TOPSHOT – Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes US President Joe Biden in front of the … [+]
AFP via Getty Images
On Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian Federation President Vladmir Putin met in person for the first time since taking office in January in a book-lined study at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland. The couple shook hands and spoke through translators immediately began their highly anticipated peak, which was expected to last for hours.
The meeting is viewed as particularly high-level as it could set the tone for US-Russian relations in the years to come, but could also be overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic, an ongoing crisis in the Middle East and the crisis on other events the global stage.
“This latest US-Russia summit will be nothing more than a footnote in history, a time when both heads of state and government look past one another at the conflicts of the past rather than the challenges of the future,” said Harry Kazianis. Senior Director of the Center for the National Interest and a contributing editor for 1945.
“Russia is forever angry with NATO enlargement, which threatens its supposed sphere of interest in the old customer states of the Soviet empire, and continues to try to push America back in every possible way,” added Kazinis. “At the same time, Putin sees threats everywhere, especially fears that America is planning some kind of regime change conspiracy against him. America seems to be stuck in a mini Cold War mindset, with Russia repeatedly occupying the evil empire instead of the vanquished empire. “
This mini Cold War mindset has certainly been alive and well on social media, where users have reacted in real time since the two world leaders shook hands. While past meetings of heads of state were slowly “digested” by political experts, academics and especially professional diplomats, today’s meeting in Geneva was discussed by users on Twitter in a similar way to a sporting event or award ceremony.
Some wasted little time praising the US leader while calculatedly attacking the Russian president.
“Biden looked Putin in the eye, Putin immediately looked away,” tweeted Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) from CNN.
Jon Cooper, who was a campaign chairman for former President Barack Obama (@joncoopertweets) added, “President Biden is sitting up straight and looking confident. Putin slumps in his chair and looks like an unruly student who has been called to the director. “Office.”
Cooper also targeted Putin directly, writing, “Putin is a coward at heart. President Biden knows this better than most. “
As is often the case with President Biden, there were those who openly mocked him.
Conservative columnist Beneful “Benny” Johnson (@bennyjohnson) was quick to point out, “Biden brought his index cards with him to his meeting with Putin.”
MP Lauren Boebert (@laurenboerbert) added, “I certainly hope Joe Biden doesn’t accidentally give the state of Alaska back to Putin at their meeting. I pray for America today because there has never been a more unqualified person to negotiate on our behalf. “
“Does anyone think that the meeting between Biden and Putin will be anything but a bloodbath for American interests?” Mused Donald Trump Jr. (DonaldJTrumpJr).
The immediate question is, are any of these responses really necessary, even when the meetings were just beginning? The power of social media is that anyone can comment in real time, and while this can be good for watching a sporting event or a season finale of a hit television show, such meetings have dire consequences where misunderstandings can ruin any progress .
Likewise, it could be argued that now is the time for Americans to stand united, even by those who did not vote for president. Perhaps more of the country has to orientate itself towards the classic film The Godfather – and heed the advice: “Never go against the family”, and certainly not so publicly. The American family should be united – at least until it is clear what came of the meeting.
“Americans shouldn’t be divided when an incumbent US president meets a foreign head of state – they should all strive for success and serve American interests,” said Kazianis.
“But will Joe Biden actually promote US interests in his interaction with Putin,” Kazianis also suggested. “It would be much more useful to find a way to bury the hatchet. However, this summit is likely to get stuck in the past.”
It is not surprising that some would react so partisanly, given the state of the national divide and the ability of social media to reinforce it.
“The cheerleaders always cheer on their own team,” said Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics. “Whether you’re at a game or in politics. Cable news has largely turned into cable opinion, and social media is no different.”
Were these reactions really helpful?
“Whether through social media or the myriad channels of 24-hour news, real-time analysis of meaningful events is overwhelming,” warned technology analyst Josh Crandall of Netpop Research.
“The line between skilled experts and Monday Morning Quarterbacks couldn’t be more blurred these days,” added Crandall, who has been following social media trends for more than a decade. “There are so many talking heads in the media who think from weird perspectives that mix personal size and political party that ordinary people have forgotten what it means to be ‘qualified’, so many just jump up on social media The move on from all these points of view does not seem to benefit anyone except the companies that make it possible or the influencers who preach to their followers. “
While social media once allowed people to comment on outfits at the Oscars, now everyone seems to have an opinion on how the president should manage his affairs with another world leader.
“It doesn’t seem to end until the masses decide to turn it off,” added Crandall. “When you see where social media usage is at an all-time high, it’s getting harder and harder for people to do that.”