World News Brief, Friday August 9

Obama cancels meeting with Putin following Edward Snowden controversy; Japan summons Chinese envoy after Chinese ships entered Japanese disputed territorial waters; Japan launches its largest warship since World War II; India-Pakistan relations fray further; Syrian rebels claim to have hit President Bashar al-Assad's motorcade; and more

Top of the Agenda: Obama Cancels Putin Meeting

U.S. president Barack Obama canceled a meeting (Reuters) with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Moscow scheduled for next month in the wake of Russia's decision to grant asylum to fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden. In reaction, the Kremlin said it was "disappointed" in the decision, saying the move showed the United States could not develop ties with Russia on an "equal basis" (BBC). The move marks a low point in U.S.-Russian relations and raises questions about the "reset" in ties that Obama promoted during his first term. A White House aide said that the issue of Snowden's asylum had deepened existing tensions (AP) between the two countries, which include the Syrian civil war, Russia's civil rights, and adoptions of Russian children by Americans.


"In other words, the Russians aren't mad, really. They know, as the Americans know, that they've reached a dead end of sorts, a cul-de-sac. The question now is, how do they get out of it? And, then where do they go, and how?" writes Julia Ioffe for The New Republic.

"Maybe the question isn't whether or not the president should have had the high-level summit with Putin, but what more he could have done to prove he's the one with the upper hand. There are limits to diplomacy, and we may be seeing it here," writes Jena McGregor for the Washington Post.

"What is clear in the many denunciations of Russia's conduct and calls for retaliation is that few if any understand why the U.S.-Russian relationship matters to America. In five years, the administration has been totally unable to articulate this important message in a way that either elites or the general public can understand. Without that, it should hardly be surprising that the United States and Russia continue to lurch from crisis to crisis, some bigger, some smaller," writes Paul J. Saunders for The National Interest.



Japan Summons Chinese Envoy

Tokyo summoned Beijing's envoy (AFP) after Chinese ships entered Japanese territorial waters near the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. The vessels stayed from Wednesday until Thursday morning, marking the longest incursion since the continued dispute erupted again last year.

CFR's Sheila Smith outlines the factors and risks in the Diaoyu/Senkaku Island dispute in this Contingency Planning Memo.

JAPAN: Japan launched the Izumo (TIME), its largest warship since World War II, in the latest demonstration of its expanding naval capabilities. Japan's pacifist constitution renounces the use of force for purposes other than self-defense.


India-Pakistan relations fray further

Syrian rebels claim to have hit al-Assad's motorcade

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