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Pictures | Wed Jan 18, 2017 | 2:45pm EST

Obama's friends and foes

President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have never had anything close to personal chemistry. From Russia's decision to grant asylum to fugitive U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden to the annexation of Crimea and Russia's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war, a long list of grievances separate the two governments.
Scrutinizing body language between the two has become a diplomatic pastime as Obama and Putin have engaged in some of the most awkward personal encounters of U.S. and Russian leaders since the end of the Cold War.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have never had anything close to personal chemistry. From Russia's decision to grant asylum to fugitive U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden to the annexation of Crimea and...more

President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have never had anything close to personal chemistry. From Russia's decision to grant asylum to fugitive U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden to the annexation of Crimea and Russia's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war, a long list of grievances separate the two governments. Scrutinizing body language between the two has become a diplomatic pastime as Obama and Putin have engaged in some of the most awkward personal encounters of U.S. and Russian leaders since the end of the Cold War. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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President Obama has described German Chancellor Angela Merkel as his "closest international partner". The two leaders, who together tackled the global financial crisis, promoted free trade and helped forging an international accord to fight climate change, have stressed their shared values many times.
Their relationship has again flourished in recent years, with Obama and Merkel leading an international push for economic sanctions on Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis.
She and Obama forged a particularly close relationship, and his stop in Berlin on his farewell tour reflected that.
"The parting is hard for me," Merkel acknowledged, adding she had to accept that the U.S. constitution limited a president�s time in office to eight years, drawing a wink and a smile from Obama.
REUTERS/Michael Kappeler/Pool

President Obama has described German Chancellor Angela Merkel as his "closest international partner". The two leaders, who together tackled the global financial crisis, promoted free trade and helped forging an international accord to fight climate...more

President Obama has described German Chancellor Angela Merkel as his "closest international partner". The two leaders, who together tackled the global financial crisis, promoted free trade and helped forging an international accord to fight climate change, have stressed their shared values many times. Their relationship has again flourished in recent years, with Obama and Merkel leading an international push for economic sanctions on Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis. She and Obama forged a particularly close relationship, and his stop in Berlin on his farewell tour reflected that. "The parting is hard for me," Merkel acknowledged, adding she had to accept that the U.S. constitution limited a president�s time in office to eight years, drawing a wink and a smile from Obama. REUTERS/Michael Kappeler/Pool
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President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro have had an up and down relationship since Obama took power. 
Obama has praised Castro for openly discussing their differences but he said a "full flowering" of the relationship would happen only with progress on the issue of rights.
In an awkward moment, as a news conference ended, Castro lifted Obama's arm in the air as if to form a victory salute. Obama resisted, letting his hand hang limp rather than form a fist. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro have had an up and down relationship since Obama took power. Obama has praised Castro for openly discussing their differences but he said a "full flowering" of the relationship would happen only with...more

President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro have had an up and down relationship since Obama took power. Obama has praised Castro for openly discussing their differences but he said a "full flowering" of the relationship would happen only with progress on the issue of rights. In an awkward moment, as a news conference ended, Castro lifted Obama's arm in the air as if to form a victory salute. Obama resisted, letting his hand hang limp rather than form a fist. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
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From courtside seats for "March Madness" to golfing at an exclusive course north of London, President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have a "special relationship", according to the White House.
Cameron said he supported Obama's position on military action in Syria after UK parliament narrowly voted against a government motion to authorize it.
Cameron's defeat called into question Britain's traditional role as the United States' most reliable military ally, a role that Cameron has worked hard to cement.
REUTERS/Larry Downing

From courtside seats for "March Madness" to golfing at an exclusive course north of London, President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have a "special relationship", according to the White House. Cameron said he supported Obama's...more

From courtside seats for "March Madness" to golfing at an exclusive course north of London, President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have a "special relationship", according to the White House. Cameron said he supported Obama's position on military action in Syria after UK parliament narrowly voted against a government motion to authorize it. Cameron's defeat called into question Britain's traditional role as the United States' most reliable military ally, a role that Cameron has worked hard to cement. REUTERS/Larry Downing
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Though President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping formally ratified the Paris agreement to curb climate-warming emissions, there are still a number of issues that keep friction between the two leaders. Territorial disputes in the South China Sea, U.S. missile defense plans for South Korea, cybersecurity and human rights are ongoing concerns. Obama said in 2015 that Washington is concerned China is using its "sheer size and muscle" to push around smaller nations in the South China Sea, drawing a swift rebuke from Beijing which accused the United States of being the bully.
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Though President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping formally ratified the Paris agreement to curb climate-warming emissions, there are still a number of issues that keep friction between the two leaders. Territorial disputes in the South China...more

Though President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping formally ratified the Paris agreement to curb climate-warming emissions, there are still a number of issues that keep friction between the two leaders. Territorial disputes in the South China Sea, U.S. missile defense plans for South Korea, cybersecurity and human rights are ongoing concerns. Obama said in 2015 that Washington is concerned China is using its "sheer size and muscle" to push around smaller nations in the South China Sea, drawing a swift rebuke from Beijing which accused the United States of being the bully. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin  Netanyahu have a track record of difficult encounters, including a blowup in the Oval Office when Netanyahu famously lectured the president on Jewish history.
Iran and peace in the Middle East have been heated issues for the two leaders.
Recently Benjamin Netanyahu has been unrelenting in his criticism of the Obama administration, over what he condemned as its "shameful" decision not to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a halt to Israeli settlement-building. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have a track record of difficult encounters, including a blowup in the Oval Office when Netanyahu famously lectured the president on Jewish history. Iran and peace in the Middle East have...more

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have a track record of difficult encounters, including a blowup in the Oval Office when Netanyahu famously lectured the president on Jewish history. Iran and peace in the Middle East have been heated issues for the two leaders. Recently Benjamin Netanyahu has been unrelenting in his criticism of the Obama administration, over what he condemned as its "shameful" decision not to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a halt to Israeli settlement-building. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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President Barack Obama turned the page on years of shaky ties with Canada by staging a lavish White House welcome for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, making clear the new leader is a man after his own heart.
"He campaigned on a message of hope and of change. His positive and optimistic vision is inspiring young people," Obama said after meeting with Trudeau in the Oval Office.
"So, from my perspective, what's not to like?" he added, also noting Trudeau's commitment to the environment. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau/Handout via Reuters

President Barack Obama turned the page on years of shaky ties with Canada by staging a lavish White House welcome for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, making clear the new leader is a man after his own heart. "He campaigned on a message of hope and of...more

President Barack Obama turned the page on years of shaky ties with Canada by staging a lavish White House welcome for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, making clear the new leader is a man after his own heart. "He campaigned on a message of hope and of change. His positive and optimistic vision is inspiring young people," Obama said after meeting with Trudeau in the Oval Office. "So, from my perspective, what's not to like?" he added, also noting Trudeau's commitment to the environment. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau/Handout via Reuters
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Like Obama, Prime Minister Narendra Modi rose from a modest home to break into a political elite dominated by powerful families. Aides say the two men bonded in Washington when Obama took Modi to the memorial of Martin Luther King Jr., whose rights struggle was inspired by India's Mahatma Gandhi.
The "chemistry" aides describe is striking because Modi's politics are considerably to the right of Obama's, and because he was banned from visiting the United States for nearly a decade after deadly Hindu-Muslim riots in Gujarat, the state he governed in 2002.
Obama, the first sitting U.S. president to visit India twice, also enjoyed a close friendship with Modi's predecessor Manmohan Singh, who in 2009 staked his premiership on a controversial deal that made India the sixth "legitimate" atomic power and marked a high point in Indo-U.S. relations. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Like Obama, Prime Minister Narendra Modi rose from a modest home to break into a political elite dominated by powerful families. Aides say the two men bonded in Washington when Obama took Modi to the memorial of Martin Luther King Jr., whose rights...more

Like Obama, Prime Minister Narendra Modi rose from a modest home to break into a political elite dominated by powerful families. Aides say the two men bonded in Washington when Obama took Modi to the memorial of Martin Luther King Jr., whose rights struggle was inspired by India's Mahatma Gandhi. The "chemistry" aides describe is striking because Modi's politics are considerably to the right of Obama's, and because he was banned from visiting the United States for nearly a decade after deadly Hindu-Muslim riots in Gujarat, the state he governed in 2002. Obama, the first sitting U.S. president to visit India twice, also enjoyed a close friendship with Modi's predecessor Manmohan Singh, who in 2009 staked his premiership on a controversial deal that made India the sixth "legitimate" atomic power and marked a high point in Indo-U.S. relations. REUTERS/Larry Downing
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