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Temper Tantrum Politics

by Stephen Lendman Friday, Aug. 09, 2013 at 6:36 AM

Russia bashing

Temper Tantrum Politics

by Stephen Lendman

On August 7, Obama cancelled a long-planned Moscow summit. He and Vladimir Putin planned meeting in early September. A previous article explained.

A White House statement said in part:

"Following a careful review begun in July, we have reached the conclusion that there is not enough recent progress in our bilateral agenda with Russia to hold a US-Russia Summit in early September."  

This comment and others ring hollow. Washington demands subservience. It wants things its way. Bullying substitutes for responsible bilateral relations.

Doing so makes more enemies than friends. It threatens world peace. It's more evidence of America's dark side. It shows Obama's true face. He's not ready for prime time.

Politics by temper tantrum doesn't work. Snubbing Putin was unprecedented. It's the first time a US president cancelled an announced Moscow visit since the Cold War ended.

Ahead of the St. Petersburg September 5 and 6 G20 summit, Obama plans visiting Sweden. A White House statement said:

"Before traveling to Russia, the President will travel to Stockholm, Sweden, on September 4 and 5. Sweden is a close friend and partner to the United States."  

"Sweden plays a key leadership role on the international stage, including in opening new trade and investment opportunities through the US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, advancing clean technologies, and promoting environmental sustainability."

A previous article said Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's subservient to US imperial interests. So are others in his coalition government.

Moscow expressed disappointment. Canceling what's been long planned is counterproductive. It's offensive. It's how America does business.

Russia Today cited the Kremlin saying it shows Washington's "not ready to build relations on an equal footing."

Putin aide Yury Ushakov said:

"We are disappointed by the US administration's decision to cancel the visit of President Obama to Moscow that was planned for the beginning of September."

"It is clear that the decision is related to the situation around the former intelligence agency employee Snowden - something that was created not by us."

America "for many years dodged entering into an extradition treaty" with Russia. It refused numerous past Moscow requests.

It gave hardened criminals safe havens. It did so extrajudicially. On July 22, The New York Times headlined "Russia Cites Extradition as Sore Point with US," saying:

"Russian officials complained on Monday that the United States routinely disregards extradition requests by the Russian government."

At issue is terrorists accused of "serious criminal charges." According to Russia's acting chief extradition office prosecutor general Sergei Gorlenko:

"The United States is repeatedly refusing Russia to extradite individuals, to hold them criminally liable, including those accused of committing serious or heinous crimes."

"We have been denied the extradition of murderers, bandits and bribe-takers."

Moscow's Interior Ministry accused Washington of "double standards." In the past decade alone, America refused about 20 requests.

Chechen separatist leader Ilyas Akhmadov's accused of terrorism. Tamaz Nalbandov's charged with kidnapping and extortion. Russia says he's part of an organized crime ring.

Both men live in America. Washington gave them sanctuary. Doing so avoids prosecution. It avoids accountability. US officials refused Moscow's extradition requests.

Russian Federation Council's International Affairs Committee vice chairman Andrey Kliman said America "sacrifices (its) bilateral relations with Russia."

It prioritizes its "internal agenda. We shall not forget such a behavior, but it can by no means signal a start of another Cold War."

Russian Duma Foreign Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Aleksey Pushkov added:

"Now that so much negativity has built up, it would have been viable for the presidents of the two countries to meet and to see what of this negativity could be overcome, what could be left behind, and to set a new agenda."

Obama's petulance prevents it. Temper tantrum politics doesn't work. Nor does snubbing an important world leader. He supports peace and stability. Obama thrives on imperial wars.

Putin believes national sovereignty's inviolable. Obama endorses intervention. It's official US policy.

Putin affirms international law principles. Obama spurns them. He considers them quaint and out-of-date. They're obstacles to US global dominance.

Snowden's father, Lon, praised Russia. He did so for granting his son asylum. He expects no change of policy, saying:

"President Vladimir Putin has stood firm. I respect his strength and courage. He has stood firm against the face of intense pressure from our government and I have to believe that he will continue to stand firm."

"I am absolutely convinced that my son faced a moral hazard. I believe that my son revealed real abuses by the government, and I believe that we have many politicians, up to the highest levels, many politicians who are threatened and embarrassed by that."

"This isn't about Russia. The fight isn't in Russia. (It's) right here. The fight is about these programs that undermine, infringe upon, and violate our constitutional rights."

On August 8, Itar Tass headlined "US-Russia relations should not be affected by Snowden situation."

According to Russian Presidential Special Representative for cooperation with African countries, Chairman of the Federation Council Committee for International Affairs Mikhail Margelov:

Washington exaggerates Snowden's importance.

"Even during Cold War and detente, neither the situation with Sakharov and Bukovsky in the Soviet Union nor the situation with Angela Davis and Leonard Peltier in the United States created obstacles for meetings of our leaders."

When "the burden of superpowers and permanent members of the UN Security Council required face-to-face talks regarding control of nuclear weapons, regional conflicts, outer space and other issues," meetings were held to discuss them.

"Certainly, times are changing, but today the amount of global problems, which require personal meetings between the leaders of the US and Russia is no fewer than during the Cold War era."

Margelov believes that "in the current deteriorated situation we need to fall back on other channels of interaction between 'political classes' of the US and Russia, including parliamentary level."

Media scoundrels weighed in as expected. A previous article discussed New York Times editorial support for police state persecution.

It didn't surprise. Times editors urged Obama to cancel. "What's the Point of a Summit," they asked? Russia bashing is official NYT policy. Support America right or wrong.

Other media scoundrels endorse the same policy. Supporting what demands condemnation is standard practice.

On August 7, Washington Post editors headlined "President Obama must find his voice on Russia," saying:

"(I)t it makes sense that President Obama has decided against a summit meeting with President Vladimir Putin."

Putin's "been carrying out a determined campaign to crush opposition at home, one dimension of which has been an ugly streak of anti-Americanism."

He "snubbed the United States by offering temporary asylum to Edward Snowden."

His "policies seem driven most of all by a desire to show he is standing tall. His approach has thrown the relationship with Washington into a downward spiral."

"(W)e think Mr. Obama is correct not to want to be standing shoulder to shoulder with Mr. Putin right now."

Fact check

Media scoundrels demand foreign leader subservience. US interests alone matter. They call sovereign independent policies anti-American. They endorse temper tantrum politics. They shame themselves in the process.

Wall Street Journal editors headlined "A Welcome Rebuke to Putin," saying:

"President Obama's decision to cancel his one-on-one meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow next month is the right decision - politically, the only one he could make and not look like a patsy."

"The question is whether this is merely a symbolic rebuke or the beginning of a policy shift that recognizes the Putin regime's hostility to American interests."

Journal editors hope "Putin begins to understand that there are costs to his anti-American behavior."

"The Russian boss covets summits with US Presidents and the G-8 to cultivate the domestic illusion that Russia remains a great power."

"As long as Mr. Putin's Russia behaves as an adversary of the US, Mr. Obama should treat it accordingly."

Fact check

Journal editorial policy reflects Rupert Murdoch's views. He's the world's leading media scoundrel. He's uncompromisingly hardball. He demands things his way or else.

He's beyond respectability. He prioritizes power, control and profits. He bullies and exploits to get them. He's a rogue force. He reflects evil, not good.

Meeting with Putin wouldn't make Obama look like a "patsy." Canceling makes him look like a damn fool.

A previous article said he shot himself in the foot. Opting out isn't damage control. It's temper tantrum politics.

It's how America does business. It's one-way. It's do what we say, not what we do. Don't expect Journal editors to explain.

Christian Science Monitor (CSM) editors headlined "Far more than Snowden led to cancel Putin summit," saying:

"Mr. Putin often acts as if Russia is in a competition of geopolitical interests rather than values."

"When Edward Snowden sought asylum after stealing official American secrets, the Kremlin -  which has few compunctions about domestic surveillance - treated the fugitive as merely a pawn in a global power play."

"Power almost always trumps principles. National interest comes before universal ideals."

"Dictators with blood on their hands rarely get an audience in the Oval Office. Allies who defend freedom are welcomed."

Fact check

Snowden's a heroic whistleblower. He stole nothing. He committed no crimes. He revealed lawless NSA spying. He acted responsibly doing so.

Some of the world's worst despots are close US allies. Obama welcomes them often. He does so for White House meetings.

Before his 2011 ouster, he welcomed Egypt's Hosni Mubarak. He met with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah.

He welcomed Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa. He held private discussions with Gabon's Ali Bongo.

He discussed bilateral relations with Yemini despot Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. Other world class tyrants were warmly welcomed. So are rogue Israeli and Western leaders.

Independent ones are spurned. Real democrats aren't invited. It's longstanding US policy.

CSM editors accused Putin of "regular nose-thumbing of the US on global values."

Washington "wants an open, vibrant, and democratic Russia, not a global competitor ruled by an autocrat in a slow-growth economy."

Russian democracy shames America's. It's economic growth exceeds US stagnation. Official data have no credibility.

Unemployment tops 23%. Inflation exceeds 9%. Real GDP's negative, not slightly positive. According to Paul Craig Roberts, Washington "hide(s) economic depression with spin."

Illusion substitutes for reality. So-called " 'recovery' is just another government hoax."

So is claiming America's a model democracy. It never was from inception. It's not one now. Don't expect media scoundrels to explain.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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