Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden shake hands at Geneva summit
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Mr Biden and Mr Putin met in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday for their first meeting since the US President took office. But reactions to the summit have been mixed, with some commentators saying Mr Biden put on a “display of weakness”.
Nile Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation and former aide to Margaret Thatcher, said Mr Biden’s summit was disastrous.
He claimed the US President offered Mr Putin a “global media opportunity to defend his tyranny and destructive foreign policy”.
The conservative commentator then added: “Biden made no mention in his press conference of the prospect of further sanctions against Moscow or of the hugely controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
“Nor did he make any reference to Russia’s use of chemical weapons on European soil, most notably the barbaric Novichok poisonings in Salisbury.
“His focus was on cooperation rather than confrontation.”
Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Gardiner said Mr Biden is following his predecessor Barack Obama’s “lacklustre ‘leading from behind’ doctrine”.
He then said Mr Biden agreeing to the summit “was a mistake”, with no “conceivable benefit” for the US.
The former aide wrote: “Putin is not a pragmatist like Mikhail Gorbachev, the Cold War leader who worked with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher to bring an end to the Soviet Empire.
“He is a cold-blooded killer, schooled in the murderous and uncompromising mindset of the KGB, and he should never have been granted a meeting with the US president while there are still Russian troops in Georgia and Ukraine.”
Mr Gardiner then suggested the US President’s European tour “began disastrously” after he pressured Boris Johnson over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Reports from The Times held Biden ordered Yael Lempert, a senior US diplomat, to tell Lord Frost at a meeting the Government was “inflaming” tensions in Ireland and Europe with its opposition to checks at ports in the province.
Mr Gardiner then concluded: “This week was Biden’s first major test on the world stage.
“The fact that he failed it so badly sets a deeply worrying precedent for the next three-and-a-half years.”
Speaking after the Geneva summit, Mr Biden insisted there is a “genuine prospect to significantly improve relations” with Russia.
The US President told reporters he stated to Mr Putin he will always raise issues of “fundamental human rights”, including jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, and two Americans “wrongfully imprisoned” in Russia.
Mr Biden also vowed the the consequences would be “devastating for Russia” if Mr Navalny, who has recovered from a hunger strike protest against his detention conditions, died in prison.
But Mr Biden also made clear his agenda was “not against Russia” but “for the American people”.
Donald Trump, former US President who met with Mr Putin in 2018, blasted Mr Biden for getting “nothing” out of the Geneva summit.
He told Fox News’s Sean Hannity: “We did not get anything.
“We gave a very big stage to Russia, and we got nothing”.
Mr Putin however told reporters the two leaders had a “constructive” talk.
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