Six years! Six years and these idiots have learned nothing!
JUST ANNOUNCED: Russian President Putin sits down exclusively with @NBCNews’ @KeirSimmons from Moscow — his first U.S. TV interview in nearly three years — just days before he's set to meet with U.S. President Biden. pic.twitter.com/Li3OkZh7a1
— NBC News PR (@NBCNewsPR) June 11, 2021
The stupid, it burns!!!!
Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian of authoritarianism and fascism, has the right take:
— Ruth Ben-Ghiat (@ruthbenghiat) June 12, 2021
You don’t give Putin an unearned meeting, especially when he’s going out of his way to rub Biden’s nose in the reality that he is not going to change his behavior unless he is made to do so, because doing so normalizes him. It allows him to set the information narrative, to shape it, to use America’s own explicit enumerated right to a freedom of the press, a right he doesn’t believe in and does not recognize within Russia, to push his own misinformation, disinformation, and agitprop. The only real question at this point is how many more bad acts is Putin or his surrogates going to undertake in as public a manner possible between now and his meeting with President Biden to demonstrate that he really could care less what President Biden or the US wants.
The meeting between President Biden and Putin is news. The events leading up to it, what happens at it, what occurs as a result of it, are news. Because all of that is news, it creates an opportunity for Putin to manipulate American news, American journalists, and through them, the American people. And the price of this is normalization of Putin. Of allowing him to present himself as a legitimate leader of a world power, rather than a thuggish former apparatchik who has impoverished and immiserated his people by turning Russia into an organized criminal enterprise running behind the facade of an illiberal, managed democracy.
This is the hard hitting “journalism” that we’re going to be getting as a result of NBC’s inability to learn anything from the past six years.
Putin dodges a simple question: "Are you a killer?"
Even a liar as experienced and shameless as he can't pull off a lie this transparent and egregious. https://t.co/laNQtadCwA
— Slava Malamud (@SlavaMalamud) June 12, 2021
And before someone starts with the news that the Biden administration announced a huge weapons shipment to Ukraine, I’m aware. It’s been clear for several weeks to a couple of months that this was coming and it doesn’t take a genius to have estimated it would be announced before the meeting. It is a long overdue good thing that needed to happen. It isn’t going to make a damn bit of difference to Putin or change anything in his behavior. You want to change his behavior, send an armor brigade combat team to train with the Ukrainians. Announce we’re sending several Operational Detachments Alpha from 10th Special Forces Group on a Foreign Internal Defense (FIDs) mission with Ukrainian Special Operations Forces. Announce we’re sending several Civil Affairs Teams-Alpha (CAT-As) on a military support to government (MSG) mission with Ukrainian Special Operations Forces. Announce a training exercise and rotation with our Baltic allies and partners pairing the newly reconstituted V Corps and a US Army Division with our partnered forces. None of that is kinetic.
None of that is anything out of the norm for the US military. But it would get Putin’s attention because it would be a significant change in our behavior. Since Putin decided in late 2011/early 2012 that Secretary Clinton’s criticisms of Russia’s 2011 elections was actually both a personal attack on him, a political attack on him, and an act of war by the US against Russia, we have tried to 1) ignore him because he wasn’t worth the energy and we didn’t want to elevate his status, 2) tell him to knock his behavior of through channels, 3) not deter him because Mitch McConnell threatened to politicize the deterrence, 4) pander to him, as well as reward him for his low intensity war against us from JAN 2017 through JAN 2021, and 5) now give him a meeting he hasn’t earned, thereby elevating him again. And by doing so, this created the opening for him to once again exploit American news media, as well as American social media, to his own advantage.
This did not have to happen. We are at war with Russia, albeit a low intensity and largely non-kinetic war, not because we want to be, not because we actually did anything to actually attack Russia, but because Putin decided that Secretary Clinton’s mundane criticisms of problems with Russia’s 2011 elections were both personally directed at him and, therefore, an act of war by the US against Russia. After ten years it remains to be seen if the US is finally capable of recognizing this simple reality and responding appropriately. Bilateral state to state meetings with the President of the United States are for allies and partners, for heads of state we actually have a reasonable chance of influencing through the application of diplomatic power, or they are rewards for heads of state of hostile, recalcitrant, and/or bad state actors after they have changed their behavior in a positive manner. They are not business as usual.
Nothing good will come from this. Not a damn thing!