It DOES make sense. This is because if you fly to Iceland (or wherever) and say you want asylum, they ask, "What for? You haven't done anything." and reject you. Or you apply for citizenship, and in the middle of it, you go, "Look, USA, here are a bunch of NSA leaks." And then Iceland goes, heck no, we don't want this guy anymore and deny citizenship and deport. Or you go through the lengthy, years-long-process of citizenship and only at the end of it, you leak all the stuff, which is old news five years later. There is NO GOOD OPTION. The best option is what Snowden has done, albeit, perhaps, not precisely how he's done it. But I don't know.
I don't think he's lost yet. He's in international space, waiting for papers to go somewhere. He's not apparently in police or state custody, just there in the transit section: limbo. Not a bad position to be in, for a wanted man. I don't think he has been boxed into a corner yet, like Assange. Assange doesn't have 50 airline gates to choose from to fly out of.
Now the PRESS is saying, he's at an impasse, nobody wants him, he's stuck, etc etc etc. They'll opt for maximum drama. But the reality is he's in that room, like in the original Star Trek, with portals to hundreds of different places in the Universe. He has to get his papers, then he walks through one of those doors.
These places on the other sides of these doors are all assessing their situations, like Ecuador: "OK, the US is a capricious nation. They WILL withhold hundreds of millions of dollars from us, if we accept this guy. What do we have to gain? What do we have to lose?" This risk-assessment takes a while.
Putin admitted to that national risk assessment the other day. "He has to stop hurting the US if he wants to stay here." That means they looked at all the options regarding Snowden, and realized that he would do more harm than good if he kept leaking and got to stay in Russia. For those very same reasons: the US would most certainly withhold money from Russian trade, etc., as payback.
I can't predict the endpoint, but I can say this: there would have been no sense in seeking asylum first and then leaking the leaks. It couldn't have happened that way. It has to be seek interim safety > leak the leaks > seek permanent safety
failing permanent safety, then > seek fairness and openness and return home to face the music
Under no circumstances is it sane or rational to willingly subject yourself to the treatment that Bradley Manning has received. Or to subject yourself to evil people who would silence you. That's not sane and rational. We do not live in Mayberry anymore.
We live in a country that has many good, and great people. But there are a few, exceedingly powerful people who will stop at no evil to get what they want. Those are the people to rationally fear and avoid, which is what Ed Snowden is understandably doing.