No ‘Harmonization’: A G8 Post Mortem

Taking a cue from comedy duo Laurel and Hardy or, perhaps more accurately, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Pootie-Poot and Dubya's foibles took center stage at the Group of 8 (G8) summit. Between Putin's jabs and Bush's FCC violation and unsolicited shoulder rub on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, much of the G8's purpose, to allow world leaders "to harmonize attitudes to acute international problems," was lost.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who U.S. President George "Dubya" Bush nicknamed Pootie-Poot back in 2002 when he gazed into his eyes and got a "sense of his soul," set the tone of the G8 summit the week before it began. During an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer, Putin replied to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's now infamous May remarks about Russia's deteriorating democracy with a criticism of his own: "I think the statements of your vice president of this sort are the same as an unsuccessful hunting shot."

Media outlets jumped on the remark claiming it underlined tensions ahead of the summit. But to many analysts and policymakers, tensions were underlined months ago, when two damaging reports and a horde of articles came out in April.

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