Putin Is Meeting With Biden Only to Explain to Him Where Russia’s Red Lines Lie

"Putin did not seek out the meeting. When offered one by Biden, Putin did not rush to accept Biden’s invitation"

In anticipation of the meeting between presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden in Geneva, the Kremlin is not looking for a reset, or even a détente. Nor is there any prospect of a grand bargain of the kind that some Russians thought potentially doable at the start of the Donald Trump presidency. There are no illusions in Moscow: adversarial relations with Washington are here to stay.

Russian unilateral concessions are also out of the question in the face of consolidated U.S. power and Washington’s closer coordination with allies. In principle, President Putin would be open to some sort of strategic compromise with the United States, but he must know that President Biden and the U.S. political class as a whole are not interested in that, to put it mildly.

Nor does Putin need the meeting as proof of him being on an equal footing with Biden. From the Kremlin’s perspective, Russia’s international status does not rest on the fact of holding periodic one-on-one meetings with an American president, but rather on the ability to reliably deter U.S. military power and on being resilient to mounting U.S. economic, financial, and political pressure in the form of various restrictions. 

That said, Moscow has set itself several tasks for the Geneva meeting: above all, to explain to Joe Biden in no uncertain terms where Russia’s red lines lie. These include inviting Ukraine to join NATO, deploying U.S. military forces and bases—particularly INF-range missiles—in Ukraine, condoning Kyiv’s attempts to recover Donbas or Crimea by force, seeking to prize Belarus away from Russia, and so on.

In addition to that, Putin will engage with Biden on the modalities of a structured dialogue on strategic stability, potentially leading to negotiations on a new U.S.-Russian arms control accord. It might also be good to mutually lift restrictions on Russian and U.S. diplomatic representations in each other’s country, to include the return of Russian diplomatic property seized by Washington. In Moscow’s view, a dialogue on cybersecurity issues with the United States would make sense. However, no Russian apology with regard to its alleged interference in U.S. elections should be expected.

Putin is certainly not looking for a shouting match with Biden in Geneva. He does not have to prove to his audience at home that he can stand his ground and push back against Biden’s rhetoric. Putin will listen, of course, to what Biden has to say, but no discussion of Russian domestic politics will ensue.

Rather, Putin will probably be interested in assessing where Biden’s real concerns lie; where the sensitive areas may be in which mutual restraint, rather than unattainable compromise arrangements, may be the best way forward for now; and how the United States might act and respond under different scenarios. The focus of the conversation will be solely on international issues, both bilateral and global.

The importance of Vladimir Putin’s meeting with Joe Biden should not be exaggerated. Putin did not seek out the meeting. When offered one by Biden, Putin did not rush to accept Biden’s invitation, but took time to consider it. To Putin, Biden’s invitation was never a reward: as the leader of a great power and one of the two nuclear superpowers, he finds it normal to transact business with his U.S. counterpart. Putin’s recent messages to the wider world are less about what he can do together with the American president, and more about what Russia can do alone—and, if need be, against the wishes of the U.S. government. 

With all that in mind, the meeting in Geneva may be useful to both sides. The confrontation between them will continue, but hopefully with more secure guardrails built and maintained around it. As for the future of the U.S.-Russia relationship, it will not be decided at top-level meetings, but shaped in the very course of the ongoing confrontation. The most important thing is that it does not get out of hand.

Source: Carnegie Moscow Center

  1. Raptar Driver says

    The American government is fully cognizant of Russia’s red lines.
    I would not even have given him the time of day.
    He is a coup president just like porky and the clown.
    But that does not stop Putin.
    Even lipstick on a pig will do for him.

    1. yuri says

      dimwit amerikan rat-driver writing about pig boyfriend…rat likes lipstick in LGBT village

    2. XSFRGR says

      The meaning of your post is somewhat difficult to fathom: Clarification please.

      1. Raptar Driver says

        Do you need the definition of porky?
        The clown?
        Pigs or lipstick?
        I am tired of spelling it out for the dim-witted.

      2. Raptar Driver says

        Oh in retrospect, I didn’t specifically mean you. I was simply generalizing.
        The comment is quite cryptic I do agree.
        Porky & the clown are the first and second presidents of the coup Ukraine.
        Is that a good start?

  2. Hoyeru says

    if this is so, Putin should NOT mince words and during the press conference he would be as frank as possible using the strongest possible words to explain to the wide world how exactly USA threatened Russia with more sanctions if Russia doesn’t do what US commands it to do.
    The Russians have a serious problem that the West/USA/EU/NATO weaponizes: The Russians are simply too polite.
    In fact, Putin should demand that a full recording of the meeting is presented to the world. But he wont’ and Biden/USA/West will claim victory and continue to sneer at Russia with disdain. The Russians simply dont seem to undrtsnad the West/USA/EU/NATO do NOT respect Russia; they think that since they won against the Soviet Union, they think they can easily do it again. Putin should give them the mesage that they are wrong.

    1. Geraldo says

      He has done that in Syria, Ukraine, Crimea, Libya … Russias on going strategic relationship with China will continue to write it large. Just because the US and western press refuse to look at the writing on the wall doesn’t mean that Russia isnt being effective and making ground. The West and US/UK anglosphere are delusional, they can’t cope with reality thus it is up to Russia and China to continue to allow the child to talk and tantrum itself to sleep as the adults prepare for the future without US hegemony. I’m confident, militarily there will be no large scale confrontation, the west or NATO know they will lose catastrophically and then that is game ovrr for western elites and banks. The West has to feign strength when it has none and sound relevant when it is a has been living in the past. It is a slow process that in all likelihood will continue until the US implodes domestically and collapses economically. One has to mentally keep the sabre rattling and western media circus at arms length, it is the inmates in the asylum shouting at each other, it is not necessary to always listen in detail.

  3. yuri says

    Putin consented to meeting with 2 conditions
    Psaki change senile idiot diapers before meeting in morning
    Psaki insert new morphine suppository at lunch
    amerikan peasant proud to have vegetable prez installed by ruling class

  4. john mason says

    One hopes that Russia/Putin doesn’t get sucked like in the past when Russia voted (resolution 1244) against Yugoslavia and abstained from voting on Yugoslavia war crimes tribunal. Russia also abstained from voting regarding Libya; Russia also voted for sanctions against North Korea and Lavrov went along with the US in categrorizing the terrorists as being ‘moderate’ which paved the way for the US to set up its’ bases in Syria and the zionists bomb Syria at will. Putin also stressed he would support a US war against Iraq in 2003. This meeting between Putin and Biden is a farce and hopefully Russia has come to the conclusion that the US is alousy and unreliable companion.

    1. Andra Saltzberg says

      For the Russians, every confrontation is not a red line.
      They are patiently waiting to checkmate the US, et. al.,
      in the long game; the chessmaster’s way.

    2. XSFRGR says

      Perhaps Russia/Putin was merely sucking the U$ farther into a swamp that would swallow it. The US has earned vast numbers of enemies, and expended much blood, and treasure in pursuit of its ever changing agenda, and has achieved no success. Russia has facilitated Americas disaster, and that brings to mind one of Sun Tzu’s favorite maxims: Never interfere with an enemy that is destroying itself.

  5. Jerry Hood says

    As long as there will be in Kremlin Rus.Putin, the zionazi- ashkeNazi USrael will attack Russia on all battle fields,except hot war…Rus.Putin needs to go behind jew Gorbatchev to LGBT Satan Francisco- and Russia needs a true,strong Patriot= Varyag of Russian= Viking blood!!! Rus.Putin is jew clown in Kremlin…

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