Even if President Vladimir Putin is catching some flak for his decision to stay in power as prime minister, or is starting to sweat the spy war opening up underneath his feet, he certainly hasn’t lost his sense of humor. According to reports, he kept US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice waiting for 40 minutes before their meeting – perhaps to remind them of their importance. When he did emerge, it wasn’t for the private discussion they expected, but rather to receive a lecture:
The one point I would like to make is that we hope that you will not push ahead with your prior agreements with Eastern European countries while this complex negotiating process continues. After all, we could decide some day to put missile defence systems on the Moon, but if we concentrate solely on carrying out our own plans we could end up losing the opportunity for reaching an agreement. But we see that our American partners are showing a constructive desire to continue the dialogue and we think this is a very positive signal.
Well played, Sir. Well played.