One of the downsides of going buddy buddy with Medvedev – you know, running out for cheeseburgers and strolling around the White House grounds – is that it allows the Russian president to present himself as a normal leader, which he is not.
As we learn in the Christian Science Monitor, while Medvedev and Obama discuss whether to hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, Russia is brewing new coercive powers for the FSB – the modern KGB – that, while ostensibly for beating on terrorists, will also be used to remind average Russian citizens of the good old days under Communism.
The article suggests that Medvedev himself may oppose the measures, but I think it’s just as likely Putin and Medvedev have established a good cop – bad cop routine and that they are largely on the same page. Putin knows his overseas reputation is on the decline, while Medvedev looks clean. This would be a typical Soviet propaganda technique.
And in any case, Medvedev represents Russia, and authoritarianism and worse is what’s going on in Russia.
And, excuse me, but didn’t Russia recently annex part of the country of Georgia for itself? The trip to the burger joint certainly means we’ve forgotten about all that.
On the other hand, perhaps the goal here was to stuff the Russian leader with unhealthy food. I assume it’s a particularly high fat content that makes Ray’s Hell Burgers taste so good.
But if this isn’t what Obama had in mind, then he might think, whilst he is kicking the asses of the leaders of various law abiding U.S. corporations, about not making a show of his affection for Dmitri.