Which is why the "terminal" plight of one airport bound whistleblower (or is it, hornblower?) opens up another meditation on exactly what his long game will have to be, because one can not live in an airport. But it has become clear that the promise of a berth with Ecuador is essentially evaporating (and the relationship between Ecuador and Julian Assange of Wikileaks is possibly a little strained, by now, too)--long story short: Ecuador isn't running a hotel for wayward truthtellers. And the possibility of asylum with Russia is not without strings:
Putin, who hosted a summit of gas-exporting nations in Moscow that included leaders from Venezuela, Bolivia and Iran, said he doesn't know if any of those attending could offer Snowden shelter.
"If he wants to go somewhere and there are those who would take him, he is welcome to do that," Putin said. "If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: he must stop his activities aimed at inflicting damage to our American partners, no matter how strange it may sound on my lips."
Putin added that Snowden doesn't want to stop his efforts to reveal information about the U.S. surveillance program.
"Just because he feels that he is a human rights defender, rights activist, he doesn't seem to have an intention to stop such work," Putin said.
And this is not without reason. While Snowden may have access to intelligence that is at least somewhat useful, and there may be some countries who don't entirely mind giving the US a "black eye", he's still kind of a diplomatic nightmare and a weird walking irony, since most of the nations on his asylum application list aren't exactly champions of the repressed, themselves. Because he has become so high-profile, countries that might consider hosting him are well warned-off. (And no, they don't need direct pressure from the US to know this.)
However, I've given some thought to whether his notoriety isn't in his favor in the one place that would love to have him--the US. I doubt he would be given the same treatment as Bradley Manning, let alone be "droned to death"--specifically because the whole world would be watching. It seems to me that the conditions that Edward Snowden's father indicated as being favorable to his son's return would be honored because of this. And should he return to the US to face sentencing and a trial, the actual questions of what he has uncovered can be properly publically debated, with less emphasis on "Where's Edward?" and "What will he do next?"
Provided, of course, that this a thing still within his means to do. Which, though my glib blog title may have you think otherwise, is the thing that makes me fear for him. There are many forms of alienation--but being rootless because one has cut oneself off from one's roots is a terrible renunciation. More terrible if it was made for one.