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View Diary: New Obama Foreign Policy Doctrine? F**k the EU? (62 comments)

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  •  With all due respect, I have to point out the (7+ / 0-)

    absence of logic in your comment.

    You seem to doubt Merkel's objection to having her phone tapped because she didn't object to Nuland's phone being tapped.

    If Merkel said nothing about Nuland's privacy, then we don't know her opinion and we can't assume that she was insincere when she complained about her own phone.

    Merkel's concern was within the scope of her position as Chancellor of Germany. Her concern was about the damage to the mutual trust that's expected between allies that cooperate on a number of issues. She expressed a desire to maintain good relations with the US and the NSA's practices could test the strength of an important alliance.

    Now Merkel's concerns wouldn't apply to the tap on Nuland's phone. Germany wasn't a party to it. It didn't take place on German territory. The tap doesn't jeopardize transatlantic relations.  

    The concerns Merkel expressed were within the scope of her position as Chancellor of Germany here too. She reacted to a comment that seemed to disparage the role of the EU in trying to settle the conflict in Ukraine. If the US State Dept has a problem with EU efforts to restore stability in a nearby country, it's Merkel's business.

    It's not Merkel's business every time some random diplomat's phone gets tapped somewhere in the world by some other country. And you don't get to make it her business in the place of international law and treaties.

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 12:22:58 AM PST

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    •  With all due respect (0+ / 0-)

      You're missing my point.

      It doesn't matter whether Merkel's phone was tapped or not. It wouldn't surprise me if that was in fact true however the fact that now when it's politically convenient to her (Merkel) her outrage is no where to be found shows that all this has been to Merkel is yet another move in the game of states.

      And your efforts to shift this into a discussion of 'area of concern' are illogical. Either Merkel is truly concerned about privacy or she is not. There is no middle ground to be had and yet  that she is trying to do precisely that shows her motivations to be purely political.

      To be clear I don't fault her on this. Someone official made an off hand stupid comment that can easily be taken out of context and become a much bigger deal than it really is. That she (Merkel) wants to use that to her political advantage is just how it is. But at the time anyone thinking that her motives are anything other than pure politics is quite mistaken.

      Der Weg ist das Ziel

      by duhban on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 01:01:46 AM PST

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      •  Ok. Got it. Mass surveillance is still illegal./ (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        truong son traveler, koNko

        There is no existence without doubt.

        by Mark Lippman on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 01:36:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ms. Nuland's Sexual Fantasies (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheMomCat, koNko

        I feel I have to defend Angela Merkel a bit.

        Merkels outrage about her own cellphone being tapped by the NSA was not a "privacy issue" - it was a perceived breach of trust by a partner. In the case at hand, two recorded call were published without an identified source (and everybody assuming it probably was a Russian or Ukrainian job); one call between American diplomats and one call between EU diplomats. There was no impression of any kind of breach of trust involved in these two.

        All this said, I think it was unnecessary for her to expressly say the obvious. Sometimes silence is golden. She felt she had to do something to give the European and German public the impression that she reacts to "American disrespect". I would wish this were not an issue; and as this kind of stuff regrettably has become an issue, I would wish more class in dealing with it.

        •  "Trust" appears 31 times in the European (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko, GermanGuy

          Parliament Civil Liberties Committee Draft Resolution which is the document coming up for a vote next week. This document is the work of a group that includes the left, center, and right.

          Trust is shaken because the US violated agreements that it has with the EU.

          Our so-called free press isn't what it used to be. Its purpose now is to influence opinions, not inform the public. A couple of weeks ago, a Senator who heads the Intelligence Committee, with 20 years tenure, said on television that Snowden collected classified information with help from Russia. She admitted there is no evidence but insisted it was so.

          Her committee held a public hearing about 10 days ago with NSA Director James Clapper. He refused to answer the questions he didn't want to answer. Most of the Senators gave him very easy questions.

          A lot of Americans would rather gossip about inconsequential matters than think about the risk they face. They don't know the risk because it hasn't been shown to them.  Intelligence, the law, and information technology are beyond their understanding.  

          So we have denial, division, and inertia. Honestly, I think Europeans care about this issue and maybe even care about America more than Americans do.

          There is no existence without doubt.

          by Mark Lippman on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 05:19:43 AM PST

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        •  I am curious (0+ / 0-)

          Do you think that Germany spies on the US or other allies?

          Speaking personally I do.

          And I will say that a lot of people here at least have been making this a privacy issue.  That's why I brought up the issue. Please don't think though that I am expressly attacking Angela Merkel. I really am not. I am just pointing out she is doing what any state leader would do under the circumstances.

          Der Weg ist das Ziel

          by duhban on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 01:50:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  State of Innocence (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            duhban, stevemb

            As to your question: Compared to peers, Germany is quite constrained concerning secret intelligence gathering in general and extremely so towards its Western partners. From all I know, and I do have some insight, there is not and was not any kind of operations against the US government which could be considered breach of trust.

            Plus, pretty much all programs and operations of the BND which might be worth a challenge on privacy grounds are done in more or less close cooperation with the Five Eyes. A good informative piece to give you an impression is here ("GCHQ and European spy agencies worked together on mass surveillance").

            There are two states in the EU which run ambitious and aggressive intelligence operations, the UK (within the Five Eyes framework) and France. The latter also devotes considerable ressources to commercial espionage against Germany, which is a disgrace. It feels a bit like Texas setting up an intelligence service to spy on Californian businesses and pass the gathered information to Texan businesses ...

            •  Well (0+ / 0-)

              The guardian would disagree with you

              http://www.theguardian.com/...

              Der Weg ist das Ziel

              by duhban on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 04:28:11 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The Legal Framework Is Important (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                duhban

                The article you link and the studies it refers to basically only compare the legal framework for secret service internet surveillance operations in the US, the UK und Germany ... while this of course is a point of major importance, the legal findings here do not contradict anything I wrote above ...

                •  we will have to agree to disagree than (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  GermanGuy

                  Thank you for your time and discussion, you have a good day, Auf Wiedersehen

                  Der Weg ist das Ziel

                  by duhban on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 01:57:43 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  In the last European Parliament hearing, on (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    stevemb, duhban

                    the course of action in response to mass surveillance, the person who chaired the meeting reminded everyone after the first speaker, let's not single out the US. She pointed out that the draft resolution states that the national governments of the UK, France, Germany, and Sweden have agencies with the same practices. She added that Russia and China do, too. There's also the Five Eyes which extends to Australia and New Zealand.

                    The EU's primary concern is to maintain mutual trust among its 28 members and to maintain mutual trust with external allies in North America.  

                    It's important to understand that mutual trust is the foundation for the treaties and agreements that hold the EU together. The same goes for the Atlantic alliance. There's a level of fiduciary obligation among the parties to these treaties to protect each other in certain situations.

                    The European Parliament's job is to restore the level of mutual trust among its members so that the organization is preserved and to obtain the cooperation of its North American partners to restore mutual trust with them as well.

                    When I write, it's for an American audience, to explain the circle of mutual trust that encompasses the EU and the larger circle of trust that includes North America and the EU. Within that circle, the US and its partners still have obligations to each other. That's the focus of my writing.

                    What Russia does, what China does, is outside our circle of mutual trust. We don't condone the spying they do and we understand that we don't have the kind of alliance with them that obligates mutual protection. The EU has no leverage to resolve surveillance issues with them comparable to the leverage it has within its own circle.

                    I'm not a fan of Merkel and the problem we have goes beyond political personalities like Obama. The problem we have may be around after they are gone. The purpose of my writing would be clearer if I referred to countries instead. In that context, Germany may complain that the US is acting more like a country that's outside the circle, like Russia or China. And Germany, the UK, France, Sweden, and maybe one or two others are also doing their part to corrode mutual trust too.

                    The European Parliament's plan encompasses all of this.

                    There is no existence without doubt.

                    by Mark Lippman on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:20:31 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

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