Putin keeps Kerry waiting 3 hours for Syria talks
There are resets...and then there is Valdmir Putin.
Mr. Putin couldn't find his own reset button that would have transported our Secretary of State back in time to his days as a senator. Instead, John Kerry was left cooling his heels for 3 hours until the Soviet - er - Russian president deigned to sit down with him.
The issue is Syria and the Russian leader doesn't much care about anything except the contiuation in office of Bashar Assad. Gas attacks, massacres, starving citizens - these issues pale in significance to Russian strategic interests in the Middle East.
You might call Putin a cynic on the issue - and you'd be right. But it might help if we had a president and Secretary of State who demanded respect from the former KGB worm, instead of going to him on bended knee, pleading for his help.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was looking to strengthen ties with Russia as he tries to put an end to the dictatorial regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, but instead he was met with the coldest of receptions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin kept Kerry waiting three hours before their meeting at the Kremlin on Tuesday and continuously fiddled with his pen as the top American diplomat spoke about the ongoing crisis in Syria.
Kerry's visit to Moscow comes as he seeks Russian help in ending Syria's civil, telling President Putin that common interest in a stable Middle East could bridge divisions among the big powers.Putin, however, made no mention in his own public remarks of the conflict in Syria, which has generated some of the frostiest exchanges between Washington and Moscow since the Cold War.
Yet with the killing now in a third year and no end in sight as U.N. intervention remains stymied by international arguments, Kerry struck a positive tone as he set about trying to narrow differences sufficiently to agree a plan for a settlement that proved out of reach at talks in Geneva almost a year ago.
"The United States believes that we share some very significant common interests with respect to Syria - stability in the region, not having extremists creating problems throughout the region and elsewhere,' Kerry told Putin.
'We have both embraced in the Geneva communiqué a common approach, so it's my hope that today we'll be able to dig in to that a little bit and see if we can find common ground.'
The United States and Russia endorsed a plan in Geneva last June that called for the creation of a transitional government in Syria, where at least 70,000 people have now been killed since March 2011, but which left open the question of what would happen to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Long-time arms supplier to Assad and suspicious of Western aid for opponents of authoritarian leaders around the world, Moscow says Assad's departure must not be a precondition for a dialogue among Syrians to end the conflict.
Russia, backed by China, has refused Western appeals to consider sanctions on Assad, vetoing three U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning his crackdown on opposition groups.
Putin is about as subtle as an Abrams tank. And Kerry stood there and took the insult without batting an eye. It would have been far better for Kerry to have waited a half an hour, and if Putin didn't show, thank his hosts for their hospitality and leave. No representative of the US should ever absorb such insulting, disrespectful behavior - unless you think that the problems in the world are all America's fault and we deserve to be treated like a Moscow taxi driver.
What do you think Putin made of Kerry's little speech? Putin said in his remarks, that "he was glad to see him in Moscow and expressed hope that relations would improve." Did anyone notice if he was crossing his fingers when he said that? How can you be "glad" to see our secretary of state and hope for improved relations if you keep someone on ice for 3 hours before agreeing to see him?
Putin must have been smirking when he said that.
Turnabout is fair play. Next time the Russian ambassador to the US comes to the state department to meet with Kerry, he should be kept waiting 4 hours. It won't happen - a blue blood like Kerry doesn't have the gut instincts of a street fighter that Putin has. But simply ignoring insults only emboldens the insulter. And Putin hardly needs any more encouragement to disrespect the US.