Russian forces are occupying part of Ukraine right now in clear violation of international law. And yet, America's self-proclaimed "anti-war" Left is eerily silent. There is no petition on MoveOn.org to urge the US and the international community to do everything possible to end the Russian invasion. Alan Grayson, the self-declared "Congressman with guts" evidently lacks the guts to even call Russia out. The dogmatic left, known for their propensity to scream and yell, is eerily silent. The screeching Left, best known for hitting the United States for "imperialism", is barely even breathing a word against Putin's moves to seize land from another sovereign country.
Could the deafening silence be coming from wanting to avoid the discussion of an inconvenient reality? Could it be because of Edward Snowden?
No, I'm not simply talking about the reprehensible moral implications for a man the anti-government Left has joined the libertarian Right to sell as a hero to remain under the protection of the government running one of the worst surveillance states in the world. I am not even simply talking about the scathing ethical implications for a man the anti-war Left has labeled a hero to continue to enjoy the protections of a government that just invaded a neighboring country.
I'm talking about credibility. For those who defend Edward Snowden - both activists and publishers who are benefiting from his theft of critical American intelligence information - an essential pillar of canonizing him has been a steadfast rejection of the idea that Snowden may have (willingly or under force) handed over US intelligence secrets to China (where he first ended up after fleeing the US) or Russia (where he was finally granted asylum).
The idea that Edward Snowden, in possession of a treasure trove of American intelligence documents, would end up in the loving arms of Russia without turning over his information always required a good degree of suspension of disbelief. Still, his defenders, along with the person profiting the most from his revelations, Glenn Greenwald, argued that Russians couldn't get anything from him because all the data he had stolen was highly encrypted, and Russians did not have the capacity to break that encryption even if they tried. They never answered the question as to why Russia would grant Snowden asylum if there was nothing in it for them, however.
Just how much disbelief you are required to suspend in order to allow for their argument to even pass the laugh test, however, has gone up by an order of magnitude in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, simply because the invasion has proven Putin's willingness to be aggressive simply to achieve political dominance. If you are to believe Snowden's devotees, you would have to believe that the same country that just invaded a neighbor to expand its political influence in startling violation of international law is also protecting and sheltering a fugitive out of concern for his interests rather than their own. Snowden's lackies would have you believe that the man looking to re-establish the Russian empire would house the possessor of the largest US intelligence leak in history and ask for nothing in return.
In order to believe in the innocence of Edward Snowden (when it comes to revealing intelligence information to foreign governments), one has to believe in the innocence of the Russian government. In order to believe in the righteousness of Snowden's Russian hideout, one must also believe in the righteousness of Vladimir Putin.
But the greatest of concerns is not that those who defend Snowden aren't making these connections - though that is probably a large part of the story. The greatest of concerns is that the most virulent defenders of Snowden's innocence are beginning to defend Russia - by the means of celebrating it as demise of "Pax America":
The tweeter account emptywheel belongs to Marcy Wheeler, who is the Senior policy analyst for Greenwald's new magazine.
It is already happening. Instead of condemning Russia's aggression, Snowden's chief defenders (and his chief benefactors) are already taking Russia's side, gleefully celebrating the Russian actions as indicative of waning American influence.
The reason for this is simple. The people masquerading as the high priests of the anti-war, dogmatic Left aren't liberals or leftists at all. What they are is anti-American. They celebrate anything they view as embarrassing or undermining to American influence and American power. Snowden's revelations and Russian actions aren't contradictory in their value system, since the only thing they value is the undermining of the United States.