Time to Get Tough on Russia
By Rep. Dusty Johnson
June 18, 2021
This week, President Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland.
Stakes were high leading into the summit as U.S.-Russian relations have reached a low point.
From Moscow’s crackdown on political opposition, to their military buildup along the Ukrainian border, and their recent agreement to supply Iran with advanced satellite systems, it is quite clear that Russia is not our friend.
Following the talks, President Biden said in a press conference that he told Putin his agenda “is not against Russia” but “for the American people.”
Despite the promise to be for America, this Administration isn’t taking a hard enough line against Putin.
Over the last two months, U.S. intelligence has attributed two major cyberattacks to Russian-based hackers.
The ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline shutdown thousands of miles of pipeline, shooting up gas prices and causing shortages across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states.
Weeks later, JBS, the world’s largest meatpacker was targeted by a ransomware attack that disrupted meat production across the country.
Not only does the U.S. need to develop better cyber defense capabilities, but we need to hold Russia accountable. Unfortunately, the President simply provided Putin with a list of U.S. infrastructure that should be “off-limits” to Russian cybercriminals.
The Biden Administration also waived sanctions on the Russian company overseeing the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which will double natural gas supplies from Russia into Germany. Doing so only deepens European dependence on Russian energy and emboldens Russian influence in the region.
Meanwhile, one of President Biden’s first acts in office was to halt construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline causing TC Energy to abandon the project completely. This decision is a not only a huge blow to American jobs and energy security, but also to communities across South Dakota who were depending on the pipeline for business.
Putin knows how to play his cards and is excelling in deploying tactics that undermine the United States. In response, Biden has talked a big game about standing up to Russian aggression, but his track record does not mirror his rhetoric.
Mr. President, actions speak louder than words. It is time to get tough on Russia.