“‘Senior European Union officials are outraged by revelations that the U.S. spied on EU representations in Washington and New York,” Germany’s Der Spiegel writes. ‘Some have called for a suspension of talks on the trans-Atlantic free trade agreement.’
Their anger follows Saturday’s Der Spiegel report that secret documents leaked by former National Security Agency contract worker Edward Snowden allegedly show that the NSA has ‘not only conducted online surveillance of European citizens, but also appears to have specifically targeted buildings housing European Union institutions.'”
This bad. Very bad. It was one thing to find out that the NSA was spying on Americans, but this new revelation may have vast implications for American foreign policy for years to come.
From Afghanistan to Syria to Iran, the US relies on EU cooperation to deal with national security threats and international criminals. In addition the US and EU are big trade partners, with exports and imports totaling more than half a trillion dollars in 2012 alone. On top of all of this, both parties are in the process of negotiating a free trade agreement that could result in trillions of dollars of economic activity on both sides of the Atlantic. In short, our relationship with Europe is a big f***ing deal.
That’s why it’s important for the US to carefully cultivate our ties with the EU and keep in mind what actions may harm that important relationship. It wasn’t too long ago that much of Europe was under the boot heels of communism and fascism, and in particular countries such as Germany are extremely adverse to activities like this. For many, it brings back echoes of the Gestapo and the East German Stasi.
It’s incredible that the US government was willing to risk our relationship with the EU in exchange for being able to spy on our allies. If these reports are true, then the actions undertaken by the NSA have severely undermined US foreign policy interests. We rely on the trust of our allies and if we lose that trust, we will be a weaker nation because of it. This is no way to treat our friends.