RPT: REVIEW - Putin-Biden Summit Paves Way To Cyberspace Regulation

RPT: REVIEW - Putin-Biden Summit Paves Way to Cyberspace Regulation

BRUSSELS/ST.PETERSBURG (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 18th June, 2021) The historic meeting in Geneva between the two presidents, Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, which came just as relations between Russia and the US reached an all-time low, was a welcome event that brought about some constructive, though predictable, results, political experts told Sputnik. Most importantly, Moscow and Washington seemed to have found some common ground on the issue of cybersecurity, paving the way to further regulation of the cyber "Wild West."

At the Wednesday summit, the presidents outlined their positions on some of the most pressing global issues and agreed to launch strategic stability consultations to reduce the risk of conflict between the world's two dominant nuclear powers. They also adopted a joint statement reaffirming commitment to the 1985 formula by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.

Though nothing groundbreaking happened during the summit, the two leaders did manage to establish contact which, in itself, is a solid start in building general understanding, Thierry Mariani, a French member of the European Parliament, said.

"He [Biden] was a senator for 36 years before being twice Vice President and now President, so he knows how to build up a communication momentum, with some harsh words for the hawks back home in Washington, before saying soothing words about a fair dialogue between the superpowers," Mariani noted.

Mischael Modrikamen, a former president of People's Party in Belgium, echoed the sentiment, stressing that a constructive dialogue has been launched as both presidents showed a goal-oriented approach to bilateral relations.

"The dialogue is launched. What is important is that there is no degradation of the relations, to the contrary. They both mentioned bilateral work, particularly Joe Biden who repeated several ties that he was for personal contacts. He escaped the inevitable question of trust, by referring to the deliverables expected in the dialogue. Fine," Modrikamen said.

Personal contacts are especially important for diplomats like Biden, and we can expect the two leaders to engage more actively from now on, Armin-Paulus Hampel, the foreign policy spokesman for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) faction in the German parliament, commented.

"The two presidents have established personal relations. It is striking that they both mentioned it and Joe Biden even gave the impression that they will talk more often, probably in the good old-fashioned way of the red phone between the leaders of the USSR and the USA," he speculated.

SMALL, BUT WELCOME GESTURES OF GOODWILL

Following the summit, Putin and Biden held separate press conferences, where they both expressed willingness to move forward with the strategic dialogue a move that was as expected as it was welcome.

According to Mariani, even though the two leaders did not have time to get into the "intricacies" of each issue they discussed, they did manage to define an agenda and a timetable for their respective teams to begin consultations.

"It is an excellent result. Nobody expected more, really," he said, adding that now that the ice has been broken, it is very likely that Biden will "refrain from .

.. throwing insults at the head of Mr. Putin."

Modrikamen also noted that Putin, like his American counterpart, was very constructive, and confirmed the beginning of negotiations on all the mentioned points of the agenda, including new arms treaties and cybersecurity.

PATH TOWARDS NEW CYBERSECURITY ORDER

Experts agreed that the main result of the summit, which was slightly overshadowed by other statements, is the opening of the dialogue on a restructuring of the cyberspace."I have the impression from what both presidents said, that today is the beginning of the world organization of cyberspace, since all have to suffer from cyberattacks from hackers. Russia also, for example in the recent attack on the health network of a whole region," Thierry Mariani stressed.

Armin-Paulus Hampel, in turn, said that it was crucial for Putin and Biden to quit paying the blame game and focus on a practical solution of the cybersecurity issue, which is definitely a "good thing."

"The US put squarely the responsibility for these attacks on the US election system and American utilities on Russia and Putin now responds that the first country for hackers is the US and that Russia just suffered an attack on the health system of a whole region, originating in the US. So both leaders mentioned the issue of cyberspace in their separate press conferences, a sign that Lavrov and Blinken's teams will have a lot on their plate in the months to come," he explained.

Modrikamen told Sputnik he considered cybersecurity the most important topic of the day, as many countries across the globe had to deal with an increase in cyberattacks over the past years. He specifically drew attention to the fact that the two leaders and their teams were very careful not to use the word cyber warfare, which is used quite often by the American media, while discussing the recent attacks on the US and Russian crucial infrastructure.

POTENTIAL FOR NEGOTIATIONS ON ARMS TREATIES

The summit has certainly opened the way for more practical negotiations concerning other global security issues cooperation on Iran, Afghanistan and the Arctic, as well as resumption of talks on the New START and other arms treaties.

"Basically, from what Biden and Putin said in Geneva on Afghanistan or on Iran for example, the ball is rolling and they will try to find agreements on the best way forward for these thorny issues," Hampel said, noting that the US needs a more pragmatic approach here.

Hampel further stated that, in his opinion, Washington considers China a more dangerous threat to its global position than Russia, and will likely choose a more collaborative approach to relations with Moscow to avoid fighting "on two fronts."

"The US wants to get out of Afghanistan and wants a solution for Iran, with Russia if possible," he added.

Alexander Neu, a senior lawmaker at Germany's The Left party, said he expected the US and Russia to revive cooperation on the New START treaty and begin work on other nuclear arms restrictions.

"It ... is a success to resume the negotiations on the START-Treaty. I hope, they will cooperate to create a new INF [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] and KSE-Treaty [Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty]," Neu said.