The Biden-Putin summit is about “stabilizing and more predictable” US-Russia relations, and “there is no illusion that these people are going to be friends,” says Matthew Rozansky, director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute. Huh.
“President Biden has set reasonably low expectations in terms of not ending this meeting with a big handshake and a signing ceremony and a joint press conference,” he said. “It will be a lot about stabilizing the relationship and making it more predictable. The administration has used the term ‘railing on escalatory behavior.
It is expected that Biden will raise many important issues such as election interference and cyber security, which are going to be difficult. But there may be some interest in finding a common ground on nuclear stability and arms control.
Rozanski says both sides have recognized the political experience offered by both presidents.
“There is a perception that there is no illusion that these people are going to be friends. None of this drama, Namaste Namaste, slaps each other on the back,” he said.
“It is, at best, mutual respect and mutual detention,” he said.
The goal of this meeting is to create conditions where Russia has a stake in negotiations with the United States, Rozansky explains.
“Maybe if Russia has a stake in that negotiation going forward, some unexpected, provocative, aggressive behavior can be dialed back. Because in a sense Putin is getting the engagement he’s looking for.”