Monday, October 28, 2013

Spy vs Spy


The salons of Europe are atwitter with indignation at allegations of American spying. Thanks to Mr. Snowden’s revelations, it would appear that our NSA has been quite busy intercepting millions of phone calls on that continent, most troubling to European sensibilities, even those from Prime Minister Merkel’s cell phone. This is apparently a bridge too far for the Euros. Howls of protest are being heard from Brussels to Berlin, from France to Finland. Merkel dialed up Obama herself, (presumably on a secure satellite phone), to scold him in no uncertain terms that “friends do not spy on one another.”

Excuse me. I will continue to write this blog after I take a few minutes to roll on the floor laughing.

“Friends do not spy on one another?” What universe has Frau Merkel been living in for the past sixty years? Friends spy on each other every minute of every day and have been doing so for 4,000 years of recorded history. We spied on the Brits during World War II, and the Brits spied on us. It’s called “self interest”. All of this feigned outrage coming from Europe isn’t over the shocking news that the NSA has managed to hack their calls. The outrage comes from the embarrassment attending such a one sided revelation. If Mr. Snowden had access to all of Germany’s intelligence comings and goings, it would be the United States who would be feigning outrage.

Listen, every American ambassador understands when he first walks into his new embassy home, whether it’s in Berlin, Paris, or Moscow, that job number one is to  remove every listening device he can find, knowing full well that the possibility of a private conversation is virtually impossible, same thing in Washington. Why? Well, human nature being what it is, we have a hard time trusting each other. Individuals as well as nations are constantly looking out for their own self interests in ways large and small, and while we may have tons in common strategically and culturally with Great Britain, they would sell us down the river in a New York minute if the opportunity presented itself. The instinct for self preservation is powerful and has no scruples.

I’m no fan of the NSA when it comes to its increasing domestic snooping what with the no scruples thing, but when I hear that they managed to tap Merkel’s cell phone, I gotta say…impressed. It’s called doing your job.