With twin suicide bombings in Volgograd, at a train station and on a trolley, 34 Russians are dead and scores are injured and hospitalized.
Moscow and the world have been put on notice by Doku Umarov, the Chechen Islamic terrorist, that the winter Olympics in Sochi, six weeks away, may not now be safe for visitors.
How should friends of Russia respond?
President Obama, in a gesture of solidarity with the Russian people, who have suffered more than any European people from Islamic terror since 9/11, should announce he has changed his mind and will be going to Sochi.
The impact would be dramatic. The Western boycott of the winter Olympics would collapse. The attention of the world's TV cameras, along with the rest of mankind, would turn to Sochi. Success of the games would be assured.
And who would get the credit? President Barack Obama.
A message would be sent to the world that no matter where America disagrees with Russia, terrorists do not tell us where we can or cannot go, and we stand in solidarity with the Russian people in our detestation of and determination to combat terror.
Vladimir Putin, who has his prestige fully invested in the Sochi games, would see this as a magnanimous gesture, a reaching out of America's hand, to him and to Russia.
What would be the downside?
Those who have been calling for stiffing Putin and boycotting his Sochi games to protest Russia's law prohibiting distribution of pro-homosexual propaganda to youth have already had their point made.
In an in-your-face gesture, the U.S. delegation is headed by Billie Jean King, tennis legend and lesbian, who will travel to Sochi with gay athletes Brian Boitano, the ice skating gold medalist, and Caitlin Cahow, a two-time hockey medalist.
"This is the grandest of snubs, to Putin and to Russia," exults Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign.
Yet U.S. relations with the world's largest nation, stretching across a dozen time zones from the Baltic to the Bering Sea and holding thousands of nuclear weapons, are too serious to allow petty quarrels to prevent our working together. Earlier presidents showed the way.
Three years after Nikita Khrushchev's tanks ran over the Hungarian freedom fighters, Eisenhower invited him to tour the United States. Six months after Khrushchev put missiles in Cuba, JFK extended his hand in his American University speech.
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