- ‘Gay Jeans’ that fade into rainbow-colored denim created
- Divided court strikes down big porn award
- Jimmy Carter: Don’t hurt Russian people with sanctions
- Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday
- ‘Top Gun’ for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy’s approval
- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
- L.A. sheriff admits to testing flyover spy program without notifying residents
Inside the Ring: Russia reset paused
The cancellation of a meeting between the two leaders is the most significant sign that the president’s four years of conciliatory “reset” policies toward Russia are now on hold.
To drive home U.S. displeasure with Moscow’s recent anti-U.S. policies, including the granting of asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, Mr. Obama will meet instead with Russian rights activists, according to a White House official.
The official told Inside the Ring that the president will meet with “civil-society representatives,” but provided no details.
Mr. Obama will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Francois Hollande in St. Petersburg.
“While there is currently no plan for a formal bilateral [meeting] with President Putin of Russia, we would expect the two presidents to have an opportunity to speak on the margins of the various meetings of the G-20,” the official said. “The president also looks forward to meeting with civil-society representatives in St. Petersburg.”
The Russian online business news outlet Kommersant, which first reported the plan for Mr. Obama to meet the activists, quoted a Russian official as calling the president’s meeting “strange.”
Groups that have been invited to send representatives to meet with Mr. Obama include two gay activist groups, Vykhod (“Coming Out”) and the Russian LGBT Network. Other activists were invited from Agora, For Human Rights, the Moscow Helsinki Group and Golos, according to Kommersant. The news outlet said almost all confirmed the invitations and said they would meet with the president.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov was quoted as saying the Kremlin was unaware of the planned meeting with activists. “As U.S. president in this instance, Barack Obama is free to do whatever he wants,” he said.
However, a Russian government official criticized the planned meetings. “Either you meet with the authorities and those who criticize them, or you meet with nobody,” the official told Kommersant.
Russia’s government has cracked down hard on dissent in recent years, imprisoning political opponents and accusing nongovernmental organizations of engaging in espionage.
At a news conference Wednesday in Sweden, Mr. Obama defended the reset policy as a success for arms control and Russian support for supplying troops in Afghanistan.
“Now, there’s no doubt that, as I indicated a while back, we’ve kind of hit a wall in terms of additional progress,” he said. “But I have not written off the idea that the United States and Russia are going to continue to have common interests even as we have some very profound differences on some other issues,” including Syria.
Syrian air defenses weak
U.S. airstrikes on Syria could quickly knock out Syria’s Russian and Chinese air defense systems as part of larger military operations against President Bashar Assad’s regime, according to a new report.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
- Inside the Ring: U.S. power grid defenseless from attacks
- Inside the Ring: Hagel releases cyber warfare plans to China
- Inside the Ring: North Korea missile test coming
- Inside the Ring: U.S. fears Russia planning to federalize Ukraine, alarming Congress
- Inside the Ring: Pentagon goes hypersonic with long-range rapid attack weapon
TWT Video Picks
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Kansas will nullify local regulation of guns
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Washington Redskins' 2014 schedule opens with Texans
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Georgia governor signs bill expanding gun rights
- Opposition rising to Colorado gun control laws
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014