The common ground between the U.S. and Russia — and Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin — has been shrinking steadily in spite of the much-touted “reset” of relations between the old Cold War foes. And it just got even smaller.
The latest blow to improving relations came Wednesday when Obama, annoyed with Putin’s decision to grant temporary asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, canceled a face-to-face summit with the Russian leader. While U.S. and Russian foreign and defense ministers will sit down in Washington later this week, Obama won’t be going to Moscow next month. The Snowden decision was only the final straw in disputes that the White House cited for a lack of “recent progress.”
The U.S. and Russia have been at odds over the Syrian civil war, Russia’s domestic crackdown on civil rights, a U.S. missile defense plan for Europe, trade, global security, human rights, even adoptions of Russian children by Americans.