A year ago President Obama treated Russian president Dmitry Medvedev to lunch at Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, Virginia. "Obama ate a traditional cheeseburger, while Medvedev added jalepenos, mushrooms and onions to his," the Washington Post reported at the time. "The pair shared an order of fries, according to the White House."
It was a very cute outing that seemed to signify close relations between the two men and, thus, their respective countries. No doubt a victory of Obama's much touted "reset" with Russia, the president's boosters might say.
Now, it seems, Medvedev has returned the favor of lunch--with an endorsement. "Let me tell you that no one wishes the re-election of Barack Obama as US president as I do," Medvedev said in an interview with the Financial Times.
"Our relations have improved," Medvedev said of the current U.S.-Russian relationship, "and I think this is owing to the efforts of the new [US] administration and personally president Obama, with whom I am friends. It is easy for me to work with him. If a different person becomes US president, he might have a different agenda."
Medvedev went on to complain about the Republicans, who he believes are too strong on his country:
We realise that there are representatives of a rather conservative wing, who try to attain their political objectives by stoking tensions towards Russia among other things. What is the use of condemning them for that? This is just a way to attain political ends. I remember the race between Barack Obama and John McCain. They were absolutely different, even in their appearance. I believe I have been lucky in this respect at least, because my counterpart has been a modern man wanting change not only for America, but for the whole world order as well. You have kept on asking me about my presidency and whether I will stand for president again, or whether somebody else will come to office.
Is there now any doubt that "reset" worked, for at least one of the two countries involved?