I have to say, every time Vladimir Putin delivers another stately lecture to Barack Obama on the importance of diplomacy and dialogue and opening the channels of communication, whether via-a-vie Syria or any other topic, I get the biggest kick out of it because I can almost hear The One's teeth grinding from the other side of the continent.
And the best part is that if you consider Putin's words, on the face of it he does actually have a point:
Russian President Vladimir Putin said U.S. policy on Syria is weak and lacks objectives, though he remains open to direct talks as Russia’s bombing campaign continues in support of Syrian [dictator] Bashar al-Assad.
“I don’t really understand how the U.S. can criticize Russia’s actions in Syria if they refuse to have direct dialogue,” Putin told reporters Thursday during a visit to Astana, Kazakhstan. “The basic weakness of the American position is that they don’t have an agenda, though we’re keeping the door open” for talks, he said. [emphases added]
So now Putin is the calm, reasonable, "multilateralist" statesman, reaching out to Obama, the crazy, wild-eyed, warmongering "cowboy" who has no idea what's he's doing. Looks like "Smart Power" has reached new, heretofore undreamed-of heights.
Amid growing friction over Russian airstrikes in Syria that began September 30th, the U.S. rejected Putin’s offer to send a delegation led by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to Washington to explain the campaign against the Islamic State and other [jihadists], Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday. Putin accused some states of having “oatmeal in their heads” on Tuesday for failing to understand that Russia’s intervention seeks to defeat terrorism.
Aaaaaaand kept their client Boy Assad in power, aid their Iranian allies, and replace the U.S. sphere of influence in the Middle East with Putin's.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed “regret” on Wednesday over the American rejection of high-level talks.
BARACK OBAMA AND JOHN KERRY ARE REJECTING HIGH-LEVEL TALKS!!!!! At least now we know what it takes to make that miracle happen, even if nobody, including they, really understands it.
“We’ve said that we’re not interested in doing that as long as Russia is not willing to make a constructive contribution to our counter-ISIS effort,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday, using an acronym for the Islamic State.
Even though the Russians really can't bomb anywhere in Syria without hitting ISIS-controlled territory.
“Russia has their own agenda and it’s an agenda right now that they’re pursuing on their own.”
The White House spokesjerk says that as if (1) it were a shocking surprise and (2) it was completely perplexing that a nation-state would be nationalistically pursuing its own national interests, and (3) that they don't feel the need to construct some phony-baloney, plastic-banana "coalition" behind which to hide.
That's probably why O is pouting instead of talking to the Russians. He's offended that Czar Vlad is doing his George W. Bush impression (even though Dubya DID build an international coalition and DID seek Congressional approval and DID get a specific U.N. resolution covering both Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, quite unlike the bear-wrestler and pec-joggler) - and that the Russians are "wrapping [themselves] in a shroud of isolation," in Defense Commissar Ash Carter's tiresome twaddle, and are not "inflaming and prolonging" the "Syrian civil war," but winning it - and a lot more beyond.
[A] Russian Su-30 Flanker fighter jet flew within about two kilometers (1.2 miles) of a U.S. warplane on October 10th during a mission in Aleppo Province, according to a statement by the Defense Ministry in Moscow on Wednesday.
It's only a matter of time before that inevitable "unfortunate accident" brings this Russo-American "proxy war" to a more direct state of conflict. Which is to say, God only knows what concessions The One will be offering up in the not-to-distant future.
UPDATE: Here's another possible reason for O's estrangement from his man's man rival.
Hey, he did slam Vlad for not "leading on climate change," the other day. Imagine his disdain at Putin positioning his country to be the "global oil overlord".