Won't Be A Bush-Putin Relationship

At a briefing with reporters this morning, senior administration officials seemed to go out of their way to define the content of the developing Obama-Medvevev relationship as being workmanlike, rather than personal. "Out strategy was not to make the goal of the meetings to establish some buddy relationship," an SAO said. "The goal is to advance our interests. Having dialogue is a means.... but the goal is not to have a personal relationship."  A different senior administration official with a penchant for archness told ABC's Jake Tapper: "We're not looking into anyone's soul."  As you'll recall, President Bush was mezmerized by then President Vladimir Putin's gaze: "I looked the man in the eye... I was able to get a sense of his soul."  The relationship between the two leaders may have been lopsided from the start, allowing Putin to take advantage of the President's man-crush like good will.  Incidentally, President Obama and President Medvevev do share a common language: they're both lawyers.

 

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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