The trouble with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden often is Joe Biden himself. The Obama administration's pledge to hit the reset button on Russian relations was called into question in Moscow after Biden's recent comments that Russia is badly damaged economically and that its leadership is stuck in the past.
Seeking to soften the perceived U.S. position on Russia, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday that the Obama administration viewed Russia as a "great power."
"Clinton, seeking to take the edge off Biden's recent remarks, acknowledged that the longtime adversaries had problems with each other's policies. 'They have questions about our policies and we have questions about some of theirs,' she said in an appearance on NBC's 'Meet the Press,'" the Los Angeles Times reported.
"We view Russia as a great power," Clinton said.
Biden had suggested the Russian economy and its banking system were in a severely weakened state, and he characterized Russian leadership as "clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable."
"Biden's remarks, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, came at the end of a four-day visit to Georgia and Ukraine in which he reassured the two countries of U.S. support in the face of Russian pressure. Moscow, vexed that Biden should be criticizing Russia so soon after Obama's visit there, demanded a clarification of his comments," according to the LA Times.