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Biden tested by brewing Russian crisis 


President BidenJoe BidenBiden’s FDA pick clears key Senate hurdle Overnight Health Care — DC ending mask, vaccine mandates American unity is key to a Europe whole and free MORE’s leadership is being tested by the brewing crisis caused by Russian aggression toward Ukraine. 

The stakes are high for Biden, particularly given the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan that prompted widespread criticism and left allies questioning U.S. leadership. 

Political observers say that the unfolding situation represents an opportunity for Biden to demonstrate American leadership and draw a contrast with former President TrumpDonald TrumpRubio on White House records at Mar-a-Lago: ‘It’s not a crime, I don’t believe’ Overnight Health Care — DC ending mask, vaccine mandates On The Money — Biden’s inflation boogeymen MORE’s handling of Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinSenators eye Plan B amid Russia sanctions stalemate American unity is key to a Europe whole and free Biden administration considering B loan guarantee to Ukraine MORE.  

“More than anything, he has to show all these people that he’s not the weak and frail leader Republicans say he is,” said one Democratic strategist. “In this case, it’s about perception more than anything else.”

There are also some political risks, especially if the crisis spirals into war and impacts the domestic economy. 

With an eye toward the upcoming midterm elections, Republicans have tried to paint Biden as weak on issues of domestic and foreign policy.

But Democrats like the contrast between Biden’s approach to Russia and how Trump, who spoke warmly of Putin and exhibited deference to the Russian leader, dealt with the Kremlin. They think this will be an effective response to any GOP attacks on Biden’s approach to the crisis. 

“Foreign policy is one of those areas where presidents can look or seem presidential,” said Basil Smikle, a Democratic strategist and director of Hunter College’s public policy program. 

“Particularly in the post-Trump environment where we all have been witness to the Trump-Putin bromance, if you will, I think voters will be able to see, number one, Biden on the world stage looking presidential, and two, can he look presidential against Putin where Donald Trump did not,” Smikle said.  

In a speech from the White House on Tuesday afternoon, Biden pledged to give diplomacy “every chance” to resolve the crisis while issuing a stern warning to Russia against invading Ukraine.   

“The world will not forget that Russia chose needless death and destruction,” Biden said.

“Invading Ukraine will prove to be a self-inflicted wound.”  

Biden administration officials have warned a Russian invasion of Ukraine could happen at any time, but Russia sent some signals Tuesday that it may be willing to de-escalate. Biden is likely to receive credit if conflict is avoided, while he may incur some blame if the situation spirals out of…


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