Since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States and Russia have found common ground on certain defined areas like space exploration and arms control. Most recently, the two countries extended by 5 years the New START treaty, which places verifiable limits on all U.S and Russian deployed intercontinental-range nuclear weapons. However, a working relationship with Russia does not mean that we are blind to the danger Russia poses to the United States, and to its allies.
Speaking at the 2021 Virtual Munich Security Conference on February 19, President Biden said the United States and Europe must stand up and meet the threat from Russia:
“The Kremlin attacks our democracies and weaponizes corruption to try to undermine our system of governance. Russian leaders want people to think that our system is more corrupt or as corrupt as theirs. But the world knows that isn’t true, including Russians — Russia’s own citizens.”
Russian President Putin “seeks to weaken the European project and our NATO Alliance,” said President Biden:
“ That’s why standing up for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine remains a vital concern for Europe and the United States. That’s why addressing recklessness — Russian recklessness and hacking into computer networks, in the United States and across Europe and the world, has become critical to protecting our collective security.”
This is not a case of pitting East against West, said President Biden, nor about a desire to create conflict.
“We want a future where all nations are able to freely determine their own path without a threat of violence or coercion. We cannot and must not return to the [reflexive] opposition and rigid blocs of the Cold War. Competition must not lock out cooperation on issues that affect us all.”
“We must stand up for the democratic values,” said President Biden, “pushing back against those who would monopolize and normalize repression.”