycophant in Chief.