Opinion

Jack Shafer

Yes, we spy on allies. Want to make something of it?

By Jack Shafer
October 28, 2013

If not yet the consensus opinion, by tomorrow morning most everyone with a keyboard and a connection to the Internet who isn’t also a head of state will concede that the ally-on-ally spying by the United States — revealed in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to Der Spiegel — won’t matter much in the long run.

This is not to say German Chancellor Angela Merkel has no right to be personally ticked off about the U.S. snooping on her phone calls since 2002. She does. This morning, the Wall Street Journal reported that upwards of 35 world leaders were spied on by the U.S. They have a right to be ticked off, too, but the protests are largely contrived. As Max Boot and David Gewirtz wrote in Commentary‘s blog and ZDNet, respectively, nations have traditionally spied on allies both putative and stalwart. One excellent reason to spy on an ally, Gewirtz notes, is to confirm that the ally is really an ally. Allies sometimes become adversaries, so shifting signs must be monitored. Likewise, allies may be allies, but they always have their disagreements. What better way to prevent unpleasant surprises from an ally than by monitoring him? Boot quotes Lord Palmerston, the 19th century British foreign minister and prime minister, on this score: “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.”

Other reasons to spy on allies: It keeps them honest, or if not honest, it at least puts them on notice that their lies might get found out. Spying gives countries a diplomatic leg up on allies, as well as an edge in things military. The downside — well, there is really no downside unless receiving the stink eye from an ally for a couple of weeks qualifies as a downside. And so it has been for a long time, as Slate’s Fred Kaplan wrote in 2004. In 2009 Britain’s Telegraph reported that spy agencies from 20 countries, including France and Germany, had sought to steal Britain’s secrets. Earlier this year, the Guardian disclosed that British spooks eavesdropped on the G20 dignitaries when they convened in London in 2009, dispensing a little what-goes-around-comes-around to their allies. Apprehended spies may suffer, as has the American Jonathan Pollard, who pleaded guilty to spying for Israel in 1987 and is serving a life sentence in prison. But the spymasters don’t, so don’t expect them to stop any time soon.

The longitudinal interest by the U.S. in all things Merkel may be informed by her past. She was a citizen of East Germany before reunification, and her personal history has long been controversial. It became more so after the publication, earlier this year, of Günther Lachmann and Ralf Georg Reuth’s book, The First Life of Angela M. An ardent Russophile, Merkel thrived in East Germany, which makes some question her deeper loyalties. Well, not everybody questions her loyalties, as this recent Foreign Affairs (registration required) piece indicates. But if you were one of America’s top spies, wouldn’t you have opened a file on Merkel as she rose in German politics after the Berlin Wall fell? Wouldn’t you have kept it updated as she became the head of state?

Just as Germany has yet to expunge its Nazi past, its eastern, totalitarian provinces have not come close to expunging their Communist past. The East Germans were brilliant at spycraft, placing the productive spook Günter Guillaume in the office of Chancellor Willy Brandt for several years. When he was arrested in 1974, the Brandt government fell. In 1993 Guillaume said, “The two men I was happiest to serve were Willy Brandt and [East German spymaster] Markus Wolf.” Even if the Guillaume penetration had never happened, Western intelligence services would still have had cause to keep tabs on German politics and politicians.

It may be that Merkel’s public carpet-calling of Obama is just for domestic show, as she tries to figure out what the country’s next government will look like. Or maybe in a weak moment, she said something in a text message that she forgot could be monitored. Who among us hasn’t? And if we haven’t, it’s only a matter of time before we do. But as scandals go, this seems like a Snapchat moment: it’s designed to disappear.

******
I’m more suspicious of German cars than I am German politicians. Send your deepest paranoid rambling to Shafer.Reuters@gmail.com. My Twitter feed knows only one loyalty, and I’m not sharing that with you. Sign up for email notifications of new Shafer columns (and other occasional announcements). Subscribe to this RSS feed for new Shafer columns.

PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks at her mobile phone during a session of the Bundestag, German lower house of parliament, at the Reichstag in Berlin September 12, 2012.REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

Comments
43 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Max Boot is handy with a quote. Usually it’s Kipling, though. “Ye dare not stoop to less” and so on. My favorite quote from Boot himself is “Afghanistan and other troubled lands today cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets.” I wouldn’t hang my hat on anything Max Boot says about foreign policy were I you.

Posted by Weldon_Berger | Report as abusive
 

I strongly disagree with “won’t matter much in the long run”, “protest largely contrived”, “anyone with a keyboard will concede”… Sometimes journalists seem to operate in the vacuum of their own world…distanced from reality on the street. It’s not mind-bending difficult to understand that irrespective of what governments think or do, the people of Europe and the world…yes the Joe Plumber’s of the world…are profoundly pissed off at the US and will vote for the most anti-American politicians on the ballot…irrationally perhaps, but guaranteed. I’ve lived it Jack. You’re way off on this. Future world politicians will be significantly more anti-American and less cooperative…I can almost hear the future campaigns in the countries I’ve lived in.

Posted by sarkozyrocks | Report as abusive
 

As Claude Rains smirked in “Casablanca” while in Rick’s, “I’m shocked. Shocked that gambling is going on in this establishment” as he was handed his winnings. This spying has been going on for decades and everyone knows it.
The more sophisticated terrorists have been well aware for many years of everything that Snowden has “revealed” and could tell him much, much more. Do you know when the Keyhole satellites are overhead? Do you even know what a Keyhole satellite is?

Posted by ptiffany | Report as abusive
 

Oh my god, unbelievable comments from this guy. He is out of his mind!

Posted by Huytran | Report as abusive
 

Jack is going down the tubes! A new low! Now he quotes Max Boot THE NEO-CON pitbull who will defend the most dastardly act as long as they are committed by the BIG SATAN, MON UNCLE SAM!

THEN we get the argument “its always been done, everyone does it” – without the kind of citation and proof such an absurd statement demands.

These conversations that were intercepter also count those among the interceopted leaders themselves and with Obambi.

The only good thing is that NASA/ PRISM regularly fell asleep listening in to the so utterly boring Angela Merkel,

Posted by MIKEROL | Report as abusive
 

the US now has as low a reputation as ISRAEL!!
Both are war criminal, war-mongering, nuclear-weapons wielding states who screw over their enemies and allies alike; and use false flags and dirty tricks to further their agendas. And if their gov’t spokespeople speak – we know they are lying!

Posted by prolibertate | Report as abusive
 

I agree Jack. Great article. And we darn well better being spying on everyone we can. The more saying and covert operations, the less wars and economic shocks.
And @sarkozyrocks, when it comes to international security and politics, we should not give a rats a$$ about what “Joe the plumber” thinks.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive
 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, spying is good. But being found out? Not so good. It’s strange how people start looking at you as if stupidity was some sort of communicable disease. Definitely, a NO-NO to be caught with your hand inside Angela’s handy.

Posted by pyanitsa | Report as abusive
 

Nations spying on nations is old hat. But nations spying wholesale on ordinary citizens of other nations will have long term implications. America occupied a unique space in history where they were often perceived by the western world as the good guys. The feeling is now more like when you find and old friend has been sleeping with your wife for the last 10 years. Disgust.

Posted by BidnisMan | Report as abusive
 

@sarkozyrocks briliantly described political consequences of massive spying on ordinary citizens.
Economic consequences will be long-term and more dire for US economy.
The main purpose of spying on allies is industrial espionage. European industry->NSA->US industry.
It means a lot of people at Volkswagen, Basf etc. are busy at the moment thinking about countermeasures.
It means in the future Windows, Twitter, Facebook, Google and other major spying tools will banned for professional purposes Europe-wide in non-US companies.
It will have vast consequences for US high-tech industry.
It means European companies will be less willing to co-operate with US companies.
It is about money and jobs.
Of course US soft power also diminished significantly.

Posted by Wantunbiasednew | Report as abusive
 

I do not spy on my friends and my friends do not spy on me.

If you think “everybody” spies on their friends, then you do not have any. They are called “enemies”, and you do not trust them. And if they think you are their “friend” then you are a fool.

Posted by usagadfly | Report as abusive
 

The big problem with this argument is that it validates the idea that there’s no privacy whatsoever. Surely the NSA should have the right to put video cameras in Angela Merkel’s house and bedroom (not to mention bathroom), so long as no one watches the video tape. And your house, too.

Next time Barack and Michelle have a child, the NSA will be videotaping their lovemaking. “God Bless America.”

Posted by RMoS | Report as abusive
 

Oh BTW … next time you use your bathroom, I suggest that you pass gass *twice* – to salute the NSA :)YIPPEE, we have no privacy left!

Posted by RMoS | Report as abusive
 

okay so here’s the thing laddie, it’s not about the spying it’s about being dumb enough to get caught, and once you’re caught it just became not okay. Spies should be locked up no matther who’s pulling the strings- just as a message, “we see you now try send us another one.”

Posted by MGCS | Report as abusive
 

What do you mean by “we”? I’m not spying on anyone, the NSA is and WE don’t really know what they’re doing.

Posted by Malachi42 | Report as abusive
 

Sure, everyone pees in the swimming pool. And that is fine. But what happens when someone points and shouts out loud, ‘LOOK HE’S TAKING A PISS’??

Like my father taught me, there is only one rule. Don’t get caught.

When you do get caught, humility, regret and repentance are what is required. Not hard faced defiance.

And by the way, in a world where everyone spies and everyone knows it, nothing can be trusted. I can send outrageous lies in my personal communication and call it ‘disinformation’. The intercepts are worthless. East Germany became a great international spy capital. West Germany focussed on industry and investment. There is a lesson there if anyone is bright enough to learn it.

Posted by Urban_Guerilla | Report as abusive
 

Sure, everyone pees in the swimming pool. And that is fine. But what happens when someone points and shouts out loud, ‘LOOK HE’S TAKING A PISS’??

Like my father taught me, there is only one rule. Don’t get caught.

When you do get caught, humility, regret and repentance are what is required. Not hard faced defiance.

And by the way, in a world where everyone spies and everyone knows it, nothing can be trusted. I can send outrageous lies in my personal communication and call it ‘disinformation’. The intercepts are worthless. East Germany became a great international spy capital. West Germany focussed on industry and investment. There is a lesson there if anyone is bright enough to learn it.

Posted by Urban_Guerilla | Report as abusive
 

Welcome to the new age. Privacy is such a quaint notion, but it is no more relevant in todays openly wired world than the idea that women shouldn’t vote.

It cuts both ways though, individuals cannot expect privacy and governments cannot expect secrecy. We can try to outlaw the spying and leaking, but in the end, rapidly evolving technology makes those efforts mere window dressing for those who are gullible enough to believe it could actually make a difference.

I am not a fan of Marco Rubio, but he said it best when he quoted an old line from the movie Casablanca. “I am shocked that there is gambling going on here!”. All the feigned outrage by European Politicians is just that…… feigned outrage!

Posted by svensvede | Report as abusive
 

*I agree Jack. Great article. And we darn well better being spying on everyone we can. The more saying and covert operations, the less wars and economic shocks.
And @sarkozyrocks, when it comes to international security and politics, we should not give a rats a$$ about what “Joe the plumber” thinks.*

ok… so we’re spying a LOT now – we have MORE wars and MORE economic shocks that ever before. This will only lead to MORE economic shocks and wars.

The USA didn’t become great by spying on it’s citizens and neighbors – that was the beginning of the end.

And they should care what the voter’s think, since we elect them. I know this much – from here out, I vote for no one in the republican or democrat party in the US. I can only hope others will join me.

Of course, all of this has been known for many years. It’s just a game now.

Give it 10 years and this world will be in such garbage shape it will be unrecognizable from today – and that’s what the ‘spying’ will earn us.

Posted by Overcast451 | Report as abusive
 

Ok, you got a point. They are feigning outrage. So quaint, right? Quit complaining, everyone has always done it, accept it and move on, right? So why were we feigning outrage over china? It cuts both ways, right? Want to make something of it? Yes, keep the spying going, but lets quit our truly pathetic bitching down to a minimum please when others do it? After all the chinese according to this article’s logic knew we were spying all along and they were mature enough not to hypocritically bitch. Actually Snowden’s revelations have helped in this regard.

Posted by mgunn | Report as abusive
 

The issue is, are you spying on the brits, the canadians, the australians or the new zealanders. If you are then there is big trouble because there are treaties in place to stop that.

If the french or the germans want to change that they have to agree to the treaties.

Posted by BilboB | Report as abusive
 

Jack Shafer altitude certainly reflects what is usual for empires. Ignorant, shameless and patronizing. He appears totally unaware of the fact that the arguments made to defend the US stasi-spyprogram will eventually be sent back home. Of course the arguments he use are not his own, he is just repeating what the US government says. Just adding some flesh to the bone as most loyalist “intellectuals” and “journalists” do, that is their task.

In a free and democratic world the most important principles of all would be the principle of equal rights and justice, not the United States “values” as most of the US “intellectuals” and “journalists” seems to think. People like Jack Shafer tries his best to downplay this fact into an irrelevant single event about the NSA surveillance, refusing to understand that it adds up to the sum of growing contempt for the US. There are limits to the proclaimed US “exceptionalism”, no matter how hard you believe in this ideology.

A growing contempt from people around the world that according to US “intellectuals” consists of “America haters”, which apparently one morning wake up and hate America for it`s “values”. Completely ignoring the fact that the real problem is the creation of this surreal world where everything the US do in the best interest of us all. This combined with the absolute refusal to acknowledging that the “hatred” towards the US comes from US foreign policy and altitude, rather than US “values” which means how the US domestic society are structured.

The answer to US alleged “security problems” lies here, and not in some massive stasi-spyprogram, that by the way have been revealed to do industrial espionage as well.

Let us keep to this side of the decade of history. Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, all complete disasters. The “war on terror” have had the complete opposite effect of what was claimed. Unintentionally of course, if we were to take government public statements as facts, something that seems as a normal thing for “intellectuals” and media alike.

Even if we assume for a moment that the proclaimed intentions of the US government were true, we end up with some completely irrational behavior from the government and their apologists the moment we try criticize their policies.

If someone were to say that the US is responsible for the violence and complete degeneration of the Iraq society. Then the standard answer for US government and it`s apologist “intellectuals” are that this is “Arabs killing Arabs” and not US responsibility.

Now that is quite an odd thing to say for the “nasjonbulidng beacon of freedom and democracy” which sole purpose in this world apparently is to “intervene with humanitarian interventions” under it`s “noble responsibility to protect civilians”.

The US promised to protect the world from Saddam and Iraq, simultaneously as they promised that they save the Iraq people from suffering crated by Saddam. Iraq was defenseless after a decade of continuous bombing from the US and UK before the invasion.

The country which was stabile and developed industrial country was on the brink of collapse, starvation and diseases plagued Iraq on a level only seen in the most darkest corners of the world. A situation so bad that the two most respected UN leaders of the oil for food program resigned stating that they refused to participate in a genocide.

The only reason it is not called a genocide, is because the US did it. The sanctions are called failed UN sanctions by the apologists. But be aware the fact that this sanctions were drafted by US and UK, forced through with the use of lies, propaganda and pressure by these countries. To call it UN sanctions is simply a false statement since thes countries are, and have been the only major central actors fasilitating and promoting the “Iraq threath”.

Most of the information we have about the state of Iraq and the WMD issue was just as available back in 2003 as it is today, after all even demonstrators all over the world were out in the streets screaming about it, and the debate forums full of it. But it was ignored, and the Iraq invasion became a “mistake”.

Jack Shafer, the bubble of US “exceptionalism” is going to burst eventually, because it is about to reach a level of stupidity that defy people`s logic and common sense beyond what can be ignored.

Posted by Arnleif | Report as abusive
 

@Overcast451, yes indeed there are less wars going on in the world now than there have been for a long time. And even the USCA is involved is less of them since the cold war stopped and so did many of the proxy wars and skirmishes. We and the Soviets had great times in the past. The only real economic shocks we’ve had are self inflicted. Far less destructive currency and economic warfare that used to occur. The global business community is much more in control than it was in the past.
“The USA didn’t become great by spying on it’s citizens and neighbors – that was the beginning of the end.”
Well, Actually it did. Read up on some history and you’ll find that this has been a public problem since Hoover. Technology has certainly made it easier, more productive, and on a larger scale than ever before. That’s good as I really don’t want to see another 911 or marine barracks blow up.
Besides, the American and world public has provided vast mount of intelligence voluntarily via social media. Great seed data for facial recognition and we just eat up those GPS devices.
And “I vote for no one in the republican or democrat party in the US” means you really don’t vote at all and if you actually do it means nothing.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive
 

I see, stop bitching about US spying because everyone is doing it.

First of all, everyone is not doing it, to even suggest that is ridiculous. Equally we can suggest that every country equals US military, because everyone has a military and everyone apparently is as aggressive as the US.

Second, yes Russia and China is probably the next spying countries on the list besides the western countries. Though there is one very important difference. Nor Russia or China or any of the vast majority of the world spying governments claim that they spy in the interest benefit of a global population. That is a claim that is rather unique for the US.

Third, there are people in this world, quite allot of them in fact, that do not blindly accept government statements as actual facts, and understand that it is not written in stone that the world only can become more democratic and free. Now Obama have repeatedly lied about the NSA program, that is a fact.

Fourth, you know actual evidence of US intentions would be nice, the waste barrage of propaganda movies and series that glorifies US intervention and surveillance and is poured out on the television networks do not count.

Fifth, the most used argument ever used by US government is: “We should look forward and not dwell on previous mistakes”…..The reason for that apparently is that history and facts do not speak favor of US foreign policy. Rhetoric that promotes their noble intentions are usually much better….

Posted by Arnleif | Report as abusive
 

America land of the free is permanently lost. Gone. In it’s place is ignorant voters watching false media and ruled by the .001% and military industrial complex. Just do me a really big favor, though, if you don’t mind, since I have to live here please spare me the swearing an oath to the constitution crap.

Posted by UScitizentoo | Report as abusive
 

If it is ok for our country to hack other nations for spying and you are a US citizen contracting for Israel or Iran – is it ok to spy on the USA by hacking government sites?

What is really boils down to – is if it’s good for the goose it’s good for the gander. Snowden cannot be charged for spying on the spyer. Or – is our bill or rights only words and does not apply to the all knowing and smart government that has different rules than citizens. We have a set of citizens above the law and beyond the reach of law.

Posted by Butch_from_PA | Report as abusive
 

So we spy on our allies. Bid deal. It’s not like they aren’t spying back on us.

Posted by chaemeleo | Report as abusive
 

People that don’t understand how all this works, are ignorant. It’s as simple as that. Read about history… Read about the NSA… Learn about your country and world. Read Bamford’s books, or “The Secret Sentry”. The history of signals intelligence is actually fascinating. Don’t automatically label something as ‘evil’, just because you don’t understand it. This is life. It’s not a Disney movie. Spying has happened ever since there have been people. Deal with it. To this day, you can hear coded broadcasts on shortwave, coming out of countries as small as Cuba, going out to their agents in the field. Spying PREVENTS wars. If this kind of thing is too tough for you to stomach, then go move to some little island somewhere, and take up surfing. Which is what moron Snowden should have done, instead of selling out his whole country, because he’s too much of a wuss to deal with reality.

Posted by dd606 | Report as abusive
 

People need to start regarding all but industrial espionage spying a good thing. After all it was improved knowledge of the other nation’s intentions being benign that brought an end to the Cold War. Russia came to realize it wasn’t going to be the victim of a first strike nuclear war and when it made that realization the USA made the realization it has long overestimated Russia’s potential as a military threat let alone world competitor. Russia is actually more of a threat to itself with all its official corruption than the USA was ever a threat to Russia.

Posted by SeniorMoment | Report as abusive
 

It is fine to spy on your allies, but you would need to stop calling allies!

And yes, I would want to “make something of it.” You no longer have real allies.

Can you imagine that even those individual leaders who would like to collaborate with you are going to be sure you will be blackmailing them tomorrow!

You can hide behind your foolish arrogance – but that is exactly what Samson did before he said his last (foolish) words!

Posted by RobertFrost | Report as abusive
 

dd606. People like Snowden keep popping up – defending our civil liberties at the peril of their own life. It is in big part for these people that we are not living under dictators other similar repressive regimes.

Sure spying has been going on for centuries – need to keep it in check – especially now that this is Global electronic community – least we have one very large repressive regime managing affairs worldwide – above the law of the land. In a connected way – we already have that with our financial systems.

Posted by Butch_from_PA | Report as abusive
 

“They spay on us, so we spy on them…”

May be more suited for playground antics.

Of course, German intelligence is not spying on President Obama and a fair proportion of the American people – as the NSA indulges in capturing Chancellor Merkel and 60 million European.

Worse, by denying their act and lying to their so-called Congressional Oversight Committee no once but twice, and today is the third time.

The damage to the US is not in the act of spying, but in continuing to denying it and lying through their teeth to this very day in Congress.

Posted by RobertFrost | Report as abusive
 

Irrespective, the question is how many US corporations and financial enterprises are benefiting from the enterprise… for, it is so difficult to believe that they are doing it just for the fun of it.

Posted by RobertFrost | Report as abusive
 

What don’t you do anymore?

Torture? Check. Gulagtanamo? Check. Domestic surveillance? Check. Phony wars of liberation? Check. The only thing left on the to-do list is to learn a good goose step and maybe come up with some snazzy new uniforms.

Posted by ToshiroMifune | Report as abusive
 

No, we won’t make much anymore out of whatever the US comes up with.

You can spie, torture, drone around, and lie at your best.

Nobody will take a word of an American any more serious, that’s just it.

Maybe the planet would be a better one without you, seriously.

Please leave

Posted by HoldenMcGroyne | Report as abusive
 

-”Spying PREVENTS wars”.

Ok, let us assume for a moment that that statement is true. Something of course that leads us to the following question:

Who did not spy enough on the US and UK to prevent them from committing a war of aggression against Iraq?

Even if someone did, it was certainly not the lack of information that lead to the attack on Iraq. There were piles upon piles of information that absolutely dismantled the US and UK claims about WMD, and the absolute ridiculous claim of a Saddam ready to conquer the world.

Cleary we all remember that it was when the WMD claims fell short, that Bush`s “messianic vision” about a “free and democratic Iraq” fell from the skies.

No you see, it was the simple fact that the US and UK was powerful enough to do so, and wanted to do so that lead to the Iraq war. The only thing that could have stopped the Iraq war would be an institution powerful enough to deter the US and UK from aggression. An institution that could ensure that when the claims made by Bush and Blair were proven false, they were held responsible for their actions in a court of law. Because they ignored the rest of the world and went ahead with their war anyway.

No such institution exist domestic in the US or globally. As we all remember the first thing Obama did when he got into office was to follow the proud US tradition of granting the previous president immunity against prosecution, George Bush in this case.

No matter how much you spy, you will never solve that with an institution like NSA, that is just utter and complete rubbish!

Posted by Arnleif | Report as abusive
 

Interesting opinion, as judged by the other comments, not many people buy it any more.
The problem is not the spying, or paranoia itself.
How paranoid the US has become is obvious enough when someone travels through an American airport.
The problem is that today nobody trust anybody, everybody is considered a potential threat.
While the article uses such words as “allies”, there is no such thing any more, everybody is sitting in their own corners protecting themselves from everybody else.
The US simply gives us the most prominent example.
Why is this a problem?
Because humanity has evolved into a global, interconnected and interdependent network.
Each and every nation, each and every human being has become like cells and organs of the same living body.
In such a system only mutual guarantee, mutually complementing cooperation can solve problems and guarantee a sustainable future.
We have to learn how to live above our inherent or historical differences, hatred, rejection, in order to survive.

Posted by ZGHermann | Report as abusive
 

RobertFrost, “Irrespective, the question is how many US corporations and financial enterprises are benefiting from the enterprise… for, it is so difficult to believe that they are doing it just for the fun of it.”

You got it, the spying on citizens is part of the slavery system. Spying on Americans is for the purpose of how to best target you, and how to best take advantage of you by harvesting your money, resources and thoughts.

Posted by 2Borknot2B | Report as abusive
 

Hey, what are friends for? :-)

Seriously, the fact is that Lord Palmerston’s 19th century analysis as quoted in the article:

“We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.”

is rapidly turning upside down in the 21 century, proving that it is such observations themselves that are not eternal. We a globalizing, interdependent world, that will strangle itself if we don’t become mutually responsibility.

In the 19th century, countries were like animals in a vast jungle, preying on each other or forming packs to do so. Into the 21st, countries, cities, etc. down to the individual are becoming like different organ systems, organs, etc. down to cells.

Can we survive with circulatory and respiratory systems that can’t count on each other? They better be eternal allies with a joint overriding interest in the homeostasis of the whole body Humanity.

So really the situation can’t go on. However, if realistically, the dangers connected with our every-man-for-himself national egos require spy’s for the basic defensive purposes provided for above — then perhaps go all the way and declare spying legal and provide protection for the spies on the ground. After all, why take out the national temper on these hapless foot soldiers. Rather, when their cover is blown–allow them to leave so their country knows and can replace them. Consider them secret auditors to not only keep everyone honest, but actually hasten the clear mutually dependence entanglement that will more rapidly bring safe transition to a new, unified global reality.

Posted by IdealistRealist | Report as abusive
 

Jack Shafer is truely an idiot.

“Spying prevents wars”. hahaha. What a crock.

If you think this will not have repercussions, especially with our allies, think again. They will start limiting Google and Facebook. They will definitely start monitoring our activities alot more.

And lets not forget China. Now China has every right to steal our intellectual property.

Whats good for the goose is good for the gander……

Posted by KyleDexter | Report as abusive
 

I commented 2 days ago that:
“It means in the future Windows, Twitter, Facebook, Google and other major spying tools will banned for professional purposes Europe-wide in non-US companies.”
and the process has already started as Reuters informs us:
“The union representing German journalists advised its members on Thursday to stop using Google and Yahoo because of reported snooping by U.S. and British intelligence.”

Of course internal instructions for employees of major European companies will not be so publicized, just implemented.

And because in fact nobody likes snooping I am looking forward for 30$ antisnooping software package for ordinary citizens.

Posted by Wantunbiasednew | Report as abusive
 

I commented 2 days ago that:
“It means in the future Windows, Twitter, Facebook, Google and other major spying tools will banned for professional purposes Europe-wide in non-US companies.”
and the process has already started as Reuters informs us:
“The union representing German journalists advised its members on Thursday to stop using Google and Yahoo because of reported snooping by U.S. and British intelligence.”

Of course internal instructions for employees of major European companies will not be so publicized, just implemented.

And because in fact nobody likes snooping I am looking forward for 30$ antisnooping software package for ordinary citizens.

Posted by Wantunbiasednew | Report as abusive
 

Read “A Note on Uberveillance” by M. D. Michael. Newport News Police and Virginia State Police had Dr. Lawrence Chang implant me w/o my knowledge and consent. It enables torture. They use it as a sensor and pulse energy projectiles at you. I had a heart attack. It enables voice to skull communication. See Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence by Springer page 9. See Mental Health and Terrorism by Amin Gadit. See Bio Initiative Report 2012. See Forbes.com and search Brandon Raub. Law enforcement tases citizens into “excited delirium” (see at nij.org) to make them act in ways they normally would not. There are 3 reasons to have it implanted 1) mental health, 2) criminal record, and 3) infectious disease. All the mass shootings are the work of law enforcement. They want to take away your right to bear arms and make America a police state. They torture people into a state of what the national institute of justice calls “excited delirium.” People aren’t suddenly going crazy, they’re being tortured.

Posted by SJmithB | Report as abusive
 

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