Joe Biden has presented William Burns, a diplomat who used to work in Moscow, as a candidate for the leader of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Burns had served in Moscow from 2005 to 2008, and for the past few years has been the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
In 2017, he expressed his opinions about the future of the relationship between Russia and the United States. He states: “Both sides had illusions about a two-sided relationship. The USA were indecisive between the idea of continuing the relationship with Moscow and the assumption that Russia is losing its status as a regional power. Russia, on the other hand, firstly thought about its strategic relationship with the US, and then tried to revert the view on the world order where the US dominated. The reality is that the relationship with Russia will remain competitive, and the two countries will often act as opponents – and the basis for this is the view that each state has of its role in the world”.
Burns had explained his first meeting with Vladimir Putin as “defiant, but straight to the point”. He recalls as Putin’s words as “you, Americans, need to listen more, you can’t just do as you wish”.
He claims that Putin was able to keep contact with the population when the prices for oil were high, due to the rising social welfare. However, when the oil prices dropped and the West introduced sanctions, this was no longer the case. The economy was left running on the energy sector, where the ability to reform was prevented by the corruption that was eating the system out.
The candidate states that he enjoyed watching basketball, ice hockey and football (soccer) during his time in Moscow, and was not downcast from the lack of American football. Burns says that he enjoyed going on walks around Moscow, particularly around Vorobyovy hills. However, Burns asserts that living in Moscow is not enough to understand Russia – he himself made around 40 trips around the country.
Image credit: Mihail Fomichev / TASS