When the going gets tough, most tend to find out who their true friends — or real allies — are. As the pursuit of Edward Snowden continues with him now reportedly en route to Ecuador, U.S. authorities are having a particularly difficult time getting the whistleblower in their hands.
After having spent a few weeks in Hong Kong, the U.S. government attempted to extradite Snowden only to have their request rejected. The U.S. request did not comply with Hong Kong’s legal requirements for extradition, according to a press release by the HKSAR Government. In the same press release, the HKSAR government also made sure to mention that it has asked for clarification on the hackings carried out by the NSA while stating that it intended to pursue the matter "as to protect the legal rights of the people of Hong Kong."
If this statement did not resonate with enough disapproval for the U.S.'s actions, a commentary piece by the Xinhua news agency provided a biting statement on its view of the U.S. in light of the recent privacy scandal.
"They demonstrate that the United States, which has long been trying to play innocent as a victim of cyber attacks, has turned out to be the biggest villain in our age," the commentary included. U.S. officials may have been confused as to why Snowden was allowed to travel after his passport was revoked on Saturday, but the reason is likely the following: China is simply fed up and is acting as it sees fit.
Hong Kong and China as a whole evidently are not pleased with the U.S.'s transgressions, and others have also come forward and expressed their willingness to aid Snowden.
When Snowden was still in Russia, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that Russia would be open to considering granting him asylum if he requested it. One most notable comment made about the Russia in regards to Snowden was made on CNN's State of the Union by Democratic Senator Charles Schumer who expressed his colorful perception of Putin.
"Putin always seems almost eager to stick a finger in the eye of the United States —whether it is Syria, Iran, and now of course with Snowden ... Allies are supposed to treat each other in decent ways."
Allies should, in fact, treat each other decently and perhaps Russia may at times seem more like a frenemy than an ally. However, judging by how this Snowden ordeal is panning out in the international community, it appears that if an ally tramples on the rights of its fellow allies, the rules do not always apply.
The Ecuadorian ambassador to Russia was awaiting Snowden at the tarmac and now Snowden is on his way to Latin America, with his request for asylum submitted. Ecuador does have an extradition treaty with the United States which means that Ecuador will receive aggressive diplomatic pressure from the U.S. if Snowden is granted asylum. Nonetheless, if Ecuador does accept Snowden's request, it will be interesting to see how Ecuador will fare in standing up to the U.S.