Russian president Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama will meet privately on the sidelines of the 2013 G-8 Summit in Northern Ireland. It will be the first time these leaders have met since they were both returned to office. While they have many critical issues to discuss, the troubling events in Syria will likely top the list. Fiona Hill, director of the Center on the U.S. and Europe, previews the meetings, saying there’s little hope that these talks can persuade Russia to change its stance on Syria. She also expects President Putin to participate in the meetings under his “statist persona,” a facet of the Russian president that she describes in her book, with Clifford Gaddy, Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin (Brookings, 2012).
“Ban Ki-moon represents experience, public service, and gravitas to many Koreans who see politicians as simply self-serving. The fact that Ban has so much international experience is seen as positive by those Koreans who want to further globalize Korea and make it a stronger international player. Ban’s lack of experience in domestic governance could be a minus for him. But because he does not have a domestic track record people can look at, it’s hard to criticize him.”