Edward Snowden, without doubt, is the most wanted man right now. Despite what Obama had said, the US is actually trying all means to have him detained. The latest news is that a plane carrying the President of Bolivia which was flying home from Moscow was forced to land in Vienna. The presidential plane was allowed to leave only after a search for Snowden was done. The latest episode reveals more about the unsavoury nature of US government and Barrack Obama’s presidency, and should make a good Hollywood thriller. Following is an article from John Sexton that appears China.org.cn regarding the incidence:
Occasionally an event illuminates the political landscape as a bolt of lightning reveals a monstrous shape lurking in the dark. The diversion of the airplane of Bolivian President Evo Morales to Vienna as he flew home from Moscow was one. The outrageous hijacking of a head of state revealed the contours and power of the U.S. Empire more starkly than any secrets leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Despite implausible and half-hearted denials, it is abundantly clear that France, Portugal, Italy and Spain refused permission for President Morales’ plane to pass through their airspace. According to the Austrians, their officials boarded the plane in Vienna to search for Snowden before allowing it to leave. Bolivia says President Morales refused to allow Austrian police on board. Whatever the exact details, the Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera was surely right when he said the events constituted one of the more shameful pages in the history of Europe.
“We want to say to all the people of the world that the plane of President Morales has been kidnapped by imperialism,” Garcia Linera said in La Paz Tuesday.
It is absolutely clear that France, Portugal, Austria and the others were acting under orders from the United States to deny a possible escape route for Snowden. But who has the authority to divert an airplane carrying the president of a sovereign state? Not even high officials such as Secretary of State John Kerry would dare make such a move without first clearing it at the very top. There can be no doubt that the command came from Barack Obama himself.
Obama has characteristically pretended to play it cool on the hunt for Snowden, quipping that he “won’t scramble the jets.” Meanwhile behind the scenes he is applying strong-arm tactics. A “friendly” phone call from Vice President Joe Biden to Rafael Correa produced a change of tack by the Ecuadorean leader. Countries have been warned of serious consequences if they offer asylum to Snowden. There can be no question that Obama’s hand redirected Morales’ plane, but the Satirist-in-Chief instructed his official Jennifer Paski to refer journalists’ questions regarding the diverted plane to the authorities in Austria and Portugal.
By following Washington’s command, the craven politicians of Europe have lost the right to be regarded as leaders of sovereign states. Their status is in reality no higher than that of the provincial governors or local satraps of the Roman Emperor. One is forced to wonder whether they stand to attention when they take calls from the White House. In any case, politically they kowtow like envoys from tributary states to Imperial China.
Chinese emperors once aspired to dominion over all under heaven. In practice their writ never ran far beyond the borders of modern China and was often restricted to a few provinces. But the U.S. has the military and financial clout to assert hegemony in virtually every corner of the world. Add its universal eavesdropping that may, in the style of J. Edgar Hoover, have accumulated who knows how much tradable dirt on overseas political leaders and it is clear that in the face of U.S. bullying most states have limited sovereignty – that is to say no sovereignty at all on any matters that count.
Those who claim independence from America’s imperial order offer partial defiance. “Russia has never given up anyone to anybody and does not plan to,” President Putin said. But so far he has refused to let Snowden exit the transit lounge of Sheremetevo airport. And even countries that have said they will consider an asylum request have made it clear Snowden cannot apply until he is on their territory, leaving him in a Catch 22 situation.
A question for the people of France, Portugal and other client states of Washington is why they should bother to elect leaders who take orders from the White House. Perhaps it is not altogether outlandish to suggest it is time to cut out the middle man and demand the sort of citizenship rights the subjects of the Roman Empire achieved with the edict of Caracalla in 212. If the President of the United States rules the world, the world should have the right to elect the President.
There are several bright spots in this bleak picture of U.S. swaggering. One is that Snowden is still free to thumb his nose at the Nobel Laureate in the White House. Another is that more and more people, especially the young, are realizing that imperialism is not just a slogan from a dusty old tome by Lenin. They are witnessing the reality of U.S. bullying and they don’t like what they see. Latin America, especially Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador, but also Argentina and Brazil will be emboldened in its defiance of Washington. And Bolivia will embarrass both Europe and the U.S. by making a formal complaint to the United Nations. For all this we can thank the astonishingly clumsy Barack Obama.
Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.