Speed Reads

biden-putin summit

The Biden comment that likely got Putin's attention

President Biden appears to have emphasized Russia's international reputation — and the damage it could take if Moscow continues to act recklessly — during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. It's unclear if those warnings will result in any changes, however; observers, from former Clinton and Obama administration alum James Steinberg to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), don't believe Putin really cares what the international community thinks.

Steinberg told CNN's John Harwood that Putin doesn't consider "bad behavior" to hinder Russia, and instead makes the country "a force." Graham was harsher in his assessment of the meeting while making a similar point, tweeting that Biden has "miscalculated" Putin, whom Graham thinks "could care less about how he's viewed by others."

The Washington Post's Olivier Knox also argued "losing prestige abroad" likely isn't high on Putin's list of concerns, but he does think Biden may have got his counterpart's attention when the two discussed cybersecurity. Biden later said he gave Putin a list of 16 U.S. sectors that should be off limits to hacking and asked Putin how he'd feel if a ransomware attack — like the one experienced by the Colonial Pipeline last month — hit a Russian oil field. Knox, for one, thinks that's the type of remark Putin will remember.