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Biden Wants to Focus on China, but Putin and Russia Crises Remain a Distraction
The U.S. president has attempted to realign diplomatic, military and economic resources to better counter Beijing
President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Geneva Wednesday.
PHOTO: MIKHAIL METZEL/TASS/ZUMA PRESS
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June 17, 2021 9:40 am ET
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In his first summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, President Biden sought ways to tamp down Russia’s disruptive behavior so that he can concentrate more on other world problems, including what officials consider the top U.S. threat: China.
The question, though, is whether a combative and confident Mr. Putin sees any reason to cooperate.
“It’s a formidable task,” said Andrew Weiss, vice president at the Carnegie Institute for International Peace and a former Russia expert for the Clinton administration. “People in the Biden administration are savvy enough to know that Vladimir Putin has no intention of crawling into a box so the U.S. can give its undivided attention to China.”
A U.S. intelligence report in April named China the No. 1 national threat facing the U.S., and called Beijing a “near-peer competitor.”
In response to China’s growing stature, the Biden administration has attempted to realign diplomatic, military and economic resources to better counter Beijing. Mr. Biden and his aides have spent time with officials from Japan, South Korea and Europe in a bid for an alliance that can counter what the president sees as China’s authoritarian influence.
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