President Barack Obama said that he wanted to “reset” relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and bring the countries closer together. He appears to have succeeded. Yesterday, Putin defended Obama in creating a warrantless surveillance system that is much like Russia’s. In the meantime, a leading Chinese dissident in the United States has said that the program reminds him not of Russia but the police state in China. It appears that Obama can finally claim to have broken down the differences between the United States and both Russia and China in his new America. All we had to do is change our whole notion of privacy (as well as other legal concepts like perjury).
Putin was delighted that the United States was reinvented itself in his image and complimented the massive surveillance system as “the way a civilized society should go about fighting terrorism.” He added that he loved how the New York government crushed the Occupy Wall Street movement: “That’s the way it’s done in the U.S., and that’s the way it’s done in Russia.”
Putin loves the two publicly confirmed surveillance programs since “[t]hat’s more or less the way a civilized society should go about fighting terrorism with modern-day technology. As long as it is exercised within the boundaries of the law that regulates intelligence activities, it’s alright.”
If that wasn’t enough for Obama and his congressional allies, leading Chinese dissident and artist Ai Weiwei says that he also recognizes the system being maintained by Obama: the police state in China. He added “I lived in the United States for 12 years. This abuse of state power goes totally against my understanding of what it means to be a civilised society, and it will be shocking for me if American citizens allow this to continue.”
I wish I could say that we share that shock but, as said by the Chinese curse, we are living in interesting times.