Thursday, October 24, 2013


The US spying on its allies is highly embarrassing.  It is also being handled in a clumsy way. The Obama second term administration looks almost pathologically disconnected on most fronts. The list of blunders is awesome.  At the finishing point, the White House may appear as if it deliberately ignored its enemies while alienating its partners.

The latest revelations regarding the "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" listening-in on the personal conversations of major Western leaders received the usual meek denial from the White House, which has lost all credibility. The sophistic gymnastics of the President are utterly unconvincing. 
The consequences will be hard to manage because "trust" is a non-quantitative "given." Obviously it would be naive to suppose that spying is the sole realm of the United States.  It is an admitted hazard of international politics. However, the personal angle and the scope have created an undeniable malaise. There is also a real danger of overreacting against this over-the-top intrusive, brutal policy. 

There is more to come from the Wikileaks/Snowden camp which will open a can of worms that
should have been avoided. Now that the natural allies of the United States demand reparation, the "leakers" will feel free to open the gates even further. Washington finds itself in the most uncomfortable position while Obama looks to be in "free fall."  The Messiah from the Berlin speech days may as well end up talking in London's Speaker's Corner.  Nobody should rejoice in this.   America's inexcusable ways give the Russians and the Chinese a free pass to fill the gaps which a mistaken strategy has multiplied globally.  The "soft power" machine looks more like an "insensitive" power aberration.

The EU Summit in Brussels today will probably forego the niceties and focus on the credibility gap which might for an unforeseeable time weigh on the transatlantic relationship. It would be highly damaging if uncertainties were to be allowed to derail a possible Free Trade Agreement between the United States and the EU.  The transgressions will, fatally, be seen as an indication of decline rather than as a show of force. 

Combined with the Washington gridlock, the picture is increasingly gloomy.  It is ironic to step into the past where President George W. Bush walked hand-in-hand with the Saudi king at his ranch in Crawford.  Obama must feel lonely sometimes.  The problem is that the "real" Obama likes is that way, and that we were all mesmerized by a "persona" which proved to be more fabricated than real.   There was more closing inward than openness.

No comments:

Post a Comment