President Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin (File)
Russian analyst Andrei Ostalski and I joined BBC Radio Scotland’s Andrew Black on Saturday to consider the Biden Administration’s approach to Moscow, following the latest US sanctions on Russian officials and companies.
We generally agree on the strengths of Biden’s “logical” actions in light of Russian cyber-attacks, election interference, operations in Ukraine and the Middle East, and poisoning and imprisonment of opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
The significance of the sanctions is that they aren’t the final step. Biden sets the rules of the game in a signal to Vladimir Putin: Do you want to take this farther? Do you really want to push this in Ukraine? Do you really want to push this in the Middle East, including Syria? Do you really want to push this with another nerve agent attack?
If the Russians cross the line, then not only the US but also the Europeans have signalled, “We will not lie back. We will not be your best friend, like Donald Trump tried to be.