But by giving Snowden temporary asylum only 2 ½ weeks after he applied, Russia seems to have gone out of its way to snub the U.S. As it turns out, Putin’s now-famous statement that Snowden could stay in Russia only if he stopped damaging U.S. interests didn’t count for much in the end. Giving Snowden asylum status was, indeed, a significant blow to the U.S. At the very least, it damaged Obama’s reputation, as well as U.S.-Russian relations in the short-term…
In the end, by seemingly blessing the decision to grant Snowden asylum before the planned Moscow summit, Putin all but made Obama’s cancellation of the summit a given. This was Putin provocation par excellence.
And judging by his previous meetings with Obama, it is clear that Putin doesn’t care too much for Obama. The tension is so high that Putin can’t even offer a courtesy laugh at Obama’s attempts to break the ice with jokes.
Obama may think that canceling the Moscow summit sent a strong message to Putin, particularly since Putin values these summits as a boost to his global prestige. Yet far from being a snub, Obama’s no-show is probably the best news Putin has received in a long time.