By Ray McGovern, June 17, 2021
Ray elaborated on that question and on other summit issues, including the ones briefly discussed below, during a 15-minute interview today with “The Critical Hour”.
At President Putin’s press conference right after yesterday’s summit meeting with President Biden, Euronews journalist Galina Polonskaya asked Putin if he had reached “a new level of trust with the U.S. president”.
In response, Putin quoted Leo Tolstoy:
“Tolstoy once said, there is no happiness in life, only lightening flashes (зарницы) of it — cherish them. I believe that in this situation some kind of family trust is not possible. However, it seems to me we have seen “lightening flashes” (“зарницы” промелькнули) of it.
In a speech in St. Petersburg two weeks ago, Putin identified the huge fly in the ointment. Acknowledging the political pressures any US president faces in trying to carve out a more sensible relationship with Russia, Putin asserted that “to a certain extent, Russian-American relations have become hostage to internal political processes in the United States itself.”
“I hope it ends someday. I mean the fundamental interests in the field of at least security, strategic stability and the reduction of weapons dangerous for the whole world are still more important than the current domestic political situation in the United States itself.”
Biden’s prickly defensiveness, including ranting at journalists, who intimate he might be too trusting of Putin and too confident that Putin “will change his behavior”, is part and parcel of what Putin was alluding to.
Here, for example, is how Biden answered a journalist who asked at his press conference, “Do you believe you can trust him [Putin]?”
Look, this is not about trust; this is about self-interest, and verification of self-interest. That’s what it’s about. … I don’t say, ‘Well, I trust you. No problem’. Let’s see what happens.
As I wrote Wednesday in “Trust Lacking at Blah Summit ( See: https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2021/06/16/ray-mcgovern-trust-lacking-at-blah-summit/ ) This tends to turn the tried-and-tested “Trust, But Verify” approach on its head, and does not auger well for improvement in U.S.-Russia ties any time soon.
Last but hardly least, Putin is well aware that although Biden is president, he is not only “hostage to internal political processes” but is likely to be thwarted by the formidable Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex, should he try to bang some heads together and force steps toward rapprochement with Russia.
The MICIMATT has extinguished many a “lightening flash”. If — and it is a big “IF” — President Biden does try to take it on, the odds are heavily against him, barring some kind of miracle.