Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Self-Inflicted Snowden Wounds

Barack Obama is the most powerful man in the world, Vladimir Putin is not far behind. Why are they straining their relationship in a schoolyard spat over a 30-year-old in a Moscow air terminal?

Now the White House threatens to cancel a September summit over the Edward Snowden impasse and snipes at the Russian justice system in an escalating war of words that has no bearing on significant issues between the two nations.

Is this any way to run a nuclear world?

From the start, something has been askew in the Obama Administration’s response to Snowden. Put his revelations into context, yes, but why get caught up in a melodrama to capture and prosecute him? Why give credence to Glenn Greenwald’s assertions that the self-proclaimed whistle blower has more to spill?

Barring any truth in that, it would have made more sense to declare Snowden a fugitive and let him get asylum in Russia, Venezuela or on the moon. But the White House has been keeping him in the headlines and ramping up foreign policy strains over him.

All this has made even Putin sound reasonable as he tells reporters, “Bilateral relations, in my opinion, are far more important than squabbles about the activities of the secret services.”

From the other direction, reliable Lindsey Graham is pushing to move the G-20 meeting out of Russia altogether and have us boycott the 2014 Winter Olympic to be held there.
Just what we need now, a brain-damaged replay of the Cold War even as the temperature starts to cool in Washington with John Boehner harrumphing about some House movement on immigration.

Conflict is media meat, but promoting it in foreign policy should be enough to make vegetarians of us all. Why don't we stick to arguing over the "glamorous" Rolling Stone cover of the Boston bomber?

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