Interesting how Moscow manages to sound supercilious even when it’s extending an olive branch. Recognizing that it’s in both countries’ interest to thaw relations with the United States, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has penned an op-ed piece for the Washington Post urging closer co-operation on a raft of issues, from disarmament to Afghanistan to the global economy. But either Medvedev has a tin ear for metaphors, or he can’t resist taking a poke at once-mighty Washington in its time of troubles. “I believe that removing such obstacles to good relations would be beneficial to our countries—essentially removing ‘toxic assets’ to make good a negative balance sheet—and beneficial to the world,” he writes, in a none-too-subtle reference to President Barack Obama’s mortgage bailout plan. Still, one can assume the hand of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is behind any such public gesture, so the piece may be a key step in bridging the East-West divide that developed during the administration of George W. Bush.