On 6 June, many people turned their attention to Geneva where Joe Biden met with Vladimir Putin to improve relations between the US and Russia. The meeting will be analyzed and discussed for a long time - but it is most likely that we will never know everything both men discussed. Of course, a leak of information may happen, but we must always remember to ask the question - who benefits from such a leak - and then assess if the information is credible.
I will look at this meeting and its results from a slightly different perspective. First, both presidents didn't meet as friends - quite the opposite actually. Additionally, I would argue that they didn't meet to improve relations, but to stop them from falling apart even further.
The fact that the meeting won't bare any significant results was evidenced by the lack of scheduled joint press conferences. You might think it's not a big deal, but as I always say - the devil is in the details. Next, the meeting was initially planned to be five hours long, but it ended already after three.
You have to agree that a conversation can't be productive and lengthy if each of the parties have completely different opinions. And if the parties actually want to reach a consensus despite their differing opinions, the conversation will be lengthy and difficult - but both parties will come out of the discussion with better understanding of each other and will no longer avoid each other's presence.
Sadly, the conversations between Biden and Putin don't fall into this category - they never bring both men closer. Biden is no Trump who can be easily fooled. Biden has his own, well-argued opinion and he can hold his ground. This just means that Putin's cheap chekist tricks will never work.
Consequently, the biggest and only achievement of this meeting is that both men looked each other in the eyes and said exactly what they think of each other. This was a meeting between two men with completely different opinions who will never find common ground, especially when one of them is constantly lying.
For instance, Putin said that one of the discussed topics was the Arctic, pointing out that Washington has no reason to worry about Russia's increasing military presence in the region. 1 It's difficult to take him seriously when Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, who too took part in the meeting with Biden, recently warned the West against staking claims in the Arctic. When speaking to the media, Lavrov stressed that the Arctic is Russian territory - both land and waters. 2 Therefore, we must be critical of any statements made by Putin in this regard.
There's a reason why there are sayings along the lines "no matter what the truth always comes out in the end" or that "when someone lies all the time they start believing their own lies". In this case - when Lavrov warns the West against meddling in the Arctic, there is no way we can believe Putin's comforting statements. When Putin comforts someone it's the same when an executioner says he will cut your head off gently.
I don't like repeating myself, but the meeting between Putin and Biden will be a success if the relations between both countries don't deteriorate even further.
However, I'm quite skeptical of this. Why? Quite simple - the Kremlin emperor's stance can be judged by what is being published in the media. After the meeting between Biden and Putin there is no change in rhetoric in the media - you will still find that the overwhelming majority of media outlets still paint Biden in a negative light.
Another interesting nuance - Russian media outlets have launched a campaign aimed at propagating that the evil NATO is threatening the very existence of the peaceful Russia, which is left with no other option but to fight back, which also means holding more joint military exercises with Belarus.
Naturally, opinions on military issues may differ, but I think it's quite bizarre to combine a defensively trained force with a force that is exclusively trained to carry out offensive operations. Here I mean the participation of airborne troops in such exercises - defensive combat is not their profile, and I seriously doubt that the heads of the Russian General Staff would have forgotten the basic principles of their tactics.
In addition, Russia's rhetoric has always focused on the development of new armaments, albeit in limited amounts, as well as on strengthening their forces in the western direction, including in the territory of Belarus. What can we conclude from all this? Biden did mention that "the last thing Putin wants is another cold war". 3
It's understandable why Putin doesn't want a cold war - he remembers what it did to the USSR. Some of you might say - then why has Putin been deliberately heading in this direction? The answer is simple - he didn't believe Biden will win the election and begin opposing him. However, Biden did win and he has clearly stated what he thinks of Putin and what he intends to do if Putin keeps playing the role of a global bully. Putin doesn't want a cold war because that would mean he has an adversary.
As much as I don't like saying this, but the meeting between Biden and Putin is evidence that we are on the brink of a new cold war. And we will know whether we're indeed in a cold war situation by reading pro-Kremlin media outlets - they reveal their master's intentions with remarkable precision. If the slander against Biden and NATO grows, it will mean Putin is becoming more and more afraid, signaling what we are approaching a new cold war.
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