Former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden Friday called President Barack Obama a "supplicant" to Russian President Vladimir Putin, due to his failed efforts to get Edward Snowden returned to the U.S.
"You've got an American president, actually a supplicant, to the Russian president, in order to get this young man back," Hayden said Friday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" of efforts to have the former NSA contractor who disclosed the agency's data secret data collection programs returned to the U.S. for prosecution.
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The White House indicated Thursday that an upcoming fall meeting with Putin could be in jeopardy because Russia has granted Snowden temporary asylum. The two leaders were scheduled to meet in September during Obama's trip to the Group of 20 economic summit in St. Petersburg.
Hayden, a retired Air Force general, indicated the events were particularly striking in light of Russia's present standing as a world player.
"Putin and his team are in charge of a declining power. This isn't China or some other ascendant economy or military force. This is about managing Russian decline," Hayden said.
"You've got a leader there now with an expansive ego. Actually, Russia's power right now is confined to the ability to say 'No.' It's confined to the ability to obstruct. When they have a chance, they do it," he said.
Hayden said relations with that country are more indicative of years past, "despite the so-called reset" that was supposed to follow the breakup of the old Soviet Union and the rise of Russian democracy.
"There's an awful lot of this that has the echo of 20 and 30 years ago, doesn't it?" Hayden commented, referring to the Cold War.
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