Joe Biden had a Zoom phone call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin today over Russia’s threatening Ukraine with more than 175,000 troops massed on the border.
As we reported earlier, it didn’t start well because the first release of information from the call wasn’t from Joe Biden or the U.S. as to what had gone on, but from the Russians — from Russian state media.
"I hope next time we can meet in person," President Biden can be heard telling Putin on their video call.
Russia allowed state media in for a short video spray of the first few moments of the call – the White House did not allow American press any access. https://t.co/KcBZwHdFQK
— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) December 7, 2021
That’s just ridiculous that the Biden team doesn’t feel any obligation to provide anything to Americans. But he’s treated the media and his obligation to be transparent with a quiet disdain, as though he has no such obligation to provide information to the public. We’ve seen Biden cancel important press conferences like the ‘Three Amigos’ conference and cancel remarks on the supply chain crisis just moments before he was set to make them. It’s ridiculous that, because of their fear of Biden’s gaffes, they wouldn’t comply with basic transparency for the American people. We shouldn’t have to find out what happened in the call from Vladimir Putin.
But even in that little segment that the Russians released, we can already see the issues. Doubtless, the Russians can as well.
WATCH: Biden greets Putin via video conference before seeking to ease tensions over Russia’s massing of troops along the border with Ukraine and fears of a possible invasion https://t.co/LcIe2XGHnE pic.twitter.com/hsbtCDaQzm
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) December 7, 2021
If you watch the video, Putin says hello to Biden in Russian. While Putin is very relaxed, you can’t hear Biden respond but then you can see him fiddling with things on the other end. He appeared to have forgotten to turn the microphone on and was having difficulties. Biden finally gets it on, he waves, and you hear him chuckling and saying, “Hello.”
President Biden waves to President Putin at start of video call from the White House Situation Room. pic.twitter.com/06xFoKAFVQ
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) December 7, 2021
“It’s good to see you again,” Biden said. “We didn’t get to see one another at the G20. I hope the next time we meet, we do it in person.”
Now, I don’t want to be picky but when you’re supposed to be on a extremely serious call, warning Putin off of war against Ukraine, I don’t think he’s particularly frightened, when you can’t even turn on your mic and you come off waving and sounding like old Uncle Joe down at the home who’s glad to see a visitor.
Biden is already at a deficit on the world stage after his horrific withdrawal from Afghanistan and his last meeting with Putin at the G7 in Geneva. There, he was also very weak, meeting with Putin, despite cyberattacks linked to Russians on U.S. infrastructure, needing note cards and then nodding that he, Biden, trusted Putin in response to a reporter’s questions. Biden has never been tough on Putin. Indeed, he gave him everything he wanted when it came to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which greatly helped Russia and increased its ability to have an energy grip on the EU, while also hurting Ukraine, cutting them out of the transit fees that they had previously been getting. That’s why the U.S. fought it for so many years before Biden just caved to the Russians on it.
Russia just released those first few moments of the call, so we don’t know exactly what else Biden said to Putin. He was supposed to threaten him with severe sanctions and the possibility of more forces deployed to the region. They spoke for about two hours, so let’s hope he did say something of value but I don’t hold out a lot of hope.