A delightful profile of US Vice-President Joe Biden by the New Yorker's former China correspondent, Evan Osnos. This quote will get a lot of mileage as the MH17 story develops:
To illustrate his emphasis on personality as a factor in foreign affairs, Biden recalled visiting Putin at the Kremlin in 2011: “I had an interpreter, and when he was showing me his office I said, ‘It’s amazing what capitalism will do, won’t it? A magnificent office!’ And he laughed. As I turned, I was this close to him.” Biden held his hand a few inches from his nose. “I said, ‘Mr. Prime Minister, I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul.’ ”
“You said that?” I asked. It sounded like a movie line.
“Absolutely, positively,” Biden said, and continued, “And he looked back at me, and he smiled, and he said, ‘We understand one another.’ ” Biden sat back, and said, “This is who this guy is!”
But as the Russia scare-mongering ramps up, this Biden judgment should also be remembered:
Other than being crazy enough to press a button, there is nothing that Putin can do militarily to fundamentally alter American interests.”
There's also a killer quote early on in the piece illustrating the Obama-Biden relationship:
The trials facing the President and the Vice-President, who are separated by nineteen years and a canyon in style, have brought them closer than many expected—not least of all themselves. John Marttila, one of Biden’s political advisers, told me, “Joe and Barack were having lunch, and Obama said to Biden, ‘You and I are becoming good friends! I find that very surprising.’ And Joe says...
This is a family website, so I will leave you to read the punchline here.