China and Russia both gave NSA-whistleblower Edward Snowden safe passage on his way to asylum in Ecuador. This, despite direct American pleas to stop him and turn him over. Russia and China, usually on the receiving end of America’s criticisms for their violations of human rights, can now accuse the U.S. of violating the civil rights of its own citizens by eavesdropping on them. There is also the resentment internationally that foreigners were particularly targeted. At any rate, this whole fiasco of Snowden’s escape amounts to a major diplomatic show of disrespect for the Obama administration.
Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden’s whereabouts were a mystery on Monday as Russia defied White House pressure to send him back to the United States and stop him fleeing Moscow on his globe-crossing escape from U.S. prosecution.
Snowden, whose exposure of secret U.S. government surveillance raised questions about intrusions into private lives, was allowed to leave Hong Kong on Sunday after Washington had asked the Chinese territory to arrest him on espionage charges.
The 30-year-old flew to Moscow as a transit stop before heading elsewhere, several sources said. But reports that he would fly to Cuba were put in doubt when witnesses could not see him on the plane, despite heightened security before take-off.
Ecuador, which has sheltered the founder of the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group, Julian Assange, said it was considering Snowden’s request for asylum and that human rights were it main concern. There are no direct commercial flights to Quito from Moscow.
“He didn’t take the flight (to Havana),” a source at Russia’s national airline Aeroflot told Reuters.
As speculation grew about where he would go next – Ecuador, Venezuela or Cuba at a later date to escape the crowd of journalists aboard Monday’s flight to Havana – Washington was stung by Russian defiance.
Snowden’s flight to Russia, which like China challenges U.S. dominance of global diplomacy, is an embarrassment to President Barack Obama who has tried to “reset” ties with Moscow and build a partnership with Beijing.
UPDATE: It seems that America is now neither loved nor feared nor respected. Read this from Commentary.