Everyone is joining in on the 4th of July celebration, even Vladimir Putin. The Russian President, painted by main stream media as the bad guy, evil threat to democracy and freedom, extended a friendly birthday wish to POTUS Barack Obama.
Reuters reports that…
“The head of the Russian state expressed hope that … ties between the two countries will develop successfully on the basis of pragmatism and equality despite difficulties and disagreements,” the Kremlin said in a statement, outlining a telegram sent to Obama on the July 4 holiday.
“Vladimir Putin also highlighted that Russia and the United States, as countries carrying exceptional responsibility for safeguarding international stability and security, should cooperate not only in the interests of their own nations but also the whole world.”
The telegram underlined a message Putin has made central to his third term as president – that Russia, like the United States a veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council, must be treated as a world power and on an equal footing two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Relations between the Obama and Putin are poor, to say the least. Rumors around the web hint that Putin has little respect for Obama, while Obama…well no one really knows what he thinks without a teleprompter directing him.
At the forefront of the chilly relations between the leaders are a variety of ongoing conflicts and disagreements in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and Iran as well as disputes regarding NATO’s aggressive expansion onto Russia’s borders.
Perhaps the friendly Independence Day wish from Putin was simply another move in a fluid geo-political chess game playing out before our very eyes. The call for “pragmatism and equality” in relations could be a diplomatic way for Putin to put the onus on Obama to improve ties.
Past July 4th message from Vladimir Putin to Obama were more upbeat, as Reuters suggests:
The language was less upbeat than in last year’s Independence Day telegram, in which Putin expressed “certainty” that Moscow and Washington would be able to work out solutions to various issues “regardless of the fact that not all approaches of the sides concur”.
The telegram sent on July 4, 2012, at the height of the Syria conflict but long before the Ukraine crisis, was also more positive, referring to an improvement in preceding years and presenting an optimistic outlook for the future.
With a hot summer in full swing and a cold winter (if Russian gas remains cut off) awaiting Ukraine, and possibly all of Europe, don’t expect the two leaders to share a burger while watching the fireworks show anytime soon.