President Barack Obama is said to have “snubbed” Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president.
The snub was intended to send a signal to Mr. Putin following Mr. Putin’s warm embrace of Edward Snowden, America’s “most wanted” secret leaker.
Several months ago, Mr. Snowden, a mid-level spook, leaked to a columnist for the US edition of The Guardian, a British publication, a cache of information concerning a massive spying operation. Following publication of some of the information, Mr. Snowden took refuge in the Moscow airport, where he hunkered down for several weeks in limbo scouring the world for a place where he could remain untouched by the prehensile grasp of authorities in the United States.
Eventually, Mr. Putin opened wide the arms of mother Russia to Mr. Snowden, who was given temporary sanctuary by Mr. Putin.
This bruised the feelings of Mr. Obama, who snubbed Mr. Putin by cancelling a summit with the cagey Russian president.
Mr. Putin has, it may be conjectured, a huge mass of valuable information at his disposal, and Mr. Obama has the satisfaction of a snub – not an unprofitable exchange from Mr. Putin’s point of view.
In mother Russia, the snub is little more than a joke, according to a report in Bloomberg News: “One freshly minted Russian witticism, picked up by the news site Gazeta.ru, portrayed the U.S. president as a jilted suitor: ‘Obama won't see Putin because Putin is already seeing Snowden.’"
It’s only a matter of time before jay Leno molds that one into a comic bullet.
The White Houses’ statement on the snub is couched in pre-reset, cold permafrost: “
Mr. Obama, according to the statement, was “looking forward to” the summit meeting in Saint Petersburg. The president had canceled the one-on-one meeting with Mr. Putin because of “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 12 months."
Oh, yes... and concerning the spook now crushed in Mr. Putin’s loving embrace, “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."
Message received, titters noted.
On the social network Vkontakte, newspaper editor Vitaly Tretyakov snarked, “This is clearly a political defeat for Obama. Russia, strictly speaking, does not care. What could we expect from Obama's visit? A second reset? But the first one failed. A second detente? Who even remembers the first one?"
How sad, anti-Putinists blogger Oleg Kozyrev twittered, “that Obama did not refuse to meet with Putin because of human rights violations in Russia, but rather because of rights violations in the U.S."
Mr. Snowden, having secured an apartment in Moscow, is now looking for a job and sending cordial greetings to his family in the United States, inviting them to visit him soon.
Mr. Obama is rubbing his walloped noggin, no doubt wondering how he might turn this embarrassing loss into a victory. No one in Mr. Obama’s Chicago political Mafia would want this political crisis to go to waste. With a little help from Mr. Obama’s reliable left of center media, Mr. Obama may yet be able to turn this lump of coal into a diamond.