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Photo: Patrick Semansky / AP

Joe Biden has written a tough, newsy article for Foreign Affairs magazine that takes on the Kremlin, the White House and the social-media giants, as the former vice president stays in the mix amid planning for a 2020 run. Axios has an exclusive first look for you.

The big quote: "Social media companies such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google must provide greater transparency about who funds the political advertisements on their platforms, work harder to eliminate automated and bot-generated content, and invest in the technological and human resources to root out fake foreign accounts that spread disinformation."

Biden co-writes with Michael Carpenter, Penn Biden Center senior director and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, on "How to Stand Up to the Kremlin: Defending Democracy Against Its Enemies," in the forthcoming (January/February) issue of Foreign Affairs:

  • "The Russian government is brazenly assaulting the foundations of Western democracy around the world."
  • "Russia's assault on democracy and subversion of democratic political systems calls for a strong response. The United States and its allies must improve their ability to deter Russian military aggression."
  • "Trump has made a habit of lavishing praise on Putin and even reportedly sought to lift sanctions against Russia shortly after his inauguration. We are not questioning Trump's motives, but his behavior forces us to question his judgment."
  • "If this administration cannot or will not stand up to Russia, other democratic institutions, including Congress and civil society organizations, must mobilize."
  • Biden calls for "the creation of an independent, nonpartisan commission [like the 9/11] to examine Russia's assault on American democracy."
  • "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."

Be smart: This message is a testament to the extent to which Russia has become the central partisan dividing line on foreign policy, in a reversal of the traditional positions.

  • Biden's blast sounds more like a candidate than a White House retiree. And it looks like the beginning of working out a campaign message.

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

5 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.