Keep your powder dry

Another day of following the Snowden saga, another day in which I am left scratching my head, wondering if the US are really that oblivious to the world around them or if they are playing a different kind of game… and what the reasons for doing that may be.

To that last question I have no answers, but the way in which they keep demanding that Russia hand Snowden over seems somewhat suspicious. Why do I say that? Well, to begin with, let’s reverse the situation. What would happen if a Russian or a Chinese former contractor had done something akin to what Snowden has done, and then fled to the US? Would the US just hand that contractor over saying ‘sorry about the inconvenience’? The answer is no, especially not if the situation had unfolded in such a visible way. Domestically doing something like that would cause an outrage. Yes, in the US there is a debate over whether Snowden is a hero or a villain, but to the rest of the world the answer is clear, and I’m assuming the US government is smart enough to know it, so what are they hoping to gain by betting so much political capital on this particular fight?

Yes, I understand that this whole thing is an embarrassment as far as they are concerned, and that they want Snowden and his secrets  back (desperately), but here is an odd concept: foreign government are supposed to serve foreign people, and while a small country such as Ecuador may be bullied into thinking that sheltering Snowden is more trouble than it is worth, neither China nor Russia can afford to be seen as giving in to the US’ huffing and puffing.

Oh, and while we are at it, let’s not ignore the fact that whatever information Snowden took with him, chances are that by now it has a dead-man’s switch attached (something happens to Snowden and the information gets released… all of it), so even if they were to get their man, the resulting damage could be a lot worse. On the other hand the information in question is of a somewhat time sensitive nature, it has to be. Programs change, technology evolves, so why not wait? Yes, they want their guy and their secrets back, but at what cost? Or is it a completely different game that they are playing?

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