Depending on which news channel one watches, President Joe Biden’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin was either a smashing success or a total failure.
But according to foreign policy experts who actually know the real-world ramifications of what Biden did or didn’t do right, it appears as if the U.S. president made several glaring missteps in his talks with Putin, according to Fox News.
China is “elated”
According to Rebekah Koffler, a former intelligence officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and author of the upcoming Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America, the real winner after Biden’s trip abroad is China, America’s other top adversary.
She argued that China stands to gain the most geopolitical points after the summit, specifically pointing to Putin’s press conference in which the Russian president took several jabs at the United States.
“Allowing Putin to berate and discredit us in a solo press conference is quite a mistake for the Biden administration,” Koeffler said. “To give them that ability, China comes out on top.”
Daniel Hoffman, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) station chief in Moscow seemed to agree, adding that Putin used the time on the world stage to boost his own political prospects by slamming the United States, as he prepares for upcoming parliamentary elections.
“I think China’s happy that Russia is such a thorn in our side. We take so much of our time and our energy and our resources to deal with Russia we have less to deal with China,” Hoffman said.
Biden administration in a “jam”
Hal Brands, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute echoed the aforementioned opinions, explaining that the U.S. would prefer a calmer relationship with Russia so that it can focus on emerging threats from China — something he claims of which Putin is well aware.
He explained that it essentially boils down to Putin leveraging its relationship with the U.S.
“The United States would like its relationship with Russia to be more stable and quieter so it can focus on China – Putin knows that,” Brands said. “That gives Putin an incentive to be disruptive so he can try and raise the price the United States has to pay for calm in its relationship with Russia.”
Not surprisingly, some of Biden’s top intelligence officials, including National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, hit the media circuit with claims that Biden’s meeting with Putin was a roaring success. Sullivan went as far as to claim that the U.S. “came out better for it.”
Only time will tell how the relationships between the United States, Russia, and China evolve or devolve following the summit, but with Biden at the helm, one would probably be advised to bet on the latter.