Russia responds after Wagner rebellion, war in Ukraine continues

by -38 Views
Joe Biden speaks during an event in Washington, DC. on June 26. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Russia’s short-lived insurrection has handed Joe Biden the most perilous version yet of a dilemma that has confounded the last five US presidents: how to handle Vladimir Putin.

Every US commander in chief since Bill Clinton has sought in some way to engage the former KGB officer, whose mission to restore Russian greatness was ignited by his humiliation at the fall of the former Soviet Union. Most have sought some kind of reset of US-Russia relations. But all failed to avert the plunge in ties between the two nuclear superpowers.

Biden, who came of age in Washington as a senator during some of the most embittered years of the US-Soviet standoff in the 1970s and 1980s, had fewer illusions about Putin than most. But even he tried to break the chill, by meeting his counterpart at a summit in Geneva in 2021.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, however, led him instead to reinvigorate the NATO alliance with an extraordinary pipeline of arms and ammunition designed to ensure the country’s survival. Western support has not only enabled Ukraine to fight back against invading forces, it has helped turn the war into a quagmire that spiked political pressure on Putin and created battlefield conditions that likely helped lead to mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s revolt over the weekend.

Putin appeared on camera on Monday, defiantly warning that he would have had no trouble suppressing the uprising had the Wagner Group leader not chosen to halt his march on Moscow in a deal that ostensibly will see him exiled to Belarus.

But there was widespread agreement outside Russia that the showdown represented the most serious challenge to Putin’s grip on power during his generation in control and could even be a crack that spells the beginning of the end of his authority.

So Biden, therefore, faces a possibility that none of the predecessors who wrestled with Putin had to contemplate — that he is dealing with the endgame of this modern czar, and the prospect of instability rocking a nuclear superpower that could have global implications.

Read the full analysis here.


No More Posts Available.

No more pages to load.