President Joe Biden’s first overseas trip put his political and negotiating philosophy ahead of everyone, as he gathered traditional US democratic allies to tackle new and old challenges and proposed an often-rosy take on the options of cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin after a one-on-one summit.
Here are some key takeaways:
Biden and Putin didn’t use the word “reset” to label the condition of affairs between the 2 nations after their summit in Switzerland. But that’s what the meeting amounted to, with both men risking out clear areas of divergence, even as they pointed to smaller-scale areas where they could unite.
They expressed both a joint respect and a mutual scepticism. It was an sudden return to more conservative US-Russia inclosing after the presidency of Donald Trump, who often seemed to raise Putin and create at least the ambition that the countries could be more like partners.
This time, each leader left with the estimation that some of the old rules still apply. Russia returns to its place as a “worthy adversary,” as Biden put it, rather than some quite associate. And the longer-standing tensions, over cyberwarfare and human rights, remain.
After their three-hour meeting, Biden’s sunny character stood in sharp difference to the more sober, taciturn tone of Putin, who at times became self – justifying when asked questions by reporters about human rights violations in Russia and therefore the country’s attacks of Ukraine.
Even so, Biden recognized his optimism was more wishful thinking than reality.
“I’m getting to drive you all crazy because i do know you want me to always put a negative thrust on things, particularly publicly ,” he said shortly before boarding Air Force One, adding, that way, “you guarantee nothing happens.”
It emphasized the president’s talking style, whether it’s with Putin or with Senate Republicans reception on infrastructure — during which he publicly expresses his confidence that a deal can be struck despite often overwhelming odds.
“I know we make policy bent be this great, great skill that somehow quite “> is sort of kind of a cipher ,” Biden said. “All policy could also be a logical extension of personal relationships. It’s the way human nature functions.”
He later added, “There’s a worth to being realistic and to put on an optimistic front, an optimistic face.”
Biden’s eight-day, three-country foreign trip established his emphasis on private relationships above all.
“There’s no substitute, as those of you who have covered me for a quick time know, for face-to-face dialogue between leaders. None,” Biden said, stating his summit with Putin successful simply for the actual fact that they spoke face to face .
Throughout his trip, most of Biden’s meetings were conducted privately , without cameras, or with only a couple of moments hospitable media.
It highlighted Biden’s faith in immaterial personal ties that can drive policy outcomes, both foreign and domestic.
And it marked a clear leaving in style from Trump, whose carefree public meetings with global leaders became something of legend on the international stage. Relationships inclined to flow one way — with sycophantic public displays by heads of state and government trying to get on Trump’s good side.
Biden is banking that those leaders will welcome a return to the “old school” approach.