“Because if he doesn’t go to the G-20 or talk to Putin, U.S. national security interests are going to be harmed,” Korb said. “If he does go, politically they’ll say to him: ‘You’re showing you’re not tough enough. No wonder people are running all over you here.’”…
Steven Pifer, director of the Brookings Institution’s Arms Control Initiative and a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, said the Obama administration should not skip the Kerry and Hagel meetings, and instead use them to assess what they can gain from the bilateral summit.
If Obama can win positive developments on nuclear arms cuts or differences on missile defense, for instance, then the summit is worth keeping, he said.
“From the White House point of view, it does raise the cost of the president going ahead with the planned summit,” Pifer said. “If Putin is not going to engage seriously on the questions we care about, what’s the value of going and incurring the political pain at home?”