Not only does it smack of bad judgement, but also it amounts to a serious escalation of American diplomatic pressure on Russia to kowtow to the US demand of extraditing the former CIA operative and whistleblower Edward Snowden, even though Russia does not share an extradition treaty with the US.
Moreover, this equally amounts to intensifying the tensions between two nuclear armed countries, especially since this is the first time since the end of Cold War that America has stalled a publicly declared presidential meeting with their Russian counterparts. Not only is US’ stance on whistleblowers a lopsided one, but also the overreaction to Russia’s granting of temporary asylum to Snowden in unwarranted. More than just a squabble over a former operative turned truth-teller, the US-Russia standoff has the potential to snowball into a major diplomatic storm, with severe geostrategic implications to follow. While the US has cited olive branches of ‘missile and arms control’, ‘trade and commercial relations’, as well as ‘global security issues,’ clearly the opposition over their respective policies towards Syria, Iran as well as the rest of the Middle East has a crucial role to play in the heightening of the row that has been triggered by the Snowden saga.
It is unfortunate that the US government has already put into motion its most formidable ideological state apparatus that is the print and television media in the service of badmouthing both Snowden and Putin, as well as drumming up falsely framed reasons to justify the cancelling of the summit by the US government. An editorial in the prestigious New York Times categorically puts the blame on Russia and tries to obfuscate Washington’s vendetta politics behind the Snowden affair. Moreover, opinion columns in other newspapers and TV channels are trying their best to defend the draconian global surveillance system that has been operationalised by the NSA, thus squarely poitning towards creating the media-military-intelligence industrial complex that fabricates ideologies in the interest of the state.