Monday, September 9, 2013

NSA spying and international cohesion

I try to stay away from political stuff on here, but I've found an interesting theme arising in international news that seems worth thinking about.  It feeds into the observed lack of international cohesion on the Syria question - but it speaks largely to the fracturing of U.S. allies due to revelations of the NSA spying activities.  In Germany news in particular there has been "heavy" coverage of the Snowden leaks.  Here's a story from Spiegel online that shows the ongoing theme:

NSA Affair: Germans Conduct Helicopter Flyover of US Consulate

This isn't the only article - other international news sources like the BBC as well as an Indian news source I read have run quite a few articles about U.S. spying activities.  The summary impression is that there's a very high level of doubt that these activities (even if in concert and collaboration with the the nations themselves) center primarily around security and terror prevention.  The underlying theme of much of it is the U.S. as a bad guy.  We don't see this type sentiment much in the U.S. as those country's leaders still seem to publicly align with us on the surface - these are difficult issues - but the underlying sentiments of the people seem to be eroding.

I can't help but wonder if the lack of international cohesion in Syria is to a large degree a statement about  NSA spying activities that have been revealed.  Dependable allies that used to act as if we were on their side now seem to be sending a signal that they think we don't have their back anymore and/or are not acting in western interests.

Overall - I wonder if we're seeing a wider move toward more hands-off isolationism globally and recognition that some of the issues at hand are not presently solvable no matter what is done.  They're messy and are likely to stay messy for a long time.  Good thing or not?  We'll have to wait and see. 

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