How will Biden, who called Putin ‘soulless’, stand up to Russia?
For two US leaders, it all came down to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s soul.
“I looked the man in the eye. I found him very straightforward and trustworthy – I was able to get a sense of his soul,” President George W Bush said in 2000 after his first meeting with Putin, then a fledgeling, shy helmsman who sought the approval of Western political heavyweights.
At the time, Washington saw Russia as an emerging democracy convalescing from the phantom pains that followed the loss of Moscow’s Cold War-era might. To Bush’s White House, Moscow was a regional power with a struggling economy and a dysfunctional military that could barely handle Chechnya.
Eleven years later, US Vice President Joe Biden met with the seasoned, self-confident Putin, who was sitting out his two-term limit as prime minister under his handpicked successor, Dmitri Medvedev.
Biden rebuked Putin for stifling opposition and persecuting oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Then their dialogue took a macabre turn.
“I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul,” Biden recalled telling Putin during a 2011 meeting in the Kremlin, according to the New Yorker magazine. “And he looked back at me, and he smiled, and he said, ‘We understand one another.’”
Biden’s boss Barack Obama saw a “reset” of ties with increasingly assertive Moscow as one of his administration’s top priorities.
But then Putin crossed a political Rubicon or two.
Moscow “reestablished” its domination in the former Soviet Union with one of its smallest neighbours, Georgia, during a brief war in 2008.
Putin revived Russia’s clout in the Middle East by repeatedly backing Iran, saving Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s collapsing regime, and placing his bets on renegade general Khalifa Haftar in war-dismembered Libya.
Moscow supported Ukrainian separatists, was reported to have backed Eurosceptic nationalists throughout the European Union, and allegedly meddled in the 2016 presidential vote in the US that brought his “friend” Donald Trump to power.
Biden will be the fifth US president to deal with Putin, who apparently understands that his chances of mending ties with the White House are thin as a reed.
Biden: ‘I’ll stand up to autocrats like Putin’
Biden sees Russia as Washington’s archrival, the “biggest threat” to America’s security.
He already called Putin’s government “paranoid” for poisoning opposition leader Alexey Navalny with the military-grade nerve agent Novichok.
“It is the mark of a Russian regime that is so paranoid that it is unwilling to tolerate any criticism or dissent,” he said in early October.
Biden’s approach to Moscow is by far more consistent than Trump’s – and is part of his larger strategy of restoring America’s global clout. Biden intends to rebuild frayed ties with the EU and is determined to revive pressure on strongmen like Putin.
“Unlike Trump, I’ll defend our democratic values and stand up to autocrats like Putin,” Biden tweeted in August.
Observers see no silver lining in the clouds gathering above the Kremlin.
“Biden obviously promised to rally the West against Trumpism, the worldwide Trumpism,” Alexander Baunov of the Carnegie Moscow think-tank told Al Jazeera. “And he sees Putin as part of this global Trumpism.”
Silence from the Kremlin
Meanwhile, the Kremlin has been deliberately quiet about Biden’s election victory.
While most Western leaders sent their congratulations to Biden on November 7, after several television networks declared him the winner of the November 3 vote, Putin is waiting for the final tally.
“We believe it’s correct to wait for the official results of the elections to be announced,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told reporters during a phone briefing on November 9.
After Trump’s 2016 victory, the Kremlin sent out a felicitation within hours.
Peskov cautiously expressed hope in the “normalisation” of ties with the new administration – but did not mention Biden, following an old Kremlin tradition of omitting the names of politicians that displeased Moscow.
In a rare remark about the US election, Putin has also refrained from naming Biden.
“We will work with any future president of the United States – the one whom the American people give their vote of confidence,” Putin said in a lengthy television interview broadcast on October 7, his 68th birthday.
Pro-Kremlin television networks and publications were far more vocal.
They showed an archive clip of Soviet Prime Minister Andrey Gromyko meeting with congressman Biden in 1998. They ridiculed Biden’s age and alleged senility, and doubted the reliability of the US electoral system, echoing Trump’s unfounded claims about a “stolen election”.
Dmitri Kiselyov, a pro-Putin television personality who once said the US should be turned into “radioactive ashes”, said on his Sunday night show that the election proved that the US is “not a country but a huge, chaotic communal apartment, with a criminal flair.”
“One thing is clear – the US has dealt a crushing blow to the remnants of trust to the very procedure of the elections,” Vladimir Soloviev, another popular anchor, said in a November 5 tweet.
Tough on Putin
But how exactly can Biden pressure Russia?
One of the flashpoints is a peace settlement in Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have been fighting the central government since 2014. Biden has repeatedly said that he wants NATO to expand and, possibly, include Ukraine.
Such a move will surely antagonise Putin – and could incite more violence in the separatist region of Donbass.
“Strong pressure on Russia may trigger an escalation in Donbass,” Aleksey Kushch, an analyst based in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, told Al Jazeera.
Another pressure point is economic.
The West has already sanctioned Moscow for annexing Crimea by banning the transfer of sophisticated technologies for Russia’s oil and gas industry and restricting credits for Russian banks and energy companies.
The US has also sanctioned the construction of Russia’s most important energy project – the $11bn natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 designed to double Russia’s pipeline capacity to take gas undersea to Europe and bypass Ukraine that depends on hefty transit fees.
But while these sanctions hurt Russia’s economy, they have been used by some media to demonise the collective West.
What proved more efficient is pinpointed personal sanctions against top Russian officials, and Biden may expand the list.
“I don’t rule out the beginning of serious personal sanctions [against top Russian officials], that proved to be most effective,” Gennady Gudkov, an exiled opposition leader and former lawmaker said.
Follow us on twitter (ajuede.com) or on Instagram (ajuedeman) for details of the global situation presently.
Like our page on facebook @ Info4everybody Last Wednesday, we published the success story from Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, a board-certified family practitioner in New York, after he successfully treated 350 coronavirus patients with 100 percent success using a cocktail of drugs: hydroxychloroquine, in combination with azithromycin (Z-Pak), an antibiotic to treat secondary infections, and zinc sulfate. Dr. Zelenko said he saw the symptom of shortness of breath resolved within four to six hours after treatment. Do you know that the ancient Egypt were civilized by architects from the (500,000 - 4000 BC) Nsukka Civiliation? Now, Dr. Zelenko provides updates on the treatment after he successfully treated 699 COVID-19 patients in New York. In an exclusive interview with former New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, Dr. Vladmir Zelenko shares the results of his latest study, which showed that out of his 699 patients treated, zero patients died, zero patients intubated, and four ho
THE AKAN Copied from the book, Reality as Myth by Onyeji Nnaji . The influence of the Akan on their content nations lies on their population and commonwealth of their brother nations. The Akan are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. Their population is scattered across West Africa and beyond. Among this huge population of the Akan, the Ghanaians are more popular, perhaps because of the political influence of the Ashanti Empire in the area. Not much is heard or known about other Akan settlements like the Akwamu, the Akyem , the Akuapem, the Denkyira, the Abron, the Aowin, the Ahanta, the Anyi, the Baoule, the Chokosi, the Fante, the Kwahu, the Sefwi, the Ahafo, the Assin, the Evalue, the Wassa the Adjukru, the Akye, the Alladian, the Attie,the M'Bato, the Abidji, the Avikam,the Avatime the Ebrie,
Copied from the Book; " Reality as Myth " by Onyeji Nnaji The beauty of the discovering of the Radar Rivers and their channels is that it disproves the western hegemonic claim of the Euphrates valley being the position of the birth of the great river, all the points that opposed their claims notwithstanding. Even God himself was very perfect in His creation by placing them in their positions, hierarchically, according to their birth. The first river that flowed located the Havilah land where there are good quality gold, bdellium and fine onyx stones. Pison was the oldest of the rivers and it flowed through the land of the southern Africa. The second river flowed northward to Ethiopia. It was when Africa had been overtaken by virtue of her proximity to the Great Water that other parts of the world began to encounter the remaining river; remarkable with Hiddekel. Subscribe to ajuede.com to be updated on our posts on dailies. The major problem tow
Copied from the book, Reality as Myths by Onyeji Nnaji T he world of the Bantu travellers shows the walls of the migration that recorded the highest population among the African settlement. Originating from the largest population among the four races that settled in the east before time, all Bantu travellers were pygmies; for that was the nature of the Umudiala, the generation that gave birth to them. Bantu migration was rated the third earliest migration of the Negro race from the east. In this regard, all their movement had involved great population of people compared to the number of people involved in the two earlier populations that gave birth to Ethiopia, Nubia and Egypt: the Walker Traveller, and the Race of Anu. Bantu population as we have identified in the third chapter above outweighs the rest of the population of the ancient fathers that founded many of the nations of antiquity mentioned earlier. Discussing them in beat will pose a little challenge since
STRICTLY FOR COUPLES … You will know that the man is the head while you are his neck. As such, you direct his focus and make him fixative Our series include the following : * Show him what he looks out for from other women * Teach him like he knows nothing * Learn to play naked games with your husband * Learn to package yourself * Learn to work on your husband M y neighbour had v owed never to let any girl survive as a salesgirl in my shop. This thing has happened for over three times. Each time we brought a new salesgirl, the girl would stay for two or three months; and suddenly she would end her contract with us. In all these, my husband did not know. So, being that the girls usually stole money and other items, the reason for their departure became genuine, thus: they ran away to avoid being punished for their actions. But behind this, the underlying truth is that the girls had been embarrassed by my neighbour who would warn them to leave her loosed husband. Re
T he name Nkalaha is a coinage which stands for a people occupying a geographical land and regional setting in the eastern part of Nigeria. It is a coinage which attempts to explain the direction of movement and adventure of the men who founded the community in the 15th century AD. According to oral sources and some documentation about this community, some of these men were believed to have traveled from Ida, old Benue state of Nigeria to inhabit the land. These men had traveled on different days to locate the place. Onojah who originally founded the land was said to have been in a deep search for a place of safety as he was besieged by a fate that appeared to make him somewhat incompatible with his own people. Nkalaha is one of the communities that make up Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Nkalaha occupied the northern part of Ishielu Local Government Area. She is located through the zip 135.031.000. The community sits on 923.768km 2 . She shares boundaries
The Mystery of Number, “Five” in the Igbo Cosmology. From: Aspects of the Ancient African Metaphysics; Chapter: Seven; Topic: Igbo Geometries and the Metaphysics of Numbers. Author: Onyeji Nnaji. I n the Igbo cosmology, the word Isee is a definite symbolic word as revealed through the Igbo language and culture. A human being has five fingers, five toes. The hands and feet are fundamentals to the survival in life as they are necessary in ensuring that man moves to places where he gets food and grapples on the food to sustain his life. To this view, the rhetoric that binds vocatives in the form of incantation (anchoring on the heart-lock: four ) and the concomitant reprisal in the manner of affirmation that holds the human life bind to his original spiritual person, therefore defining existence and essences are unified by the corresponding echo: Isee!!!!! Therefore it stands that anytime a prayer is said in the Igbo land, the attendants who would want the fulfillment of the
INTRODUCTION One thing that made Udi remarkable is the indubitable legacy adopted in commemoration of the legendry fighter, Uto at Nsude. It was one of the greatest contributions of the descendants of Agbaja to the survival of Nsukka civilization of memory. Uto held from Oshie. Uto dies of small pox after a mercenary battle he was hired to fight in the ancient Benin. His body was buried in the evil forest as the tradition demanded. Although he lived no longer, the stepped pyramids above were adopted to commemorate the lasting peace he brought to the entire Oshie and Udi nation of people. Another remarkable thing about Udi is the fertility of the land. This has contributed widely in sustaining the inhabitants and provided a name for the inhabitants in the manner of Abakaliki, Umudike, Ogbaru, Igboariam, Ohaji, Uzouwani, etc., especially in Amofia-Agu, Affa. Udi is a land of great rivers and springs: Adaada, Ajali, Oji, Aria, Nvenu, Ngene Evu, Iyi Ububo, etc. as was the situ
There are four generations…, and the fourth generation, which is the most exalted, is kingless and perfect. These people will enter the holy place of their Father and they will reside in rest … They are kings. They are the immortal within the mortal ( The Nag Hammadi, 219 ) Also read Nsukka Civilization: The Peopling of Ancient Nsukka One of the African homes that colonialism has completely deformed beyond certain level of recognition is Nsukka. Colonialism apart, the most affecting factor to the survival of the meaning which the rich cultural enclave, Nsukka, carries will best be blamed on postcolonial political structure. The biggest harm all these have against Nsukka as a people is that they rubbed her of the meaning of her name; their place of origin; how their fathers managed to come into their present abodes and who their ancestors were. A profound understanding of the excerpt above will open the door towards deciphering the meaning and origin of the people call
by Onyeji Nnaji Eha-Amufu road newly constructed by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state in 2019 A part from the strategic location of the Federal College of Education, one central reason remarkable about Eha-Amufu is her central position and her boundary situation. Eha-Amufu stands at the centre of many communities; as a result she has served as the gateway to different communities. She is bounded to Nkalaha, Agala, Ikem, Umuero and other communities, including Obeagu (pronounced Ubegu). Aside from that, Eha-Amufu embodies the route that traces the way to the northern part of Nigeria for travellers travelling from Ebonyi axis. Eha-Amufu also forms the remarkable boundary community between Enugu State and Ebonyi State. This situation makes Eha-Amufu very strategic in the discussion of the road and rivers across Ebonyi and Enugu. In the era when transportation on rail was the order of the day, the most popular then ‘Express Train and la