Is there a real difference between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin? Or are the two world leaders just polar opposites? That’s the question we asked ourselves recently. The answer to both questions is complex, but a quick examination of their foreign policy views may help us determine which one is more appropriate for the next presidential election. Here’s a closer look at what these two men have in common. They’re both Democrats.
For two decades, Vice President Joe Biden has been building a relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2001, he warned against the dangers of authoritarian empires and later met Putin at the Kremlin. In both 2006 and 2019, Biden has used his own sense of the Russian leader to guide his responses. But can Biden go further than warning against authoritarianism? This question arose as Biden outlined his history on this issue.
Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine provides a unique opportunity for President Biden to unite Americans, deploy multiple rounds of stiff sanctions against Russia and coordinate similar measures with allies around the world. In doing so, he can rededicate America to being the world’s defender of democracy. Although initial sanctions have faced strong resistance from the Republican-controlled Congress, further expansion of sanctions should help establish a consensus across political parties.
Despite the controversy surrounding the vice president’s remarks, he has a track record of clarifying his positions before his aides. In his remarks in Poland last week, Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal.” While he was trying to avoid implying that Russia should change its policies, the comments have caused ripples across the Atlantic. And a senior White House official has said the remark was not a mistake, saying that it was “from the heart.”
The recent rhetoric about Putin has made it harder for Republicans to defend Ukraine. The GOP’s base is receptive to the former president’s views. However, the GOP’s midterm primaries next week may produce a candidate with similar views on foreign policy. If Biden’s views win in those primaries, he could easily thwart Portman and other foreign policy traditionalists.
In addition to the rhetorical gaffe, Biden has been making off-the-cuff remarks about Russia and Ukraine. While the words used by Biden may seem benign, they may be misconstrued as belligerent by Russia. The vice president’s comments on Russia and Ukraine may not be accurate, but they provide a window into his current mindset and that of the Obama administration. So what can we expect from Biden in the coming days?
In the Foreign policy of Joe Biden vs. Vladimir Putin, one big difference between the two candidates is their willingness to use sanctions. While President Obama and Vice President Biden have both used sanctions to punish Russia for its past behavior, the former is skeptical that the move would change Putin’s calculus. The Vice President’s strategy is unlikely to help the Obama administration avoid a war in Europe, and the public is generally unsupportive of the move.
Both President Obama and Biden’s national security team had their own goals while in office. The former VP sparked a scandal when he withdrew U.S. forces from Afghanistan, shocking NATO allies and America’s enemies alike. Another example was when he secretly negotiated with the United Kingdom to supply Australia with nuclear submarines. In addition, he also sabotaged France’s multi-billion-dollar contract for conventional boats. The latter could hurt Biden’s political standing if he stands up to Putin. The decision to limit sanctions on Russia and Germany also drew criticism from some Russian hawks.
White House aides are tracking Republican lawmakers who call for tougher energy sanctions against Russia. This move may cause bipartisan discord in the Senate, and vice president Joe Biden is known for voicing his policies before White House aides. The former vice president argued that calling Putin a “war criminal” changed U.S. policy toward Russia. But he did not explicitly call for regime change, a common practice for American politicians.
In addition, Joe Biden must keep European nations united against Putin’s aggression, and he must maintain his pledge to the world that America will be back. In February, Biden spoke via video to the Munich Security Conference, addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, the Iran nuclear deal, and the threat posed by China. But Biden also chose to bypass the awkward dynamics of a joint press conference, choosing instead to meet with a “free” press and avoid the awkward dynamics.
In his campaign, Biden has escalated his rhetoric against Putin and labeled him a “murderous dictator,” a “pure thug,” and a war criminal. However, he has stressed that the United States would not fight Russia directly in Ukraine. Meanwhile, is consumed with grievances against NATO and rails against America’s “empire of lies.” Ultimately, the foreign policy of may determine the future of Europe.
Russia’s involvement in Crimea
The Russian military invasion of Crimea has been heavily condemned by the Western world. The United States and European Union have both weighed in, criticizing the action. In response, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin backed off from his plans to cut gas prices and said that the Russian-speaking population in the peninsula should be safe. It also made the application process for Russian passports easier. Meanwhile, the pro-Russian protesters in Crimea were free to rally. The military invasion took place on March 4, and overwhelmingly, Crimeans voted to become part of Russia.
This conflict in Ukraine has thrown international law into turmoil, with the annexation of Crimea a key issue. International law and human rights norms are violated by Russia’s actions. This annexation violates the principles of international law and the inviolability of borders. It also violates international morality. Despite this, the Russian legal and political arguments are completely contradictory. While Russia’s actions in Crimea may seem to be legitimate in a historical context, they are not justified.
There is no clear definition of Russia’s annexation doctrine. Although Russian officials have denied annexation plans, Putin has not yet tried to incorporate Crimea into the rest of Ukraine. Annexation would be costly and invite a new wave of international sanctions. As such, the current status quo is best suited to Russian interests. However, this situation remains a concern for many in the international community.
Although most people regard the Russian involvement in Crimea as hostile, there is little doubt that the peninsula is a historically Russian region. Crimea, which is located on the Black Sea, was a Russian territory for over 200 years. Hence, when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, the world expected Russia to take it back. Earlier in history, the peninsula was a Ukrainian region with special autonomy. Nevertheless, the region had large Russian military bases there.
The military involvement in Crimea is not a reaction to the crisis in Ukraine, but rather a deliberate tactic for Russia. The Russian government does not see Crimea as a pawn in its rivalry with the United States. In fact, the Russian government sees Crimea as a “queen” in its chess game. It aims to enhance Russia’s geo-strategic status in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Basin.
U.S. support for Ukraine
The United States recently announced a $700 million package to provide Ukraine with advanced weapons and technology. The package includes training on WTO obligations and technical assistance for Ukraine’s food safety standards. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative convenes a U.S.-Ukraine Trade and Investment Council to foster trade between the two countries. The agreement also provides assistance for Ukraine’s energy needs. This is a significant step toward improving Ukraine’s economic stability.
The United States has already committed an unprecedented amount of military support to Ukraine. The bill includes more than $20 billion for military aid, $6bn in weapons, $9bn for training, and nearly $4bn for expanded operations in Europe. US support for Ukraine is more than double what Israel gets each year. The US is not targeting Russia and is not attacking it in any way. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that the US is a threat to the security of the European Union.
The United States supports Ukraine in its efforts to promote human rights and basic freedoms. The country has made significant progress in fighting anti-Semitism, racism, and discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community. It plans to improve accountability for crimes committed against people of all backgrounds and ethnicities. With U.S. support, Ukraine is transforming itself to be more aligned with Euro-Atlantic practices.
The United States has committed $116 million to Ukraine for military assistance. The funds will cover the costs of providing body armor, helmets, and vehicles for Ukrainian soldiers. These will also cover training in law enforcement and counter-weapons-of-mass-defense capabilities. Additionally, the U.S. government will also contribute to UNHCR and UN Population Fund work in Ukraine. If there is a humanitarian need, the U.S. government will help Ukraine develop its capacity and implement the appropriate military equipment.
The Russian policy is working. The Russians are on the defensive and retreating. If this policy changes, it will reflect poorly on President Biden and the Democratic Party. A decision to change U.S. policy will be difficult. This issue will continue to be debated in political campaigns this fall. In the meantime, the Russians seem to be a tough nut to crack. There is no denying that it is difficult to change a foreign policy that has worked for so long.