Saying "back off!" loudly, as with a warning to the pit bull eyeing the ankles and growling, is a tactic Mr. Kerry and Mr. Lavrov can testify to following their meeting.
For Mr. Kerry, Russia needs to back off its troops along the borders of Ukraine.
For Mr. Lavrov the US needs to back off its refusal to admit what happened in Crimea is legitimate.
If the coup in Ukraine is legitimate so is Crimea, according to Mr. Lavrov. Further, the US needs to help control right wing nationalists prone to violence.
These matters are now being further discussed in a "we agree to agree we should discuss" arrangement.
Meanwhile, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia says any jihadis returning to the kingdom from fighting in foreign countries will be subject to twenty years' imprisonment.
This is an effort to back off the Saudi militants going to Syria so that the US can find the "kinder, gentler" jihadis to fight Assad.
Mr. Obama is back in the US considering what wars might or might not be necessary given global and domestic pressures.
He is rumored sighing and regretful he cannot return to last August and somehow deke away President Putin's quick leap into controlling Assad's chemical weapons.
An aide requesting anonymity states he overheard the President muttering, "If only we could go back . . . Kerry misspoke that there was no diplomatic solution . . . but we couldn't catch it in time!"
And with Iran, given all the objections from the Senate and high-pressure warriors such as Senator McCain, the President is again rumored not sure the Iran deal should go ahead.
Because backing off from peace and diplomacy does have appeal, according to (again anonymous) White House sources.
As with the current 87 billion deal with Saudi Arabia for F-15s and helicopters flowing into American munitions company coffers.
War certainly needs to be at least a threat, and, as Mr. George W. Bush maintained, it is also good for the economy.
Despite how well the banks and Wall Street are doing these days, the US economy can use a boost.
A run on war factories plus a surge in military recruitment could be helpful.
Of course, there's still "international law" to deal with, but these would be aided by main stream news outlets, such as CNN, FOX NEWS, and MSNBC, whose explanations usually suffice.
This support was shown recently by Mr. Obama's referring to the Iraq War and how it conformed to international law at the time.
There is some disagreement because UN inspectors were asking for more time since no WMD had been found. The Bush administration went ahead anyway.
But US actions in that war were only meant to bring peace to Iraq. It had nothing to do with that nation's oil.
The objective was strictly to bring democracy and a stable economy to Iraq--such as they now have.
Mr. Obama's homecoming was reported ebullient, with a great deal of affection from family and pets.