Biden-Putin summit: going back in time? – The Weekly 58

Last week’s most important and most widely covered international political event was perhaps the Geneva meeting of US President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Although the public interest in the meeting was intense (just think of the embarrassing intermission with the media representatives at the beginning), many questions were still left unanswered, including such an important one as where Europe is.

Realistically, you couldn’t expect any great surprises from Biden and Putin’s Geneva summit, since US-Russia relations had deteriorated so much recently that even the fact of the two heads of state meeting seemed like a significant step forward.

What we saw proved the expectations right: although the sensitive issues were not left unaddressed, the parties demonstrated no willingness whatsoever to resolve these conflicts.

However, we do have some reason to be optimistic about the relations of the two great powers: at least the channels of diplomacy were restored by allowing the previously recalled Russian and the American ambassadors to return to their stations, and the parties also managed to agree on a few issues where some further cooperation can potentially be expected.

Consequently, the widely envisioned cold war does not seem to be impending in the near future. Although the media kept an ever more watchful eye on every little gesture of both presidents to try and figure out how a step or a phrase might imply weakness or strength, both Biden and Putin likely had their reasons to return home satisfied.

Putin got yet another confirmation that he is treated as an equal party – something that has been a centuries-long goal of Russian leaders. On the other hand, Biden can tell that he personally voiced his concerns to Moscow with regard to the state of democracy in Russia as well as the cyber-attacks coming from there.

White House and Kremlin experts will certainly keep analyzing the two presidents’ meeting for quite a while. 

There will be a lot of speculations as to which period of the era when world politics was completely determined by the competition of these two power centres was the Biden-Putin summit most reminiscent of. As far as we, Europeans are concerned, it means that the EU, despite all its efforts, has not really been able to make progress over the last fifty years in terms of gaining importance at the highest levels. In short: Brussels still does not show next to Washington and Moscow.

And if you think about Josep Borrell’s February performance in Moscow, I believe we have every reason to envy our American friends whose only concern at the moment is whether Biden and his coat were perhaps a bit too funny at the outdoor press conference…

- JOBBIK MEP MÁRTON GYÖNGYÖSI Biden-Putin summit: going back in time? – The Weekly 58 - Gyöngyösi Márton (