Joe Biden sought out Russian president Vladimir Putin before the 2003 invasion of Iraq to propose a deal in which Russia would be given the oil profits from the war if they entered alongside the United States.
Biden told of his attempt at “creative diplomacy” during a July 2004 event at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. Biden, then the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was joined on stage by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for a discussion on foreign policy in the upcoming presidential election.
One of Biden’s main criticisms of former President George W. Bush during the event was his failure to unite “nations of the world in a common cause” after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Among the nations Biden had an engagement plan for was Putin’s Russia.
Biden said during the event that he, along with a Republican senator he chose not to name, asked for a meeting with Putin and proposed a deal where all proceeds from seized Iraqi oil would initially go to cash-strapped Russia. Biden viewed it as an offer Putin wouldn’t be able to refuse and was disappointed the Bush administration didn’t consider it.