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While running for reelection in 2012, President Barack Obama said:

One of the proudest things of my three years in office is helping to restore a sense of respect for America around the world, a belief that we are not just defined by the size of our military... but we're also defined by our values, and our respect for rule of law. ... We've got to preserve that, and we've got to build on that.
Things have changed under President Obama. It is now the size of our spying industry that defines America around the world:
The United States taps half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany in a typical month and has classed its biggest European ally as a target similar to China, according to secret U.S. documents quoted by a German newsmagazine. ...

A Spiegel report on Saturday that the NSA had spied on European Union offices caused outrage among EU policymakers, with some even calling for a suspension to talks for a free trade agreement between Washington and the EU.

As for our respect for the rule of law, a law professor at the University of Virginia charges the NSA with criminal actions.

David Axelrod said at the beginning of Obama's presidency, "What has happened is that anti-Americanism isn't cool anymore."

I hope you enjoy the taste of crow, Mr. Axelrod. As Pluto wrote in a must-read article, US & NSA Accused of Criminal Privacy Violations in Dozens of Nations:

The world regards what the NSA is doing as an international crime and a direct violation of their human rights.

The world is looking at an international crisis -- as a result of Edward Snowden's description of an illegal data theft "Process" -- perpetrated against their own citizens. The US is engaged in ongoing criminal activity against their sovereignty. And they are scrambling to put a stop to it.

The United States can no longer be trusted, never, ever again.

This is a watershed moment that changes everything. You are witnessing an epic geopolitical shift that will profoundly effect the United States standing throughout the world.

Does the U.S. really need to be spying on friendly countries like Germany? Do we really need to be spying on all our own people, too? Or are these the actions of a country whose government is out of control, unaccountable to its citizens, and the policies of which have passed beyond the realm of reason?

Most importantly we must ask: Is the United States prepared to be classified by the rest of the free and democratic nations of the world as among the Russias and the Chinas -- as one of the states to be feared, not trusted? This is reportedly how we have classified Germany. This is how diplomatic relations break down, which leads to a world in which no country trusts any other country, making wars both cold and hot more likely. Is this shift now in the process of happening, because of the Obama administration's emphasis on beefing up U.S. spying? A free trade agreement with Europe is already in jeopardy. Treating our allies like enemies has unpleasant consequences.

If President Obama has increased respect for America around the world, I shudder to think how much more respected the U.S. government will be under our next Republican president.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

    by Eric Stetson on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 12:41:30 PM PDT

  •  Imperialism did that long before (10+ / 0-)

    Barack Obama.  

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 12:51:36 PM PDT

    •  Yes, my reaction to the title was ... (7+ / 0-)

      ... that it would rather be "fails in his promise to restore America's image around the world."

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 12:52:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It seems this administration is making it worse. (9+ / 0-)

        At least in some significant ways. The EU is supposed to be one of the most important allies of the U.S. Now, the EU is threatening to pull out of negotiations for a new free trade agreement, because of the Obama administration's spying policies. That's a pretty big deal.

        The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

        by Eric Stetson on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 12:54:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That trade agreement is toxic. (6+ / 0-)

          It is a pro-Corporate anti-Democratic agreement that allows Corporations and banks to trump government regulations like labor, environmental, and purchasing protections.

          It needs to die, along with the Pacific version.

          Just not because of our spying program.

          •  unfortunately all too Democratic now. n/t (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko, 3rdOption

            Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

            by corvo on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 06:23:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  And the way it is being negotiated (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3rdOption, adrianrf

            In secret. That is actually the worst part because it contradicts Obama's promise of transparency and let's people draw the worst possible conclusions, right or wrong.

            And can we say it is a public interest issue?

            400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

            by koNko on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 07:49:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Changed the title from "Destroys" to "Undermines" (6+ / 0-)

        "Destroys" might have been a bit over the top, but "undermines" is perfectly accurate, IMO.

        The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

        by Eric Stetson on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 01:00:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The difference -- (11+ / 0-)

      as the diarist pointed out -- is that the world was looking desperately for some American goodwill in 2009.  Obama has now blown all of that.

      "It's not my fault reality is marxist." - Che Guevara

      by Cassiodorus on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 12:55:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Granted. But the administration has a choice (6+ / 0-)

      to make America's international reputation better or worse. Right now, it seems to be getting worse.

      One could argue that it's all Snowden's fault. If only he hadn't leaked about what the NSA is doing. Okay, but perhaps the NSA shouldn't have been bugging EU government meetings in the first place.

      The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

      by Eric Stetson on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 12:57:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You have it (6+ / 0-)

      The issue here is the empire.

      All empires have a trajectory and the US will follow it whether it likes it or not.

      In the downward phase the state becomes ever more inward-focused, captured by elites and terrified of "enemies". Terrified with good reason BTW because all empires loot vassal territories who eventually have nothing more to lose.

      The US has been relatively benign but as the resources begin to run out, the demands become ever more egregious and the natives get restless.

      As the process continues and ever higher proportion of the resources have to be applied to suppressing dissent and revolt (the military, secret police, spies etc) so that the FORM of the empire can be maintained even as its productive heart is being eaten away.

      It is not Obama's FAULT, it is more like his fate. By the time the empire is ready to accept a leader who is non-standard (white middle-aged male) it is because the centre of power has shifted, in this case to financial corporations and multinationals.

      As is regularly observed here, they are the power and the government is now just the circus in panem et circenses.

      The rest of the process is also inherent. Eventual collapse of the empire and its power. Some go quickly, others more slowly (it took Rome about 300 years from its peak) and one, the British, managed to keep the corpse alive and at the table long after the power drained out of it.

      But it always happens and Obama is just unlucky to find himself in the seat when it happens.

      That said, I still cringed when I saw him speaking to selected students bused into Soweto about democracy as if he came from a place that had it and exemplified it.

      Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

      by Deep Dark on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 01:46:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hmpph! Americans don't put Canadian flags (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenox, koNko

    on their backpacks in Europe anymore!

  •  It's funny to see -- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Nada Lemming

    the Germans now comparing the US to the Stasi.  Though my own hunch is that the NSA is doing this to prop up the profit rate against the specter of four decades of declining global growth.  

    It's like marketing research, except it's totalitarian and can double as a device for the persecution of dissidents.

    "It's not my fault reality is marxist." - Che Guevara

    by Cassiodorus on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 12:53:56 PM PDT

    •  I Have a Similar Thought. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      adrianrf

      The frontal assault on labor, and the push for international free-trade agreements were begun in earnest in the 80's, by which time the limits to economic growth had become pretty well established.  Ray Gun might have had no use for the idea of limits, but his backers were much smarter and certainly did.  I think the US economy turned cannibalistic when the captains of industry realized that limits to economic activity do very much exist.  It's not necessary to know exactly what those limits are--knowing they exist is a powerful incentive.  So those captains of industry decided to farm out the US economy to the rest of the world, where things could be made more cheaply.

      Now that that process has come to fruition, the new frontier for profiteers in the States is in the realm of domestic surveillance and control.  And not only is it a profiteering motive, but if the global economy is going to shrink over the long haul, and we're facing increasing climatic problems, then the prospect for domestic unrest becomes much greater--another reason for the govt to have the tools to hand to combat this.

      I like to think of Obama as  fundamentally decent man who's in the middle of a governmental surge too large for one person to stop. But in the end, what difference does that make?

  •  Wow (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, nupstateny, Trix

    Obama destroyed Americans image? Okay

  •  While I don't blame Obama for the spying industry (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, adrianrf

    which has been growing and growing since 9/11, he does bare responsibility for taking "the safe side" to every major political issue during his presidency.   He does bare partial responsibility because he DIDN'T take action on national security issues.  He legitimized W's use of torture, extraordinary renditions, indefinite detentions and one can argue that he built upon them with his use of drones and black sites.

    When it came to GITMO, Drones and other issues, he decided that he has no balls, politically speaking (not sure if it's literal) and tried to appease the Neo-cons in DC.  Plus, look at who he has sided himself with on defense issues.  Most of them were war hungry Bush lackeys.  

    •  I don't blame him either. But as you say, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, blueoasis, corvo, Nada Lemming

      he seems to be taking the side of continuing the same kind of policies that Bush/Cheney supported, when it comes to a lot of issues related to the "war on terror" and the surveillance state.

      Ultimately, the buck stops at the president's desk. Unless he wasn't informed of the massive spying on Germany and the EU that has been done during his administration. In which case we have much bigger problems with our government than any president or administration.

      The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

      by Eric Stetson on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 01:25:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane, blueoasis, adrianrf

        That the spying on the EU and our allies will be more reprehensible than the spying on our citizens.  We've already lost a lot of trust in Europe (which is essentially our only life line), and now these leaks are going to keep continuing.  

        I 100% support these leaks by Snowden because our hubris was going to bite us in the ass sooner or later, but we may truly be witnessing something extremely extraordinary in this country's history.  And walking into that history changing abyss has me worried because there are only two paths we can travel down, and it looks like the Obama administration wants to double down and take the wrong path.  

    •  Suggest to leave Obama's balls out of this (0+ / 0-)

      First, it's ridiculous considering how he a taken some other hard decisions; clearly in all cases he has made decisions for whatever reason with his head and not his crotch, and can be accountable for them instead of dismissing them as merely not enough testosterone.

      Second, it veers into territory where you could be accused of racism and have to defend your comments by proving you have used the same terminology applied to any president who made risk decisions you disagree with.

      Some very bloody flame wars have erupted here in the past (before your time) over use of the terminology and the outcome was not happy for the protagonists, so suggest you make another choice of words.

      But that's your choice, of course.

      400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

      by koNko on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 08:00:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I disagree. Perhaps the Admin hasn't done (0+ / 0-)

    a ton overall to recover it from Bush II, but if the 'world' is MORE pissed that we have spies (which the other nations do too, they're just not as good at it) than when we invade and rebuild sovereign nations that have not attacked us, their priorities are messed up and I care not what they think.

    I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

    by GoGoGoEverton on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 01:10:19 PM PDT

    •  We'll have to see how things play out with the EU. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fran1, Cassiodorus, blueoasis, corvo, adrianrf

      Germany seems pretty surprised and disturbed that their country was classified by the U.S. for the same level of spying as China, Russia, and Iran. Why did the U.S. decide to spy on Germany that much? Is it justified? Will Germany now feel that they have to spy on the U.S. just as much as we spy on them? Will the EU decide to view the U.S. not as an "ally" anymore but as some nebulous category between a friend and a foe?

      The Iraq War was a big deal, yes. But it didn't directly affect the sovereignty of EU nations. This does. From their perspective, they might consider it more important than Bush's invasion of Iraq.

      Time will tell.

      The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

      by Eric Stetson on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 01:16:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, they don't seem to mind NATO. nt (0+ / 0-)

        I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

        by GoGoGoEverton on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 01:21:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Es wird nichts so heiß gegessen, wie es gekocht (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DeadHead

        wird ... (meaning round about "there is nothing as bad as it looks").

        I disagree with your assumptions, title and conclusions.

        What did you expect? That the Europeans, Germany and France more so than others, say: "oh, how nice, your spying has gotten better over the years, eh..." ?

        I guess it's normal that various people in German political parties make a lot of noise right now. It's to be expected. I don't think Germans are sooo very much upset of the fact that they are spied at as it might look right now. As if anybody would believe that spying won't or hadn't happen to begin with. The amount of what is collected and stored is what boogles the minds. Not the spying per se.

        My feeling is that in many countries of Africa for example there are not many people who wouldn't consider any employee of an US embassy and most probably also any of the European embassies as "employed by the CIA, NSA or being a spy", meaning the trust aint' there and never was.

        Nevertheless that doesn't bother too many people, they arrange themselves quite nicely with those conditions and try to work with them to their own profits mostly. And Americans are very sure of that fact and assume it will work for long time to come.

        The same will be true for Germany. Merkel will not risk anything to threaten US-German relations, even if many say, she needs to "say" something and have some "teeth".

        If she can't hold the balance between the internal demands other political parties will ask her with regard to the NSA violations, she will lose the elections and that's it. I am not sure how much she is willing to "go into a soft-ball fight with the Obama administration" to save her reelection chances.

        I rather expect the "big outrage" to come from other corners and in other formats.

        I doubt very much that the Germans make Obama responsible for what has been revealed. It looks like the Obama administration as well as the German government of Angela Merkel are both over their head of what exactly has been wildly growing under their noses amongst the spying industry and spying governmental agencies no matter where and who.

        It might be in both countries interest to help each other to "spy out their own internal critics". I have no idea in how far Merkel and Obama would come to an agreement of how that is being done while at the same time making their critics happy, but so far I don't believe in anything until I see it.

        I would say that the trust in the American government would be greatly improved overseas, if there were signs that the US justice system actually would prosecute those among them who violated international war crimes. That would make a splash. But it doesn't look like as that would ever happen.

        •  In the Main, I Agree With You. (0+ / 0-)

          Since much of politics is public perception, then of course other governments and heads of state mush register the proper level of outrage.  After all, what the NSA has done is unprecedented!

          However, the US' global network of black sites and worldwide covert ops is hardly unknown, or disapproved of, by other countries too.  We maintain facilities in countries hardly counted as our allies.  And I think other countries might smile on this activity for a number of reasons: (1) it gives them leave to act in a similar manner; (2) in some cases the US might be doing their dirty work, taking out high-level targets they wanted too.  And there are probably more.

          I suspect there's a bit more wink-wink going on between heads of state than we're led to believe.

    •  follow the money (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, corvo

      there's supposed to be honor amongst thieves.

  •  Obama is not in charge (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, corvo, Nada Lemming

    He is a figure president for the show.   The military-industrial complex is running this country and it is almost irrelevant if the president is a repub or a democrat

  •  don't expect any major reforms from any president (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adrianrf

    as long as americans allow the right wing to operate their radio monopoly without challenge.

    until the radio advantage for the right is recognized and challenged there will be no fact-based discussions on a national level about anything important.

    criticizing the obama admin for something like this is a bit of a waste of time.  

    electing obama did help our image around the world. but the left has allowed the right to take free pot shots at him the last 5 years from 1200 radio stations, distort and distract, and weaken his bargaining position significantly.

    good luck with any major reform of the NSA and CIA as long as their most ardent supporters and beneficiaries get to blast 50 mil pairs of ears every week with coordinated lying and fearmongering.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 01:15:09 PM PDT

    •  it's actually easy to crush that radio nonsense (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, Nada Lemming

      be strong and tell the truth.

      •  sure, maybe one on one, but there's no real time (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        adrianrf

        response by the truth-tellers to those 50mil a week those radio stations blast lies to. the left doesn't even notice the big lies until the GOP is repeating them on the floor of congress, or they're repeated on the sunday talk shows, an d then it's too late to correct anything.

        they have a monopoly and reach 95% of the talk radio listeners. there is no correction. there is no challenge.

        that's how they create their alternate reality.

        This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

        by certainot on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 01:43:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  So THIS is Obama's 2nd term agenda... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Nada Lemming

    lol.

    Spying and Austerity.
    I was wonder what it would be, outside of immigration reform and, perhaps, implementation of Obamacare.

    Now I see.

  •  I can't read this diary with a title like this. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JackND

    I might as well channel Darryl Issa or Sarah Palin.

  •  Only Rand Paul can save us now!!!!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Trix, GoGoGoEverton

    Save us President Rand Paul!!!  

    If you're not talking about what billionaire hedgefund bankster Peter G. Peterson is up to you're having the wrong conversations.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 03:48:56 PM PDT

  •  I can speak about France. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Stetson

    From what I read, it seems to me that some Americans are projecting their own thoughts and feelings onto entire nations.  In France, people have their own way of looking at things.  They watch events in the US very closely and their opinions differ.

    I watched Christiane Taubira, the Justice Minister.  She carefully said  IF the story in the press is true . . . She emphasized it  twice.  It's important.    

    The press in France sometimes covers stories differently than the versions Americans get.  It was already a popular opinion a year ago that the US was becoming a danger to itself and to the world.  The French withdrew their troops from Afghanistan ahead of schedule to fulfill a campaign promise.  Public opinion had turned against it for specific  reasons.  I don't think Americans even knew there were French troops there, much less that they left.

    The most immediate concern in France is the rise of rightwing extremism.  Suspicion about the right has been a fact since I was kid.  Last month it finally erupted into violence.  A few weeks ago , a student active in leftist politics was beaten and killed in front of onlookers on the street in Paris by skinheads sporting nazi symbols.  People are nervous and more likely to wonder if the US can help smoke out any other extremists before they kill anyone else.  It's ironic.

    The French are unhappy with the EU and if there was a referendum, they'd probably vote to leave it.   Hollande seems willing to go along with the banks and the Germans who dictated austerity leading to 11% unemployment.  

    The trans-Atlantic trade treaty is seen as a scheme that benefits the privileged elite.  From observing the US it's obvious that an alliance of business interests and certain elements in the government are trampling everyone else in an enormous wealth grab.  Most French don’t want that and they’re wary and skeptical of everything they see.  Including Snowden and whatever was printed in Der Spiegel.

    The American stereotype of the French as contrarians isn’t entirely untrue.  

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 05:28:37 PM PDT

    •  Thank you for sharing this perspective. (0+ / 0-)

      It's good to know about what Europeans are thinking about these issues, beyond the few articles I've read.

      The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

      by Eric Stetson on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 05:42:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  IF (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nada Lemming, adrianrf

      The answer to that is pretty clear and the rear-guard battle the US is fighting to discredit the messengers is not working very well.

      If the situation was different I doubt you would see staunch allies of the US expressing these concerns in public rather than through diplomatic channels but the pressure they feel from outrage leaves them no choice.

      And the US is responding how?

      From what we can see, doubling-down on the personal attacks.

      Not convincing.

      400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

      by koNko on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 07:41:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I only have observations on France from my (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        adrianrf, ImpeachKingBushII

        visits there, family ties, and friends.  There's a different mentality there. The sudden appearance of belligerant rightwingers one year into Hollande's term seemed like a replay of the teaparty in 2009-2010.  Except it escalated quickly to violence and assassination. No one fixates on the personalities involved.  There are important issues that must be faced so they get on with it.  

        Even two years ago I said it won't be Americans who resolve America's problems.  It will be other countries intervening when the time comes to protect themselves and because America matters to them more than it does to Americans.  

        When the French Embassy in Tripoli was bombed, the national leaders said 'we messed around in their country and in Mali and they came back to retaliate.' No need to pretend anyone hates you for your freedom.  You fuck around with other people, they fuck around with you.  You could stop doing it, instead of building an elaborate electronic version of a castle, turrets, moats, drawbridges, and gatehouses.  

        Is it out of the question for America to change itself, the one thing it can control?  It's an obvious solution no one suggests.  I don't hear any constructive ideas.  Maybe the moment for them is long past and there's nothing left to do but grit your teeth.

        Christiane Taubira and Laurent Fabius spoke because they were asked a question, not because there's a huge outcry. The little word "IF" is important to the Justice Minister. Under the rule of law, those who make an accusation must bring proof and evidence.  It's not prudent to act without knowing all the facts, no matter how clear it seems.  If it's clear, it should be easy to show.  If you want to do away with the most fundamental elements of the rule of law, there's far more in jeopardy than your 4th Amendment rights

        There is no existence without doubt.

        by Mark Lippman on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 11:24:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Your title needs some work (0+ / 0-)

    Obama invent the NSA and didn't quite create this mess, but he certainly hasn't cleaned it up and is now stuck defending it.

    Perhaps a better title would be "Facts Undermine America's Image Abroad" or simply "America's Image Takes a Hit".

    I realize you already edited it once, but a more neutral title would get more readers and debate, so that is my suggestion.

    400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

    by koNko on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 07:47:11 PM PDT

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