Pentagon studies Putin's body language for clues
As foreign policy analysts try to figure out just what Vladimir Putin's next move is, the best clues may lie in his body language.
As first reported by USA Today, there's a group of Pentagon researchers whose job it is to study the movements and gestures of foreign leaders, including Putin.
Experts say studying a person's nonverbal cues can offer insight into how they make decisions and react to events. Some argue studying Putin's body language could help determine his intentions in Ukraine.
On Friday, the Pentagon acknowledged such research but says it hasn't made a difference in the administration's decision-making on Ukraine.
Still, that hasn't kept other body language experts from looking for clues in Putin's most recent press conference.
"He does a chop with his hand. It's very aggressive. It's like a karate chop. It's very aggressive. He's trying to intimidate us with his non-verbals," said one analyst.
A professor at Texas Tech University who researches non-verbal communication explained to NBC Putin spoke calmly even though what he was saying was pretty "combative": "His demeanor is deceptive, precisely because it doesn't appear outwardly belligerent."
Perhaps because he's had some training. Allan Pease is a body language expert who has worked with Putin. Pease told The Moscow Times, one of the first things he taught the former KGB officer was to quit using the type of aggressive gestures you'd see in former Soviet politicians.
He added, "There is one specific piece of body language used by Russians, mostly men, and by no other nations. That is a Soviet face, Mr. Putin's specialty."
Since 1996, the Pentagon has also studied the body language of 15 different prominent figures, including Kim Jong-Un, Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.