US and Russian aircraft came within three metres (10ft) of colliding this week over the Black Sea; Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin gave each other the death stare at the G20 summit; and Obama’s Democrats have accused the Russians of hacking into their computer systems.
The relationship between Washington DC and Moscow is never easy. But it appears the two are edging towards a deal that will lead to them operating almost as a joint force in Syria.
The ambition of the deal being hammered out between John Kerry, the US secretary of state, and Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, in Geneva on Friday is extraordinary.
And it is not universally admired, having raised suspicions not only among moderate Syrian opposition groups but also at the Pentagon, where there is concern that Kerry may be blinded by a desire to remove the great stain on his foreign policy record before he stands down.