, the whistle-blower who revealed the PRISM surveillance program by the US National Security Agency, tops Foreign Policy's (FP) newly released list of Global Thinkers for 2013.
Snowden is the US' most wanted man, now in exile in Russia. In his statement to FP on his selection as a Global Thinker, Snowden criticized "the darkest corners of the US national security bureaucracies."
He said that "2013 has been an important year for civil society." In terms of issues of privacy and government surveillance, he is right.
Having challenged the most powerful abuse of power across the world, Snowden now has to withstand more mental stress.
The US may give support to those who want to challenge the existing order in non-Western countries.
Washington defines itself as the final adjudicator of global legality, pressuring non-Western countries to be lenient on challengers despite law violations.
This inspires some convicted criminals to expect a sudden streak of luck.
Given the strong reactions to the exposed PRISM program by the whole world including US allies and public opinion, Snowden did a good thing.
However, the US didn't penalize the agencies suspected of illegal surveillance, instead it declared Snowden a "traitor" to the country and even came up with an exceptional legal explanation for Snowden's extradition.
Snowden's whistle-blowing efforts demonstrate that he has lost confidence in the justice of the US legal system.
He expected this retribution would take place.
The US even used diplomatic resources to hunt him, which affected relations with Russia and China.
Snowden deserves respect since he is opposing the global superpower. No countries have openly credited him as a "hero" so far, but it's not an exaggeration to call him a Global Thinker.
Snowden challenged the justice defined by the US and confronted US soft power.
The young man is the first to have knocked the US government down in the arena of morality.
It's wrong for the US government to have promoted the PRISM program and declared Snowden a "traitor."
FP, which represents the mainstream values of the US, selected Snowden as the top Global Thinker of 2013. This testifies to a US society divided over the Snowden case.
The US shouldn't put its security interests and values beyond those of the rest of the world.
Seeking hegemony and absolute security will finally harm the US itself as well as others. The article is an editorial published in the Chinese edition of the Global Times Friday. email@example.com