Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

There is a sharp contrast between US President Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, his Russian counterpart (“A two-track strategy to scare Putin over Ukraine”, FT ViewDecember 30). Biden’s skills were developed as a congressman, a job that involved the search for compromise. Putin was trained as a KGB agent who develops deception skills.

Both come with leverage to the meeting in Geneva. Biden has the sanctions that Putin can not equal. Putin has assembled a military force on the border with Ukraine that NATO is unwilling to match.

It has the potential to be a dangerous stand-off. If Biden intervenes in Putin’s demands, NATO and the US become a “paper tiger” with consequences that could extend to China’s provocations over Taiwan. As an autocrat, Putin cannot appear weak and expect to remain in power. This confrontation becomes very risky.

Ed Houlihan
Ridgewood, NJ, USA

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