Obama snubs Georgia at nuke talks, lectures Harper

Apparently, Obama's best buddy Vlad Putin just couldn't stomach the thought of sharing oxygen and space with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who has dared to defy Moscow with his pro-US policies. So Obama obliged and didn't invite the Georgian to his little nuclear summit.

Jackson Diehl:

One of those left out was Mikheil Saakashvili, president of Georgia, who got a phone call from Obama last week instead of a meeting in Washington. His exclusion must have prompted broad smiles in Moscow, where Saakashvili is considered public enemy no. 1 -- a leader whom Russia tried to topple by force in the summer of 2008. After all, Obama met with Viktor Yanukovych, the president of Ukraine and a friend of the Kremlin. And he is also meeting with the leaders of two of Georgia's neighbors -- Armenia and Turkey, both of which enjoy excellent relations with Russia.So is Saakashvili -- a democratically elected leader whose ambition is to lead his country into NATO -- being snubbed in order to please Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev? The White House would insist no. The summit is about nuclear security; Yanukovych got an appointment because Ukraine agreed to give up 60 tons of highly enriched uranium that it now uses in research reactors. Turkey and Armenia are seeing Obama because the administration hopes to press them to move forward with an agreement on opening borders -- a deal that would benefit everyone in the Caucasus.

Still, Saakashvili's exclusion from the bilateral schedule is striking considering his strong support for U.S. interests, such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Then there is this picture of the president lecturing Canadian PM Stephen Harper:

The Anchoress:

When people wag a finger in my face, I reach out and cover their hand and say some variation of "don't say another word to me until you put that finger away." The variations are not always courtly, but they get the point across.

Awful picture. Awful optics. But I get the impression that Obama and his crew think these sorts of pictures make him look good. He's sticking it to the man, or something.

The look on Harper's face, I can't read. He's either cowed or repressing his own anger. He appears to be looking directly at Obama's finger. He is making a fist. Anyone want to supply a caption?

I miss the swaggering cowboy. He may have been tongue-tied; he may have screwed up with an errant backrub, but he didn't bow to royalty, he didn't give embarrassing gifts to allies, he didn't show the Dalai Lama the back door. He never said to a visiting ally (paraphrased) "I'm gonna go have dinner with Laura, and if you decide to obey me, I'll be around."

Smart power, people. Smart power.

Correction:

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was indeed invited to the conference and did, in fact, attend. However, President Obama did not meet with him in Washington, almost certainly in deference to Putin's wishes.



Apparently, Obama's best buddy Vlad Putin just couldn't stomach the thought of sharing oxygen and space with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who has dared to defy Moscow with his pro-US policies. So Obama obliged and didn't invite the Georgian to his little nuclear summit.

Jackson Diehl:

One of those left out was Mikheil Saakashvili, president of Georgia, who got a phone call from Obama last week instead of a meeting in Washington. His exclusion must have prompted broad smiles in Moscow, where Saakashvili is considered public enemy no. 1 -- a leader whom Russia tried to topple by force in the summer of 2008. After all, Obama met with Viktor Yanukovych, the president of Ukraine and a friend of the Kremlin. And he is also meeting with the leaders of two of Georgia's neighbors -- Armenia and Turkey, both of which enjoy excellent relations with Russia.

So is Saakashvili -- a democratically elected leader whose ambition is to lead his country into NATO -- being snubbed in order to please Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev? The White House would insist no. The summit is about nuclear security; Yanukovych got an appointment because Ukraine agreed to give up 60 tons of highly enriched uranium that it now uses in research reactors. Turkey and Armenia are seeing Obama because the administration hopes to press them to move forward with an agreement on opening borders -- a deal that would benefit everyone in the Caucasus.

Still, Saakashvili's exclusion from the bilateral schedule is striking considering his strong support for U.S. interests, such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Then there is this picture of the president lecturing Canadian PM Stephen Harper:

The Anchoress:

When people wag a finger in my face, I reach out and cover their hand and say some variation of "don't say another word to me until you put that finger away." The variations are not always courtly, but they get the point across.

Awful picture. Awful optics. But I get the impression that Obama and his crew think these sorts of pictures make him look good. He's sticking it to the man, or something.

The look on Harper's face, I can't read. He's either cowed or repressing his own anger. He appears to be looking directly at Obama's finger. He is making a fist. Anyone want to supply a caption?

I miss the swaggering cowboy. He may have been tongue-tied; he may have screwed up with an errant backrub, but he didn't bow to royalty, he didn't give embarrassing gifts to allies, he didn't show the Dalai Lama the back door. He never said to a visiting ally (paraphrased) "I'm gonna go have dinner with Laura, and if you decide to obey me, I'll be around."

Smart power, people. Smart power.

Correction:

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was indeed invited to the conference and did, in fact, attend. However, President Obama did not meet with him in Washington, almost certainly in deference to Putin's wishes.



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