Biden’s summit with Putin only made the US seem weaker

President Biden refused a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin following their first summit Wednesday to avoid a PR disaster. Yet the Moscow strongman still won the day.

Indeed, Biden actually got angrier with an American journalist than with the dictator, who used his opportunity to deny, deflect and deceive — raising his own standing at Biden’s expense.

Just a day before, off the Hawaiian coast, Russia’s navy conducted military exercises on a scale not seen since the Cold War. The provocation cost Putin nothing: The summit ended with Biden calling the meeting’s tone “positive” and Putin declaring, “There has been no hostility.”

Yes, Biden claimed he took Putin to task for the attempted murder of critic Alexei Navalny and the imprisonment of two Americans. If Navalny dies in prison, said Biden, “I made it clear to him that the consequences of that will be devastating for Russia” — though he didn’t detail any consequences. And he said he chided Putin for letting hackers disrupt US oil supplies from Russian soil. Yet Biden insisted he’d made “no threats.”

He handed Putin a list of 16 critical infrastructure elements that should be off limits to cyberattacks — does he then mean he’s fine with Russia or criminals operating from there striking anything else? Russia’s interference in other countries’ elections, Biden also told Putin, “diminishes” its standing. Yet Russia isn’t going to change its bad behavior in the hopes of being liked.

Putin, meanwhile, took questions for nearly an hour, turning them against America. When a US reporter asked about his ban on Navalny’s group, he pointed to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and said that “we don’t want that to happen on our territory.” Biden called that “a ridiculous comparison,” but Putin is playing to his own audience.

Biden had kicked off his chat with reporters by admitting his staff as usual “gave me a list of who I’m going to call on.” Later, he lashed out at CNN’s Kaitlan Collins when she called out, “Why are you so confident [Putin will] change his behavior?”

“I’m not confident he’ll change his behavior! What the hell? What do you do all of the time?” fumed Biden.

Let’s face it: The day was not a success for Biden or for America. Putin basically mocked his counterpart — and the United States — while Biden appeared weak and unfocused. America might’ve come out stronger if there’d been no summit at all.

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