Everyone was expecting Joe Biden to bare his teeth during the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16. Anti-Russia hawks in Washington were not pleased with the attitude adopted by Biden, who had branded Putin as a murderer, to say the least. These hawks were expecting Biden to show Putin the U.S.’s game face. On the other hand, countries like Ukraine and Poland, where the “fear of Russia” are at its peak, were utterly disappointed with what happened at the Geneva Summit.
Poland and Ukraine were deeply disturbed by Biden annulling the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on companies participating in the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline project ahead of the summit. To think, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had to find out about Biden’s decision from the press. To add insult to injury, NATO and EU member Poland was also informed about it by the media. Whereas, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau in January that Washington would not make any decision on the Nord Stream-2 pipeline without consulting Poland first. Furthermore, it was well known that Blinken had stated that in a session of the U.S. Senate they were determined to stop the Nord Stream-2 project, and guaranteed that Biden would use all his powers of persuasion to this end.
Poland is allegedly one of America’s closest allies. However, this wouldn’t be the first time the U.S. leaves one of its allies in the cold to further its own interests. During the “Cuba Missile Crisis” in 1962 between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, Turkey had experienced a similar fate. Washington and Moscow had struck an agreement between themselves on the sly. According to this deal, Washington agreed to remove the nuclear warheads in Turkey’s İzmir, and Moscow would remove the ones in Cuba. It must have slipped the minds of the Americans to tell Turkey. Years later we learnt that the Jupiter warheads had been removed.
So why did Biden follow this path? Well, the issue has always been about “China.” During the Cold War era, Washington had formed an alliance with eastern Europe and Japan against the Soviet Union. Later, China was officially included in this alliance. President Richard Nixon traveled to Beijing in 1972 and met with Chinese leader Mao. This surprise visit was the first step in thawing the ice between the U.S. and China. Previously, China was the Soviet Union's closest ally. Now, people are saying that the U.S. should cozy up to Russia against China.
A few days ago in a Senate Committee on Appropriations session to discuss the Pentagon’s 2022 budget, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin highlighted that China is the “primary threat focus” in terms of U.S. defense policies. Austin also said the U.S. has allocated more than $5 billion to develop deterrence against China in the Pacifics. Under Biden's administration, new units were established in the Pentagon and other relevant institutions for a more effective fight against China. The U.S. is also trying to tighten ranks with countries like India, Australia and Japan. The “China issue” is not limited to defense for the U.S. After America, China is in possession of the world’s largest economy. Furthermore, China is taking steps in new generation technologies that could bypass the U.S.
We had previously mentioned the foreign policy elites in America who defend a U.S. rapport with Russia in order to stop China. These elites want Russia far away from China under any circumstance. Those opposing this view, on the other hand, argue that the Russian policy group, which is described as "Westernizers" and advocates that Russia should move forward in harmony with the West, has lost its power. Apparently, in the power struggle between the “Westernizer elites” and the nationalist elites described as “the people of the land,” Putin put his weight behind the nationalists. Therefore, it is a futile effort for America to walk down this road with Russia. This view also aligns with the opinions of the anti-Russia hawks.
There are those who say that the U.S.’ China-oriented foreign policy is what is propelling Biden to test a “reconciliation” policy with Russia. Biden's annulment of the Nord Stream-2 sanctions and reports that he froze the $100 million military aid package for Ukraine are being associated with this policy. On the other hand, according to anti-Russia hawks, Putin is taking advantage of America's beef with China, and is strengthening his hand against the West and U.S. at the global table.