US-EU fallout: Eavesdropping on the free trade
In a big data world, we have our first global big data scandal. It seems the 'Basketballer-in-chief' who was a liberal dream in 2008, would make an Orwellian bureaucrat from 1984 blush with his ambitious spy programme.
Presented with the most unpalatable development in a generation, President Hollande of France has led vitriolic condemnation of the USA’s addiction to espionage.
There are those who might argue that being a mono-superpower world, the American empire, at, or around, the height of its unchallenged superpower status, has a right to collate whatever data it can. This, after all was standard practice in the 19th century, why not scale the same thing for the digital era? Meanwhile, allies cry with the sort of anguish which demonstrates a real concern on their part. Mostly it is the concern that voters might oust, say, Mrs Merkel in her looming general election as all her claims of being a great US ally have proven as vapid as her supposed European crisis resolution skills.
Widespread spying is nothing new. It’s just the scale of digital equipment in the age of big data that makes it appear so remarkable. Only a couple of decades ago, the British government, while negotiating with Ulster’s terrorists to bring peace to the province, chided their Irish counterparts to improve security standards as their codes were so simple London found it easy to read sensitive Dublin government data..
Naturally the French are in full self-righteous fury mode,
sensing a rich vein of political hypocrisy to be exploited. The
anguish of President Hollande barely masks his own agenda. For
one thing, he is sensationally unpopular: Anybody who could make
the French electorate regret ejecting Nicolas Sarkozy is acutely
gifted as an incapable leader. Anti Americanism wins French
votes...which leads to a wondrously circular line of discussion
which might, just might, feasibly part-justify America’s
For France, the problem isn’t really in the spying. No, Francois Hollande is leading the voices against something much more unpalatable than snooping on an industrial scale which defines the American devotion to “supersize” their activities. Rather, the really scary thing to the likes of an old fashioned bourgeois socialist teenage radical turned President like FH, is a terrifying phrase in vogue at intergovernmental level: “Free Trade.”
For Hollande informally heads a diaspora against progress, comprising undiluted class war trades unionists and old line delusional socialists anticipating the resurrection of the Warsaw Pact. This curious alliance expends considerable energy fervently believing America is the epitome of evil especially because it has traditionally made it easier for people to improve their lot, start their own business or just work hard to secure their fortune.
This, not spying, is the root cause of the mutterings coming from Europe’s decaying leftist structures where the idea of not being government subsidised (whether in or out of employment) appears anathema to the rump of true believers in state-sponsored nirvana.
From the moment the spectre of free trade arose, France has been at the forefront of the Europe which always says “No!” where strikes are de rigueur and the word “entrepreneur” has been purged from the dictionary (as opposed to the USA where entrepreneurial spirit remains popular, despite the Obama Presidency).
Ultimately, what does the spying case tell us about the state of government and Free Trade?
Clearly it demonstrates that any government cannot be trusted pretty much any of the time and hence the only way forward is less of it. Ironically, regardless of politics, the west certainly can’t afford more government without economic growth, (say driven by free trade), so soon high-tech American spying equipment will be redundant as Europe reverts to the dark ages.
A great many anti-free traders have been galvanised by the
remarkably gauche actions of America under a remarkably gauche,
left wing, President. However, is it sensible for a generation of
politicians without solutions to the plight of the unemployed to
preclude free trade: a proven option to improve the prosperity of
all, through a fit of pique? That in essence defines the hideous
inadequacy and short-termism of a political class whose pygmy
status as leaders makes them little more than elected internet
This big data intrusion has proven something we already knew:
politicians on both sides of the Atlantic seek power not the
benefit of the people.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.