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2017
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
Tit-for-tat actions have not created solutions for centuries
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
Business Times, December 31, 2013
 

As we say goodbye to 2013 and look forward to all that is to come in the New Year, I would like to take a quick opportunity to look back at one particular globe-changing event that began this past June.

The event – which is still ongoing – was the leaking of classified information regarding the extent of the United States’ surveillance programme, by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

Throughout 2013, the leak was greeted with mixed feelings by the public and received condemnation from some governments – but none more fervently than the United States.

In the US, a leak like Mr Snowden’s (if not classified as the act of a whistleblower) can be considered treason and could carry immense penalties.

This reality forced him to flee the United States in the immediate aftermath of the leak. He fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum.

It has been thought that should Mr Snowden attempt to return to the US, he would be arrested immediately and put on trial.

Recently, however, new information was brought to light by senior officials within the American intelligence community that may change his fate.

Polarising figure
It seems that – at least in internal discussions – the United States may be open to granting him amnesty for his crimes.

This brings about the question: should Edward Snowden receive amnesty?

Like everything else related to the NSA leaks, the notion of giving him amnesty has received mixed reactions in the public and in the US government.

In fact, it could be argued that he may be one of the most polarising figures in recent history. Across the globe, the wake of his revelations has been rocking nation after nation.

While it seems overly evident that the public is happy to have the information he provided, how those people actually feel about Mr Snowden himself is much more open for interpretation.

In the minds of some US officials, he is a criminal and nothing more. In the eyes of some members of the public, he is a hero and everything in between.

The reality, as I see it, however, is quite different and not nearly as black-and-white. Whether you abhor or applaud the actions of Mr Snowden, what is clear is that, above all, this is a public relations battle.

The battle is not between the United States government and Edward Snowden; rather, it is between the US government and world public opinion.

At stake is the public’s overall trust that the US has the world’s citizens’ – and, at the very least, its own citizens’ – best interests at heart.

The leaks have not only eroded government support among the public in the US, they have eroded public support for the United States’ global initiatives in nations across the world.

Many of these initiatives – like the global war on terror – were relying on the NSA and its international cooperative network for overall success.

What is evident is that the US government is losing the war for public support – and losing it badly.

Therefore, I believe they have one effective course of action: grant amnesty to Edward Snowden, with no conditions whatsoever.

What the White House needs to realise right now is that Mr Snowden did not set out to ruin the government, or take down the NSA. Rather, he intended to do something much simpler: start a dialogue.

He himself recently was quoted as saying: “I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.” This statement embodies why he deserves amnesty. He did not set out to destroy America; he set out to give Americans the chance to have a say in their own future through an open dialogue.

Immature teenagers
And start a dialogue he did. The entire world is still talking about the NSA leaks to this day, and it is the White House and the NSA – not Edward Snowden – who appear like immature teenagers unable to admit they were caught red-handed.

To earn back the public’s trust, President Barack Obama has to show that he is ready to sit at the table and discuss government spying openly.

So far, his attempts to do so via commissions and press briefings have done little to quell the fury.

So far, every word spoken by the Obama administration is tainted by the fact that many of those listening consider Mr Snowden a hero, yet those speaking still consider him a criminal.

As long as Mr Snowden remains a criminal abroad, his support will grow stronger every day and public trust in the United States will wane.

By giving him amnesty, the Obama administration would be making a bold statement, admitting that they were wrong and being willing to open up and take steps to correct past mistakes.

A move like this would not only bring some much needed humanity to the United States government but it will be taking a major leap in acting more like the mature arbiter of the public good that it has been in the past.

 

The writer is founder and chairman of Horasis, a global visions community


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