I disagree. Snowden's ongoing leaks continue to destabilise international relations.
I wonder. From the NYTimes (full article here
The European Parliament, meeting in Strasbourg, France, to debate the Snowden disclosures, overwhelmingly passed a resolution that “strongly condemns the spying on E.U. representations,” warned of its “potential impact on trans-Atlantic relations” and demanded “immediate clarification from the U.S. authorities on the matter.”
The legislators rejected an amendment calling for the postponement of talks scheduled for Monday on a potential European-American free-trade agreement. France and Mr. Hollande had called for the talks to be delayed, but the European Commission said that they would go ahead in parallel with talks on the American spying programs.
And (if the NYT can be trusted - and that's become somewhat of an if lately) it looks like I may even be right about one of my earlier gameplay predictions:
American officials had privately warned French officials to be careful about speaking with too much outrage about American espionage given that major European countries like France spy, too, and not just on their enemies.
Hmm...interesting how France's own extensive domestic communications "monitoring" recently made it into the the world news, isn't it?
At the moment he continues to be a major asset for the Russians, as he is continually affirming their interpretation of US hypocricy, which suits them in their domestic politics but also with strengthening their alliances with the Chinese and the Latin Americans. So the Russians are in no hurry to force him to leave just now, despite what they say.
I think unless he has a real showstopper revelation up his sleeve (like extraterrestrials really are
behind it all), Russia already has far more than it needs to score major diplomatic advances. And as long as the Obama administration and the US judiciary continue to refuse to allow some sunlight into the secret FISA court, with its mysterious procedures and rulings, Snowden isn't in the least bit necessary to keep the ideological heat turned all the way up.
Also, left wing governments in Latin America could use him as an ongoing asset in bolstering their case to stay in power (e.g. Venezuela), so giving him asylum would pay dividends in the long term.
Left-wing governments in South America are a thorn in Washington's paw to be sure. But they're little else - and no offense intended. If they go super left on the issue, Washington will counter that it's just further 'proof' how all those S.A. socialist/communist/left-wing governments are "out to get the USA and destroy the American way of life." And furthermore, how maybe the USA should now start thinking long-term about doing "something" (not for the first time btw) about that
It wouldn't take much to destabilize many political systems in South America. Their politicians know it. And, unfortunately, so do the US politicians. South America's governments have enough of their own social and political problems to deal with that I'd doubt they'll ever push much beyond becoming an annoyance.
And if Snowden winds up someplace in South America, he'll be "extracted" sooner or later. Count on it.
Not that long ago, the United States went into an independent nation called Panama, hauled out it's freekin' president
, shipped him back to the US to stand trial, and incarcerated him. So I doubt going in and grabbing one of its own citizens
charged with espionage is going to give the US much pause or concern. It has the tools. It has the talent. And it wrote its own law that said it's legal for the good ol' USA to do things like that - even if they won't let anybody read it.
Besides, the USA holds veto
power in the UN's General Assembly and Security Council - and it's not
a participant in the International Criminal Court
because it has refused to sign the Rome Statute.
So exactly who
is going to call the USA to book anywhere other than in the court of world opinion? Russia? China? Luxembourg?
You have the United states behaving like a rogue nation here. And usually, when dealing with rogue and semi-rogue nations (like North Korea or the Soviet Union) the best strategy seems to be to practice limited containment. And then just wait it out until they collapse under their own weight. Something that may very well happen if the US doesn't get its act back together.
Finally, he is an intellectual asset in his own right (not just as a pawn in international politics). Which corporation wouldn't want a guy with his kind of insight and experience on its executive or advisory board? The same goes for any government or security agency. You would want to pick this guy's brain.
Yes. Except doing that would also make you complicit in his alleged espionage. And depending on how small you were, could also be interpreted (and treated) as an "act of war." Russia and China would be immune to anything overt. But I'm not so sure about Argentina or Bolivia. A corporation wouldn't stand a chance.
He is no Bradley Manning, and so far looking cleverer even than Julian Assange.
Exactly. He's no Bradley Manning. The fact Russia didn't grant him asylum shows just how little
they value the details of what he knows. Russia has a more than adequate and sophisticated intelligence service of it's own. And when it comes to domestic spying, Russia easily knows more about how to do it than the US does. Because they've had a a century and a half of experience doing precisely that - first under the Czars (the Okhrana), and then under the communists (Cheka/GPU/OGPU/NKVD/MGB/KGB/FSB!).
Snowden is now a propaganda rather than an intelligence asset for either China or Russia at this point.
He would make a fine advisor on international, security, and technology issues for any head of government (as long as you can put up with the US pressure)...
Possibly. Assuming you had access to the resources and the budget
to implement them. Most countries don't - nor do they care to. They're more concerned with economic and internal social issues. A hyper-expensive high tech electronic communications monitoring network won't do much to help them with those issues. PRISM is for wealthy nations with a huge electronic infrastructure that have time on their hands plus some imperialistic tendencies. Everybody else can make do with the old proven techniques of couriers, written messages, and a small cadre of "special police" who can be counted on to "disappear" any serious dissidents and troublemakers. Fear
is a powerful motivational tool. And it doesn't require a web connection - even if some pieces of "persuasive technology" kept in the special toy chest
still take 9V batteries.
So no...I don't think Snowden has anything many countries are going to be willing to square off against the US over. The ones that can actually make use of it either already have their own version - or can deduce and reverse engineer it by now. PRISM is a brute force approach anyway - not
some technological breakthrough.
What's scary about isn't how PRISM works. What's scary about PRISM is the fact that it's been deployed
. And deployed in a country that isn't, by law
, supposed to allow such things.