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Washington Post: Biden's strategy of "pessimism" helped show progress in his summit with Putin

The Washington Post commented on the summit of US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, held Wednesday in Geneva, and said that Biden's strategy of pessimism helped show progress with his Russian counterpart.

Throughout his four-decade political career, Biden has seen US presidents, one after another, attempt to transform relations with Russia before they leave office in disappointment. Therefore, in his first meeting as president with the Russian president, he tried not to repeat the same mistake. He offered no signs of resetting the relationship, and his pessimism about Putin's changing stance on issues such as human rights was guiding his actions. This is not about trust, but about self-interest, Biden said at the post-summit press conference.

Biden aides left nothing to chance in preparing for his meeting with Biden, the newspaper says. To avoid the failure of expectations, they reduced the possibility of achieving even modest achievements, and to avoid appearing weak, they negotiated that Putin would reach the summit headquarters first, and they ended the chances that Putin would keep Biden waiting by appearing late, a repeated psychological ploy that Putin used. To avoid any surprises, they decided not to hold a joint press conference.

Keeping expectations low, which was reinforced by an early end to the talks, Putin and Biden left the meeting with a pleasant surprise, a gradual progress on several issues. Putin said after the summit, there was no hostility, on the contrary, our meeting took place in a constructive spirit, while Biden described the meeting as good and positive.

The Washington Post says that although the agreements reached by the two presidents regarding the prisoner exchange and others do not constitute a watershed moment, but analysts see it as progress on issues important to the two countries. They were clear steps forward, and overall, this is probably the best result they were expecting, said Sam Sharap, a Russia analyst at the US Rand Corporation.