Meanwhile, the revival of long dormant tensions has electrified old cold warriors in Washington.
Obama has long dispensed with illusions about Putin.
He sees Putin’s worldview as framed by his apprenticeship in the KGB and nationalistic nostalgia for the Soviet Union.
He is also irritated by the perception that Putin “rescued” him after he blinked at striking Syria over its chemical weapons use.
Obama argues the now troubled deal to destroy the Syrian regime’s chemical arsenal was his idea nurtured by painstaking diplomacy, not an opportunist pounce by Putin.