For decades, beginning with the fall of the Berlin Wall, we have challenged the power, influence and spread of communism. Fearing the successful spread of communism, we invaded Cuba, lost the battle, blockaded the island and prevented it from becoming the centerpiece for communism in the western world. Americans couldn’t even buy a cigar made in Cuba. It didn’t matter, though. China is their showcase of money, power and military strength. Ironically, they don’t make cigars. All they do is lend us money. You have to wonder what Cuba would be like today if we opened up trade agreements with them, let them succeed as an island nation and didn’t threatened them with nuclear war.
Under the banner of NATO, we fought in Serbia and supported other countries in their revolts against Russia. Were we justified in our efforts? Yes, but that’s not the point. The fact is, we interfered with Russia’s politics, challenged them militarily and put Putin on the defensive.
Of course, the United States is blaming Russia for giving refuge to an American spy. But the majority of Americans don’t think he is a traitor. In our political world, any public opinion poll showing 70 percent or more in favorability or opposition is uncommon. Even support for our next president and first female occupant of the Oval Office isn’t as high as 70 percent. However, in Snowden’s case more than 70 percent think he is a whistleblower —not a traitor. And almost 60 percent think he did the correct thing by exposing our government’s policy of “big brother” surveillance.
Like a crybaby in the school yard, our government is complaining to the world that Russia’s actions could break down foreign relations and future discussions on world peace, when in fact, it’s our own fault. Under the threat of breaking trade agreements and withholding foreign aid, over 200 countries have refused to give Snowden asylum; leaving it open for a world power with an axe to grind the opportunity to do the right thing. China and Russia were the only two options Snowden had.
Governments like to paint the face of whistleblowers as social discontents. It wasn’t a discontent who took the photos of torture at the Abu Grab prison.
Colin Powell, the first African American appointed as the U.S. Secretary of State, resigned because he knew he gave false information provided to him by President G.W. Bush, claiming Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. That doesn’t qualify him as a whistleblower, unless you read between the lines.
The United States has double standards like any other country. On the surface we are not what we appear to be. We are brutal to our captives, violate the Geneva Conference mandates, confine prisoners in Cuba without legal charges and hold secret courts to justify spying on our own citizens and label well-intended whistleblowers as discount troublemakers.
David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist.