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House majority leader Kevin McCarthy said Biden “gave Putin a passport”. Alexander Vindman, who was director of European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council from 2018-2020, wrote that Russia had won a “public relations victory” while the US had “little to show in terms of tangible improvements in national security.”
Sullivan challenged these arguments, noting that Putin, as the Russian leader, commands a major global platform.
“It means to be the president of one of the largest nuclear powers in the world,” said Sullivan. “So from our point of view we have to deal with him. We must deal with him strong, determined, and principled. ”
Sullivan then cited the predecessor of the former Biden and said that Putin had not been challenged on “hard questions” by a US president for “several years” in view of the dealings between former President Donald Trump and the Russian leader.
“For that alone it was worth sitting down with President Putin,” said Sullivan. “But beyond that, President Biden has advanced America’s national security interests, reduced the risk of nuclear war, and increased the opportunity for us to make progress on cybersecurity issues and other areas that are in the fundamental national interest of the United States. ”
Sullivan has also been urged on how the US would react if Russia continues malicious activity such as cyberattacks on the 16 areas of critical infrastructure that Biden pointed out on Wednesday. Echoing the president’s comments, Sullivan said the US has significant cyber capabilities that it would like to leverage unless Russia restricts cyber criminals operating on its soil.
“I will not go into further detail now, but President Biden has made it clear to President Putin that we have our capacities and that he is fully prepared to use them as necessary,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan generally praised his boss’s performance on his first trip abroad, saying that Biden had “taken back the cloak of the leader of the free world.” He highlighted the cooperation between the G-7 countries in the fight against China.
Sullivan said the president has no firm plans to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and is waiting for the “right moment”.
“President Biden will of course want the opportunity to sit down with President Xi Jinping at the right moment, for a reason similar to his meeting with President Putin, namely that there is ultimately no substitute for the face – a dialogue between executives, especially in complex relationships such as the relationship between the United States and China, ”said Sullivan.