Saturday, July 12, 2014
USA and Germany
We have two new cases of the US spying one of its closest allies, Germany, whose loyalty is only limited by pacifist considerations which are understandable after WW2.
This together with the whole extent of the spying by the NSA should be a wakening up call for the old continent. For years it has not seen that the world and its big players are not ruled only by reason, good will and humanity. And it has not been willing to see that this concerns not only former enemies like Russia with its actions in Ukraine, but also the friends in Washington.
It is not true as many believe in the USA, that Europe and Germany would spy on the Americans like these do on us, if the Europeans had the same means at their disposal. As described in " The European Sung Dynasty" Europe has a naive view of at least the Northern rich world as ruled by good will and reason. You can laugh at this, but it is not exclusively ridiculous. It is driven by decency. After horrible wars Europe has realized what the ideal for relations between nations should be in a perfect world. The problem is just that the world is not perfect. In the EU the ideal is being approached more and more. But outside forces act out of hunger for power.
Europe and especially Germany are decent. What is naive is only that they expect their close ally to be the same. This explains the level of disappointment in the German government. From Germany there certainly is no attempt to stir up transatlantic tensions, just disappointment. Of course German security agencies have activities which go beyond what the public knows. But spying the Americans at the level these do in Europe is out if the question. It would be viewed as indecent. We do not give the Nobel Peace Price to Obama and then start to tap his phone!
That the Americans do such things should be no surprise in the present competition for world hegemony. Furthermore it underlines the US contempt for Europe and belief in its own right to rule. That we do not act likewise, is not a question of lack of capability, but decency.
It would also be recommendable for the Americans to take the public opinion in Europe into consideration. If public opinion is not the only factor, it is still very important for those who want to win the world. If new cases of US disrespect continue to come into the awareness of the public in Europe, not even strong American presence in the media and the internet can make it be forgotten.