President Biden must be ruing the moment when he recently agreed with an interviewer that his Russian counterpart is a “killer”. It’s since badly backfired in ways that not only undercut the American leader’s self-assumed global authority, but also in parallel bolstered President Putin’s own due to the sympathy that he earned as the latest high-profile victim of American slander. In addition, the Russian leader’s calm and classy response to Biden served as a strong contrast to the latter’s aggressive remark. Not only that, but Biden also looked weak after his spokeswoman declined President Putin’s request for the two to urgently hold a live unscripted debate. This unexpected scandal deserves to be studied more in detail in order to better understand the soft power dynamics and how they so rapidly unfolded before the world’s eyes.
American Presidents regard themselves as unaccountable to anyone in the world by virtue of their country’s superpower status. They believe that they can say anything to anyone at anytime without having to face any consequences for their actions. Former President Trump took this to its extreme with his infamous off-the-cuff tweets, but this behavior is also embodied by Biden as well. His head has been filled with vicious Russophobic hatred by his advisors who blame President Putin for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election loss and alleged meddling during last year’s election as well. Biden’s handlers are also aware that roughly half the country considers him to be a puppet of the shadowy “deep state” forces pulling the strings behind the scenes, which is why they felt the need to stage a dramatic event out of the mistaken belief that it’ll make him come off as strong.
This set the backdrop for Biden being asked whether he thought that President Putin was a “killer”, to which he agreed. The conversation then quickly moved on, but the purpose in scripting that interaction was to present Biden as a strong American leader who isn’t afraid of so-called “tough talk”. What his advisors could never have expected, which interestingly speaks to just how poorly they actually understand Russia and especially its leader, is that President Putin would seize the opportunity to publicly humiliate Biden in a very clever way. The Russian leader responded with calm and class, intending to contrast the personal disposition and by innuendo possibly also the mental faculties of the two presidents, before suggesting that they hold an unscripted live discussion knowing fully well that Biden’s handlers would never allow him to do so.
Their predicable response in declining President Putin’s invitation only hammered home just how weak of a man Biden is, as well as how staged all of his public interactions are. All Americans saw just how scared their leader’s handlers are of him being humiliated on live TV, which probably made many of them wonder what Trump would have done in his place. Considering his well-known personality, it’s very likely that Trump would have accepted the invitation and probably give President Putin a run for his money. In fact, with that in mind, President Putin might not have even extended such an invitation at all since whatever disagreements they have could always be discussed behind closed doors. The end result of this soft power fiasco is that President Putin regained his global reputation as the world’s so-called “alpha male”.
About that, the Russian leader had hitherto been almost unquestionably regarded in such a way prior to Trump’s ascent to power, but the latter’s four-year reign saw the American leader arguably elbow out his counterpart for the top spot. It’s unimportant whether or not one agreed with or supported Trump, but just to point out that he definitely dominated the scene in ways that no world leader in recent memory had ever come close to doing. President Putin somewhat took a backseat during this time since Trump’s hyper-conservativsm attracted many dissident Americans and others across the world who had previously turned towards the Russian leader for inspiration in the decade and a half prior. With Trump out of the political picture though, President Putin very easily regained his “alpha male” credentials since Biden isn’t even close to a competitor.
In other words, while Biden’s handlers thought that their scripted remark about him agreeing that President Putin is a “killer” would bolster the American leader’s soft power standing at home at abroad, it backfired and only benefited the Russian leader instead. President Putin is back as the world’s “alpha male”, America’s present leader once again takes a backseat to the Russian one in the hearts and minds of the international masses just like during former President Obama’s two terms, and most of the world sympathizes with President Putin and by extent his country as the latest high-profile victim of American slander. Add to it that Biden clumsily fell three times shortly thereafter while climbing the steps of Air Force One and it’s clear that while the US “deep state” claims that President Putin is a “killer”, the whole world knows that Biden is a clown.