A dramatic start
Before and shortly after taking office, the new US President Joe Biden delivered a tough message to Russia. However, Biden’s early days as White House saw dramatic moves, from the proposed renewal of the New Strategic Assault Arms Treaty (New START) to his phone call with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
According to analysts, US President Biden soon faced many challenges, including a thorny issue of balancing action in relations with Russia to both show a tough stance before the President. Putin, both securing diplomatic space in the post-Donald Trump era. Accordingly, the Putin-Biden relationship is said to be different from the relationship between Putin-Trump, who “admires” the Russian leader.
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Unlike his predecessors, Mr. Biden does not hold hopes for a reconstruction of relations with Russia. Instead, he points out that what the new administration is aiming for is to control differences with former Cold War enemies, not necessarily solving these problems or improving relations.
Instead, faced with serious challenges in internal affairs and many pressing decisions about Iran or China, a direct confrontation with Russia was not what Mr. Biden was looking for.
According to AFP, US President Biden has taken a tough stance in relations with Russia from the first phone call in his new position with the leader of the Kremlin, highlighting concerns about issues such as the Navalny case. and Russia’s “assertiveness” in Ukraine, but also expressed a welcome for bilateral cooperation to maintain the agreement to control nuclear weapons.
However, the notable highlight in the first phone call between the new US president and the Russian leader was that both Moscow and Washington showed their willingness to cooperate on nuclear issues despite the many conflicts. contradiction. The White House said the two sides had agreed to quickly move forward to complete the negotiation of procedures for an additional five-year extension of the New START treaty before the agreement expires in February.
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The Kremlin also said during the phone call, both President Putin and President Biden were “satisfied” about the talks. The Russian leader then submitted to the National Assembly a draft of the New START extension. AFP assessed that these moves have raised hopes for a more stable relationship between the two most armed powers in the world and put an end to instability under Donald Trump.
The Kremlin did not mention the tensions between the two countries and only said that the leadership also discussed some “specific issues on the bilateral and international agenda”. The Kremlin described the conversation as frank and realistic. Analysts say this is diplomacy often used to talk about stressful exchanges. Among the contents mentioned were issues related to the COVID-19 epidemic, the Iran nuclear deal, Ukraine, and trade and economic issues.
Optimistic signals for Russia?
Mr. Biden’s approach has the support of a number of former US diplomats who have been in charge of Russian affairs, and are looking forward to seeing Mr. Biden’s new team, including security advisers. National Security Jake Sullivan and the State Department’s third nominee, Victoria Nuland, will formulate policy on Russia.
Ms. Nuland is considered unpopular with Putin and Russian officials because she has a supportive stance for pro-Western politicians in Ukraine and served as the person in charge of relations with Europe at the US State Department. The second term of President Barack Obama. Victoria Nuland and Jake Sullivan are said to have the same position in the policy dealing with Russia, namely the tough stance on human rights issues, and Russia’s attempts in Eastern and Central Europe, but still maintain the line. open to the Kremlin in a number of other files.
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The phone call was initiated by the White House to discuss the renewal of New START, the agreement will expire on February 5, international media said. Meanwhile, the AP again quoted US officials who requested anonymity as saying that Moscow had actively contacted and proposed to conduct a phone call last week. Accordingly, President Biden accepted the call, but wanted to previously prepare with a team of government officials and talk with European allies, including the British, French and German leaders.
The new developments show that the Russia-US relationship is likely to continue to develop dramatically in the near future under Mr. Biden. However, the moves related to New START still receive expectations from experts. Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, welcomes the new move by Moscow and Washington as a wise decision “will help limit the arms race and set the stage for more ambitious steps to take. minimizes nuclear threats, at the same time brings us closer to a world without nuclear weapons ”.
Mr. Kimball emphasized: “The renewal of the new START should be only the first step … in the process of nuclear disarmament diplomacy between the US and Russia … Both have a special responsibility and a national interest in reducing the his huge, costly and deadly nuclear arsenal ”.
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Meanwhile, the chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Russian Federation Council (Senate) Viktor Bondarev said that the level of confidence between Moscow and Washington is increasing with steps to renew New START.
Speaking to the press, Mr. Bondarev stressed: “Thanks to the work that our President and the Government have done, the level of trust (between Russia and the US) is increasing. We must stop the dispute. , we must find common ground in order to facilitate the further consolidation of peace and stability around the world All measures currently implemented affirm the goodwill of politicians and the military. “.