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Let's see if I have this straight: Last week, President Obama stated that the United States would not be scrambling jets to capture Edward Snowden, a statement made to soften the appearance of any fixation the U.S. government might have regarding the whistleblower.

Days later, the Obama administration instead scrambled entire nation states (France, Italy and Portugal), causing Bolivian President Evo Morales's plane, traveling from Moscow, to make an emergency landing in Austria.

The reason? U.S. intelligence thought Snowden was on board, and with the help of E.U. nations, brought Morales's presidential plane to the ground, hoping to capture Snowden, whatever the cost.

The move left Morales apoplectic and aroused the fury of Latin American leaders, many of whom gathered together and railed against America's imperialist reach.

Not surprisingly, some of those leaders have now expressed a willingness to grant Snowden asylum.

And how has the U.S. responded to its grounding of Morales's plane and the anger and consequences that move has wrought? With contrition and diplomacy?

No, with this, care of Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee:

We shouldn't just allow this to happen and shrug it off. This is serious business. Those Latin American companies enjoy certain trade benefits with the United States. We ought to look at all of that to send a very clear message that we won't put up with this kind of behavior.
And this, care of Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
I'm not surprised by the countries that are offering him asylum; they like sticking it to the United States.

[...]

Clearly any such acceptance of Snowden to any country, any of these three or any other, is going to put them directly against the United States, and they need to know that.

I see. So a collection of Latin American nations, with histories pockmarked by American imperialist interventions and a president who was just treated like someone on America's No-Fly List, for some reason like to "stick it to America."

The type of behavior which, of course, we will not put up with. Such behavior will not be allowed, just as Morales's plane was not allowed to fly.

Perhaps it's sheer chutzpah. Or perhaps it's an utter disregard for how American bravado, during this hunt for Edward Snowden, is damaging our relations with Latin America. Or perhaps it's the illusion that America's waning power and standing – when wielded threateningly – can achieve any end these days.

Whatever it is, I am embarrased for my country, and share the anger being vented by Latin American leaders.



Originally posted to David Harris-Gershon (The Troubadour) on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 08:34 PM PDT.

Also republished by Writing by David Harris Gershon.

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