China’s Fox News says U.S. ‘ate the dirt’ on Snowden

August 8, 2013

Vladimir Putin is kind of a big deal in China. (MLladen Antonov / AFP/Getty Images)

China's Global Times newspaper is housed in the same offices -- and published by the same company -- as the famed (but old-school) People's Daily, the traditional mouthpiece of China's Communist Party. But it's not much like the People's Daily. It tips from national into ultra-nationalist. It loves controversy. Its reputation is as "the Fox News" of China. And its unsigned editorial on the Snowden affair is fascinating:

Russia has impressed the world, which views the Kremlin as the "winner" and the White House as the "loser."

This judgment is correct. In the Snowden case, all the other countries involved have become winners while the US is the sole loser. Washington put on a show of bravado, but failed to extradite Snowden in the end. By contrast, Moscow displayed its national characteristics of decisiveness and boldness and kept Washington at bay.

The editorial goes on to say that "Washington ate the dirt this time."

Interestingly, the Chinese government comes in for a similar lashing. "China only showed hesitation and weakness," the editorial says.

On MSNBC Wednesday night, I interviewed Chrystia Freeland and Miriam Elder about the United States's deteriorating relationship with Russia. Both thought the situation clear: Putin is facing a slowing economy as well as relatively serious protests, and in response, is trying to shore up his political base through more aggressive nationalism, which can often translate into more aggressive anti-Americanism.

But Russia isn't the only country facing a slowing economy. China's there, too, as is Brazil and, well, pretty much everyone else. Smart observers like Ruchir Sharma think the era of roaring growth in emerging markets is over. One possible consequence of that, of course, will be rising anti-American sentiment, as local politicians realize they can't run on the economy, and they need to find a new point of appeal for their supporters.

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Neil Irwin · August 8, 2013