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