Or perhaps another Corn Pop moment?
During an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday, President Joe Biden shifted into his familiar “tough guy” mode.
Stephanopoulos referenced the dubious report from the Director of National Intelligence that had been released earlier in the day. The document stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin had interfered in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by trying to “denigrate you [Biden], support President Trump, undermine our elections, divide our society.” He asked Biden, “What price must he pay?”
“He will pay a price. I, we had a long talk, he and I, when we — I know him relatively well,” replied Biden. “And I — the conversation started off, I said, ‘I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.'”
Stephanopoulos noted, “You said you know he doesn’t have a soul.”
The President answered, “I did say that to him, yes. And — and his response was, ‘We understand one another.’ It was– I wasn’t being a wise guy. I was alone with him in his office. And that — that’s how it came about. It was when President Bush had said, ‘I looked in his eyes and saw his soul.'”
Biden continued. “I said, ‘Looked in your eyes and I don’t think you have a soul.’ And looked back and he said, ‘We understand each other.’ Look, most important thing dealing with foreign leaders in my experience, and I’ve dealt with an awful lot of ’em over my career, is just know the other guy. Don’t expect somethin’ that you’re — that — don’t expect him to — or her to — voluntarily appear in the second editions of Profiles in Courage.”
“So you know Vladimir Putin. You think he’s a killer?” asked the ABC host.
“Uh-huh. I do.”
“So what price must he pay?”
Biden responded, “The price he’s gonna pay we’ll — you’ll see shortly. I’m not gonna — there’s — by the way, we oughta be able that ol’ — that trite expression ‘walk and chew gum at the same time,’ there’re places where it’s in our mutual interest to work together.”
“That’s why I renewed the START agreement with him. That occurred while he’s doin’ this. But that’s overwhelmingly in the interest of humanity, that we diminish the prospect of a nuclear exchange. But that and SolarWinds as well. He’s been — they’ve done some mischievous things, to say the least. And so we’re gonna have — I’m not gonna announce what I’m doing, but he’s gonna understand that — .”
Were these comments planned as most questions and answers are for Biden these days or did the President recklessly decide to improvise?
Putin wasted no time in immediately recalling the Russian Ambassador,
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova issued a statement which said the ambassador had “been invited to Moscow for consultations, to determine the prospects of the future relationship with Washington.”
It continued. “The new American administration has been in power for two months, and a symbolic 100-day anniversary is just around the corner, which is an appropriate milestone to try and assess what the Biden team is successful in, and what it’s not.”
The statement acknowledged that relations with the U.S. “are in a difficult state, which Washington has brought to a dead end in recent years. We are interested in preventing their irreversible degradation, if the Americans are aware of the associated risks.”
According to Sputnik News, “Zakharova stressed Moscow’s intention to work out possible ways of improving the relationship that ‘Washington has itself sent into a stalemate in recent years.'”
In the text message below, Russian politician Alexey Pushkov responded to the incident (via RedState):
Посол РФ в Вашингтоне вызван в Москву для консультаций – в ответ на оскорбительный выпад Байдена в адрес Путина. Это – исключительный в дипломатии шаг, следующий – отзыв посла и понижение уровня дипотношений. Москва явно настроена на переоценку всей совокупности отношений с США.
— Алексей Пушков (@Alexey_Pushkov) March 17, 2021
“The Russian ambassador to Washington has been summoned to Moscow for consultations – in response to Biden’s insulting attack on Putin. This is an exceptional step in diplomacy, the next is the recall of the ambassador and the lowering of the level of diplomatic relations. Moscow is clearly determined to reassess the entire set of relations with the United States.”
Sputnik reported that, in a Wednesday telephone briefing, U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Jalina Porter was asked if the Biden Administration planned to recall the ambassador to Russia. He answered, “We have nothing to comment on that.”
Biden can’t make threats like this and not expect Russia to look after its own interests. As the most powerful country in Europe and a major force across Asia and the Middle East, Russia plays a significant role in world politics. Although Russia has transgressed against us, they are also a partner to us in some key areas. Going after Putin personally like this is virtually guaranteed to upset him and worsen relations.
There’s no issue with retaliation against Putin and Russia, but Biden better have an effective plan in mind that avoids escalation or he risks killing diplomatic ties with a crucial partner.
There’s no doubt that Putin is a dangerous man. But America currently faces a far greater and more powerful threat in Asia that Biden appears to underestimate. If only he would stand up to Xi Jinping and stop making excuses for his abuses and actions.
Is there a reason for that? Mr. President?