21st Century Wire
Amid reports this week of the US State Department applying tactics of intimidation to ground the Presidential jet of Bolivian President Evo Morales in their pursuit of NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden, 21st Century Wire predicted that this reckless move by Washington DC would provide a huge bounce to the street credibility of populist icon Morales – and now it’s happening. But that’s not all…
President Morales arrived in the Bolivian capital of La Paz on Wednesday to a hero’s welcome at the airport, which was just the beginning.
His profile as a more affable version Hugo Chavez was already high in the eye of Latin America, and is now set to go even higher.
As expected, US officials are in denial, pretending they did not apply any pressure on European countries including France, Spain, Italy and Portugal – to deny air space passage to the Bolivian Presidential jet that was heading from Moscow to La Paz via the Canary Islands on Tuesday.
Call it arrogance, or call it incompetence. Whatever you might call it, this disastrous overreach by the US may have triggered an international Watergate of sorts. Spying and closing down civil liberties on its own population may be one thing, but to extend the US police state by bullying European nations into restricting the movement of the Bolivian head of state – is another disturbing matter altogether.
Only a week ago in Senegal, at a joint press conference, US President Barack Obama delivered one of the most patronising statements by a head of state in living memory. Asked if the U.S. would “interdict” any international flights to deny airspace if Snowden was on board, Obama responded by saying that he wouldn’t be “scrambling military jets to go after a 29-year-old hacker.” What the US did do instead this week, was potentially much worse – igniting an international crisis of confidence in America’s self-styled rank as an international authority.
RT reported from the emergency UNASUR summit in Bolivia yesterday, where President Morales said that his “hand would not shake” if, and when – he “closes the US Embassy”.
Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro stated, “Violation of international law against Evo Morales is against all of us.”
Cristina Fernandez of Argentina, added, “It is curious that those who speak of human rights committed this violation.”And the list goes on.
Meanwhile, US President Obama continues an African tour and family vacation which will cost US taxpayers an estimated $100 million.
ON VACATION: As Rome burns, Obama is spending $100 million touring Africa with the first family.
Incredibly, Obama’s last words on the Snowden Affair demonstrates the level of arrogance his office has risen to:
“I’m not going to have one case with a suspect who we’re trying to extradite suddenly be elevated to the point where I’ve got to start doing wheeling and dealing and trading on a whole host of other issues, simply to get a guy extradited so he can face the justice system.”
Obama also boasted last week, from what has now been exposed as an artificial position of moral authority regarding international law:
“My continued expectation is that Russia or other countries that have talked about potentially providing Mr. Snowden asylum recognize that they are a part of an international community and they should be abiding by international law.”
Bolivia had long been a playground of corruption for the CIA and its multinational corporate clients, who used it to traffic narcotics and more importantly, as a key staging ground for overthrowing a series of democratically elected governments around South America from the 50′s to the 80′s. The election of Evo Morales ushered in a new era for the country, improving conditions for millions of residents.
Most Americans, including the US media, still remain somewhat oblivious to the international implications of what their government has actually done here. With its diplomatic rating already hovering somewhere beside North Korea, the Obama Administration appears to have now lost control of the Snowden Affair completely, as well as being exposed as unable to take any moral position suitable for the international community it purports to lead. The same could be said for its involvement in arming proxy terrorists in Syria, imposing, crippling sanctions in Iran, installing the failed Islamist government in Egypt, and destroying the country of Libya – not to mention the US torture center in Guantanamo Bay, or the country’s policy of extrajudicial assassinations of foreigner through the use of unmanned drones.
All in all, what clever operators in Washington DC thought would be a casual exercise in the flexing of its imperial muscle, may have triggered the most significant diplomatic meltdown of the Obama presidency.
Further ripple effects are still on the way, as the European backlash may force America’s NATO underlings to reassess their political alignment with such openly imperial behaviour. In addition, this could contribute to weakening Washington DC’s international foreign policy mandate over the dirty war in Syria and its co-aspirations with Israel for a pre-emptive attack Iran in the coming years.
The United States credibility on the international stage could not be any worse now – a frightening prospect, because it means that with no easy escape door to repair its sinking image, darker players in Washington’s power structure could be tempted to go for broke, again, in order to garner international sympathy.
But even then, it might be too little too late. The world is changing rapidly, and the institutions of ruling power seem to be the last to realise it.