In the debate about whether Edward Snowden will be a footnote in history or a history maker, Izvestia columnist Kirill Benediktov is quite certain it will be that latter. Beyond plunging foreign ministries around the world into turmoil, Benediktov writes that the former NSA hacker has been a catalyst for bringing to the surface historic forces that have been simmering for decades if not centuries.
However the story of fugitive NSA employee Edward Snowden ends, his place in history is secured.
The young programmer, who has gone over to the “light side of the Force,” sitting (presumably) in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, has sparked several diplomatic scandals and seriously complicated the lives of people in foreign ministries in dozens of countries. This will not be soon forgotten.
Once European countries closed their airspace to the plane of the Bolivian president (someone told the Americans that Snowden had been secreted aboard the plane from Moscow, so every available lever had been pressed), and the Austrians held Morales at Vienna airport for over twelve hours, Latin America exploded. The vice president of Bolivia said, “Morales was hijacked by imperialism,” and that the honor of Latin America had been desecrated by the Europeans. Morales himself demanded an apology from the European countries (some apologized, some didn’t) and promised to close the U.S. embassy in Bolivia. Ecuador President Rafael Correa threatened to recall his ambassadors from the U.S. and countries that had blocked Morales. Even the quite loyal president of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, called the actions of the Europeans an “intolerable subterfuge.” On July 5, 12 Latin American presidents gathered for an emergency summit of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and expressed their indignation at the incident involving Morales’ plane, demanding that the European states disclose the details of what occurred.
Snowden is a catalyst for changes that have been smoldering below the surface for many years. The gaping chasm between north and south of the Western Hemisphere has long existed. But now at the very bottom of that fault line – a nuclear bomb has gone off. The confrontation between the ideologically left-leaning South and the imperialist North has become all the more visible and acute.
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