After March’s back-and-forth barbs, Russian President Vladimir Putin has called President Biden’s bluff.
Soon after the inauguration, the new administration has increased the rhetoric toward the Russian leader, with Biden going as far as to label him a “killer.”
Biden also signaled that he had no intention of holding diplomatic conversations with a government he believes has frequently interfered with U.S. elections, conducted cyberattacks has forcibly occupied Crimea, and is gathering forces in Ukraine.
After speaking twice by phone, the administration’s tone abruptly shifted with the announcement of Biden’s proposal of a summit in the coming months. This so-called summit will take place in a neutral third country, signaling the U.S. bowing to Putin’s authority.
Russian President Putin upped the stakes and responded to the U.S.-imposed sanctions by expelling 10 high-ranking U.S. diplomats.
At the time, the Russian Foreign Ministry threatened the U.S. with impending retaliation, saying “Washington should realize that it will have to pay a price for the degradation of bilateral ties.”
Primed for unrest
Biden indicated after their second phone call that he would not be pushing for further sanctions against Russia. Not only would the increased sanctions harm Russia’s economy, it is feared that it could also potentially harm its citizens by causing further economic strain while possibly ramping up anti-U.S. feelings.
Putin is well-known for his often-reckless actions. The Biden administration and crucial U.S. allies hope that positive diplomatic signs keep Putin’s power moves at bay.
With troops amassing in the Ukraine and vocal Putin critic Alexei Navalny imprisoned, and in dire condition on a hunger strike, the region is primed for unrest.
Many political and military experts surmise that Putin’s amassing of military troops in combination with the development of a plethora of military weaponry signals the possibility of reentering a new Cold War.
This international crisis can test the resolve and strength of the Biden administration in its early stages.