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Ear to the Ground

U.S. Decides to Talk to Russia Despite Massive Pouting

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Posted on Aug 6, 2013
White House/Pete Souza

President Obama speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Sorry to take the hard news edge off the story, but this is so high school.

The United States is very upset with Russia for granting whistle-blower Edward Snowden temporary asylum. President Obama accused Moscow of having a “Cold War mentality,” during his appearance Tuesday on “The Tonight Show.” Because war and the central preoccupation of the 20th century is the sort of thing you want to casually toss around on a talk show.

The White House has hinted that the U.S. might boycott the upcoming G-20 summit in Russia, although Obama said Tuesday that he would attend. But will he meet one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin as planned? The White House is “evaluating whether that meeting makes sense.” (Update: Since this posting, Obama has announced he will not meet with Putin.)

A more immediate diplomatic crisis has been averted. Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will go ahead with bilateral talks with Russian officials scheduled for Friday. With Iran’s nuclear program, the Syrian civil war and the dozens of other issues that concern both nations, it’s a relief to know Washington is willing to speak to Russia, even though Russia, Obama might say, is a total jerk for being nice to Edward Snowden even though he totally knows we have issues.

Wait, didn’t President Obama once make a big deal about engaging with our adversaries? Yes. Yes, he did:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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