Actions do speak louder than words, and thus the start of European Union-United States trade talks as previously scheduled would seem to hold more weight than European political leaders’ displays of public anger at the extent of the spying against them.
Resignation to their subordinate status, the extent of their own spying networks and the knowledge that considerable dirty work is necessary to remain a leading capitalist country are among the contradictory factors at work here. So, too, is a willingness by European leaders to rely on the U.S. to perform much of the dirty work, while European big business needs to sell to U.S. consumers. Business is business at the end of the day. Or at the (hoped) end of the scandal.
With the stream of new revelations showing no signs of stopping, the end of the scandal does not appear anywhere in sight. Nor does the spectacle of contradictory behavior by European countries, most dramatically exemplified by France.
On the one hand, the French government declared revelations that the U.S. has spied on E.U. offices and computer networks “completely unacceptable” and demanded a delay in the start of the E.U.-U.S. trade talks, intended to form a “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.” Yet France not only meekly agreed to the trade talks beginning on time but acceded to U.S. arm-twisting that it close its air space to the plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales on the mere suspicion that whistleblower Edward Snowden was aboard.
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