Cheney’s bad trip

OSMAN KARIMOV/AFP/Getty Images Dick Cheney’s trip to the Caucasus and Eastern Europe got very little press here in the U.S. thanks to all the election and economic news, but apparently things got a bit testy during the vice president’s stop in Azerbaijan. The good folks at Eurasianet report: Over the past few days, details have ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
592739_080909_cheney5.jpg
592739_080909_cheney5.jpg

OSMAN KARIMOV/AFP/Getty Images

Dick Cheney's trip to the Caucasus and Eastern Europe got very little press here in the U.S. thanks to all the election and economic news, but apparently things got a bit testy during the vice president's stop in Azerbaijan. The good folks at Eurasianet report:

Over the past few days, details have leaked out that indicate that Cheney’s September 3 visit to Baku was a spectacular diplomatic failure. A report published by the Russian daily Kommersant, which cited sources within President Ilham Aliyev’s administration, said the Cheney visit started with a snub, as neither Aliyev nor Prime Minister Artur Rasizade were at the airport to greet the US vice president, who was the highest ranking American official ever to visit Azerbaijan.

OSMAN KARIMOV/AFP/Getty Images

Dick Cheney’s trip to the Caucasus and Eastern Europe got very little press here in the U.S. thanks to all the election and economic news, but apparently things got a bit testy during the vice president’s stop in Azerbaijan. The good folks at Eurasianet report:

Over the past few days, details have leaked out that indicate that Cheney’s September 3 visit to Baku was a spectacular diplomatic failure. A report published by the Russian daily Kommersant, which cited sources within President Ilham Aliyev’s administration, said the Cheney visit started with a snub, as neither Aliyev nor Prime Minister Artur Rasizade were at the airport to greet the US vice president, who was the highest ranking American official ever to visit Azerbaijan.

Cheney was in Baku to press the Azerbaijani government to commit to the planned Nabucco pipeline, which would deliver Caspian oil and gas to Europe without involving Russia, but got a definite maybe from Aliyev, who wants to maintain good relations with the Kremlin. Cheney was reportedly “extremely irritated” by Aliyev’s wishy-washy stance and things only got worse from there:

Compounding Cheney’s displeasure, immediately following the discussions Aliyev reportedly telephoned Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev to inform the Kremlin about the substance of the US energy stance. […] In a fit of pique, Cheney skipped a reception held in Baku in his honor, according to Azerbaijani sources.

Guess that Cheney charm isn’t what it used to be. It makes you wonder though, could it really have gone that much worse if they had sent the hockey mom from Wasilla instead of the seasoned foreign policy vet?

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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