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In November 2022, State Department officials went to great lengths to prevent a meeting at the G20 summit between Biden and Putin. They knew that at some point, the two leaders would cross paths, but US officials ruled out a formal meeting and took steps to ensure that the American president does not encounter his Russian counterpart in a hallway or even in a group photo. Why?
Well, the answer is that President Biden thinks Putin is a killer, a war criminal and, you don’t usually meet with killers and war criminals. Both of Biden’s immediate predecessors — Barack Obama and Donald Trump — crafted foreign policies that involved direct engagement with traditionally adversarial leaders; Obama as a matter of bridging difficult diplomatic divides, Trump as part creating personal and political alliances. Biden has had less engagement abroad. And today, Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine is TIME’s man of the year and awarded such an honor for standing up to the Soviet Union. With that in mind…just how did Ronald Reagan handle those pesky Russians?
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