Columns / Discourse / November 6, 2013

U.S. spying revelations, intelligence agreement: Obama must start cooperating internationally

Espionage is a form of warfare as old as war itself. However, the days of James Bond are long gone. Today, technological innovations can do Agent 007’s job with much more efficiency and with no risk to human life. But, just because countries like America have the capability to spy on people all over the world doesn’t justify doing so. Recently another scandal has been developing. In addition to spying on innocent United States citizens, the NSA has apparently been spying on innocent Europeans as well. Reports show that even Germany’s Chancellor,

Angela Merkel, had her personal cell phone tapped.

In the immortal words of the “Spiderman” character, Uncle Ben Parker, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Unfortunately, the U.S. government has not been exercising much international responsibility over the past decade. It is undeniable that President George W. Bush spoiled certain international relationships with his handling of post-9/11 events. Despite promises to rebuild these damaged relationships, President Obama has done just the opposite. First, our handling of the Syrian crisis embarrassed England and left France out to dry. Second, the budget crisis threatened global economic stability. Now, we’ve been found spying on our allies. All in all, President Obama appears unreliable and untrustworthy to our much needed international allies.

Political leaders from France and Germany, among many other countries, are calling for an international espionage conference to create some guidelines for spying behavior. However, as Claude Moniquet, the director of the European Strategic and Intelligence Center, quite accurately stated, “Everyone swears on the Bible. And after that it’s business as usual.” So, how does the United States resolve the international espionage ordeal that they created?

If President Obama doesn’t know what to do, he need not look further than Major League Baseball — yes, the MLB. For those of you who are not sports fans or don’t follow sports news closely, a brief update is in order. There was a time in recent memory when a large number of MLB players were illegally using human growth hormones or steroids to enhance their performance. When the public discovered that their beloved players were doping, they were devastated. What’s the lesson President Obama should gather? The players who immediately admitted to steroid use and delivered public apologies are no longer associated with the steroid era. The Mark McGwires and Sammy Sosas — who never took responsibility for cheating — will always have an asterisk next to their names.

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the United States is entirely at fault here. We crossed a line and need to take responsibility for our actions. In this case, though, a simple apology will not suffice. I suggest that President Obama and his administration work with the foreign nations they offended to form an international espionage agreement similar to the “Five Eyes” agreement we have with Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

What is most important is that we don’t revert back to our old ways. President Obama and his successor needs to rebuild these international relationships that we have damaged. There have been serious talks of a trans-Atlantic trade deal that would, “create a free market of about 800 million people in Europe and the United States.” This trade deal is vital to all countries involved and cannot suffer due to the Obama Administration’s obsession with surveillance.

Charlie Harned

Tags:  ally Angela Merkel EU countries Five Eyes France German councellor germany international agreement nsa obama Obama Administration Patriot Act U.S. government

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Charlie Harned




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