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Pentagon studies Putin's body language for clues

Pentagon Analyzing Putin's Body Language


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.

Join the discussion

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mchris1542 March 09 2014 at 5:32 AM

What is a Soviet face?

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Tom March 08 2014 at 6:37 PM

What a load of crap. Lets get the x-hippies out of our government and go back to common sense.

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1 reply
savannahswithgod Tom March 08 2014 at 6:46 PM

At least get rid of the ones that don't want to start up the B-17 and B-24 plants again.

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dorc792 March 09 2014 at 1:56 AM

why all the obama phone calls to putin?....just visit him at russias new carib vacation playground CUBA!

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nnegorev March 09 2014 at 1:35 AM

With Kim Jong-Un, Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, interpreting their body language was comparatively easy. The gesture meant "why hasn't he been killed"? With Putin, it could be a greater variety of things: "where is the shut-off valve for the gas?", "why don't I tear up the arms control agreements?", "what will I do with all that poison gas I got from Assad?", and so on.

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mahrmach March 09 2014 at 1:32 AM

A little late. What a mess obama has made!

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1 reply
echobot20 mahrmach March 09 2014 at 4:18 AM

Um I believe Putin has been in power longer than Obama has been president, so this guy has been like this already. He did the same thing with Bush so how is this Obama's made mess? I dont defend presidents, but i do defend what is and what isn't someone's fault.

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barryaclarke March 09 2014 at 1:20 PM

And no one thinks Putin isn't studying the body language of President Obama? This must have him in hysterics..................

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dgallag588 March 08 2014 at 6:49 PM

Is he becoming a Stalin or Hitler? He is definately becoming very scary.

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markalink March 08 2014 at 6:50 PM

So how can you decipher stupid, arrogant, insane, untrustworthy, maniacal, tyrannical, and the list goes on by what he postures and presents in front of a camera when he's executing a seige in action and reality? Why all the Bull and namby pamby guessing games about his body language? WHY is this important and why is there no action worldwide to stop him? Do you think the people in the Ukraine and Crimea care about what they can tell about his "body language"? Have our politicians, experts, and government leaders themselves all just gone "around the bend" TOTALLY BONKERS?
A SHOUT OUT TO THE WORLD... (In my opinion) There's a Madman on the loose in charge of a country invading others! WAKE UP! WHY are you all (The world at large) sitting by allowing this to happen to these poor people all over again? OMG! No One will be able to ever say, "Oh gee, we didn't know!" Are all the world leaders on sedatives or something that they are all collectively "Brain Dead"? Stop the problem NOW before it becomes a bigger problem!

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2 replies
alblonie116 markalink March 08 2014 at 7:14 PM

are you willing to volunteer your military services,on a nuclear battlefield?...The u.s needs a 'kisinger',type over there,to talk first..try defusing a bad situation first...it may work..and will be a lot cheaper overall,in the long run...if it does work,dont you think?

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readingisknowing markalink March 08 2014 at 9:19 PM

Clinton guaranteed to protect Ukraine and they gave up their Nukes and most of their military. Prez Oderf reaffirmed this in 2009. The Ukrainians should have had no problem reading THEIR body language! And yet they signed!! The people in Crimea WANT to join the Russian Federation and the Russians are NOT going to give up a warm-water port. (Kruschev did in 1954 for reasons that nobody could understand unless it was some back-handed way of diluting Ukraine with Russian ethnicity) Maybe the body language experts can figure out why Russia is backing Assad - Hint: Ports in Med and close to Suez)

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xpphil12 March 08 2014 at 8:26 PM

Who or what thought this up?If this doesn't make us look stupid nothing will.Trying to formulate a military or diplomatic response based on someones interpretation of Putin's body language is not very scientific or reliable.Why not use astrology or Tarot cards.Maybe the Pentagon needs a special room full of Ouija boards.Weejee boards.

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2 replies
rdh32khll xpphil12 March 08 2014 at 8:31 PM

Good, truthfull post.

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larry xpphil12 March 08 2014 at 8:34 PM

You just said what every American is thinking.

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gone2conn March 08 2014 at 7:07 PM

adolph putin hosted the olympics then invaded poland.. er, ukraine. said it was to protect german..er, russian nationals. we know how that worked out.

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