Both Putin and Biden are blind to the challenge of China.
The June Biden-Putin summit has long vanished from the mainly superficial but often hysterical news cycle. Bemused and undisturbed, the Russian dictator faced an American president struggling to remain conscious yet heavily armed with unilateral concessions, allied disarray, and a defense budget declining in real terms.
Flacks at the White House and in the press declared that the reason for this exercise was to read Russia the riot act and restore faith in the supposed magic of “goodness” diplomacy. But though God blessed Lincoln and Churchill with the virtues of a number of great men packed into each, and quickened the result with the lightning of synergy, this did not happen when he came up with Joe Biden. Our president went to Geneva not with demands from a position of strength, but like a supplicant pitching an idea to a venture capitalist. What ensued was an unrecognized debacle so deep as to be tectonic.
We begged for the meeting, the true purpose of which other than domestic political froth was to offer Putin the American iteration of a proposal floated by French president Emmanuel Macron: Abandon your growing alliance with China and look west. We will accommodate you as a partner in, or at least a neutral onlooker upon, the nascent resistance to le défi chinois.
Nice work if you can get it, but you can’t. The frog agrees to ferry the
Subscribe now for unlimited access.
The most intelligent and engaging periodical in America for less than $2 per month.