Saturday, July 13, 2013

Edward Snowden - Hero or Traitor?

Edward Snowden, the infamous NSA surveillance contract employee who blew the whistle on the United States’ spying activity of its own citizens and on persons and governments throughout the world is, at the time of this writing, holed up at the Moscow airport. The question concerning Snowden is this - Is he a modern day hero or just another in a long list of traitors against the American government and its people? While I have my own opinion on that matter the majority jury of public opinion is still out on that particular question.

However, one thing is very clear about the outcome of Mr. Snowden’s revelations of the National Security Agency’s activities, they have raised anti-Americanism to new levels not seen since George W. Bush invaded Iraq ten years ago. At home and abroad the trust level for the American government among its own people and from citizens and officials across Europe is at an all-time low. Mr. Obama, once hailed by Europeans as the next political savior, is now being burned in effigy and the U.S. is once again being viewed by most of the world as an overbearing superpower bully accountable to nobody except its own standard of what is deemed right or wrong in its behavior toward other nations, both enemy and ally alike. What Obama publicly spent the first four years of his administration trying to attempt, and nearly succeeding, in bridging the trustworthiness gap virtually destroyed by eight years of the Bush administration, he has, in just under two years completely eliminated. With news of his possible poor and reckless decision over Libyan Ambassador Stevens’ death, the ransacking of reporter's private emails and now this news of wanton spying on allies in Europe and common citizens in the U.S. his credibility has all but been thrown off the White House balcony and it hasn’t landed in the sweet smelling Rose Garden.

The President was already taking a lot of flack from U.S. politicians and citizens for his proposed increase in the use of drones over American soil, many of the protests coming from members of his own party, now with the Snowden revelations many are wondering how long it will be before the rats start jumping what they perceive as a sinking Obama ship-of-state? Snowden’s whistle-blowing has weakened Mr. Obama’s already malnourished foreign policies, especially in those Latin American countries the U.S. has been wooing for the last several decades. Anti-Americanism is on the increase in countries like Brazil and these latest spy tales from Snowden will likely not cause them to dissipate but increase even more. The same mistrust can be said to be coming out of France, Germany, Poland, Spain and particularly from America’s two greatest perceived foes China and Russia.

Some in Washington believe that in our day of the 48-hour news cycle the revelations of Edward Snowden will eventually be downplayed and forgotten like yesterday’s heat spell. They may be correct in that assessment. The Snowden story, just two weeks after the revelations is already being overshadowed by the Zimmerman/Martin trial in Florida and the soon to be born new king or queen of England. The populous is easily distracted, but, the sentiment against the U.S. never fully goes away, it only waxes and wanes. I suppose that is the price paid for being the only bonafide militaristic superpower left on the planet.

Oh yes, before I forget, my opinion of Snowden and his whistle blowing of the NSA:

He is a hero for showing how this current U.S. administration (and likely past one’s as well) acted unconstitutionally by spying on its own citizens using questionable, if not illegal, methods to do so. He is also a traitor in that his first stop in his flight from America was communist China where he was interrogated by Chinese officials and who knows what he may have told them. Now he sits in Russia and you can bet their own agents have spent time behind closed doors with him as well. He may be a hero but because of his traitorous actions after the whistle-blowing he needs to be apprehended by American law enforcement and returned to the United States and put on trial for espionage.

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