President Biden is in Europe, looking for new ways to lead from behind, project weakness and fumble words. At least, if those are his goals, he’s doing a tremendous job. I don’t know what was the most cringe-worthy moment of his G-7 press conference: the part where he confused Syria with Libya, or the part where he said he wouldn’t have a joint press conference with Vladimir Putin, defensively claiming that “this is not a contest about who can do better in front of a press conference…” That’s practically an admission that you do see it as a contest and you know you’d lose.
Now, try to imagine Trump being afraid to appear on stage with Putin. The write-up at Redstate.com was even more brutal.
Then there was the blowback over Biden’s seeming acceptance of Putin’s call to exchange Russian cybercriminals if the US would hand over people in America who are wanted by Russia (the trick part: that latter group aren’t necessarily criminals.) That sent Biden’s aides rushing to mop up his mess.
You know the President is projecting more weakness than a solar-powered flashlight at midnight when it’s hardly even worth mentioning his comments about not being allowed to take questions from non-pre-approved reporters because he’s already made that excuse so many times in the past.
These foreign trips that put American leaders on a world stage can either enhance their standing or signal to our enemies that we have weak and ineffective leadership, so it’s safe to get aggressive. God help us because if Kamala Harris’ trips south of the border (but never actually TO the border) have shown her to be painfully Not Ready for Prime Time, Biden’s trip to Europe is flashing the message “Long Past His Shelf Date” like a neon sign.
Meanwhile, whenever Russian President Vladimir Putin gives an interview, you can’t take what he says at face value. But it can be interesting to hear what he says and the way he says it, to try to figure out the angle he’s playing. For instance, going into a meeting with President Biden, Putin praised his hated predecessor Trump as an “extraordinary, talented individual” and said that Biden is “radically different,” and belittled him as “a career man, he has spent virtually his entire adulthood in politics."
That’s a great example of playing head games to throw off your opponent. It’s also interesting to see how long Putin can string along a reporter who’s bluntly asking him if he’s a killer, dismissing it as nonsense and fake news but somehow never specifically denying it.