And another thing! Russia denies Visas to US Officials involved in Torture, including Yoo, Addington

The food fight between the United States and the Russian Federation has revolved around relatively minor issues in the two countries’ relationship like whether Obama will have a summit with Putin in September (no), whether Russia would grant Edward Snowden asylum (yes), whether Americans can adopt Russian babies (no), whether the US would sanction Russian officials for the death in prison of dissident attorney Sergei Magnitsky.

The Russian government dismissed Obama’s cancellation of his summit with Putin at the G-20 meeting (Obama will still attend the latter) as a sign that the United States still doesn’t recognize the Russian Federation as an equal. That is, Putin feels that the Americans have a superiority complex and act in paternalistic and slighting ways toward other countries.

A less remarked-on round in this game of tit for tat (which so far doesn’t rise to the level of being very serious) is the government’s decision last April to deny visas to American officials and former officials who had something to do with torture at Guantanamo, where Russian citizens have been held.

The Moscow Times reports

“The list of banned officials released by the Foreign Ministry in April included former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff David Addington, former U.S. Justice Department adviser John Yoo and various other Justice Department officials alleged to have violated Russian citizens’ human rights. United States Admiral Jeffrey Harbeson, the former head of the Guantanamo prison, was denied a Russian visa in January, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported.”

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I mostly think these prickly diplomatic snubs are most unhelpful and that both countries should take a deep breath and step back. But actually, the banning of US personnel involved with torture is only right, especially since the US government is never going to prosecute these monsters. You hope that Russian authorities are making sure not to replicate American mistakes.

The reason I said at the outset that I don’t think these tiffs with Russia are very consequential is that there is tremendous Russian cooperation with the US and NATO in Afghanistan, on fighting drug trafficking, and many other issues that seems unaffected by the diplomatic sniping of the two sides.

12 Responses

  1. Holding up anti-drug operations as a beneficial example of co-operation is ironic. It is prohibition policies in both CIS and USA which drive up prices and make drug trafficking
    so profitable.

  2. Good. Now Obama an assassin, a war criminal and a violator of all international laws and his dumb supporters, YOO, are going to be denied visa. You deserve it war criminals and baby killers

  3. Good Article Prof. Cole, indeed there are much cooperation between US and Russia in other areas.

    Having said that, US has this nasty habit of “throwing the baby out with the bath water”. By that I mean there has been “tremendous cooperation” between US and Iran over Afghanistan, but that didn’t stop Mr. Bush from calling Iran the Axis of Evil, thus I agree with Mr. Putin in that “AMERICAN GOVERNMENT have a superiority complex and act in paternalistic and slighting ways toward other countries.”

    I was just thinking yesterday about an ex-president Jimmy Carter, wondering if he is laughing at all these tit for tat, because lets face it, to chase after Snowden was laughable, and to cancel a summit meeting because of Russian’s asylum to Snowden is even more laughable.

    I also couldn’t help drawing a compare and contrast between Carter’s tit for tat and Obama’s temper tantrum.

    Jimmy Carter cancelled the 1980 Moscow Olympics over Russia INVASION of AFGHANISTAN, Obama cancelled the Summit and who knows he might even boycott the Winter Olympics over Russia messing up his plan of further INVASION of the AMERICAN’S PRIVACY ;)

    While Carter’s action was admirable, Obama in comparison is acting like a jilted suitor, but then again there is not much in the way of comparison between Mr. Carter & Mr. Obama.

    • Mainly because Obama’s presidency has been successful.

      to cancel a summit meeting because of Russian’s asylum to Snowden is even more laughable

      The summit hasn’t actually been cancelled. It’s still going to happen, just as the level of foreign minister.

      What was cancelled was basically photo-op time with both heads of state.

      • Reagan and Gorbachev in Helsinki: photo-op time? Those three Stooges at Yalta, and all that followed? This photo-op of course is meaningless in the real world of public opinion, one might guess. “Small stuff,” one might say. The People Who Really Know discount it to insignificance.

        People trained to their parts in the Megaton Megadeaths in ColdWarThinkistan might be excused in wondering if they need to get their knees and hips replaced, so they can refresh their “Duck and Cover” skills…

  4. Obama is better off meeting with the likes of Jay Leno than Vladimir Putin. America’s ‘diplomatic’ skills have become extremely rusty, and Obama has only been pretending to be president. All the real decisions are made at the Pentagon/CIA level.

  5. Yes, this is all small-time stuff. Even Syria: while that country may be very important to Russia (only regional client left, Mediterranean naval base), it’s basically a hobby for the U.S. There is no way the U.S. allows that dispute to interfere with the actually important interests you list.

    • The only actual “actually important interest” Dr, Cole lists is cooperation of some sort on pressing the “Universal Forever War On Drugs,” which is just part of the successful marketing and pricing structure of the people who grow, process, distribute and profit from “illegal drug trafficking.” Including “small-time too-big-to-fail banks” that launder trillions, our many mini-militia police departments and their forfeiture scams and prosecutorial frauds, and federal agencies including ones that actually have visibly been involved in the drug trade to fund other idiocies of theirs. Like those Contra years ‘n stuff.

      Aside from “cooperating” in a global system that fortuitously results in massive sales of arms by both sides, and some elbow-bumping on maintaining the world currency, what other “actually important interests” are “we” cooperating on?

      And so glad to know that “even Syria” in your moral universe or frame is “small-time stuff.” Like this? link to syriavideo.net That kind of seems to maybe draw a nice Victorian frame around your views…

    • Yes but its a “twofer”. The USA gets to tweak both Russia (because of the base at Tartus) and Iran (because of the Shiite/Hezbollah axis?). The USA doesn’t need to do much, just a little, to stir the pot. Plus, it pours some gravy onto the whole pie for its ally next door in the Levant, whom never seems pass up an opportunity to obsess on the total destruction of all things Hezbollah.

      • Whatever, JT. Wake us up when you have a point other than “I really hate that guy on the internet.”

        Mike, I don’t think “tweaking Russia” matters very much to the United States these days. The U.S. continues to be a major focus of Russian foreign policy, but Russia just doesn’t occupy the same space in American thinking that it did during the Cold War. The damage to our bilateral relationship from the Syria crisis is a cost to the United States, not a goal. Remember that Obama (as well as Bush before him) came into office seeking better relations with Russia.

        It’s a bit like the Blue Jays and the Yankees. The Blue Jays talk about their rivalry with the Yankees, while the Yankees view the Blue Jays as just another team they play.

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