The key to seeing whether Biden stands up to Putin from a position of strength won't be gleaned from next Wednesday's summit itself.

It'll be whether this next week succeeds at sending Biden into Geneva at the head of a strong, productive, and reunited transatlantic alliance. 🧵
When facing down Putin behind closed doors and standing next to him afterward, it's safe to assume that Biden won't take the Kremlin's side against America's own intelligence community or get duped into signing up for an "impenetrable Cyber Security unit" (whatever that meant).
Rather, the key is whether Biden's engagements w/ allies in England & Belgium start delivering results showing that democracies are more capable than autocracies at meeting challenges and are sufficiently united to stand together against modern threats. Seven questions stand out:
1⃣ Will the G7 announce an ambitious multilateral effort to fight the pandemic around the world, with vaccines, supply chains, and preparations for future outbreaks?
2⃣ Will the G7 unreservedly endorse a global minimum tax, while other countries start expressing support in anticipation of a deal at the G20 summit in October?
3⃣ Will Germany announce support for a very strong package of energy policies and other measures to protect Eastern Europe from vulnerabilities attending Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline?
4⃣ Will the first EU summit since 2014 demonstrate returning confidence to stand together with and follow the lead of the United States, from joint actions against autocratic threats to new global economic rules to protect health and the climate?
5⃣ Will the communique from the first NATO summit since 2018 make announcements about how the alliance is improving its capacity to confront non-military threat vectors such as cyber and growing threat actors like China?
6⃣ Will Biden's meetings with the leaders of Britain, Turkey, Belgium, and Switzerland showcase renewed unity with a broader ambit of allies than Russia has ever sustained?
7⃣ Will all these multilateral grouping and bilateral allies clearly stand together with the United States against Russia’s aggressive behavior, from harboring hackers and attempting assassinations to menacing Ukraine?
What scares Vladimir Putin the most is the prospect of democracies delivering results for their people and standing together as the largest economic and military bloc the world has ever seen, underpinned by shared values that resonate with all peoples.
Driven by his own zero-sum instincts and perceived domestic political needs, Putin will never want to let predictability and stability govern the Kremlin's relationship with Washington.
The question's whether Putin nevertheless walks away from this crucial diplomatic week feeling constrained by a Western alliance that's healing its internal divisions, producing outcomes to anchor democratic legitimacy, & prepared to act together against autocratic aggression. 🔚

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More from @JoshRudes

7 Jun
Boom—@PowerUSAID announces at #DIA_ZCC she'll create a task force to elevate, strengthen & integrate anticorruption across @USAID, plus a $50 million rapid response effort.

Strong way to sustain last week's anticorruption momentum & stand by Ukraine before Biden-Putin next week.
"President Biden issued a presidential memorandum last week identifying corruption as a core national security priority. This is the first time a US president has ever elevated this issue in this way.…
"The President’s memo recognizes what everyone here knows: Corruption cripples societies, steals from the pockets of tax-paying citizens, breaks down public trust in governing institutions, and undercuts the world's decades-long investments to improve lives across human society.
Read 13 tweets
15 Apr
Two new sets of Russia sanctions are reportedly coming today:

1⃣ Designations of 20-30 entities (plus a dozen individuals and 10 PNGs)

2⃣ Executive order barring US financials from buying ruble sovereign debt after June 14

In both cases, the severity depends on the details. 🧵
Bloomberg says the designations hit "about dozen individuals, including gov't/intel officials, and roughly 20 entities ... The US is also expected to expel as many as 10 Russian officials/diplomats." CBS says it's "more than 30 Russian entities" & 10 PNGs.…
More important than the number is whether the 20-30 entities are obscure and isolated entities that directly perpetrated the malign activity (usually not costly) or Kremlin-tied companies with international supply chains and financing (could be costly). ⬇️
Read 27 tweets
15 Apr
The key to whether this will impose any real costs is whether the ~20 entities were selected because of their direct involvement in malign activity (generally not costly) or because they’re owned by Kremlin-connected oligarchs (can be costly if they have international ties).
Here are four examples of entities that could be costly, although they could also risk being too costly to be sustained (like Rusal), so Treasury, State, and others would have to vet their economic exposures and diplomatic considerations carefully. ⬇️
Major update: WSJ reports that the new Russia sanctions will include sovereign debt. Will have to see the details (like whether new debt can be bought on the open market), but that could be calibrated impose a real and manageable cost, could be a good…
Read 4 tweets
14 Apr
Thank you @freedomhouse, @CSIS, and @McCainInstitute, for citing our work at @SecureDemocracy on #CovertForeignMoney to explain why elections need defending in your excellent new report on democracy and authoritarianism!
The fact that #CovertForeignMoney is now viewed as a top vector of interference shows how far we've come in seeing the financial threat, like how we realized in 2017-2018 that it wasn't just "hacking" but also social media disinfo. Here's our full report.…
The European Parliament is halfway through an 18-month process of using our research on #CovertForeignMoney as the basis for policy reforms & common EU standards to close all of the loopholes through which foreign donors covertly fund political activities.…
Read 4 tweets
13 Apr
Solid Russia sanctions options by @AmbDanFried & @brianoftoole, who name 10 companies starting with Gazprom, Rosneft, & VTB.

I'd emphasize a point I learned from Dan & @offspring about escalatory options & activity buckets: You gotta keep 'em separated. 🧵…
Right now the Kremlin appears to be to be escalating against two victims at once: Ukraine and Navalny. In keeping his options open, Putin may be hoping he will have an opportunity to take out one victim and then avoid severe sanctions by backing down on the other.
The way to disabuse Putin of that notion is to clarify—together with credible signals from allies—that each Kremlin behavior will be treated separately as a standalone matter, and that the West has strong options ready to ratchet up sanctions in response to each situation.
Read 7 tweets
16 Feb
This is a fantastic interview with Gary Kalman, who explains how beneficial ownership reform got done and says the top priority on the US anticorruption agenda is now regulating gatekeepers like lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, private equity,…
Gary's absolutely right: @USTreasury has the authority to regulate many such sectors, and the easiest place to start is to immediately finalize the rule proposed at the end of the Obama admin. to regulate private equity & hedge funds. It's ready to go! ➡️…
After that, @USTreasury should revoke the regs pictured below that have been around for two decades granting "temporary exemptions" to ten important sectors, from real estate professionals to sellers of yachts and airplanes.
Read 5 tweets

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