Imagine you’re playing chess and one of your pawns is infected with some form of radiation. Each piece in its vicinity and any piece that defeats it becomes infected as well. What options do you have? What would you do? How can you limit its damage while still maintaining an overall defensive or offensive strategy? How would your initial strategy change with the introduction of this radioactive pawn?
This is the game of chess that is being played between the United States and Russia. Edward Snowden is that radioactive pawn (henceforth, he will be known as the superhero/villain RadioPawn).
As of July 3rd at 1047 EST, Snowden is locked in a sort of geographical purgatory. Unable to leave, passport revoked. Totally friend-zoned. I’m assuming he’s probably hanging out in the Sheremetyevo airport, playing Angry Birds ad nauseam, waiting for his friends down in Ecuador to invite him over to play some video games. I hope he has a phone charger, because it looks like he’ll be playing Angry Birds for a bit longer. Ecuador must not want to play radioactive chess.
So what happens now? The Putin administration has moved all their pieces to the opposite side of the board and shoved RadioPawn in the far corner of the board. The Obama administration can’t openly send in a knight to destroy its own pawn. I don’t even think it’s legal in chess rules to kill your own pieces. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, whatever piece kills the pawn becomes radioactive as well. I’ve never played radioactive chess before, but there’s a good possibility that every American piece would become radioactive as a result. That’s bad joo-joo across the board.
It appears that the United States will be content leaving RadioPawn in the corner of the board near the Russian pieces. It’s a great way for the United States to simultaneously ignore the problem and distract from recent moves that a well-trained five year old would have cautioned against.
Russia on the other hand, is stuck with two seemingly viable options: ‘encourage’ (in a way that only Russians can do) RadioPawn to get back to his side of the board or bust out the decontamination kit and start scrubbing. What the scrubbing would consist of is ‘encouraging’ RadioPawn to no longer take part in activities that would keep him radioactive. Putin recently 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.”
Why yes Mr. Putin…that does sound strange coming from your lips. I would also venture to guess that RadioPawn is drawing a bit too much attention to Russia and her record of how they treat dissidents and malcontents. If RadioPawn continues to make problems on Russia’s side of the board, it will continue to complicate the bigger chess match. RadioPawn is even infecting non-players in this chess game.
Someone will break soon, but I don’t think it will be the United States or Russia.
(Featured Image Courtesy: WallpaperStock)