Dec 9, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 13 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
What would Miss Manners say about Russian president Vladimir Putin? No, not about his habit of going shirtless in public. It seems that Putin has developed the habit of showing up late for important meetings, and keeping foreign dignitaries waiting. On a recent visit to South Korea, where proper etiquette is of paramount importance, the Russian leader was a half-hour late for a meeting with President Park Geun-hye. (To be fair, he may just have been stuck in Seoul’s abominable traffic.) That came on the heels of a major snub of our own secretary of state John Kerry; after Kerry had traveled all the way to Moscow to discuss the Syrian crisis with Putin this spring, the Russian president kept Kerry waiting for three hours in the Kremlin. And just last week, Putin was 50 minutes late for an audience with the pope in Rome.
The Scrapbook isn’t one to make overheated comparisons, but this calls to mind no one so much as Stalin, who also displayed his contempt for others by keeping them waiting. Of course, Putin is a mere piker compared with Old Joe: In 1949-50, Mao Zedong, freshly victorious in the Chinese civil war, traveled to Moscow to meet the Soviet dictator. There, Stalin kept Mao waiting for two months between meetings. Perhaps that’s something that Putin can aspire to.
4:04 PM, Nov 15, 2013 • By KEN JENSEN
The cartoon above is from the Great Game era in Central Asia, when the British and Russians were in a contest for places like Afghanistan and Iran. It's strongly (perhaps perversely) suggestive given current events.
The pressure is on to sell to China’s military.Nov 18, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 10 • By JOSEPH A. BOSCO
Next month’s meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in China will feature a familiar ritual. American negotiators will face intensified pressure for Washington to lift restrictions on the sale of military and dual-use technology to China. Over time, the perennial drip-drip of Beijing’s complaints against U.S. trade discrimination in this area, bolstered by American business desires to close the trade gap, has proved effective.
In yesterday’s U.N. speech, Obama kissed goodbye to U.S. allies and signed on with Iran, Russia, and Syria.6:05 PM, Sep 25, 2013 • By LEE SMITH
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani didn’t have to snub Obama yesterday by choosing not to meet with him on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting. But, as with Vladimir Putin’s victory lap op-ed in the New York Times, Rouhani chose to rub Obama’s face in the dirt because he could. Obama hung a “kick me” sign on his back and Rouhani simply took him up on it.
Sep 23, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 03 • By LEE SMITH
Forty years ago this fall, the United States shipped more than 20,000 tons of tanks, artillery, weapons, and supplies to Israel to ensure its victory over two of the Soviet Union’s Arab clients, Syria and Egypt. Those airlifts showed the Arabs that despite their numerical superiority, they had no hope of defeating the tiny Jewish state. As long as Israel was backed by a United States willing to prove its resolve and determination to stand by its allies, the conclusion was etched in stone—America doesn’t lose, and neither do her friends.
12:35 PM, Sep 12, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
John Boehner, the Republican House speaker, told reporters Thursday he was "insulted" by the op-ed article in the New York Times by Russian president Vladimir Putin on the Syrian conflict. The Washington Free Beacon has the video:
With the Russian proposal on Syrian chemical weapons, the United States is being escorted out of the Middle East.12:20 PM, Sep 10, 2013 • By LEE SMITH
Maybe Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin really did discuss the idea of putting Syrian chemical weapons under international control last week on the sidelines of the G20 conference. Putin sure doesn’t care that Obama’s taking credit for the proposal, or that the administration is posturing like a Mob enforcer. “The only reason why we are seeing this proposal,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney, “is because of the U.S. threat of military action.”
Sep 9, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 01 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
There are reasons to worry about NSA surveillance. Civil servants have all the usual human frailties, and when they abuse their power, it’s good to know about it—that’s why we have extensive whistleblower protection laws. But whistle-blowing is different from stealing state secrets and absconding to an unfriendly power, as Edward Snowden did this summer.
The high-stakes election for mayor of Moscow.Sep 2, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 48 • By CATHY YOUNG AND VICTOR DAVIDOFF
Visiting Moscow today, you’d never know that the city is less than a month away from a mayoral election, scheduled for September 8. There are hardly any campaign posters or billboards (you’re far more likely to see the face of Bruce Willis than that of any candidate) and only scant campaign ads on radio
2:28 PM, Aug 9, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Gary Schmitt, on the five-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Georgia:
It’s been five years this week since Putin’s Russia invaded Georgia. And if the lack of references to that anniversary in the major news and media outlets is any indication, then this is indeed the forgotten war.
Aug 19, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 46 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
The Scrapbook enjoyed what might charitably be called a warmhearted chuckle at the news that President Obama had abruptly canceled his planned “summit” meeting in Moscow with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Even the reliably turgid language of White House press secretary Jay Carney was unusually blunt in explaining the reasons why: “We have reached
the conclusion that there is not enough recent progress in our bilateral agenda with Russia to hold a U.S.-Russia summit in early September.”
11:39 AM, Aug 1, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Senator John McCain released this statement after learning the news that Russia had granted asylum to Edward Snowden:
“Russia’s action today is a disgrace and a deliberate effort to embarrass the United States. It is a slap in the face of all Americans. Now is the time to fundamentally rethink our relationship with Putin’s Russia. We need to deal with the Russia that is, not the Russia we might wish for. We cannot allow today’s action by Putin to stand without serious repercussions.
8:33 AM, Jul 26, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Hard to imagine a finer example of conspicuous consumption than this ... and in Moscow: