Home Politics Opinion: Allies of the U.S. have a right to be angry

Opinion: Allies of the U.S. have a right to be angry

5 min read

Anyone paying attention to international news may have heard that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is unhappy with the U.S., and well, so are the French. Other U.S. allies are not so content with the state of their relations with the U.S., either.

Details have emerged over the last few weeks that show the National Security Agency has intercepted phone calls and boatloads of information from U.S. allies, in what amounts to shady spying. It comes to the surprise of some, which is laughable to those familiar with the NSA story at this point.

For those like Glenn Greenwald, who continually lead the charge against the United States’ surveillance programs, namely the NSA, this must be a period of validation that shifts the attention away from the actions of those who have leaked the information. Edward Snowden travels abroad while government officials cry out for his neck.

Now with these recent developments, resentment and distrust towards the U.S., as well as less critical views on whistleblowers, have led countries like Germany to indicate that they very well may shelter the likes of Snowden.

And it is hard not to be critical of the U.S. Not only is America spying to supposedly protect its national security interest, it is spying on everyone. What did Chancellor Merkel have for lunch? Is Francois Hollande’s personal life going well? How does King Abdullah feel about women who want to drive? Evidently, the United States has to get the firsthand scoop from the leaders themselves. And while at it, why not abuse the privacy of their citizenry?

The European Union is currently considering new data privacy regulations. And honestly, it seems smart for these nations to take such precautions.

The United Kingdom is leading the charge against hastily drawn-up data protection legislation. Which is convenient, considering their equivalent of the NSA (the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ) is under fire as well. Prime Minister of England David Cameron has even made threats toward news organizations like The Guardian that continually report on recent developments concerning surveillance.

But even while decrying those that spy on them, European nations are somewhat hesitant to draw up legislation protecting privacy. Even while Merkel is outraged about the actions of the U.S., she has been slow to demand such regulation in her own country, perhaps benefiting from or urging the continuation of surveillance that befits German causes.

Even nations like Australia are in hot water, as it has been reported that they have conducted surveillance within their region. Malaysia, Indonesia and China are just a few who have voiced displeasure with the recent disclosure of Australian surveillance practices.

Dozens of nations need to begin an effort to curtail their privacy abuses.

So does Merkel have the right to be angry? She has the right to be furious. Germany’s trust in its ally has been damaged. Hopefully, this is a turning point that will push foreign governments to convince the U.S. to curb its abuse of privacy. It is out in the open. The American government is finding it increasingly difficult to justify their actions, especially after these developments.

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