Foreign Policy magazine tends to be a rather liberal publication and everything you read in it you’ll need to take with a chunk, not a grain, of salt. For example, in 2011 it ranked Israel as a “failed state,” along with North Korea, Congo, Iran and several other countries. The current editor does not even hide his liberal and anti-Republican bias, alluding to Texas Senator Ted Cruz as “clueless“. Economic sanctions? Forget about it. I have yet to read a balanced piece on the subject.
Drudge linked to one of FP’s stories yesterday that made me chuckle: “Exclusive: 21 Nations Line Up Behind U.N. Effort to Restrain NSA.” If foreign political and business leaders want privacy, take counter-intelligence measures. It must be a slow news week around the world. I’m not quite sure how any of this is news. The United Nations has little legitimacy as it is and it has no authority whatsoever to restrain a sovereign, much less its intelligence apparatus.
According to FP, there is an effort afoot at the U.N. to protect privacy rights because the “flurry of American spying revelations that have caused a political uproar around the world.” Whose leading this effort at Turtle Bay? Tough to tell, however, several countries are involved including these paragons of civil liberties: Cuba, Bolivia, Argentina, and Brazil.
In reality, most of the public outrage by foreign governments over the Edward Snowden matter has been for public relations purposes. It has nothing whatsoever to do with civil liberties or privacy rights. Anti-American groups have seized on the Snowden fiasco to politically pounce on the United States and weaken our capabilities to protect national security. As for the spying or espionage angle, again, there is no story here expect that the U.S. is good at it and other countries are jealous and want access to our toys.
Spying on enemies (yes, enemies is still a word) and allies has taken place for centuries. When something like a Snowden moment happens, and it will happen again, foreign governments need to show some righteous indignation for domestic consumption. It is a matter of national pride. You can bet that Angela Merkel will be asking some tough questions of Germany’s Militärischer Abschirmdienst (MAD). MAD dropped the ball.
Foreign Policy (FP) is owned by The Washington Post. Maybe Jeff Bezos can work his magic and make FP a more serious publication. Better yet, let the markets decide. If they fail to balance, they’ll blog themselves to irrelevance.