General “Bidenisms” and attacks toward Russia were expected in the U.S. president’s speech in Congress. However, both were in short supply. In terms of relations with Moscow, the speech was almost benevolent, and the overall results of the first 100 days of President Joe Biden’s administration can be considered even encouraging — for the Americans, but not for the Chinese and Russians.
In discussing Biden’s speech before Congress (more precisely, before less than half of it), it is impossible to ignore the fact that the president of the United States has made another “Bidenism” — in talking about Russia, at that.
During the speech, Biden found it difficult to utter the word “escalation,” which is what he allegedly wants to avoid in Russian relations. Other than that, nothing new was said about our country regarding “urgent threats” or the like. Thus, when looking past the complicated political speak, the speech even seems conciliatory. Unless, of course, you remember that a day after the call to Moscow with an almost conciliatory offer of a meeting, Biden announced the introduction of new sanctions. Then, directly after, the U.S. ambassador to Russia was persistently asked to return to Washington and describe to his superiors all the risks from such tricks.
Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov has been in Moscow since March. The situation can be compared to a drawn bowstring. But formally, Biden still pronounced escalation as an undesirable measure.
The main mistake that an observer can make is to perceive Biden with all his “Bidenisms” as almost a comic character. In reality, things are going better now than the haters would like.
The speech in Congress was dedicated to the first 100 days of the presidency, a political milestone that is traditionally celebrated in this way. The team is assembled, the goals are outlined — get to work, comrades.
There are headlines in the Russian media stating that Biden became one of the most unpopular presidents in the 100-day period, but this is misleading. A 52% approval rating is not a lot, but Trump, for example, had much less. And that is more than half considering that the country is actually split, that many do not believe in the integrity of Biden’s victory, that the president is rarely in public and that he has his inevitable “Bidenisms.”
Simply put, for a difficult year, this success seems to be caused by two circumstances. First, from the outpacing rates of COVID-19 vaccination (over 30% of Americans are already vaccinated). Second, by the broad advertising of the infrastructure bill — Washington will pour $2 trillion into the construction and renovation of the country.
Among the obvious failures is the migration crisis, but the painfulness of this issue was mitigated by “turning a blind eye.” Biden did not mention it at all. He could not do the same with the American-Chinese political aggravation (the new president was expected to end the trade war with Beijing, but aggravation ensued instead); he devoted a lot of time to the China issue.
In particular, he promised to maintain the strong military presence in the waters of the Asiatic-Pacific ocean region, but there is also a more global goal — “to win in the 21st century,” and the main competitor of the United States in this regard is China. That’s Biden’s opinion.
This “win in the 21st century” is specifically formulated vaguely, so that everyone can interpret it differently. For example, it could mean the victory of American liberal values or the preservation of the U.S.’s status as the main world power.
Whatever it is, it is a challenge, and a challenge for the long term. He was heard in Beijing, so the conflict with Washington will continue to grow.
But other than that, we emphasize once more that things in the Biden administration are not so bad — they could be much worse. This provides the minimum circumstances necessary to establish a one-party rule in the country. There are some important steps along the way, and Biden already emphasized two of them. He called on Congress to support electoral reform (Republicans in the Senate plan to fight him like a lion, but the outcome of this struggle is not yet clear) and to call for migration reform, which will guarantee the Democratic Party several million dollars of votes.
It seems this is precisely the primary goal of the current administration. Its implementation has already begun, it will be complicated and scandalous, but the most beneficial context is needed to ensure minimal risks — in other words, fast and powerful economic growth, which the Democratic Party plans to provide through vaccinations, infrastructure bills and direct distribution of money to the population.
American propaganda emphasizes that funds for this will be taken from the rich — the 1% of the population, the most affluent Americans (who became richer, even during the COVID-19 crisis — this is emphasized separately) by raising their taxes. The long-term economic consequence of this this can also be negative, but currently the majority of Americans have responded to this initiative extremely positively. Biden took advantage of this in his speech.
As for relations with Russia, we are not currently in the focus of presidential attention (although it may seem the opposite). But it is by no means the time for reassurances — the scenario of further escalation remains multivariate. Biden’s entire 50-year foreign policy experience highlights the need to sit down and negotiate, but there are enough maniacs in the president’s office who insist on a confrontation with Russia “to the bitter end.”
Their lobbying efforts led to the removal of Matthew Rojansky from the “competition” for the post of Director of Russia in the National Security Council, whose appointment was said to be something a foregone conclusion. The head of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center is considered a pragmatist, and within the framework of his pragmatic paradigm opposes further escalation in the Russian direction. Biden, as we now know, is also against escalation, but Rojanski, according to a number of sources, was considered too “soft” for such a post.
This story even penetrated The Washington Post, which denigrated Russia at all costs until Biden’s inauguration. “The successful campaign to block the appointment of Matthew Rojansky as Russia director on the National Security Council is not only a sad reflection of the poisonous state of the debate on Russian policy today, but also an ominous sign for Biden’s foreign policy going forward,” writes columnist Katrina vanden Heuvel, who believes that there is “a self-reinforcing spiral of tensions and hostile postures strengthening hawks on both sides.” At the same time, she writes that “Rojansky’s sensible perspectives would provide a necessary balance” to the Biden administration.
Currently there is the complete impression that the entire “balance” rests only on the life experience of the 78-year-old politician, who is afraid to “escalate.” At the same time, those from below — the the younger, brave and stupid — support escalation. The gray-haired veteran of the political scene risks being overlooked by their potentially dangerous amateur performances. Moreover, his 100 days included both failures and obvious successes that provoke dizziness.