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putin: Washington Watch: Biden wins praise for leadership, not rushing into war, amid Trump bombast – Times of India



US President Joe Biden is winning rare praise at home for his handling of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, even though the hard right in America, some of them fans of Russia and its President Vladimir Putin, loses no opportunity to put down the near octogenarian (he will be 80 on November 20).
For a man who is dubbed “Sleepy Joe” by his predecessor Donald Trump and his associates, it turns out Biden is quite awake and alert — the occasional gaffe notwithstanding. The Atlantic magazine this week invoked the 3 a.m phone call metaphor to say “it’s hard to imagine that any of his rivals from the last election could have matched the president’s performance in this crisis.”
Of course, Biden stands out in contrast to Trump, whose lack of gravitas, calmness, and reason comes through in bombastic words and bizarre ideas he throws out every few days on his journey to oblivion. Among them, suggestions that US should put Chinese flags on F-22 jets and “bomb shit out of Russia” so that Moscow would blame Beijing and Washington could sit back and enjoy them fighting.
Apparently, it was only said as a joke, but duh, even in jest it has to be one of the dumber ideas. Trump also told one of his golfing buddies in a phone call that he once warned Putin he would bomb Moscow (the context was not clear) “and he sort of believed me, like five percent, 10 percent. That’s all you need.”
The former President also repeated his claim that Putin didn’t invade Ukraine while he was president because “he knew he couldn’t” — which Trump critics say is only partially true. Putin didn’t invade because he didn’t have to — Trump would have given it to him on a platter, in exchange for some real estate in Moscow. Putin is probably wishing he had invaded when Trump was President.
Anyway, to return to Biden and the Ukraine crisis, here is Atlantic’s take on it: Joe Biden hasn’t received the full credit he deserves for his statecraft during this crisis, because he has pursued a policy of self-effacement. Rather than touting his accomplishments in mobilizing a unified global response to the invasion, he has portrayed the stringent sanctions as the triumph of an alliance. By carefully limiting his own public role—and letting France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Olaf Scholz take turns as the lead faces of NATO—he has left Vladimir Putin with little opportunity to portray the conflict as a standoff with the United States, a narrative that the Russian leader would clearly prefer. He’s shown how to wield American leadership in the face of deep European ambivalence about its exercise.
The magazine’s writer Franklin Foer also praised Biden for not responding to nuclear baiting when Putin put his arsenal on alert, saying in not reciprocating and in brushing off calls to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, the US President “has tried to telegraph his thinking to Putin, so that the Russian leader could never misunderstand his intentions, and would never mistakenly assume that an American strike against Russia was imminent.” This again is in contrast to the Trump’s bombs-away bluster, which had it occurred in the current crisis, could have had untold consequences.
But then again, it would have never come to that because Ukraine would have been giftwrapped and delivered to Kremlin. Which in turn renders Foer’s relief (“In the middle of Joe Biden’s 3 a.m. call, I find myself grateful that he’s the one answering the phone”) moot because there would have been no 3 a.m phone call.

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