U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin meet for the U.S.-Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland June 16, 2021. Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Pool via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

It’s nothing personal. It’s just business.

Both President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed confidence that Wednesday’s three-hour summit was productive and even pleasant – but they also had starkly different views on what they discussed, with the tone of mafia leaders talking about the possibility of lines being crossed. 

Putin, who said after the summit that there was “no hostility” between the two even as tensions ratcheted since Biden took office, claimed cyberattacks were being carried out by the U.S., not his country, despite evidence that says otherwise. He also compared opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s potential for street violence to the “terrible events” sparked by Black Lives Matter and criticized America’s humanitarian record. 

Biden warned of “devastating consequences” for Russia if Navalny died in prison, part of his plan to address humanitarian concerns with Putin, but he also made it sound like an obligation. You know, just business. 

“I also told him that no president of the United States could keep faith with the American people if they did not speak out to defend our democratic values, to stand up for the universal and fundamental freedoms that all men and women have in our view,” he said.

Still, both agreed that they made progress that could have only happened face-to-face. The two countries will return their ambassadors to their posts and agreed to negotiate on cybersecurity, and Putin called the talks “constructive,” even calling Biden “an experienced statesman” in a thinly veiled criticism of former President Donald Trump.

“Both sides expressed the intention to understand each other and to seek common ground,” Putin said. “Our conversation took almost two hours. It’s not every world leader that gets this amount of attention.”

MEDIA PERSPECTIVES

Putin Sucks Up to Biden: There’s a ‘Spark of Hope in His Eyes’ – The Daily Beast – 6/16/2021
Putin, for his part, has clearly revealed in his starring role in Biden’s first international trip, culminating in a free-wheeling press conference in which the Russian leader nimbly dodged questions about his human rights record, musing on philosophy and comparing the jailing of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny to the arrests of rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol in January.

As Putin-Biden Meet, There’s One ‘Weapon’ Russia Can’t Brandish – Forbes – 6/16/2021
As President Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he must know he will be dealing with a master at sleight-of-hand.

Joe Biden’s message to Vladimir Putin? The adults are back in charge – CNN – 6/16/2021
President Joe Biden had one single and simple goal at his press conference in the wake of his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva: Project absolute and utter normality. Did Biden engage in any threats? No, he said. Was there hyperbole on either side? No, he said.

Five things we learned from the Biden-Putin summit in Geneva – the Guardian – 6/16/2021
In Geneva, by contrast, cool normality was on display. Biden was well prepared for the US-Russia summit. 

What I learned being in the room with Vladimir Putin – Axios – 6/16/2021
From his timing to his baiting techniques and his postgame spin, Russia’s president commands an array of tactics aimed at putting U.S. leaders on the defensive and in response mode — and has decades of experience fine-tuning them.

Once, Superpower Summits Were About Nukes. Now, It’s Cyberweapons. – New York Times – 6/15/2021
For 70 years, meetings between American presidents and Soviet or Russian leaders were dominated by one looming threat: the vast nuclear arsenals that the two nations started amassing in the 1940s, as instruments of intimidation and, if deterrence failed, mutual annihilation.

Garry Kasparov on Biden-Putin meeting: Biden ‘gave credibility’ of US to ‘brutal dictator’ – Fox News – 6/16/2021
Chairman of the Renewed Democracy Initiative Garry Kasparov told “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday that President Biden meeting with Vladimir Putin in Geneva implies that the United States is “giving credibility to a brutal dictator.”

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVES

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