On this day in 1971, President Richard Nixon, to the complete surprise of the American public, announced that he would be visiting communist China in 1972. It was an abrupt, about-face departure from a stance the vehemently anti-communist Nixon had campaigned upon. But the lost lives and political costs of the Vietnam war—as well as the insistent advice of Nixon’s Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger—led Nixon away from his intransigence and into a momentous meeting that would shape the course of American diplomacy and international affairs for decades.
Two top diplomats were caught discussing less-than-diplomatic thoughts about the EU this week, a leak the State Department is blaming on the Russians.
It took four trips to North Korea and a drunken CNN interview defending his "best friend" Kim Jong Un, but Dennis Rodman appears to have hit his rock bottom. The 52-year-old former NBA star checked into rehab this week. A State Department official told CNN that Rodman's latest visit was "marginally unhelpful."
Russian President Vladimir Putin shook hands (and smiled) with President Obama on Thursday morning at the 2013 G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, where leaders of major countries were ostensibly meeting to discuss the stability of the global economy. The tense handshake — a controversial trope during Obama’s previous visits to Russia — underscored Putin’s interference with American foreign policy. Up until yesterday, Russia supplied arms to the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad, and Putin has helped stanch a United Nations resolution to sanction military intervention in Syria, while demanding that such a resolution pass before Russia would support a U.S.-led strike.
Yesterday came news that Russian president Vladimir Putin possibly stole one of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft's Super Bowl rings during a 2005 meeting. Or at least, that's what Kraft told attendees at a gala on Thursday. Today, president Putin is denying that he stole the ring, saying it was a great gift.
On Monday night, Dennis Rodman celebrated his 52nd birthday at Cheetahs, a gentleman’s club in Times Square. One press release advertised the event, part of an extended birthday tour, as “a no-holds barred birthday with topless dancers, thongs, and naked sushi.” Another cheekily teased that the NBA Hall of Famer might bring along a certain famously despotic guest, one Kim Jong-un, so that "maybe the Cheetah Strippers and Rodman can secure what our government has failed to do."
President Obama arrived in Israel today on his first state trip to the country and the first leg of his tour of the Middle East. He is expected to discuss the crisis in Syria and Iran's disputed nuclear program with the leaders of Israel. He also plans to go to the West Bank on Thursday to meet with Palestinian officials, but there are not many expectations for progress towards peace.