What will President Obama do about Moscow’s latest move?

America’s “unipolar moment” won’t end on Mr. Obama’s watch, but a lack of influence abroad doesn’t seem to bother this president all that much anyway

by Taylor Dibbert on 3 August 2013 12:21

Russia has granted Edward Snowden temporary asylum. Unsurprisingly, the Obama administration is infuriated. It’s also somewhat embarrassing for an administration that had advocated so strongly (in public and private) against this.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney has already mentioned that Mr. Obama may renege on his commitment to meet President Vladimir Putin this September. (The visit coincides with the G20 which will begin on September 5th in St. Petersburg).

Is that it? Surely the White House must be contemplating more than that…right?

US-Russian relations are complex and go well beyond the Snowden affair. On the other hand, Mr. Obama should not do what he normally does. He needs to go (well) beyond rhetorical diplomacy and wade into the waters of action.

In an intelligent piece for the Wall Street Journal, Gerald Seib has mentioned that Moscow’s latest move has coincided with a broader trend in US foreign policy: “President Barack Obama is having a hard time right now steering world events in the direction he would like.”

From Egypt to Syria to Afghanistan and elsewhere, things hardly seem to be going well for the Obama administration. America’s “unipolar moment” won’t end on Mr. Obama’s watch, but a lack of influence abroad doesn’t seem to bother this president all that much anyway.

Taylor Dibbert is a consultant. He is also a columnist for International Policy Digest and the author of the book 'Fiesta of Sunset: The Peace Corps, Guatemala and a Search for Truth'

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