Theodore's World: US Vice President Biden Hits Nerve In Russia

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July 28, 2009

US Vice President Biden Hits Nerve In Russia

US Vice President Biden hits nerve in Russia

Washington Post



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.

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.

Some newspapers and commentators noted that Russians say the same things about themselves. The question, they said, was why Biden made the comments so quickly after this month's summit by Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev, and after Biden's own trip last week to Ukraine and Georgia, former Soviet republics whose growing ties to the West are deeply resented in Moscow.

.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an apparent effort Sunday to reassure Moscow, saying on NBC "Meet the Press" that the administration considers Russia to be a "great power."
"Every country faces challenges," she said. "We have our challenges, Russia has their challenges. There are certain issues that Russia has to deal with on its own."

Wild Thing's comment..........

Hahaha Joe Biden...the gift that keeps on giving.

Biden saying what is true or not is not what counts here, knowing NOT to say things off the top of his head might have been better. It was dumb for saying what he said out loud, but I don’t think that what he said was dumb.

LOL Joe Biden is the adminstration’s real-life fact checker.

Posted by Wild Thing at July 28, 2009 05:46 AM


Coming out of the Russian end of the subway tunnel Joe suddenly sees the light.
Next the press will claim Joes's a Pharisee from the biblical era with special insights to the Messiah. For sure he's no modern day Nicodemus. What's a diety without a belly button or birth certificate toe do? Those unruly and out of control whitey's he picked are spreading their own gospel. It's OK Joe, Hillary will smooth the roiled waters, that's what mother's do!!!

We couldn't have anything better to spotlight the nations plight before the world.

Posted by: Jack at July 28, 2009 11:09 AM

Keep that mouth going Joe. You are now the real hope for change.

Posted by: TomR at July 28, 2009 02:20 PM

Joe Biden the joke that keeps on giving.

Posted by: Mark at July 28, 2009 07:10 PM

Dateline 2014 - State of the Union.

"We have a shrinking population base, we have a withering economy, we have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years, we're in a situation where the world is changing before us and we're clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable,"

Posted by: Duane at July 28, 2009 09:15 PM

The Joe Biden Theme.

Posted by: Jack at July 28, 2009 09:49 PM

LOL Jack I never heard that song

Thank you everyone for your comments about

I just keep waiting to see what he
will say next.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 29, 2009 12:33 AM