“Buy a brick” – a common Russian joke. A big guy holding a brick approaches a passerby: “Ah, dude, buy this brick”. The person responds: “No, thank you, I don’t need it”. When the big guy waives the brick menacingly over the head of the other: “You’d better buy this brick and not tempt your fate”.
BTW, Biden at his best.
[…] I just had an interesting meeting, as you all know, with my very close friend, Vladimir Putin. (Laughter.) I can tell — one thing: I’ve been dealing with world leaders a long, long time. And just like all of you men and women, you can sort of sense somebody else after a while.
He knows that you’re better than his team, and it bothers the hell out of him. Not a joke. Not a joke. And he, as a consequence of you, think we have capacities he may even exaggerate. That’s a good thing. That’s a good thing.
[…] The world is changing so rapidly — technologically and in terms of alliances and human intercourse — that war is going to change across the board in the next 10 years than in the last 50 years. That’s not hyperbole; that’s a fact.
If I talked to you 15 years ago about hypersonic flight, you’d look at me like I was crazy. So much is going to change and that’s going to put an enormous burden on you to stay ahead of the curve. It’s really going to get tougher.
When I was with Mr. Putin, who has a real problem — he is — he’s sitting on top of an economy that has nuclear weapons and oil wells and nothing else. Nothing else. Their economy is — what? — the eighth smallest in the world now — largest in the world? He knows — he knows he’s in real trouble, which makes him even more dangerous, in my view.
Take a look at China. I’ve spent more time with Xi Jinping as a world leader than anyone else has. I spent 25 hours alone with him when I was Vice President because it was important that, according to President Obama, that someone knew who the new guy coming on board was, and it couldn’t be the President.
I traveled 17,000 miles with him. I’ve sat with him, with me and just an interpreter — each of us have a simultaneous interpreter. He is deadly earnest about becoming the most powerful military force in the world, as well as the largest — the most prominent economy in the world by the mid-40s — the 2040s. It’s real.
I don’t know. We probably have some people who aren’t totally cleared — I don’t know, but you saw just what we found out about hypersonic — we — anyway, as they say in Southern Delaware, “This boy has got a plan.” And, you know, we better figure out how we’re going to keep pace without exacerbating and moving us in a position where we increase the hostilities unnecessarily.
[…] You know, we used to — we used to be, when I first got here as a U.S. senator, actually three and a half decades ago, we invested more money — R&D — money in R&D as a percent of our GDP than any nation in the world. We’re now number eight. China was number nine; they’re now number two. It matters. It matters.