US President Joe Biden concludes his trip to Europe Wednesday with the announced summit with Vladimir Putin, in a considered sequence in which he intends to demonstrate the return of a “strong alliance” with Western allies.
Ukraine, Belarus, and the fate of imprisoned opponent Alexei Navalny, cyber-attacks on the Internet will be the subject of negotiations that are expected to be tough and difficult, especially on this last point. Biden confirmed Wednesday before leaving the United States that computer hacking “will be a topic of discussion.”
The summit with Vladimir Putin, to be held in the Swiss city of Geneva, will be the culmination of Biden’s first visit to Europe since taking office on January 20, and comes at a time when he is facing difficulties at home, with tensions in the country’s Democrats’ realm.
Biden, 78, was elected to the Senate in 1972, becoming the sixth youngest senator in US history, and since then has traveled the world for decades as Vice President Barack Obama or chair of the Women’s Committee. Foreign relations in the Senate, after which he met with the leader of the Kremlin.
As tensions rise between Russia and the West, the sequel to Biden’s first presidential trip to the “Old Continent” was deliberate, initially choosing to consult with his Western European allies for about a week (the G7 and NATO summits) before the summit with Putin.
Thus, Biden assured NATO that the United States is a “trusted partner” who has returned to NATO’s collective defense doctrine and is ready to confront “Russian aggression” on the Eastern Front and in its internal conflicts, in the new path announced by Washington. It intends to imprint its foreign policy and confront the legacy of the previous Donald Trump administration.
Biden’s approach to Russia represents a break with Trump’s. The only summit they held, in July 2018 in Helsinki, was marked by Trump’s refusal to legalize the conclusions of US intelligence agencies and when Putin continued to deny Russian interference in the presidential election two years ago.
The US presidency has now chosen to provide few details about the two-way meeting, only understanding that, unlike what happened with Trump in 2018, no joint press conference was planned.
The White House has replaced conciliatory messages with warnings to Russia, and has already admitted that it expects modest results from the bilateral meeting. The only goal put forward was to make relations between the two countries “more stable and predictable”.
Biden insisted that he wanted a “predictable” relationship with Russia and that he wanted to lower the temperature between the two countries, referring in particular to differences over Ukraine’s sovereignty and the wave of cyber attacks.
“The problem is that Putin does not necessarily want a more stable and predictable relationship,” Alexander Vershbow, the former second in command in NATO, admitted to the AFP news agency.
While EU and UK leaders generally support Biden’s call for a “stable and predictable” relationship, it also appears that they do not expect much progress after the Geneva meeting.
Biden was careful to stress that he intended to make clear to the leaders of China and Russia that relations between the United States and its allies in Europe were “solid,” and to make people believe that the West could rival China economically, despite Washington. They also expressed concern about Europe’s economic ties with Moscow.
Biden is expected to pressure Putin to end many “provocative actions”Including cyber attacks on American companies by computer “hackers” from Russian soil, the arrest of opponent Alexei Navalny or even the alleged interference of the Kremlin in the US elections.
Biden could also face domestic turmoil if the Russian leader decides to use the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill or a vote on basic rights, to thwart the United States’ intention to assert itself as a “model of governance” on a global scale.
For his part, the US president will try to confront Russia with its foreign “interferences”, sending a message to Putin about the renewal of old alliances that prove Washington’s return to a path more favorable to its traditional leadership and influence in the country. The west .
Last Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed Moscow and Washington’s interest in strategic stability, and expressed hope that the two leaders would agree on positions at the Geneva summit.
Speaking in favor of “strategic stability” Lavrov defended a global approach to this issue and noted that dialogue with the United States must take into account all the factors that affect it, while Washington seems interested only in some aspects and does not show itself available. For a universal design.
The Kremlin’s top diplomat also stressed Russia’s interest in getting “positive results” from the Geneva summit, but insisted that “the tango needs a pair.”
Emphasizing the spread of tensions, Moscow again accused the United States last week of maintaining tension in eastern Ukraine, by not exerting the necessary influence for the Kiev government to comply with the Minsk agreements, which included an armistice between Ukrainian and Russian forces. – The rebels are talking and a political roadmap, long deadlocked.
The Geneva summit will include air restrictions from June 15-17 in this region of Switzerland, as well as sending a maximum force of 1,000 soldiers from the national army to support the police, civil protection and other bodies in the cantons that have already done so. disappear. find a crowd.