Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t care what Joe Biden says, and he doesn’t care who knows that.
When the Russian leader met his American counterpart three weeks ago, Biden told the former KGB chief that he no longer wanted to see Russian agents rummaging through our country’s computer networks. Since that meeting, the cyber silliness has continued unabated.
Putin has acted like a cartoonish tough guy. Biden draws a line in the sand and tells Putin not to cross it, otherwise. In response, Putin immediately scrapes him with his foot and stands there with a smirk, his arms folded.
If Biden doesn’t react, he appears weak, not only to Putin, but to anyone who pays even a little attention to him. And given that the ongoing dust is between the two nuclear superpowers that watched each other during the 44 years of the Cold War from 1947, people are tuning in to this particular show.
In other words, Biden must respond. He does not necessarily need to do this in a way that is immediately clear and evident to the whole world. But it must be clear and obvious to Putin and his security apparatus.
The message: When we said bring it down, we really meant it. Questions? I did not mean it.
Since assuming the presidency, Biden has rightly sought to strengthen our relationship with our traditional allies. This, of course, is only for the good. At the same time, he has worked to ensure that the United States stands up in our relations with our adversaries – China, in particular.
But when it comes to Russia, Biden spoke everything with little or nothing to substantiate his point.
Putin shoved him, and unless our president backs down, the Russian strongman, who sees himself as a leader for life, will continue to forge his way with our president. Biden can’t let this stand.
“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far. So said President Theodore Roosevelt.
With his threat so far hollow and his red line quickly fading on cyberattacks, Biden spoke loudly, but carried no sticks. And that’s a recipe for only more trouble to come.
Our president has several options. But doing nothing at all, which would only embolden Putin even more, cannot be on the table.
Other editorials from The Republican: