Monday, September 30, 2013

Snowden fallout: India’s meow, Brazil’s roar

Contrasting reactions in India and Brazil to revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the US government’s intrusive surveillance of communications in the two countries are a study in varying diplomatic style, substance and context.
Recent confirmation from journalists working with Snowden that India was a prime victim caught in the crosshairs of the NSA’s megalithic data-sweeping operations did not deter Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from visiting Washington and keeping his date with President Barack Obama on September 27. 
India’s phlegmatic take is the antithesis of the mass indignation in Brazil when it became known that the NSA had been snooping into emails and phone conversations of the commanding heights of its economic and political institutions. A nationalistic wave of disgust propelled President Dilma Rousseff to go to the extent of canceling her scheduled state visit to the US, demanding an unqualified apology from Obama, and lambasting the US for violation of human rights, privacy and international law in front of the UN General Assembly.
Rousseff called a spade a spade and snubbed Obama without mincing words. It was an act of international bravado and regional leadership that steeled the spine of Latin America, which has been seething against Washington’s imperious tampering of airspace permissions for Bolivian President Evo Morales and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The Bolivians have condemned European“aggression” at the behest of America and are threatening to sue the US for “crimes against humanity,”while the Venezuelans have kept up a steady verbal barrage against Washington’s “crazy provocations.”
Ecuador has initiated discussions among the 12-member Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), which includes Brazil, to work on a new multilateral Internet defense system that would protect the entire Latin American region against US hacking and espionage. Collective regional action, which is advanced in South America despite plurality in ideology and regime type, has found its newest cohesive cause— halting the American ‘Snooperman’ juggernaut....
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