One sign of how this whole Snowden business has got under president Obama’s skin is that he seems to be losing his celebrated cool and becoming more peevish, as demonstrated in the way he spoke about Russian president Vladimir Putin at yesterday’s press conference.
At a White House news conference on Friday, Obama insisted that he does not have bad personal relations with Putin. The two men had a testy meeting in June in Northern Ireland and from the photos of them at the time, it looked as if they would both rather have been somewhere else.
“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. But the truth is that when we’re in conversations together, oftentimes it’s very productive,” Obama said.
This is not the way that leaders on nations should speak of other leaders, at least in public. While there are no reports yet of whether Putin has responded to this slight, the news report says that “Putin’s sending of a telegram wishing former President George W. Bush well after a heart procedure this week was viewed by some Kremlin watchers as a sign that Putin was sending an implicit message to Obama” which prompts the immediate question: People still send telegrams?
But Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov may have been taking a swipe at Obama when he said at a meeting with John Kerry, “Let’s act as adults”.
Yes, let’s do that.