Pay no attention to the man behind that Iron Curtain!
Posted by sanityinjection on July 7, 2008
President Bush had his first meeting with new Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Japan today. Naturally, the media was more interested in analyzing the two men’s impressions of each other than in anything they were actually talking about. Since FDR and Stalin over 60 years ago, we have become accustomed to the idea that the key determining factor in US-Russian relations is the nature and extent of the personal rapport between the two nations’ leaders rather than the particular issues that may be at stake. Admittedly, there is some truth to this.
And yet…why is it that we are all accepting the laughable fiction that Medvedev is the relevant person here? Has everyone forgotten that Medvedev is Vladimir Putin’s handpicked successor and that Putin himself is the Prime Minister? Bright, well-spoken, and even somewhat forward-looking though he may be, the reality is this: Medvedev has just enough power to scratch his own ass as long as it’s only on one cheek. While I fully understand that US officials have to treat Medvedev as if he has the power of his position, I’m not sure why Western journalists feel they have to play the same game.