World leaders make their choice

International diplomacy takes place on many levels. It is not just secret negotiations, but carefully planned photo ops as well. So it is interesting to speculate why President Vladimir Putin, in full view of the media, chose to have U.S. President George W. Bush drive his vintage white sedan, a 1956 Volga, on May 8 at the presidential dacha outside of Moscow . Pictures of their joy ride hit the front pages of the major dailies in the United States covering Bush's trip to Russia .

Putin and his aides saw several benefits from having Bush behind the steering wheel of a 50-year-old Volga . It was a public act of amicable reciprocity, since the two presidents had ridden together in Bush's pickup truck during Putin's visit to his ranch in Crawford , Texas . I rode in your vehicle, you ride in mine. How much more reciprocal can you get?