When Biden Meets Putin
U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who are scheduled to meet in Geneva on June 16, may know each other too well. They first met in 2011, when Biden, then U.S. vice president, by his own account told Putin, then Russian prime minister, “I don’t think you have a soul.” They clashed again after 2014, when Biden was tasked with bolstering Ukraine in the wake of its protests and pressuring Russia to scale back its military interference in eastern Ukraine.
Putin then tasked himself with pushing back against Biden and the strain of U.S. policy he represented. The Russian president had his intelligence services interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election in the hope that Donald Trump, once elected, might reverse the Obama administration’s stance on Russia. In the ensuing years, Putin’s minions likely passed along information or misinformation on Biden’s son Hunter, which Trump’s minions eagerly received and did their best to deploy in the 2020 campaign. With so much jagged history between them, the latest meeting between Biden and Putin will be awkward at a personal level.