9 January 2014, 19:59

US legitimacy in the world constrained by NSA spying – expert

US legitimacy in the world constrained by NSA spying – expert

President Barack Obama invited German Chancellor Angela Merkel to visit Washington this year, according to the White House’s statement about a phone conversation between the two leaders. Ms. Merkel’s spokesman said that the Chancellor accepted Obama’s invitation. The visit would give the US leader a chance to make amends after revelations that the NSA had been monitoring Ms Merkel’s mobile phone. Dr. Jonathan Feldman, a Lecturer at the Department of Economic History of Stockholm University, whose studies are related to demilitarization and democracy, in an interview to Voice of Russia, shared his thoughts.

Mr Feldman said that the visit is supposed to reduce some tensions between Washington and Berlin that have been strained over the NSA spying on Frau Merkel.

"I don’t think you can have one country spy as expressively as the US has done on Germany and expect everything to be cleared up, there is a very serious breach in the trust and cooperation. So I think, yes, in the short term things will be hedged up, but there will be some kind of lingering problem, particularly we need to know more about how the US really could respond to the German complaints," Mr Feldman explained.

He also added that such revelations "don't help" diplomatic relations between the two states.

He cited an example of Gerhard Schröder, campaigning for Prime Minister of Germany and criticizing the US war in Iraq as part of his campaign, which stance gained him victory. By the same fashion Mr Feldman suggested Merkel’s position "wouldn’t be credible if she didn’t raise a fuss or make a serious complaint about it."

However, according to him, "in the recent past Germany’s export to the US has amounted to about $111 billion, about 5% of overall US imports", with Germany making plans of reestablishing its auto industry in the States. In other words, the US is an important trading partner for Germany, as Mr Feldman pointed out.

"Germany has made out overtures to Russia with this gas pipeline arrangement, a large part of its export goes to the EU, so does some degree of autonomy," Mr Feldman noted.

Mr Feldman also stated that "one of the bets that Germany made in terms of its cooperation with Russia is by maintaining its membership in NATO it would deal with any security contingency. So, that means that Germany can be totally at arms’ length from the US and can’t be too upset."

"So this is the kind of game that is being played here. These two are competing. Economic interest, security interest and then the legitimacy in the political capital within Germany- these are the factors at play," Mr Feldman stated.

In conclusion Mr Feldman said that revelations about NSA’s spying activities "made serious constraints on the US’s legitimacy throughout the world."

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