Just as there was tension and a severely strained relationship between President Obama and China’s President, Xi, there was even more tension and even disdain between Obama and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.It was so tense and strained that it was uncomforable to observe.
While Putin managed to eek out a smile, albeit a phony one, where there was no raising of his cheeks, no showing of teeth, and no squinting of the eyes, Obama’s facial expression showed outright disdain, as he looked Putin directly in the eyes. This is a threatening gesture and a power type of play from a body language standpoint. Also Obama tries to gain the upper hand in his hand shake, as his hand is on top of Putin’s and he is applying thumb pressure on the top of Putin’s hand.
There is also considerable distance between them as they are literally keeping one another at arm’s length.Obama is leading with his chin which is also an aggressive move, body language wise. It says he is angry at Putin. And the fact that Obama’s shoulder is raised also says that he is literally giving Putin the “cold shoulder.”
This photo says it all. Putin has his hand balled up in an angry fist as though he would like to punch Obama out. His facial expression also reflects his anger towards Obama as he looks him directly in the eye, reflecting a hostile gesture. There is also tension in Putin’s jaw as you can see the outline of his facial muscle. This indicates extreme anger. His body is rigid and tight as though he is contracting all of his muscles. This too reflects his angry feelings towards Obama.
Obama, on the other hand, tries to stare Putin down. Now doubt he feels Putin’s anger and the feeling is mutual. Obama is stiff as well . You can also see the tension in the muscles in Obama;s lower jaw further reflecting his anger. Now they are abnormally close to one another as there is an invasion of body space. This too, is a form of intimidation on both of their parts.
Now we see some real anger and disdain coming from Obama towards Putin. He refuses to even look in Putin’s direction. You can see the vein literally popping out of Obama’s forehead and he has broken a sweat on his face.
Likewise, Putin’s anger is reflected on his face as well. He keeps an eagle eye on Obama as he sharpens his glare. His lips are pursed and his head is angrily cocked, ready for action.
The bottom line is that these two leaders cannot stand one another as they cannot even stand next to one another without their distain leaking out in their body language and facial language.
The good news for both of them is that Obama only has a few months left in his Presidency. Therefore, a Toxic interaction which they both experienced with one another will not happen again.