The United States said Wednesday it was putting off a summit in Moscow because of "lack of progress" on a range of issues, including missile defense and human rights, and "disappointment" over asylum in Russia for intelligence leaker Edward Snowden. In turn, Russian presidential aid, Yury Ushakov stated thatMoscow is deeply disappointed with Washington's decision to cancel Obama's visit.Mr. Lew Rockwell, Chairman of the American Ludwig von Mises Institute, shared his thoughts about the diplomatic deadlock with the Voice of Russia's Evgeny Sukhoi.
Mr. Rockwell, how would you comment on this latest news? Why do you think Obama has at the end of the day decided not to go to Moscow to meet with Putin in person?
Because he sees himself as the emperor of the world and when he announces an edict, every other country is supposed to obey it. But I would say – congratulations to Russia that it is not doing this. And for all these summiteers, you know, they always remind me of the second grade. – I’m not going to talk to you anymore and going to pass you by in the hallway, and look the other way. I mean it is all so childish. And also, these summits are all scripted ahead of time. Nothing actually happens at them. They have an agreement ahead of time and then it is issued after the summit. It is all just theatre.
But in this particular case Obama is doing this because he is being obeyed. Mr. Snowden I would argue is a hero for exposing to the American people and the whole world what the US Government is doing to us. And this is bothering Obama, I would say. Again, I would say – congratulations to Russia that he is not going. It is I think nothing to worry about, although the US belligerence against Russia may be something to worry about. But this particular incident, especially since he is attending the St. Petersburg summit, I would say it is nothing to worry about. It just exposes what the US and what its President sees as the role of the rest of the – and that is to obey.
Sir, do you have any idea why did it take Obama so long to make this decision? There was this suspense dragging on and on for days. Everyone was actually discussing that. And now all of a sudden he says – I won’t meet. Why didn’t he say that a week ago?
Because he wanted to get more attention for the announcement. By dragging it on – maybe he will, maybe he won’t – it gotten more attention. If he had announced it immediately, he would have gotten less attention. I think it has nothing more to do with that than this is a PR strategy. Meanwhile, thank goodness, Snowden is free. He is not being tortured in Guantanamo or whatever they would have done to him over here. Again, I think he is a hero and I hope he releases far more information. The more I know about how the Government is spying on me, the better I like it.
So, you are saying it is a PR. Obviously it could be. But still, do you think it is just a gesture and thing more? Or it is sort of a beginning of another chilly period in Russia-US relations?
We have to remember of course that the US started the first Cold War. Harry Truman started it. And is this a similar kind of thing? I don’t think so. But of course, the US has been hostile to Russia ever since the late 1940’es under various Russian regimes. That didn’t change. I hope this is not that. Could it be yes? It could be. I mean the US is very belligerent towards both Russia and China since these are the two major powers who are not obeying. And anything is possible.
But, if they have decided on a new Cold War, which is, I’m sorry to say, horrifyingly possible, Snowden is just an excuse, I mean it is not the reason for it. It is the reason that the US wants all its missiles and its troops right up against the borders of Russia. You know, it is a very unfortunate thing that the US seeks to be the world hegemon. It wants nobody to again say it. It wants total obedience. Every other country should roll over and play dead when Obama gives the orders. So, from that aspect, could this be a frightening indication – I don’t think so, but I can’t rule it out.
We’ve got this new twist. Obama is actually now going to Sweden. Why do you think he is going to Sweden? Why this country in particular? Any versions form you?
The same general area. And again, it is sort of a childish slap at Russia. But this maybe part of a much broader initiative. And it is true that there are circles in the US – the neoconservatives, for example – who would like a new Cold War with Russia and with China. I mean that’s what they are openly advocating for. They don’t want friendly relations and trade relations. And maybe, Americans don’t agree with every law in Russia, Russians don’t agree with every law in America, but we should be tolerant. Wars and cold wars are the worst possible things that can happen to human beings, especially with the potential of the atomic weapons involved.
So, we are to be tolerant. We are to be friendly. We are to have trade relations. And I think the original American founding fathers were right – no political relations, just friendly cultural and trade relations, and don’t trying to interfere in other peoples’ countries. Then, we would have a peaceful and a much better world. But of course, not everybody agree with that.