Tagged Ecuador

The Very Definition of “Scandal”

Wow: The Obama administration overturned a ban preventing a wealthy, politically connected Ecuadorean woman from entering the United States after her family gave tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic campaigns, according to finance records and government officials. The woman, Estefanía Isaías, had been barred from coming to the United States after being caught fraudulently obtaining visas for her maids. But the ban was lifted at the request of the State Department under former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton so that Ms. Isaías could work for an Obama fund-raiser with close ties to the administration. It was one of…

In Ukraine, Tensions Remain High

I haven’t been blogging for the past two days because I have been laid low by The Worst Cold In The History Of Ever. Any hopes that in the time that it took me to recover, the Ukraine crisis could be resolved, seem to have gone out the window. Ukraine remains worried that Russia may launch an invasion of eastern Ukraine. The Obama administration shares those concerns. So, that’s hardly comforting. Demonstrations have begun, agitating for secession on the part of eastern Ukraine. I’d be very much surprised if these demonstrations were anything more than astroturf operations that the Russians have…

Spheres of Influence and Bubbles of Ignorance

Let’s go over some of the fundamental tenets of the realist theory of international relations (I know that I have written them before, but I ask readers to indulge me so that I can set the table for the rest of this blog post). Realists generally believe the following: The world is fundamentally anarchic. There is no international governing body and no international emergency aid for the fundamental actors in the world. The fundamental actors of which i write are nation-states. Nation-states seek to acquire security, and if possible, hegemonic power (or as close to hegemonic power as they can…

Chutzpah, Thy Name Is “Snowden”

So, Edward Snowden wants clemency now from the very country which he betrayed and whose national security he put in peril via the disclosure of secrets that compromised sources and methods. To say the least, I am not sympathetic to the plea. The hype to the contrary notwithstanding, neither Snowden nor Bradley Manning are heroes, and neither of them should be treated like heroes by anyone who cares for American national security. In the past Snowden condemned the very people who committed the crimes that he committed. He made life harder for genuine whistleblowers who uncover genuine crimes, and Snowden’s attempts to…

Edward Snowden: Hero of Transparency

Or, you know, not:  Since he publicly acknowledged being the source of bombshell leaks about the NSA two weeks ago, Ed Snowden has portrayed government secrecy as a threat to democracy, and his own leaks as acts of conscience. But chat logs uncovered by the tech news site Ars Technica suggest Snowden hasn’t always felt that way.“Those people should be shot in the balls,” Snowden apparently said of leakers in a January 2009 chat. Snowden had logged into an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) server associated with Ars Technica. While Ars itself didn’t log the conversations, multiple participants in the discussions…

Edward Snowden’s Dubious Achievement

To be entirely fair to Edward Snowden, there are whistleblowers who stand with him and who applaud what he has done in exposing NSA surveillance programs and techniques. But it is also worth noting that there are plenty of whistleblowers who think that Edward Snowden has done the cause of whistleblowing no good whatsoever: When Edward Snowden first started revealing secrets about the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance operations, the small community of U.S. government whistleblowers and their advocates publicly leapt to Snowden’s defense. But now that the world’s most famous leaker has apparently left Hong Kong for Moscow (and…

On the Obama Administration’s Embarrassment and Edward Snowden’s Insincerity

The fact that Edward Snowden was able to leave Hong Kong, transit through Russia and fly to Ecuador for asylum has to be humiliating for the Obama administration, especially in light of the “resets” in diplomatic relations that the administration has been seeking with China and Russia. I am sure that the president and his team will try to claim that everything is hunky-dory when it comes to the state of Sino-American and Russian-American relations, but the United States’s inability to get China and Russia to cooperate in bringing Edward Snowden to justice serves to undermine any such claim.  The…