Vice President Joe Biden was in Ukraine and Georgia last week to reassure the former U.S.S.R. counties that President Obama’s emphasis on rebuilding relations with Moscow doesn’t mean that U.S. has forgotten about their sovereignty. On the way home, Biden had some colorful comments for the Wall Street Journal:
“Russia has to make some very difficult, calculated decisions,” Mr. Biden said. “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.”
Biden, I’m told, was simply trying to play bad cop to Obama’s good cop. After all, the straightforward, nice guy “I looked into his eyes and saw his soul” routine wasn’t exactly effective. This isn’t the first time Biden’s propensity for telling it like it is has gotten him in to trouble. So, while it’s usually the VP’s job to play bad cop, maybe saying that they’re on the brink of becoming an irrelevant third world country takes things a little too far.