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Obama (Scut Farkus), Europe (Grover Dill), and Snowden (Ralphie)
We all know Scut Farkus, the bully who pushed the little kids around in A Christmas Story.
Then there was his toady, Grover Dill. He acted tough, because he did everything Farkus told him to do.
Then there was Ralphie, who finally got revenge.
Last week, some bonehead in the Obama administration -- the media did not bother to find out who -- decided that he would issue an order to France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal to forbid the overflight of the presidential jet the President of Bolivia.
Did he do this on his own authority? Bureaucrats do not put their careers on the line because some low-level political hack tells them to. They want orders from the top.
They got these orders.
That forced the pilot of the plane to land in Vienna. At that point, the next phase of the bonehead's plan involved the use of Austrian officials, meaning either the police or the military, to board the plane and search it to find Edward Snowden. The problem was, Edward Snowden was not on the plane.
That immediately caused a sensation around the world. Especially in Latin America, heads of state criticized the U.S. government's interference with the presidential jet of the Bolivian President. At that point, Venezuela's President finally jumped off the fence, and offered Snowden asylum. He had resisted doing this prior to the decision of the bonehead to interfere with the Bolivian jet. Not to be outdone, the President of Bolivia then offered him asylum, and then the President of Nicaragua did the same. The President of Nicaragua is Danny Ortega, the Sandinista.
So, before the bonehead made his decision, no country was willing to offer Snowden asylum. But, because the bonehead decided to risk making a fool of the United States government, Snowden now has three places he can flee to.
This is a classic political mistake. The hack had almost no understanding of the potential fallout from his decision. This particular hack never bothered to consider the fallout in Latin America from the decision of the United States to pressure its toadies in Europe to forbid the jet from flying over their air space. Next, the toadies in Europe were exposed as exactly what they are, namely, toadies of the United States, so they are much less likely to cooperate in any further interference with Snowden's travel plans. Third, the Austrian government looks even worse than the other four governments, because it sent armed officials onto the plane in a fruitless search for a man who was not there.
This makes leftists in Latin American look like courageous heroes, because they are standing up to the United States government. But they decided to do this only because of the bonehead's decision to make the United States government look bad in front of the whole world. Now they can present themselves as standing tall. But they only stood up because of the bonehead.
The bonehead should have been fired within hours. But that was not done. This indicates that the decision was made by a political advisor in the Obama administration. He is not some low-level twerp. He is somebody close to the President, which means close enough to have gotten official approval from Obama for what is now obviously a bonehead move.
The decision had to be implemented by the bureaucracy. No one is saying which one.
Once again, we see how power makes operational idiots out of smart people. They do not count the full costs of their decisions. They are protected by the system, and they make decisions throughout their careers in terms of these protections. Then, without warning, the protections collapse in the face of public reaction against the bonehead decision.
The United States government has had a major setback in foreign relations. Officials in the United States foreign policy bureaucracy can go around saying that this setback is only temporary, but I think this is incorrect. This kind of bonehead move affects international relations for a long time. It was in public. It also made the toadies appear as exactly what they are, and toadies do not want to be revealed as toadies in front of the whole world. So, they are less likely to cooperate with the next bonehead move by some American official.
We expect hired hands to cover up their tracks. This particular employee has been successful in doing so. But what he cannot cover up is the fact that the United States government was exposed as a violator of international rights of a head of state. This will give pause to other heads of state, who do not like to be pushed around, and especially do not like to be pushed around in full public view. The desire of toadies is to appear as stalwart defenders of the rights of the people.
It is obvious that nobody in the highest levels of government thought through the implications of the bonehead decision of the advisor who decided that the government was going to get Edward Snowden off that plane. It never occurred to him that Snowden was not on the plane. It never occurred to him that toadies in Western Europe would resent the fact that they were exposed as toadies. Finally, he never figured out that this would enable two near-communists and the anti-American President of the number-four oil-exporting nation to the United States the opportunity to offer asylum to Snowden, when they had not had the courage to do this prior to the grounding of the Bolivian jet. All in all, is a classic case of empire-based politics.
Because of the Internet, this sort of thing cannot be concealed any longer. Every incident like this undermines the legitimacy of the U.S. government, which is certainly a good thing. It makes the government look stupid, which is also a good thing. The big winner in all of this, of course, is Edward Snowden. He was supposed to be the victim.
If anything happens to him, the United States government will be blamed. If he disappears, or is shot, or is in any way harmed from this point on, the world will assume the CIA did it, and the United States will look terrible. The bonehead gave Snowden a free pass.