James West

James West

Senior Digital Editor

James West is senior digital editor for Mother Jones, and before that, the senior producer for its reporting project Climate Desk. He wrote Beijing Blur (Penguin 2008), a far-reaching account of modernizing China’s underground youth scene. James has a masters of journalism under his belt from NYU, and has produced a variety of award-winning shows in his native Australia, including the national affairs program Hack. He's been to Kyrgyzstan, and also invited himself to Thanksgiving dinner after wrongly receiving invites for years from the mysterious Tran family.

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This Video of a Guy Getting This Close to Obama and Putin Might Be the Best Video of the Year

| Mon Nov. 16, 2015 8:43 PM EST

For more than 30 minutes on Sunday, President Barack Obama could be seen huddling on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting in Antalya, Turkey, in conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin and two aides, apparently hashing out a plan to deal with the chaos in Syria. "President Obama and President Putin agreed on the need for a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition," the White House said.

Now, state-backed broadcaster Russia Today has released a video of the incident—in which a man seems to be trying to listen in on the high-stakes conversation between the leaders.

Look, I'm no fan of Russia Today, and its propaganda-choked airwaves. And it's true we don't know exactly what this guy is doing or what he's thinking. Homeboy might just be chilling out with that funny smirk and a truckload of self-consciousness, and his funny use of his cell phone, and the odd way he keeps glancing at the camera. We'll never know. But just look at that face. It's very funny:

Watch the full video, posted Monday:

h/t My friend Steph Harmon, out-going editor of Junkee. Congrats on the new gig.

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