I feel for Edward Snowden. I've been stuck in Sheremetyevo Airport too. I remember a sign (in English), on one door, that just about summed the place up: "NO TOILETS. NO REFRESHMENTS. NO INFORMATION. NO FLIGHTS."
What's truly shocking is how, although millions of people hail the man as a hero, the world's governments have closed ranks against him. Several governments in Europe could buy instant re-election right now just by offering him asylum - but none are. Russia said "you'd have to stop leaking". France and Portugal went so far as to deny landing rights to a plane carrying the president of Bolivia, on the basis that Snowden might have been on board. Even Ecuador and Venezuela have said "you'll have to get to our embassy first".
And the chances of that seem slim, since the Russians won't let him out of the airport.
So this is the New American Century, where no half-way civilised country dares stand up to the USA. In the old Soviet Union, at least a dissident could dream they had somewhere to run to. Now that little window of hope is closed. If you offend the USA - not with violence, or sedition, or treason (the indictment against Snowden lists none of these charges), but just with public embarrassment - there is nowhere. This can only be a measure of how much pressure the Americans are putting on - well, everyone.
Anyone remember Barack Obama's 2008 campaign? "Nothing can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change", he said. "Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity." Above all else, he was the candidate who would stand up to entrenched interests in Washington and do what was right.
And this is as simple a test case as it can be. One of the few things that's unambiguously, easily and directly within his personal power - is to grant Snowden a full pardon. He doesn't need congressional ratification, he doesn't need the joint chiefs or the supreme court or even his own legal or intelligence advisors. He doesn't even need to implicate his own party, or anyone who might have ambitions to succeed him. The choice is his, and his alone.
So come on, Barack. Now's the time. You can continue to shield the establishment that has flouted your laws, or you can shield the man who tried to stop it - the man who tried to live up to your rhetoric. Is the US government going to be ruled by laws, or is it just an imperial tyranny?
That's quite a choice for your second-term legacy. Please get it right.