8 August 2013, 16:47

Putin, Obama meeting cancellation - failure of US government - expert

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Arsenio Valbuena, political analyst, Chairman of the Board of political analysts and sociologists of Asturias (Spain), in interview with the Voice of Russia said that US attempts to carry out a counterattack on Russia are a sign of a profound failure of American foreign policy.

Indeed, this is an evident failure of the US government in an attempt to carry out a counterattack in response to allegations of massive spying even on the part of the allies of the United States in the European Union. In this disastrous position, the US Administration had to stage a “counterattack” with access to the outside world through public channels, having enlisted the support of (Vladimir) Putin as well. This is a sort of quid pro quo (one good turn deserves another) in relations with Russia.

However, Putin has “played his card”, having provided temporary asylum for Snowden, that, in fact, led to a sharp decrease of Barack Obama’s popularity in the USA - the greatest during his presidency. So, in my opinion, this (Obama's decision not to meet with Putin) is a blow that would influence the relations between the USA and Russia.


 

Obama's decision not to meet Putin damages US interests - expert

US President Barack Obama's decision not to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin is a sign of weakness in the American administration, United Russia General Council Secretary Sergei Neverov said.

This decision "damages the US interests at the first turn," the United Russia website quoted Neverov as saying.

"Russia acted like any civilized country protecting human rights would have done in the Snowden situation."

"If this is the reason why the US President chooses not to have the meeting, then it is a sign of weakness and the self-serving position of the US administration," the General Council secretary noted.

"If the US authorities deem it permissible to build their foreign policy on the principles of ultimatum and isolation, that's their choice but I do not think that this choice is consistent with the national interests of the Americans," Neverov said.

It was reported earlier that the US President had cancelled a meeting with the Russian leader in Moscow. He will attend the G20 St. Petersburg summit but there will be no bilateral meeting there either.

Moscow disappointed by US decision to cancel September summit - Kremlin

Moscow is disappointed with Washington's decision to cancel U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Moscow, the Russian president's aide Yury Ushakov said.

"We are disappointed with the decision of the U.S. administration to cancel President Obama's visit to Moscow, which was planned for early September," Ushakov told reporters on Wednesday.

The Cancellation of Obama's visit indicates that the US is unprepared to build a relationship with Russia on an equal footing, he said, the Russian Presidential Aide, Yuri Ushakov, went on; "This problem testifies to the remaining unpreparedness of the United States to build an equal relationship," He added that Obama's decision relates to the Snowen situation, which is not Russia's fault.

Meanwhile the Kremlin aide stressed that the invitation for Obama to visit Moscow remains open.

"The president of the United States was and remains invited to make a visit to Russia," he said to journalists.

"Russia is ready to work with American partners on all items of our bilateral and multilateral agendas," he said.

Cancellation of Obama's Moscow trip is Cold War remnant - expert

Cancellation of the Moscow visit of U.S. President Barack Obama over the Edward Snowden situation was meant for the US audience. This is a remnant of the Cold War, German-Russian Forum Research Director Alexander Rahr said.

"It looks very much like a relic of the Cold War. It seems that Cold War stereotypes and customs are still alive and the reflexes manifest themselves whenever even a small conflict occurs," said Rahr on Wednesday.

"This is understandable from the American point of view. Half of the US public believes that Russia should extradite Snowden. Obama is fighting for his authority, he cannot lose face. America made rather firm demands for the return of Snowden from Russia. That is why Obama will not come to Moscow but he cannot cancel his attendance of the G20 St. Petersburg summit either," Rahr said.

The decision of the US president "is, to a degree, the reaction to the unpaid visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Chicago. He was invited to a NATO summit within the G8 framework," the expert said.

"Putin sent Dmitry Medvedev there instead. His move was followed by a countermove, the refusal of Obama to attend the APEC Vladivostok summit. It seriously damaged Russian prestige. These events are continuing in the same vein," he said.

Russian analysts believe Obama gave in to pressure of 'cold war' lobby

Russian political analysts believe that the cancelation of plans for U.S. President Barack Obama to have a one-on-one meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, stems from strong pressure on the US president from hawks in the Congress and Senate houses.

"This indicates that Obama is failing to lead relations with Putin toward improvement. Even though the U.S. president is trying to do so, he clearly lacks the power. Obama is now under strong pressure from the 'cold war' lobby that exists in the US Congress and Senate and it does not let the American president improve relations with Russia," said director of the Institute for Political Studies Sergei Markov on Wednesday.

In his opinion, the US president succumbed to pressure only for the present moment but in general is not interested in freezing contacts with Putin. "I believe that Obama has kept the possibility of meeting with Putin open but not just now. He simply decided that he should give in to the pressure of the lobby following cold war stereotypes," he said.

The so-called Snowden factor became an irritant for hawks but not Obama personally who came under pressure, believes Alexei Malashenko, member of the Scientific Council of the Moscow Carnegie Center.

"Obama himself was not very bothered by the situation with Snowden. It is just that the hawks, angered by the prospect of Snowden's father traveling to Russia, are pressuring the president," Malashenko said.

It was reported earlier that Obama would not be meeting with Putin in Moscow but would take part in the G20 summit in St. Petersburg in September, at which no bilateral meeting with the Russian president is planned.

This step is seen as Obama's retribution for Russia's decision to grant temporary asylum to the leaker, Edward Snowden and reflects Washington's growing frustration with Russia on several other issues, including missile defense and human rights.

US cites 'lack of progress' in cancelling Moscow summit

The United States said Wednesday it was putting off a summit in Moscow because of "lack of progress" on a range of issues and "disappointment" over Russian asylum for intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

"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," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Obama cancels meeting with Putin in Moscow and St Petersburg amid tensions over Snowden

US President Barack Obama has canceled a meeting in Moscow with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow which was scheduled for September. The move comes after Russia’s recent decision to grant asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Local media also reports Obama is not planning to meet with President Putin during G-20 summit in St Petersburg although US president will visit the Russia's northern capital in September.

Snowden, whose US passport has been revoked, was granted one year’s temporary asylum in Russia last Thursday, finally leaving the confines of the Moscow airport where he had been holed up since June 23.

His new residence permit allows the former CIA employee to work and freely travel all across Russia.

The whistleblower is wanted in the US on espionage charges after revealing secret NSA surveillance programs to the public.


Obama sees no constructive reason to come to Moscow 

by Andrey Fedyashin

US President Barack Obama has cancelled his trip to Moscow for the planned summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, after all. However, his participation in the G20 meeting in St. Petersburg on the 5th-6th of September remains in force. The White House said in a written statement that it would be ‘more constructive to postpone the summit until we have more results from our shared agenda’. In turn, Russia announced that the invitation for the US President to visit Russia remains valid.

Unilateral cancellation of any summit is a very serious step and Moscow will not conceal its disappointment with Obama’s decision. However, it should be noted that if the cancellation of the trip to Moscow really had an undercurrent significance the US president would have made the announcement personally. In fact, what followed was a short written statement of the White House press-secretary.

The US Administration did not conceal that the cancellation of the visit to Moscow is the response to Russia’s decision to grant temporary political asylum to former agent of the CIA and the NSA Edward Snowden. The White House statement reads that ‘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.’ There is still no extradition treaty between Moscow and Washington – through the US’ fault - and the US has no reason to express displeasure at no extradition of Snowden. Russian President’s aide Yuri Ushakov told journalists that the problem itself is evidence that the US is not prepared to build our relations on an equal footing. Nevertheless, he added that the invitation for the US President to visit Moscow remains valid.

On the whole, the wording of Obama’s refusal makes an impression of postponement rather than cancellation. A special press-release reads that the US values what was achieved in relations with Russia during Obama’s first term in office, including the new agreement on strategic offensive weapons and cooperation in the issues of Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea.

Lew Rockwell, analyst from the Ludwig von Mises Institute, when asked by The Voice of Russia to comment on President Obama’s decision spoke very acidly.

Russian experts believe that Obama’s decision was a diplomatic gesture meant to satisfy his Republican opponents in Congress who demanded that Russia should be severely punished for granting Snowden asylum. This demarche was meant for ‘home use’ and to please the Congress. This is also proved by the fact that no other planned Russian-US events have been cancelled. The same press-release reads that the meeting in the 2+2 format of State Secretary John Kerry and Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu is due in Washington on the 9th of August, as planned.

An overwhelming majority of Russian experts warn against dramatizing the White House’s recent move because this move is unlikely to damage Russian-US relations in any way, Deputy Director of the Institute of Social and Political Research with the Russian Academy of Sciences Vilen Ivanov says.

“There will be no ‘freezing’. Russia will continue its constructive policy of cooperation with the US because this is in our interests. The US has made a few blunders in the foreign policy and is now trying to put things right by putting pressure on everyone. However, this time the power game with Russia had no result.”

Some Russian experts even believe that Obama and Putin will meet during the summit in St. Petersburg. Some media are still convinced that any contact, meeting or talks with US leaders is like a godsend, as if it is not the US that needs its partners but the other way round, the partners need the US, well-known Russian political scientist Alexei Zudin says. Even if the summit in Moscow does not take place the bilateral meeting of Presidents Obama and Putin in St. Petersburg will be sufficient.

“The planned meeting of Putin and Obama is actually more in the US president’s interests because there will be no other opportunity to hold consultations on the most acute problems.”

The ‘Snowden case’ has not affected the nature of Russian-US relations. No project has been curtailed, no treaty or agreement cancelled, and exchanges continue, political scientist Sergey Mikheyev says.

“There is no reason to speak about some radical aggravation because it does not exist. The Snowden situation is very complicated for Americans. They thought for a long time if they should postpone the meeting and finally found a compromise.”

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that even though the US disagrees with Russia in the Snowden case there is a number of other important issues in which we see eye to eye, so we will continue to discuss them and cooperate in dealing with them.”

Incidentally, on the 7th of August Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Riabkov and US Ambassador to Russia Michael Mc Faul discussed the preparations for a meeting between the Russian Foreign and Defence Ministers and US Foreign and Defence Secretaries due in Washington on the 9th of August.

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