7 Aug. (LPAC) President Obama today cancelled his planned September summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, thus becoming — according to the New York Times — the first American President to cancel a publicly-announced presidential visit in Russia since the end of the Cold War. The meeting was to take place in conjunction with the G20 meeting on Sept. 5-6.
Ironically, Obama’s display of pique came less than 12 hours after he accused Russian leaders of “cold-war thinking and a cold-war mentality” (this during an interview on NBS’s “Tonight” show with Jay Leno).
Clearly, the trigger for Obama’s rage-filling action was Russia’s refusal to extradite Edward Snowden to the U.S. to face espionage charges — which would be a violation of Russian and international law.
The White House attempted to cast the cancellation in broader terms: “Following a careful review begun in July, we have reached the conclusion that there is not enough recent progress in our bilateral agenda with Russia to hold a U.S.-Russia Summit in early September. We value the achievements made with Russia in the President’s first term, including the New START Treaty, and cooperation on Afghanistan, Iran, and North Korea. However, given our lack of progress on issues such as missile defense and arms control, trade and commercial relations, global security issues, and human rights and civil society in the last twelve months, we have informed the Russian Government that we believe it would be more constructive to postpone the summit until we have more results from our shared agenda. Russia’s disappointing decision to grant Edward Snowden temporary asylum was also a factor that we considered in assessing the current state of our bilateral relationship.”
The White House said that that the “2+2” meeting of Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel with their Russian counterparts, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, will still proceed as planned in Washington this Friday, August 9