We all know the US government thinks Edward Snowden broke the law, and they want him back in this country to face espionage charges. However, that's not a good reason for President Obama to call off his summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Certainly Putin knows how the president feels about his granting Snowden temporary asylum in Russia. Barack Obama should have gone to Moscow and told him to his face.
Most people who follow foreign affairs are aware that Putin, a former intelligence official, likes to play the "hard man". That's why he offered the American whistleblower temporary asylum in the first place. The one thing Putin would have understood was President Obama facing him, looking him in the eye, and expressing his displeasure in person. In canceling the summit, the president blew that chance.
There are a substantial number of Americans that don't look at Snowden as a traitor. Some see him as a hero. He exposed a level of spying here in the US that took most people here by surprise. In fact, there was a time that the president himself said publicly that NSA operations deserved much more scrutiny. Be that as it may, backing off a confrontation with Putin could be just what the Russian president wants.
While we're at it, President Obama is missing a golden opportunity to tell Putin just what he thinks about Russia's anti gay laws, and how they'll affect US participation in the Winter Olympics. Suppose, just for moment, the US didn't spend its time rallying allies to deny flyover rights to the Bolivian president's plane, but rather organized a protest of our allies against these repressive laws.
There would be ample opportunity for both leaders to come out of a meeting, and talk about the "frank" discussions they'd had Even if Putin couldn't be moved, the American people could say this was a time our president Played the "hard man" just like Putin.
Sadly, the chance seems to be lost. The president will hold a news conference Friday, and the likelihood is he'll use the opportunity to explain the cancellation.
His reasoning may seem valid to some. At the end of the day, it's a missed opportunity.
You tell me. Should the president have canceled?