Republicans as well as Democrats applauded yesterday when President Obama pulled the plug on a September summit meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The stated justification was retaliation for Putin’s contemptuous grant of a year-long asylum to NSA turncoat Edward Snowden.
Such diplomatic theater may be intended more to confuse the American people, however, than punish the Kremlin kleptocrat. After all, President Obama is still going to attend another Putin-convened event in St. Petersburg. And next week in Washington, the U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense will still be making concessions to their Russian counterparts.
Is such official double-dealing simply evidence of the kind of “greater flexibility” Barack Obama promised Putin after the 2012 election? President Obama needs to come clean with the American people – and play hardball with Vladimir Putin.