Sunday, August 4, 2013

Russia's asylum to Snowden is a "serious humiliation for Barack Obama" - so concludes Spain's El País

A perspective from the other side of the Atlantic

Guadalajara -
Madrid based El País, arguably Spain's most prominent newspaper and one of the most influential on the European continent, offered this editorial opinion in today's edition (translated and edited for clarity by MGR):

"The decision by Valdimir Putin to grant a year's asylum to Edward Snowden, despite repeated and serious warnings from Washington, represents a serious humiliation for Barack Obama. Above all, it puts into bold relief the increasing inability of the United States to impose its will on a world ever more multipolar. In the absence of an extradition treaty with Russia, the monotonous protests of the White House over the Kremlin's asylum decision lacked legitimacy. Apart from canceling next month's long scheduled meeting in Moscow, there is little more Obama can do.

"During his first term the president of the United States was conciliatory towards Russia, hoping for cooperation on some difficult international fronts: the nuclear development challenge presented by Iran, U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, the struggle against Islamic terrorism and the situation in the Middle East. But Obama has gotten little more than lip service from Putin, who has become more confrontational on the latter topic. On the very critical matter of the Syrian civil war, Russia's defiance has reached levels not seen since the Cold War, making it a solid ally of the bloody tyrant, president Bachar el Asad.

A former KGB agent assigned to Germany, the Russian president mastered that language and is now working on his English. Putin is skilled at playing to the court of public opinion, at home and abroad.

"With (his support for) Snowden, Putin has gone a bit far. But the lengthy repressive maneuvers of the Russian president in his own country, made worse since his return to power as chief of state a year ago, won't matter to anybody. Snowden will not end up as a hero, but his revelations about the NSA's secret programs - authorized by U.S. law - have awakened the rest of the world to intolerable realities. In a wave of sympathy for the hunted man who revealed them, the grant of asylum converted Putin, in the eyes of many, into a champion of human rights."

Aug. 7 - The White House has announced that president Obama has canceled his planned meeting with Putin in September. But he'll still travel to St. Petersburg for a long scheduled economic summit.

July 26 - Attorney General Eric Holder's full court press in Moscow
July 21 - The Edward Snowden case, in reverse
July 13 - A message from Moscow
July 7 - Edward Snowden: Washington's massive miscalculation
June 30 - Barack Obama - before and after, in his own words

July 11 - U.S. carried out electronic spying in Mexico
July 10 - Enrique Peña Nieto: American espionage "totally unacceptable"
July 10 - A world passport for Edward Snowden
July 10 - Mexico turns up heat on U.S. over PRISM surveillance
July 8 - Brazilian newspaper says NSA intercepted millions of phone calls, emails

Dec. 16 - El País asks, "¿Quién desarma a EE UU?" - Who will disarm the United States?
July 15, 2012 - Spain's El País blasts Manuel López Obrador

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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