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Credit: Susanna Jaramillo

Former Vice President and Penn professor Joe Biden published an essay criticizing the Trump administration for its inaction against Russian interference in American politics, calling on Congress and American citizens to “protect Western democracy.”

Biden and Senior Director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement Michael Carpenter co-wrote the essay, which was published in the Council on Foreign Relations' magazine Foreign Affairs.

In the essay, Biden and Carpenter reflect on Russia’s relationship with the United States since the Cold War, calling Western democracy the “greatest external threat” to the Russian government's survival. Biden and Carpenter argue that Russia continues its attacks on the United States in order to keep the country “on the defensive and preoccupied with internal divisions.”

They go on to write that the “Trump administration has shown that it does not take the Russian threat seriously” and that “Putin and his cronies do not understand that the greatest strength of American democracy is an engaged citizenry.”

“Even if the president refuses to act, we can,” the article concludes. 

Biden leads the Penn Biden Center, which is housed in Washington, D.C. and is set to open later this year. The center aims to engage students in discussions about global affairs and advance American diplomacy efforts.  

Before working for Penn, Carpenter was the deputy assistant secretary of defense, focusing on Russia and the Balkan states. Prior to working for the Department of Defense, Carpenter served as a special advisor to former Vice President Biden and as the director for Russia on the National Security Council. 

Biden’s publication of the essay comes at a pivotal moment in Congress, as a special counsel has convened a grand jury to investigate allegations that the Russian government intervened in the 2016 election to help secure a victory for the Trump campaign.

Deputy Attorney General and 1986 Wharton graduate Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller to lead the Russia investigation. Rosenstein told the DP in a September interview that he has a “responsibility for overseeing the operation — that includes budgeting and certain issues that may require approval from the department.”

Rosenstein isn’t the only Penn alumnus with a connection to Russia. Trump appointed 1986 College graduate and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. as the next ambassador to Russia. 

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