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Biden faces 2 rivals in 24 hours

He may have considered the impermanence of US leaders during a two-hour interview with current US President Joe Biden on Tuesday as he heard a stern warning not to invade Ukraine further.

Zoom diplomacy. Note: The high-stakes diplomatic gazes play out the same as everything else in the pandemic age, essentially on Zoom – although who knows what secure video system the world leaders are using.

The White House posted a photo of Biden looking at the image of Putin on a video screen. A similar photo comes from the US president’s call with Xi in November.

Biden has presented his presidency as an effort to reaffirm democracies against autocracies, and this week’s attempt to block Russian aggression against Ukraine has proven the point.

He warned Putin to back down from a military build-up threatening Ukraine that has alarmed Europe and the United States.

Biden faces 2 rivals in 24 hours

It is not known if Putin is serious in his dream of re-establishing the Soviet Union by pushing deeper into Ukraine than he did in 2014.

Now the western world is on high alert again and Biden has made it clear to Putin that there will be more costly consequences this time around than the sanctions and condemnation Russia faced when it took hold. of Crimea and that the Russian-backed separatists took control of the Donbass region.

Since then, the separatists have been at war, with Russian help, against Ukraine.

“What we did not do in 2014 we are prepared to do now,” Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters after the virtual call.

Biden, by the way, was intimately involved in the US response to Russia in 2014 when he was vice president.

How is Russian accumulation different today? It appears to include supply lines to support protracted conflict and up to 175,000 troops along the border, according to informed US intelligence sources.

Biden and other countries have strongly supported Ukraine’s sovereignty and promised that swift sanctions will be imposed on Russia in the event of an invasion.

They did not rule out US military involvement, and Sullivan said the United States would flow more military supplies and potentially US military personnel through NATO’s neighbors.

Putin has his own “alternative facts,” according to CNN’s Matthew Chance, who is covering the story from Odessa, Ukraine.

Chance told CNN’s Jake Tapper of the Kremlin’s version of the call, in which Putin “made it clear that he did not believe Russia was responsible for an escalation in Ukraine. He blamed the escalation on Russia. NATO “.

What does Putin want? One of the main goals is to ensure that Ukraine never joins NATO, an alliance that was initially formed during the Cold War to provide a counterweight to the now defunct Soviet Union.

In short, then, what Putin aims to stop is the advancement of Western-style democracies with the military.

Push democracy. This week, the US State Department is hosting a different virtual meeting, a “Summit for Democracy,” although the Washington Post notes that several of the guests, like Pakistan, may need a reminder.
It may sound incredible, but the Chinese government has argued that its system is a preferable form of democracy in a new document released by Beijing. this month. He opposed American-style democracy, money in politics, and the two-party system. He did not mention the repression of dissent or autocracy in his own model, which does not allow citizens to participate directly in choosing their main leaders.

It was human rights abuses in China’s western Xinjiang region that led the United States to consider a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics – which in itself is a half measure since American athletes would still compete in the games. .

The importance of natural gas in Europe. A major complication in Biden’s efforts to promote democracy is that democratic economies are so intertwined with autocratic economies.

Russia has a leverage effect on Europe as it supplies natural gas, and the United States has fought against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would transport natural gas from Russia directly to Germany without going through Ukraine.
Germany slowed down approval of the pipeline in November. Reuters reported on Tuesday that U.S. officials told members of Congress that Germany would shut down the pipeline completely if Russia invaded Ukraine.

China’s global economic importance is even more pronounced.

CNN’s Luke McGee wrote on Tuesday about a reassessment in Europe of its economic ties with China.

Biden’s summit with Xi in November was actually seen as some sort of thaw in post-Donald Trump relations, when the former president imposed tariffs on Chinese imports that Biden has yet to lift.

The possible Olympic diplomatic boycott is a step towards improving relations.

No matter what Biden does about Putin and Xi, it’s a safe bet that the next president will be dealing with the same two adversaries.


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