Regarding Russia’s decision to allow Edward Snowden to leave the airport, Andrew Sullivan lets loose a series of ridiculous statements.
According to Sullivan, what’s important is not whether two countries can work together on matters of mutual self-interest, but rather whether one is a “sincere partner” with the world community (read: the United States).
That the “flawed NSA spying program…looks in political danger in the Congress already” is a foolhardy assertion with no real evidence at this point. Is the entire “program” in jeopardy yet, or only parts of it? Anyone who’s paying attention knows that, at best, there is only real political support in Congress for rolling back extremely limited elements of the surveillance state.
Sullivan argues that “It’s preposterous to see [Russia’s actions] as anything but a piece of geo-political theater.” If so, why at all does it matter?
Also, Sullivan “cannot see how it benefits Snowden.”
He will be easily portrayed by his enemies, in classic fashion, as a defector to Russia after exposing secret information from the US government.
And the alternatives for him? Come back to the U.S. and likely face a sentence nearing life in prison? All because of a little “geo-political theater?”
Naturally, his motivation couldn’t be anything other than “pure anti-American animus.” Sullivan is either Charles Xavier or of extremely limited imagination.
Just as bad, Snoweden is “allowing himself to be used as a means of further humiliating and taunting his own government.” The horror! For shame! By all means please do go blame the victim.
Continues Sullivan, “And whatever the US government’s failings, it’s not a reasonable moral or political position to prefer Russia’s authoritarianism.” This is the most disingenuous part–that any of this has anything to do with a comparison between the U.S. and Russia. Russia is a side-show, a “geo-political” blackout sketch between the main acts. Snowden’s own concern for self-preservation is not a rhetorical hole in his protesting the U.S.’s spying regime. Though it heartens me to know that Sullivan is more concerned with what the Russians are doing than his adopted government.
Still, president Obama “should not signal that this kind of mischief is no big deal.” Because it’s not mischief, and it is a big deal, because this is “geo-political theater” folks! The stuff that matters! The stuff that counts!
Sullivan admits to having mixed feelings about the young leaker. “In his defense, he has clearly exposed something to wider public view that has resulted in a healthy and overdue debate in the public and Congress.”
he broke the law to do it; and Russia’s embrace of him is a provocation that requires a proportionate response. That’s the only language Putin understands anyway. Time to reverse the pressure.
He broke the law to do a good thing, but what’s more important than what he did is that he broke the law, mostly because Russia is now humiliating the U.S. government by pointing at our hypocrisy.
Which is why Sullivan ends his post by calling for all defectors to the U.S. to be returned to their countries of origin, because even though their actions might be beneficial and good and true, they still broke the law, and we must do everything we can not to humiliate other countries like Russia humiliated us.
Oh wait, he didn’t.