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The sight of Russia's leader greeting his American counterpart in the glittering splendour of the Kremlin disguises a harsh reality.
President Dmitry Medvedev might want this carefully staged occasion to resemble a Cold War summit, yet he is not meeting President Barack Obama as an equal to bargain over the future of the world.
Instead, Mr Medvedev leads a gravely weakened Russia with few cards to play. In particular, he desperately needs a new treaty on nuclear disarmament for a simple reason: Russia's arsenal is falling to bits anyway.
On Monday Obama reaffirmed Georgia's sovereignty – severely undermined by last year's war and Moscow's subsequent unilateral recognition of rebel-held Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. Today Obama defended "state sovereignty", describing it as "a cornerstone of international order".
He also said that Georgia and Ukraine had a right to choose their own foreign policy and leaders, and could join Nato if they wanted. Russia is deeply opposed to Ukraine's and Georgia's accession, and wants the White House to rule out their future membership. Today Obama responded by saying that Nato sought collaboration with Russia, not confrontation.
Originally posted by JulieMills
What did you guys think of the way Putin (my baby!) schooled Obama on the cold war for 45 minutes and sent him packing with his tail tucked between his legs? I swear, when they interviewed Obama afterwards it looked like he was 2 seconds from crying like a baby... How could anyone think his skinny ass could have a "man to man" with a real man???
Originally posted by Dimitri Dzengalshlevi
Only a fool would believe that Russia is weak. Their most valuable tactic is to show weakness when strong.
Originally posted by FreeSpeaker
Russia does not and will never will willingly show weakness. Don't know where you came up with that. Russia is almost as bad a North Korea with blustering rhetoric and sabre rattling when they really don't have a leg to stand on. Russia has also never fully recovered from their collapse and wouldn't last long in a fight with the US without powerfull allies, namely China.