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It stood in between plague or cholera for the other nuclear superpower Russia, when the United States elected a new president just over three weeks ago. Donald Trump and Joe Biden were about as bad candidates for Russia at this crossroads. If Trump for the occasion plays the role of the plague in this relationship, which admires President Putin, and wanted to lift the sanctions, then it did not help Russia at all. Congress did not trust Trump for a moment, took control of US Russia policy, and tied the president on his hands and feet. As for Biden, he has no illusions about either Putin’s mindset or ambitions. He is very skeptical of both.
Let’s go four years back in time in an attempt to understand the dynamics of US-Russia relations in recent years. When Donald Trump, to everyone’s surprise, won the election in 2016, champagne sprang up in the Russian National Assembly. Russia had won an American election and had her husband elected. It turned out that they also – in their own way – had participated in the election, with disinformation and influence, as specialist letter researcher Robert Mueller stated in his report.
Anyway so was Trump’s victory celebrated in Moscow. But expectations that the sanctions would disappear, and that all questions of human rights and democracy would be swept under the rug, were put to shame. And in the physical meetings between Trump and Putin, the American media complained that a poorly prepared Trump was run over by a far more experienced, knowledgeable, and cunning Putin. Even the Republicans helped to bind the president to Russia. Precisely the relationship with Russia is perhaps the most important policy area there The Trump revolution never succeeded. Although it never stood on the will.
Joe Biden has that one of the Senate’s leading foreign politicians for more than a lifetime a conscious relationship with Russia since Leonid Brezhnev ruled the Kremlin. He is well acquainted with the long lines of Russian and Soviet foreign policy, where control and dominance over the surrounding areas was the doctrine of both the Tsars and the Secretaries-General. The exception was the last general secretary, Mikhail Gorbachev. According to Putin, the dissolution of the Soviet Union was known to be the worst geopolitical catastrophe of the last century, a century that could also include Hitler, Stalin and Mao.
It’s Joe Biden was vice president from 2008 to 2016, his and Barack Obama’s goal was to “reset” relations with Russia. They wanted to create a dialogue to maintain trust when it came to arms issues in particular, but also to maintain a dialogue on democracy and human rights. But Obama eventually gave up on Putin, describing him as the mob at the back of the classroom who always made him sick, and in his recent autobiography, Obama describes the Russian president as a simple mafia boss.
Biden followed up, and after a meeting with Putin in the Kremlin in 2011, Biden is said to have told Putin that after looking into his eyes, he could not see any soul. To that, Putin is said to have replied that the two understood each other. We observe here illusionless positions in both of them. And while Biden has described China as the United States ‘biggest challenge, he has said that Russia is the United States‘ biggest threat.
Biden, who himself was an important player during the Cold War, recognizes much from that time. Putin’s willingness to undermine democracies and lay the groundwork for NATO and the EU is the same as that of the Communist Secretaries-General. But his ability to do so is significantly less than 40 years ago, the country is weak, especially economically and demographically. Russia today is also not governed by any Communist Party, but by a kleptocratic security apparatus that has taken control of the state with a patriotic, militaristic, and anti-American ideology. That’s Biden’s analysis.
One of Biden’s most important Tasks of the world will be to establish alliances of democracies, to confront non-democracies, or pseudo-democracies, such as Russia. While Trump has not cared about human rights abuses, Biden is one who cares. On the positive side, seen from the Kremlin, Biden is one who also cares about disarmament, and he understands – in contrast to Trump – the nature of nuclear weapons. Therefore, the START agreement will survive, and perhaps scrapped agreements on trust – scrapped by Trump – will take on new forms.
The Kremlin avoided this time to get the plague. But they got cholera, in the form of Biden. Then it must be at the Kremlin’s own expense that they – at least a little bit – would have preferred the plague.