This whole “reset” thing looks incredibly depressing…

A picture is worth 1,000 words: Poutin Putin

(Image: AP)

The LA Times offers some awkward context:

Sharp divisions over the civil war in Syria led to an icy encounter Monday between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom U.S. officials view as a major hurdle in their drive to force Syrian President Bashar Assad from power.

The two leaders held their first face-to-face meeting in a year at the summit of the world’s richest countries days after Obama deepened U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict. Aides said the CIA would begin supplying arms and ammunition to some opposition forces in hopes of shifting the military balance away from Assad.

In comments to reporters, Obama and Putin expressed support for still-unscheduled Syrian peace negotiations in Geneva, but offered no sign of progress in ending a war that has killed at least 93,000 people. Russia, Syria’s most powerful ally, has sent weapons to Assad’s forces and is considering deliveries of sophisticated antiaircraft missile batteries.

Obama noted that he and Putin had “differing perspectives” on Syria but said they both sought to reduce the bloodshed and secure Assad’s arsenal of chemical weapons. “We want to try to resolve the issue through political means if possible,” he said.

“Of course our opinions don’t coincide,” Putin responded. But he said he hoped “to solve the situation peacefully” and said they “agreed to push the parties to the negotiations table.”

Obama tried to lighten the mood by joking about their favorite sports. He cited Putin’s expertise in judo and “my declining skills in basketball.” Then he added, “And we both agree that as you get older, it takes more time to recover.”

Putin cracked a brief smile before adding an awkward admission of the tension: “The president wants to relax me with his statement.”