When President Obama decided to snub Vladimir Putin, the assumed reason was Snowden, but is it actually gays?
This is not the first time the Obama administration is sending mixed messages on an issue.
Cancelling the meeting with the Russian President was viewed as a response to Russia granting asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
But when Obama was a guest at the The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, he accused Russia of intimidating the gay and lesbian community.
So what is it then?
It could be a little of both, since Obama has come out forcefully against Russia’s stance on gays.
Putin had said Snowden is not more important than Russia’s relationship with the US, but he also faces pressures at home with growing opposition.
In reality, both men seem to be doing a complete reversal from previous statements with their latest explanations.
During The Tonight Show Mr. Obama condemned Russia for the recently enacted anti-gay law.
“I have no patience for countries that try to gay or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.” Obama stated.
This is a clear reference to Russia, but what do the Russians think?
Russia said that they are disappointed in the snub, since Putin and Obama were expected to discuss topics that are important to both countries.
Putin’s Foreign Affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov said on Wednesday that Russia is not to blame over the Snowden affair and added that for many years the US has refused to sign an extradition agreement with Russia.
Ushakov also said that the US has responded negatively to requests of extradition of people Russia is seeking.
However, he added the invitation for the bilateral summit was still open.
“Russian representatives are ready to continue working together with American partners on all key issues on the bilateral and multilateral agenda,” Mr Ushakov said.
The US cannot afford to alienate Putin, as much as the two leaders seem to dislike each other.
Russia is a key player in many critical issues facing the US in the international arena, like dealing with China, Iran, and the Syrian conflict.
Russia is more concerned about their relationship with China and Europe than about what the US thinks or does, according to Andrew Weiss, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
What do you think the real reason for Obama’s Putin snub is: Snowden or Gays?