One such mistake has been to grant unscripted interviews on television. In his interview with George Stephanoupoulis, on ABC-TV, Stephanapoulis asked him if he thought Vladimir Putin was “a killer”. Biden, unaccompanied by his handlers and off-script, naively answered, “Yes.”
The answer enraged Putin, who at a press conference, said,
“What would I answer him? I would tell him: be healthy,” Putin said. “I wish him good health. I say this without irony, no jokes. This is first of all.”
So, Biden’s first big mistakes vis-à-vis Russia and China were to publicly call Putin a “killer” and to adopt a confrontational attitude at the first bi-lateral meeting between foreign ministers with China.
In both cases, Buden and Blinken were playing primarily to their domestic audience. The point is not that Biden and Blinken should not have spelled out in detail their criticisms of China. The point is this was the wrong time and the wrong place.
The common front against the West should come as no surprise. Its timing has at least symbolic significance.