Obama cancels visit to Putin in Russia

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

Moscow Kremlin
The Kremlin in Moscow. Just like the White House is the official residence of the US President, the Kremlin is the official residence of the Russian President. “Kremlin” as a word means “fortress.”

Who could have imagined that Edward Snowden’s leaking of top secret NSA information could have such far-reaching consequences? When Russia granted Snowden asylum – letting someone stay in your country to avoid getting in trouble with their own country – they took a big risk with US relations. Now, US President Barack Obama has canceled a very public visit to the capital of Russia, Moscow, where he was going to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Obama’s still going to attend the important G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, in early September, but the White House says, “Following a careful review begun in July, we have reached the conclusion that there is not enough recent progress in our bilateral agenda with Russia to hold a US-Russia Summit in early September.” Basically, “bilateral” means two sides being affected by each other, and “agenda” means the goals you plan out and try to achieve. So, when they say there’s not enough progress in the “bilateral agenda” between the US and Russia, they’re saying both sides aren’t meeting the goals they agreed upon together.

Now, it’s not all about Snowden according to the White House, but that’s definitely the straw that broke the camel’s back. They explain, “Given our lack of progress on issues such as missile defense and arms control, trade and commercial relations, global security issues, and human rights and civil society in the last 12 months, we have informed the Russian government that we believe it would be more constructive to postpone the summit until we have more results from our shared agenda.”

Does that mean the US is crossing its arms and turning its nose up at Russia? Are we just giving up on playing nice? Of course not. A senior official from the White House says, “We still have business to do with these guys on Afghanistan and Iran as well as other issues.”