"If Snowden cannot demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution based on either social group or political opinion, might a nation somewhere in the world still opt to grant him permanent asylum, just as Russia has done on a temporary basis? The righteousness of Snowden’s cause has certainly been undermined by his flight to countries—China and Russia—that are themselves hardly paragons of democracy and transparency. A country that decides to offer Snowden permanent refuge notwithstanding his inability to qualify for asylum under accepted international standards would most likely be seeking to burnish its own image, damage U.S. foreign policy, and take advantage of a unique opportunity to stand up to the United States. While this might provide a country like, for example, Ecuador a certain amount of prestige among its Bolivarian neighbors in the short term, it is unclear to what extent the country—or Snowden himself, for that matter—would benefit from such a decision in the long run." - Careen Shannon, Aug. 4, 2013.