Monday, July 27, 2009

VP Biden Insults Russia, Looks to Bully Them

Our loudmouth VP Joe Biden apparently thinks that he can bully Russia. Judging from this picture, I doubt it.

US Vice President Biden hits nerve in Russia
By LYNN BERRY, Mon Jul 27

MOSCOW – An interview U.S. Vice President Joe Biden gave to an American newspaper was front-page news Monday in Moscow, where his characterization of Russia as a weakened nation hit a raw nerve.

Biden said Russia's economic difficulties are likely to make the Kremlin more willing to cooperate with the United States on a range of national security issues.

"I think we vastly underestimate the hand that we hold," he said in an interview to The Wall Street Journal published Saturday.

Biden's comments appeared to catch the Kremlin by surprise, coming less than three weeks after President Barack Obama said on a visit to Moscow that the U.S. wants to see a "strong, peaceful and prosperous Russia."

"It raises the question: Who is shaping U.S. foreign policy? The president or members of his team, even the most respected ones?" said Kremlin foreign policy adviser Sergei Prikhodko.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs on Monday downplayed suggestions that Biden was setting a different U.S. policy from that laid out by the president.

When asked whether Obama thought Biden had gone too far in his remarks, Gibbs said the president stated his views on Russia during his recent visit and the vice president agrees with those views.

Gibbs said both leaders believe Russia will do its part to improve relations with the U.S.

Most Russian newspapers put Biden's interview on their front pages Monday, with headlines casting doubt on Washington's commitment to forge a more constructive relationship with Moscow.

"Joe Biden unexpectedly returned to the rhetoric of the previous Bush administration," the newspaper Kommersant wrote.

Moskovsky Komsomolets said Biden, with his "boorish openness," showed what the Obama administration really thinks about Russia. "We should respond to the Yankees in the same way," the newspaper wrote. "Any other language, unfortunately or fortunately, they do not understand."

The papers jumped on Biden's comments about Russia's demographic and economic problems.

"They have a shrinking population base, they have a withering economy, they have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years, they're in a situation where the world is changing before them and they're clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable," Biden said in the interview.

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