One might assume that Vladimir Putin’s decision to reposition Russia as a major Asian power—as he announced at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vladivostok on September 7—would produce anger and dismay among US policymakers. After all, American leaders have been complaining about Russia’s re-emergence as a major geopolitical actor ever since Putin first assumed office as president in 2000. But from my observations as a participant in the summit, the Obama administration was more pleased than dismayed by Putin’s announcement. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the top US official present in Vladivostok, went out of her way to congratulate Russia for its recent accession to the World Trade Organization and promised strong administration support for efforts to persuade Congress to eliminate trade restrictions on Russia. Clinton had a private meeting with Putin and, during the final summit banquet, sat next to him for an hour and a half, discussing, as The New York Times reported, wildlife and the forthcoming Winter Olympics in Russia. What explains this sudden rapprochement?