President Barack Obama is sending Russia’s Vladimir Putin a not-so-subtle message: cold war politics are outdated and belong to the past:

Barack Obama has chided Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, for “cold war approaches” to relations with the US, saying Putin had “one foot in the old ways of doing business and one foot in the new”, just days before the two men meet in Moscow.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Obama said the US was developing a “very good relationship” with Putin’s successor as president, Dmitry Medvedev, over issues such as nuclear arms reduction. But the American president acknowledged the balance of power in Russia by saying that he would also meet Putin, because he “still has sway”.

“I think that it’s important that, even as we move forward with President Medvedev, that Putin understand that the old cold war approaches to US-Russian relations is outdated – that it’s time to move forward in a different direction”, said Obama. “I think Medvedev understands that.

“I think Putin has one foot in the old ways of doing business and one foot in the new. To the extent that we can provide him and the Russian people a clear sense that the US is not seeking an antagonistic relationship, but wants co-operation on nuclear non-proliferation, fighting terrorism, energy issues, we’ll end up having a stronger partner overall in this process.”

In April, Obama met Medvedev and spoke of “the beginning of new progress” in relations, praising the Russian president as “critical” to that movement. After that meeting, the two men issued a statement saying they were ready “to move beyond cold war mentalities”.

Obama’s latest remarks clarify that he sees Putin standing in the way of progress, particularly on issues such as weapons reduction.

Here’s MSNBC’s take on it:

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Advice to Obama: Don’t look into Putin’s eye and look into his soul. Look elsewhere..

JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief
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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • Silhouette

    I often wonder what would be accomplished if the US and the USSR met each other half way?

    Just imagine the possibilities..

  • DLS

    Silhouette, innumerable people imagined the possibilities. However, the USSR was unwilling and when it made agreements, it routinely broke them.

    Of course, as with the problems Israel faces with making agreements with its enemies, it was fashionable among some [scowl] to blame the USA for the problems during the Cold War, just as they continue to put the blame wrongly on Israel now.

    It will be interesting what Russia does now. I’m not concerned about fluffy statements Obama makes about nuclear arms reduction (and I won’t get dewy-eyed like the fools will), but am interested in now much power Medvedev is actually going to be given by Putin and how willing the Russians will be at least to make grudging concessions to the West (their straw man and scapegoat for their own failures — even with oil and gas riches their economy is failing).