It certainly looked like Dmitry Medvedev had a good time on his first trip to America last week as Russia's president. It was all a far cry from the bleak old days of the Cold War.
The warm welcome of Medvedev by Obama served a clear domestic political purpose: the administration is parading Medvedev as a foreign policy success story. That perception depends on whom you are talking to.
And with Iran's documented exportation of terror into Latin America, Venezuela is Iran's ultimate forward base for that terror state's ambitions in Latin America.
In today's crisis-facing global economy, bribes cause nuclear weapons and guided missile technology to get loose a lot faster than cries for holy war.
Could it really cost Putin that much to allow a few thousand protestors to rally in Moscow, even if they demand his resignation, even if they make the evening news?
Choices: Focus on fourteen critical decisions in the book, or leave the number vague. Decision: Focus on fourteen critical decisions. Outcome: Bad! I could only think of fifteen.
It was funny at first, but now a Kremlin critic with some actual moral standing has gotten caught up in the latest Russian honey trap, which has been baiting one opposition figure after another.
Putin's promise of additional weapons sales, and assistance to help Venezuela draw up plans for a nuclear power plant only complicates the hemispheric security and development agenda.
For his geopolitics to work, Obama has to let Russia project its influence through the former Soviet bloc, while at the same time not seeming to abandon new democracies in Eastern and Central Europe.
The treaty Barack Obama signed with his Russian counterpart on April 8 is an astounding victory for the White House, perhaps the greatest one to come out of Obama's foreign policy so far.
Central Europe has long been a place where empires from the East and West have come to settle their differences. It will be very important for Obama to use this trip to help unify Eastern and Western Europe against Moscow's efforts to sow divisions.
When one of the world's most powerful and ruthless armies is hunting you, how do you evade capture inside a wooded patch of mountains about the size of Yosemite national park?
Tuesday's attacks in Moscow and now Wednesday's in Dagestanmay may do more to define the path of Russia's future as a democracy than any single event since 1991. In a worst-case scenario, Vladimir Putin could return to the presidency.
With the Communist Party finding a second life in Russia one wonders if trust is wearing thin between Vladimir Putin and Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. The two leaders hold discussions in Caracas tomorrow.
The grand thinkers on foreign-policy theory love to argue that Europe is irrelevant in the early 21st century. It was only irrelevant to a Bush White House that tried hard to make it so. Obama, with very little effort, can and should do better.
Nothing resonates more powerfully than a "good versus evil" story, which is precisely how the media has portrayed the Russo-Chechen conflict. This is dangerous reductionism that neglects crucial facts.