Washington: President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are unlikely to accomplish much of anything at their summit in Geneva primarily because White House advisers are bound to undermine the talks to ensure relations remain tense, former US and Canadian officials told Sputnik.
On Tuesday, the White House announced the US and Russian presidents would hold a summit in Geneva on June 16, in what will be their first in-person meeting since Biden took office.
“I expect a very perfunctory, meatless summit,” former CIA analyst Raymond McGovern, who briefed four American presidents on US-Soviet relations, said. “The two may be able to pledge cooperation [on] Climate Change. Otherwise, [the] summit is likely to fall flat and do more harm than good.”
Biden, McGovern added, will be reliant on and constrained by inept advisers, who will not be able to handle the situation.
“Biden is not his own man, and Putin – out of his own experience with recent presidents, knows this all too well,” the former CIA official said.
Former Canadian diplomat Patrick Armstrong, who once served as counselor at Ottawa’s Embassy in Moscow, echoed this sentiment.
“I do not expect anything to change – the Biden/Harris administration is packed full of the people who fully embrace the numerous Russia conspiracy theories, invented many of them and who made US-Russia relations impossible,” Armstrong said.
Biden, he added, wants to show himself statesmanlike, important and in charge, whereas Putin does not have to.
“The only possible interest is to bet whether Putin walks out when Biden starts up with the customary accusations,” Armstrong said.
The Kremlin expects the two leaders will discuss issues such as strategic stability and the relationship itself. The White House said Ukraine, Belarus, New START and Iran will be on the agenda.