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White House

Jen Psaki: See, Our Summits with Foreign Dictators Are Different

Then-Vice President Joe Biden shakes hands with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during their meeting in Moscow in 2011. (Alexander Natruskin/Reuters)

President Joe Biden, discussing his predecessor Donald Trump’s summits with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un: “What I would not do is I would not do what had been done in the recent past.  I would not give him all that he’s looking for is: national — international recognition as legitimate and — and say — and give them what allowed him to move in the direction of appearing to be more — how can I say it? — more serious about what he wasn’t at all serious about.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, explaining why Biden will meet with Russia’s authoritarian leader Vladmir Putin in Geneva next month:

We may have forgotten over the last couple of years, but this is how diplomacy works.  We don’t work together — we don’t meet with people only when we agree.  It’s actually important to meet with leaders when we have a range of disagreements, as we do with Russian leaders.

So we don’t regard the meeting with the Russian President as a reward; we regard it as a vital part of defending America’s interests.

And President Biden is meeting with Vladimir Putin because of our country’s differences, not in spite of them.  It’s an opportunity to raise concerns where we have them and, again, to move toward a more stable and predictable relationship with the Russian government.

So in the Biden White House, the U.S. president holding a summit with Kim Jong Un is rewarding the North Korean leader, but the U.S. president holding a summit with Vladimir Putin is not rewarding the Russian leader. This is because Kim Jong Un was not as serious about negotiations as he appeared, but Vladimir Putin is as serious about negotiations as he appears.

Clear as mud!

Some may scoff that despite the record of duplicity that marks the past 22 years or so, the Biden White House believes Putin can deliver “a more stable and predictable relationship.” Then again, Putin’s duplicity and skullduggery is pretty stable and predictable.



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