Important discussions on issues of strategic stability aside, below is a silly exchange from a press briefing Bob and Condi gave in Moscow on Monday, March 17. When the two trained Kremlinologists were asked to provide their opinion on the leadership potential of Russia’s President-elect Medvedev, Gates noted that he didn’t expect “big changes in policy direction,” but then the conversation took a slightly unexpected turn…
SECRETARY GATES: My first — my first experience in dealing with (inaudible) in this country was Leonid Brezhnev.
SECRETARY RICE: Bob, you shouldn’t tell people that. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY GATES: I’m really old. I found him thoughtful.
SECRETARY RICE: Brezhnev or – (Laughter.)
SECRETARY GATES: I found Medvedev thoughtful, articulate. As Condi said, he was clearly on top of his brief. Foreign policy and national security issues have not been his thing before, but he discussed them very, very well this afternoon. I was impressed.
QUESTION: *How did you find Brezhnev? (Laughter.)*
SECRETARY GATES: *You don’t want to go there. (Laughter.)*
QUESTION: Did you —
SECRETARY GATES: *That’s when I knew we’d win. (Laughter.)*
I am not even going to attempt to analyze this one. SecDef must really miss the gerontocracy and the “eyebrows”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/10/newsid_2516000/2516417.stm. Full text of the briefing is “here”:http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2008/03/102315.htm.
*Update:* Some snapshots of Medvedev’s eyebrows are available “here”:http://www.rost.ru/medvedev/photos.html.