Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass outlined what he thinks are the “realistic” goals of the meeting between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I think the goals of this summit and the relationship more broadly is less what we can accomplish together. … The real question is what we can avoid," Haass said to CNN’s Poppy Harlow. "Can we avoid further aggression in Europe? Can we deter Russia from, say, doing towards a NATO country what it did towards Ukraine? Can we get Russia to use force less indiscriminately in Syria? Can we get Russia to back off some of its use of cyber? That, to me, is a realistic agenda. It may not seem like a lot, but to keep a bad situation from getting worse is sometimes all you can do in foreign policy.”
Haass also addressed the two leaders’ plan to hold separate press conferences.
A joint conference would be “something of a risk for each of these two men, simply because they can't control what the other person does,” Haass said.
“I think particularly for Biden, it wasn't clear to me what a joint session would accomplish, because Putin would go on the offensive and then to get into a public competition, basically to get down in the mud with Putin, [it's] not clear how that works if Biden's goal is to calm this relationship so he can focus more on domestic issues or on China,” he said.