President Obama cancelled his planned visit to Moscow to meet with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, but still plans to attend the G-20 Summit.
Why? Blame NSA Leaker Edward Snowden, and Vladimir Putin’s decision to grant him asylum in Russia, rather than send him back to the United States, as the reason.
President Obama’s White House has been said to be furious over Putin’s decision, as have been many in Congress, both Republican and Democrat, alike. But the bottom line is it was a logical reaction to the unprecedented chance to look at how America spies on the World around it.
Putin even said that they “didn’t learn anything new” in talking with Snowden, but that also reveals they did learn something new in just being able to talk to a former representative of the NSA.
The White House’ Official Statement
Here’s the White House’ official statement on the matter, where Mr. Snowden is mentioned:
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. Our cooperation on these issues remains a priority for the United States, so on Friday, August 9, Secretaries Hagel and Kerry will meet with their Russian counterparts in a 2+2 format in Washington to discuss how we can best make progress moving forward on the full range of issues in our bilateral relationship.
The President still looks forward to traveling to St. Petersburg on September 5-6 to attend the G-20 Summit.