- By Daniel W. Drezner
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a senior editor at The National Interest. Prior to Fletcher, he taught at the University of Chicago and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Drezner has received fellowships from the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Harvard University. He has previously held positions with Civic Education Project, the RAND Corporation, and the Treasury Department.
The reality is the Russians are where they are. They have a shrinking population base, they have a withering economy, they have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years, they’re in a situation where the world is changing before them and they’re clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable.
If Biden was just shooting the breeze off the record, I’d be hard-pressed to disagree with anything in the quotes. I’m pretty sure, however, that part of "smart power" is not being gratuitously insulting to fellow members of the nuclear club. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll take this kind of dumbass statement personally.
Don’t take my word for it, though — take Joe Biden’s:
It is never smart to embarrass an individual or a country when they’re dealing with significant loss of face. My dad used to put it another way: Never put another man in a corner where the only way out is over you. It just is not smart.
The word "stupid" has been thrown around a lot this week, but I think it applies pretty well to Biden’s language.