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There has been a lot of talk lately about how we (meaning, the surveillance state we call our government) might be able to put pressure on Ecuador to keep them from accepting Snowden.  This pressure was supposed to come from the upcoming renewal of the Andean Trade Preferences Act.  Voiding it might mean fewer exports directly to the US by Ecuador.

Ecuador's reply (from Reuters today):

"Ecuador gives up, unilaterally and irrevocably, the said customs benefits," said another official, Fernando Alvarado.

"What's more, Ecuador offers the United States economic aid of $23 million annually, similar to what we received with the trade benefits, with the intention of providing education about human rights," Alvarado added.

"Ecuador does not accept pressure or threats from anyone, nor does it trade with principles or submit them to mercantile interests, however important those may be."

This must go under the "Nobody could have possibly foreseen it" category of government fuckups.  Like, who could have seen that all these jackass threats might backfire and piss off the Ecuadorians?  That it might be more important to them not to lose face after days of CNN talking about them as if they are cheaply bought?  Or that they might actually be more disturbed by the fact that the US proudly and arrogantly reserves the right to spy on ALL of the communications and cell phone data of their citizens than by the prospect of losing preferential treatment?

And see, too, the lovely dagger twist at the end.  The Ecuadorians are not just UNILATERALLY saying fuck it to the trade treating our government was supposedly going to wave at them like a $20 bill.  The Ecuadorians are also offering to donate $23 million dollars a year to the US, "similar to what we [Ecuador] we would have received from the trade benefits," in order to educate Americans about human rights.

Before anybody starts saying, "Oh, but we're so much freer and better and spiffier than Ecuador, we don't have to take this from them, how dare they, sputter sputter sputter..."  They actually do have a point.

We have done this to ourselves.  We have put ourselves in the position of being talked down to (and that's what it was) by another country because of our inadequate appreciation of basic human rights and appreciation of the human sense of dignity.

Simply precious.  I remember the day that we demanded to know how the North Korean government was treating an American being held on charges of spying in their country.  We wanted to know if they were being mistreated.  Their reply was, "You mean like you do at Guantanamo Bay?"

We earned that, too.  Thanks to the lovely torture program (oh, I mean "enhanced interrogation" program) that the Bush administration was actually boasting about, we were lectured by the government of one of the worst human rights abusers in the world.

It didn't used to be like this.  

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