Remember the good old days when the Obama administration promised “smart diplomacy?” Hillary Clinton mocked the Bush administration for not cozying up sufficiently to Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and presented the Russians with a “reset” button to demonstrate that from now on, things would be better. Right.
Now the administration is feuding with Putin over Edward Snowden. It is a bad sort of feud, because the Russians hold all the cards, in the person of Snowden. Whatever Snowden knows they can easily learn, and at this point there is nothing we can do about it. So in his press conference today, Obama lashed out against Putin:
I don’t have a bad personal relationship with Putin. When we have conversations, they’re candid, they’re blunt; oftentimes, they’re constructive. I know the press likes to focus on body language and he’s got that kind of slouch, looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom.
Maybe directing gratuitous insults toward rival world leaders is a good strategy, when you are dealing from a position of weakness. Maybe, but I doubt it. Although I can see how it could be tempting. But we certainly have come a long way from the early days of the “Hope and Change” administration.