Putin's signal crystal clear

Putin's signal crystal clear

Russian President Vladimir Putin isn't just showing his lack of respect for the United States, he's flaunting it.

Fleeing what he considers to be a police state (the United States), Edward Snowden this past week opted to take up housekeeping in a real police state — Russia.

It's not that Snowden — the former national security consultant who stole a boatload of U.S. government secrets — had good alternatives. He faces trial here, if and when he ever returns, and a likely conviction on charges that could put him in prison for decades. Compared to that, life in Russia and semi-celebrity status don't look bad. But his future is not a good one, no matter if it could be worse elsewhere.

But it's not just Snowden's future that's been adversely affected. Diplomatic relations between this country and Russia also have been damaged, perhaps irreversibly. The White House has made it clear that President Obama is infuriated by President Putin's decision to give refuge to the man Obama and other prominent Americans consider a traitor.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney described Obama as "extremely disappointed" by Russia's action and acknowledged that the president is considering canceling his planned appearance next month at the Group of 20 nations' summit in St. Petersburg. We encourage him to do that.

While the Snowden decision is bad enough, more than that is eating at Obama. Putin, who remains deeply embittered by the collapse of the old Soviet Union, has gone out of his way to demonstrate his contempt for the United States and, more specifically, his disdain for Obama.

In fact, it's pretty obvious that Putin has little respect for Obama and even less fear. No nation fearing serious negative consequences would do what Russia has just done — not just harbor, but make a home for, a fugitive of Snowden's magnitude.

Obama's plan on taking office in 2009 was to hit what he called the diplomatic "reset" button with a number of nations, including Russia, and rely on his personal charm to win policy concessions and cooperative arrangements. Unfortunately, that approach has failed, at least with Russia, Snowden's new residential status being the latest example.

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STM wrote on August 05, 2013 at 7:08 am

It's ironic that a country which elevated spying on it's own people to an artform, is protecting a whistle-blower from the U.S.  I'm starting to wonder what's left to respect when we casually allow our government to collect ALL phone and data from ALL of us ALL the time.  The U.S. people would allow its' government to be steered by the voice of money than the voices of its' citizens (Citizens United ruling).  American's seem comfortable giving away its' schools, highways, bridges, infrastructure, and institutions to "private" interests (corporations and other nations) than supporting these things which belong to the people who paid for them (taxpayers).

Americans (judging by the actions of their politicians) would rather allow criminals in banks and investment institutions to not only go unprosecuted, but have billions thrown at them to cover their gambling debts. Meanwhile our veterans, children, poor, and elderly are ignored.

Americans would rather outsource their brains to talk-radio blowhards and hired media hit-men than seek out and understand credible news. 

Putin is basically a dictator and clamping down on power in Russia more every day, but why should he show respect for the U.S.? Money and un-regulated capitalism has weakened us as a nation and it shows more every day we allow money and power to take away our liberties.  But hey! We still gots our guns!