This isn't a disagreement on tire tariffs.
The White House is going after China with a full-throated critique for letting leaker Edward Snowden leave Hong Kong, suggesting the country is fully at odds with the U.S. over the issue.
White House press secretary Jay Carney called Hong Kong's actions frustrating and disappointing on Monday, saying authorities there were given enough notice of Snowden's criminal status in the U.S. to fulfill its extradition treaty.
"We think they have dealt that effort a serious setback," Carney said at his daily briefing. "If we cannot count on them to honor their legal extradition obligations then there's a problem. That's a point we're making to them directly.
He later added: "It is unfortunate that Hong Kong inappropriately failed to take action on our requests and permitted a fugitive to simply leave their country in an obvious attempt to escape justice."
Secretary of State John Kerry sounded off on Hong Kong on his visit to India on Monday, showing the new tone the U.S. is taking abroad.
"There is a surrender treaty with Hong Kong and, if there was adequate notice, I don't know yet what the communication status was, but if there was, it would be very disappointing if he was willfully allowed to board an airplane as a result," Kerry said. "With respect to Russia, likewise."
It seems that the Obama administration is giving Russia a chance to redeem itself with this situation. Seeing as Snowden possibly still remains in Russia, Carney's tone on Monday suggested the U.S. is hopeful that Russia can cooperate on this issue, like it has previously with intelligence matters. In the aftermath of the Boston bombings, Russian authorities reportedly cooperated with U.S. officials.
"We have a strong law-enforcement cooperative relationship with the Russians and that relationship has resulted in the past us returning criminals to Russia and we are expecting the Russians to examine the options available to them to expel Mr. Snowden for his return to the United States," Carney said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Monday sent a letter to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak demanding Snowden's return to the U.S.
The Snowden case is an important test of the "reset" in relations between our two countries. Mr. Snowden's own statements have made clear his guilt. If our two nations are to have a constructive relationship moving forward, Russian cooperation in this matter is essential.
If Mr. Snowden is still in Russian territory, I urge your government to apprehend him and turn him over to United States authorities immediately.
Sen. Chuck Schumer's sounded a harsher tone toward Russia on Sunday, calling its action in this case "infuriating."
"Putin of Russia aiding and abetting Snowden's escape," the New York Democrat said on CNN's State of the Union. "The bottom line is very simple. Allies are supposed to treat each other in decent ways, and Putin always seems almost eager to put a finger in the eye of the United States."
Additionally, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., warned Snowden against cooperating with the Russian or Chinese governments, even suggesting those nations were enemies of the U.S.
"If he cozies up to either the Russian government, the Chinese government, or any of these governments that are perceived still as enemies of ours, I think that will be a real problem for him in history," Paul also said on CNN.
U.S.-Russian relations are already strained, as Putin and Obama continue to publicly disagree on the way forward with Syria. As the U.S. prepares to arm Syrian rebels, Russia is looking to fulfill its military armaments to the Assad regime. Schumer suggested if Putin does not cooperate with Snowden, it "is going to have serious consequences for the U.S.-Russia relationship."
But the question is, how much worse could it actually get?
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.