Green Room

What Obama and Medvedev didn’t say

posted at 10:01 am on June 30, 2010 by

Originally posted at The Washington Examiner:

President Obama and Russian President Medvedev enjoyed a burger and a walk in the park.

“Obama’s first time hosting Medvedev at the White House will probably be remembered most for the extent to which they got along like a couple of buddies.”

At least Obama didn’t say he got a sense of Medvedev’s soul.  But for a lot of friendly acquaintances, warmth often relies as much on what is not said, as what is said. For example, Medvedev apparently didn’t comment on the hypocrisy of Obama enjoying a burger and fries, while he and Michelle lecture the rest of us about our food choices and salt intake.

It’s also probable that Medvedev didn’t openly mock how Obama is working hard to shut down American drilling in the Gulf of Mexico while Russia partners with Cuba to drain those fields dry.  Chances are good that he refrained from congratulating our President on maintaining a federal bureaucracy so oppressive that local governments are legally restricted from attempting to protect themselves from catastrophic environmental damage.  After all, in Russia that sort of top-down management is unremarkable, and it’s not like they are interested in protecting the Baltic Sea. He probably doesn’t even wonder why Obama has been so slow to respond to the situation in the Gulf of Mexico.

While they did speak about economics, they apparently stuck mostly to trade issues. For his part, it’s unlikely President Obama commented much on the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republic’s embrace of capitalism, it’s wildly successful 13% flat tax, or inquired why Russia is abandoning “fairness” by scrapping its capital gains tax. Medvedev probably didn’t remark on the dire financial repercussions of the Euro-socialism that Obama seems bent on implementing in the United States.

Perhaps they exchanged tips on how to deal with unruly executives – like Bob Dudley, who is now managing BP’s oil spill. Less than two years ago, BP claimed that Dudley had to flee Russia to escape the “orchestrated campaign of harassment” he was being subjected to by Russian authorities. But then, it’s unlikely Obama really needs help in that department, having already – without benefit of law – squeezed $20 billion from the company and the pensioners who rely on it. (While BP should certainly pay for the damage it’s caused, it should be held accountable in a legal, orderly way – not via a decree from the Oval Office.)

All in all, a great visit. Maybe that reset button worked!

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