As details continue to emerge regarding the size and scope of the systematic espionage conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA) against foreign governments, including many the White House has referred to publicly as allies, partners and friends, the situation has seen no resolution, despite protest and demand for Washington to produce explanations for the illegal "hacks" and interceptions of confidential information.
Germany and France presented the issue at the meeting of the heads of state of the European Union. High-ranking Italian politicians were also the objects of Yankee espionage.
Tension has yet to dissipate between Washington and Berlin over the NSA's cell phone tapping of Chancellor Merkel, which, as documents leaked by Edward Snowden tell us, was part of a program that monitored the phone lines of 35 governments around the world — massive espionage that officials in the White House, State Department and Pentagon were all aware of.
Under these circumstances, it seems logical that this kind of news would bring with it a swift loss of influence, power and global image for Washington. Although the superpower maintains the pillars of its dominance — economic, technological, military and media — White House foreign affairs have lost substantial leverage for the rest of Obama's term, and probably that of his successor.
The basic problem is that, apart from the revelations made by Snowden, other leaders of the world are now realizing that the supremacy of the United States comes in large part from information and intelligence obtained through illegitimate means. With the mass of information collected through this espionage over the years, it's been easy for officials in Washington to win business battles, command diplomatic discussions and manipulate multilateral meetings in its favor.
This all inevitably results in an immediate loss of trust in the U.S. government and its representatives, and forces its allies and friends to see the country as a dangerous competitor, an interrogator and a disloyal partner. Case in point: Brazil.
In this context, it's unthinkable that some countries have continued to act so passive and obsequious while the NSA has illegally monitored their governments at the highest levels, starting with the presidents.
The confusion here is twofold. First, espionage is a crime that is to be persecuted and sanctioned, and the authorities of other countries have failed to comply with this legal duty. Second, the current international climate, full of heated protests against Washington, should facilitate countries in taking a stronger, more sovereign role in handling the matter; however, there continues to be a lack of willingness internationally to take advantage of this politically favorable situation.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner and promoter of the war against Syria said it himself: "We don't have friends, we have interests."