Python would be an excellent choice. It is generally considered to be easier to learn than C++, but is a very capable and expressive language that sees a extensive professional use both in and out of games development. It can also be extended with C or C++ (for performance reasons or to gain access to an existing library) relatively easily, or can be embedded in a C++ program as a scripting language. There are plenty of resources for learning the language and a selection of libraries for games development. Python has been used in Eve Online and Civilization 4 amongst others.
1. What would be a good language that fits the above critirea?
You might also consider Lua, which is also a popular and performant scripting language in the games industry but can also be used stand-alone to create games. You could use LOVE to create 2d games in Lua. The advantages are very similar to those offered by Python.
C# is also a popular choice.
In depends on your selection of language, libraries and engines. A beginner using Unity might find 3d more approachable than 2d thanks to the functionality provided. Generally however, 2d is usually considered to be more approachable and achievable unless you're using a tool-set that makes 3d the better option.
2. Which would be easier for beginners 2d or 3d games?
2d would be more approachable with either Python or Lua.
I think it's a great idea to learn a language like Python before -- or simply instead of -- C++. By choosing a language with less complications and a shorter learning curve you can focus more on the basics of programming itself rather than getting caught up with the many exceptions and corner cases a language like C++ presents. Depending on your goals you may even discover you don't actually need C++ at all, but you'll find it much easier to pick up if you're just learning the specifics of the language rather than programming as well.
3. Is it wise to go the "easy route" first?
Not everyone agrees with this opinion, but I expect you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who would suggest that learning a language such as Python would set you back or make learning C++ any more difficult -- it's certainly not wasted time to learn a different language; especially a popular one like Python or Lua. Skilled professional developers know a range of different languages, and there's no reason you shouldn't start off with one that will allow you to see some faster results.
Hope that helps!