by Christopher Blakeley
As of Saturday morning, the on-the-run Edward Snowden has been offered political asylum in not one, not two, but THREE countries south of the American border: Venezuela, Nicaragua, and the latest, Bolivia. I’m inclined to suggest that Mr. Snowden avoid Venezuela, not because of its oppressive regime, but because there is not enough toilet paper to go around.
But in an interesting foreign policy twist, countries that aren’t often mentioned on American media networks are suddenly getting air time. The loose coalition of leftist countries are probably more concerned with the on-air time than the principles behind letting him stay there. Some are involved for more personal reasons: Bolivia’s Evo Morales is so upset that his plane was rerouted for fear that it was carrying Edward Snowden that he decided to stick it to the US and offer to shelter their number one public target. Venezuela, a country that always enjoys stirring up conflict for the American media, offered him asylum so he can “live without persecution of the empire”.
Most Americans would cringe at the thought of settling in Hugo Chavez’ legacy, but then again, as Reason.com’s Matthew Feeney pointed out:
If the choice is prison in a comparatively free country or freedom in a comparatively authoritarian country, who can blame Snowden for the picking the latter?
The question now that three countries have offered, which destination will he choose? The Obama administration seems to be trying to play down his importance, especially now that polls show that more Americans are believing that what he did was wrong. Will Snowden slip away, out of the minds’ of those who cared at first, but quickly got distracted by North West’s first photos or those crazy happenings in Egypt?
The Obama administration’s strategists probably are having minor headaches over the idea of Snowden being given reprieve and a platform to say more damning stuff that is true. The Republicans can’t say much, except those who have been against the violations of civil liberties like Rand Paul. That leaves the last best hope for Snowden to be freed is on the internet. He already has the respect of Wikileaks’ Julian Asange, but if the NSA has the ability to do all of these things, then it’s safe to assume that those are the tip of the iceberg. If the government just wanted Snowden dead, he could probably be disposed of with relative ease. There would be ramifications of that, and susceptibility of blame.
But Snowden is still out there, worth more alive as a symbol than dead as a marytr. Where he ends up next will be interesting, but the end of his story will likely be the most compelling part. Whether or not the end of the Snowden’s story is in the near future or years away that’s anyone’s guess.