Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Striking Thing About the Snowden/Putin Dialogue

Edward Snowden's spokespeople are already backpedaling away from the whole thing, but my takeaway from it is this:

Vladimir Putin is a lot more afraid of Russian public opinion than almost any US government official is of American public opinion.

Call Snowden's question a softball if you want.

Assume that Putin is lying like a rug when he says his regime doesn't spy on the Russian people, and I have to agree that he probably is.

But at least he felt like he needed to lie, maybe because it's only been about 20 years since he saw what happens when his country's public finally gets royally pissed off.

When Barack Obama (or George W. Bush, or Dick Cheney, et. al) get asked about stuff like this, they lie for about two minutes, with silly "I can't believe I have to go through these motions" grins on their faces, before noticing that yeah, they got caught red-handed again and switching to "hey, we can do anything we damn well please because John Yoo says so."

"Rule of law" may be a silly fiction, but it's a silly fiction that Putin still feels a need to give semi-convincing lip service to. Our politicians, not so much.

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