Obama Cancels Meeting With Putin Due To Snowden Asylum Grant

Obama Cancels Meeting With Putin Due To Snowden Asylum Grant (ZeroHedge, Aug 7, 2013):

There were some rumors that the “most transparent administration in history” would not get bent all out of joint due to Russia’s favorable treatment of NSA whistleblower Snowden. Those rumors have just been put to rest, following an AP report that Obama has cancelled his meeting with the Russian president due to Russia’s recent grant of asylum status to the 30 year old former operative.

More from the AP:

In a rare diplomatic snub, President Barack Obama is canceling plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next month.

The decision reflects both U.S. anger over Russia’s harboring of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and growing frustration within the Obama administration over what it sees as Moscow’s stubbornness on other key issues, including missile defense and human rights.

Obama will still attend the Group of 20 economic summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, but a top White House official said the president had no plans to hold one-on-one talks with Putin while there. Instead of visiting Putin in Moscow, the president will add a stop in Sweden to his early September travel itinerary.

White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Russia’s decision last week to defy the U.S. and grant Snowden temporary asylum only exacerbated an already troubled relationship. And with few signs that progress would be made during the Moscow summit on other agenda items, Rhodes said the president decided to cancel the talks.

“We’ll still work with Russia on issues where we can find common ground, but it was the unanimous view of the president and his national security team that a summit did not make sense in the current environment,” Rhodes said.

Obama’s decision to scrap talks with Putin is likely to deepen the chill in the already frosty relationship between the two leaders. They have frequently found themselves at odds on pressing international issues, most recently in Syria, where the U.S. accuses Putin of helping President Bashar Assad fund a civil war. The U.S. has also been a vocal critic of Russia’s crackdown on Kremlin critics and recently sanctioned 18 Russians for human rights violations.

For its part, Moscow has accused the U.S. of installing a missile shield in Eastern Europe as a deterrent against Russia, despite American assurances that the shield is not aimed at its former Cold War foe. Putin also signed a law last year banning U.S. adoptions of Russian children, a move that was seen as retaliation for the U.S. measure that cleared the way for the human rights sanctions.

The U.S. was expected to alert the Russians Wednesday morning about Obama’s decision to shutter the Moscow summit, though the two presidents were not expected to speak directly. Obama and Putin last met in June on the sidelines of the Group of 8 summit in Northern Ireland.

Obama, who is traveling in California, said in an interview Tuesday that he was “disappointed” by Russia’s move to grant Snowden asylum for one year. But he said the move also reflected the “underlying challenges” the U.S. faces in dealing with Moscow.

“There have been times where they slip back into Cold War thinking and a Cold War mentality,” Obama said in an interview on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.”

For Russia, the decision could be used as cover to depict itself of a defender of human rights amid criticism from the U.S. and other nations of its tough crackdown on dissent.

Even as Obama scraps plans to meet with Putin, Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are preparing for meetings in Washington on Friday with their Russian counterparts. Snowden’s status is expected to be a main topic of conversation.

The lower-level meetings with Russia underscore that the U.S. cannot completely sever ties with the Kremlin. Russian transit routes are critical to the U.S. as it removes troops and equipment from Afghanistan. And despite deep differences over Syria’s future, the White House knows it will almost certainly need some level of Russian cooperation in order to oust Assad.

Still, some congressional lawmakers have called for Obama to not only scrub the Moscow summit but also demand that Russia forfeit its right to host the G-20 summit. Others have spoken of boycotting next year’s Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi.

In his interview Tuesday, Obama defended his decision to attend the G-20 summit, an annual gathering of the world’s largest economies. Given the U.S. role in an increasingly interdependent global economy, Obama said it made sense to have high-level representation.

The G-20 summit is scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg on Sept. 5-6. Obama will make his first visit to Sweden ahead of the summit, though his itinerary is unclear.

Rhodes said Sweden has been an important U.S. partner on clean energy issues and will be part of a U.S. trade agreement being negotiated with the European Union.

1 thought on “Obama Cancels Meeting With Putin Due To Snowden Asylum Grant”

  1. Many people hoped the childish “I will take my ball and bat and go home” mentality would change with this president………he shows the US to be a fool once again.
    Two weeks ago, the US congress talked about putting sanctions on Russia for aiding Snowden. I was able to read the extradition treaty on the UK Guardian, and Article VI makes it crystal clear: A person cannot be extradited for political purposes.
    Back to the sanctions. Russia, China, Turkey, Brazil, New Zeeland, Australia, many other South American and emerging African nations no longer use the dollar for international trade with each other. Technology, this nation’s darling, has made the idea of a world reserve currency obsolete.
    In Jan, 2010, 100% of all international trades were completed when nations converted their currencies into US dollars to complete their trades. In August, 2013, less than 50% of the world uses the dollar, electronic currencies have made that step unnecessary.
    To make such fool threats to people who don’t even use our currency is ignorance and folly.
    For those who didn’t hear, this story was buried on US sites……If you remember, two nations in the Middle East wanted to change the reserve currency to gold. Iraq and Libya. We all know what happened to them, and the leaders who made such suggestions.
    A very cunning fellow named Hugo Chavez came up with the idea of an electronic currency in 2010 for the 12 members of the South American Trade Alliance. Each member nation was able to trade with each other using their own currencies, leaving the US dollar out. The Sucre, (the electronic currency) simply translates the value of each currency, making the conversion step obsolete. The SATA GDP was about $500 million a year, it flew under the radar. Hugo Chavez took it live in June of 2010.
    Russia and China saw the success of the Sucre, and set up their own deal using their own currencies, leaving the dollar out in November of 2010. China went on to recruit Turkey, and many other South American and emerging African nations to their trade system.
    After the last US sanctions on Iran late last year, Japan and India joined Russia and China. New Zeeland and Australia just dropped the dollar a few weeks ago. Regardless of what the US says, Iran has gotten quite rich from all the corporate enriching wars in Iraq and other nations, and is a fruitful and rich trading partner. None of these other countries are going to stop trading with them on a word from the US. Those days are over.
    I just saw in the UK Guardian that Russia and China were doing military exercises together this week……….the game is shifting. The US is no longer the Big Kid on the street, just a stupid, overfed and ignorant child.
    Seeing a man of Obama’s intelligence act this way really disgusted me. It tells me the US is in deep trouble.
    Someone needs to tell our leaders that it isn’t 1964 any longer………
    Thank you for a good article. I saw it on the Guardian, and even some US media is covering this story…….. if it is absurd enough for US media, you know we are in trouble.


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