Beltway Insider: Obama Cancels G20; Russia Squashes Gay Rights; Assad Bombs Rebels; Boston Bomber Friends Indicted

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President Barack Obama announced this week his intention to cancel the participation of the United States in the upcoming G-20 Summit scheduled for September in St. Petersburg, Russia.                

According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval, over the past week, dropped three percentage points to 41% of those polled approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President rose two percentage points to 50%.

Obama Cancels G-20 Attendance

The cancellation of the U.S. participation in upcoming G20 Summit by President Obama has brought the ever widening gap in policy between the United States and Russia to the forefront of global debate.

The White House has made it very clear, according to Press Secretary Jay Carney, 'when it comes to the decision to cancel the summit there were a variety of challenges that led to the assessment this was not the right time to have a summit."

"Obviously," he continued, "Mr. Snowden was a factor, but he was far from the only factor. Summits of leaders tend to be designed around making progress on significant issues, progress that has been achieved on the run-up to the summit of that nature, and we have not seen that progress sufficiently on a range on issues to merit a summit."

The G20 follows on the heels of the recent G8 Summit held in Northern Ireland that gathered leaders from the eight leading nations.

President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin both attended the G8 and discussed matters of state, emerging nations, food scarcity and other areas of concern which would similarly be discussed in St. Petersburg.  

As nations who have proposed to work together on areas that are mutually beneficial it has its boundaries. the United States, according to Mr. Carney, has "a lot of fish to fry, if you will, with the Russians. So this [Edward Snowden] is not the [entire] focus of our agreement with Russia, but it is not something that we're dropping by any means. And it remains our position that there is ample legal justification to return Mr. Snowden tot he United States. He's not a dissident. He's not whistleblower. He is wanted on charges for the unauthorized public release of classified information." 

Symbolically, the snub by the White House appears to be a direct result of Russia’s decision to grant temporary asylum to Edward Snowden and serves as a veiled warning, globally, to any nation who may be considering Snowden’s request for permanent asylum.

There are other areas that the two nations remain deeply divided in approach and those issues are also part of the White House decision to cancel involvement.

President Obama has proposed Sweden and has added the as a neutral nation to his September travel itinerary and has agreed to meet with G20 leaders participating in the St. Petersburg summit.

Russia Bans Gay and Lesbian Rights

President Obama also crystallized his feelings on any proposed boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics which will be held in Sochi Russia. He stated emphatically the United States would not boycott the Olympics over the Edward Snowden issue or Russia’s position on Gay and Lesbian rights.

Russia’s President Putin signed in to law, the banning of the public discussion of Gay Rights and the display of relationships anywhere a child might hear.  All displays of same sex relationships are banned and it is a crime to protest the policy, to publically engage in same sex debate, coupling or display.

President Obama has urged gay and Lesbians US athletes to bring home the medals.

Throughout the history of the Olympics athletics have braved sanctions and used their positions to bring global attention to particular causes and the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics present the same platform for Gay Rights activists to globally present their agenda.

The 1936 Olympics saw Germany’s Adolph Hitler snub American Gold Medalist Jesse Owens as well as all other medalists as Hitler used the Olympics to push his one race global agenda; the 1968 Mexican Summer Olympic brought the issues of racism to the global stage as two American track and field medalists, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, raised their fists defiantly to bring global attention to the civil rights movement in American.

The Olympics have not always been a peaceful gathering. The 1972 Munich Summer Games became forever known as the Munich Massacre when eleven Israel Athletes were taken hostage and murdered.

President Putin and the International Olympic Committee have given the world their assurances that the security of all Athletics and visitors will be the upmost priority.

Kerry, Hagel meet with Russian Counterparts

Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met this week with Russian Foreign Miniter Sergei Lavrov and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at the state department.

Coming on the heels of President Obama’s cancellation of the G20 Summit the meeting grew out of the continued Edward Snowden issue and other areas of concern including Russia’s position on Syria.

The two-plus-two ministerial meeting was designed to keep dialogue channels open and flowing between the two superpowers and address a host of topics.  

Assad Counterstrikes Rebels

Bashar al-Assad dealt a blow to the rebels in the ongoing Syrian Civil War delivering a counter air strike against the advances in his home province of Latakia.

The recent push by the Assad regime has proven effective in stopping rebel freedom fighters from setting up strongholds in the central and southern Syria which are controlled by Assad.

The current strikes by the Assad forces pummeled the people as warplanes indiscriminately bombed villagers and civilian enclaves without positive and confirmed intelligence were aimed at protecting the main region of his Alawite sect, home to approximately 21million Syrians.

The rebels, with continued assistance, have continued to gain ground and solidify strongholds in Northern Syria and near the Turkish borders.  The recent airstrikes have demolished recent rebel gains.

The United States, allies and surrounding Arab counties along with The United Nations and larger global Human Rights organizations have assisted the rebels and demanded Assad resign. Hezbollah, Iran and Russia have assisted the Assad regime through military supplies, weapons and intelligence.

Over the 28 month conflict more than 100,000 Syrian have died and almost 2million have fled the war by immigrating into the neighboring countries of Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon and Israel.

In addition to Humanitarian Aid Congress and the Foreign Affairs Committee has recently voted to send weapons to vetted rebels groups.

Although it is thought on Capitol Hill that President Obama’s Syria policy has failed and at this time the only possibility for a democratic government to be in place in Syria is through a stronger U.S. presence.

President Obama has insisted there will be no boots on the ground, and has continued, over the past two years, to demand in “the strongest language possible” that Assad leave his country, position and surrender to the rebel troops. At this time the United States would have to commit to sending troops to counter the offenses launched by Assad.

The Syrian uprising began during the Arab Spring which saw the fall of many long standing Arab governments including Egypt’s President Mubarak. Protestors took to the streets and demanded the resignation of Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian is a totalitarian state with Basher al-Assad the ruling party. His family has held power since 1971. The protestors which became the rebels are demanding a democratic government.

Boston Bomber Friends Sentenced;

Two college friends of accused Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have been indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for their participation the April 15th twin blasts that killed three and injured over 260 spectators and participants.

The two students, Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, both 19 and in the United States on student visas from Kazakhstan, were indicted on charges of conspiring to conceal evidence and obstruction of justice.  In convicted the two face up to twenty years in prison and possible deportation.

 Robel Phillipos, also 19, of Cambridge, Mass., was also arrested and charged with making false and misleading statements to authorities.  He was not indicated and according to published reports is working with federal officials in an effort to clear his name.

The friends contacted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, through text, after recognizing his picture from the released FBI images and asked if he committed the bombings. His text reply, “lol” he then explained to the friends they could take anything they wanted from his dorm room. The two proceeded to take a computer and fireworks which were destroyed and taken to a local landfill.

The two are being held without bail in a Middleton, MA correctional facility.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pled not guilty to the 30 counts including four counts of murder which includes the murder of MIT security guard Sean Collier.  His brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed as he attempted escape.


For more information on President Obama: 

Sources; Gallup, Wikipedia,


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