‘Somebody secure of their power status doesn’t spy on other nations’

Reuters / Kai Pfaffenbach
The US seems to lack confidence in its global position so it feels the need to spy on its allies, Johanna Ross, researcher in Central and Eastern European Studies at the University of Glasgow, told RT’s In the Now.

RT:The French media is outraged at the latest WikiLeaks revelations concerning the US spying on France. President Hollande called an emergency meeting, then there was a statement, saying France won't tolerate this. Will there be anything beyond angry words from your point of view?

Johanna Ross: This is the question, isn’t it? Is there going to be any action taken now? We saw last time with the German experience, there was all this fury in the press, politicians making various statements. But what actually happened was that people got caught up in the Ukrainian crisis and essentially no action was taken to stand up to the US policy of spying. I very much doubt unfortunately that anything is going to come of this. It seems to me there is a continuing rhetoric. There was panic [on Wednesday] in the French media amongst the French politicians with the emergency meeting called by Holland [Wednesday morning]. But the question is – is anything further going to happen. France at the moment is losing around €8 billion as a result of sanctions and adhering to the US policy against Russia. So the question is are they going to bite the bullet and stand up to it or are they going to continue to play the role of an underdog in the US-EU partnership?

RT:That seems to be a lot of money, maybe it’s time for Europe to stand up to Washington?

JR: Exactly. Now is the time. Very much has to be seen in a wider context, we have to turn the tables and think what would have happened if for example there had been revelations of Russia listening to phone conversations. If this had been part of a Russian surveillance operation, then it would have been massive outcry, it would have been exceedingly damaging to international relations and you could have seen something leading to almost an outbreak of World War III as a result. So we really need to get some perspective on this as a whole. It has massive implications for how the EU and the US are going to continue their working partnership. It’s also resonant of the insecurity the US has at the moment. Somebody that is secure in their power status, of their position globally does not spy on other nations. For me it’s very significant of America’s lack of confidence in its position and it feels the need to spy on its allies in this way.

Aymeric Chauprade, Geopolitical analyst and Marine Le Pen's senior foreign affairs advisor comments on the US spying on France: “There is nothing to expect from an ally which is not a true ally in fact. We should completely reverse our foreign policy and we should [rediscover] our foreign policy with a new relationship with Russia instead of the US. Because we cannot rely on what’s supposed to be an ally that is spying on us, and on all of the European nations inside the EU.”

READ MORE: Obama tells Hollande US was not spying on French president

RT:Did France really not know that the NSA was spying on them? There have been so many hints of widespread surveillance by the NSA around the world. Why this sort of show of anger?

JR: This is the thing. There seems to be some talk today of certain quarters in France being aware of the spying having gone on but the reaction, the anger, the outrage today with Manuel Valls stated that we need to provide a new code of conduct for players in the international arena. The French are absolutely outraged by this. As to the extent to which they were aware of it – who knows? What’s really interesting as well is what’s going to happen in the next few days because there is obviously talk of more revelations in store. It’ll be interesting to see what else is waiting to be revealed. And in addition there is the question of who was doing the leaking. These revelations were all leaked around 2006 to 2012. It’s really interesting to know exactly who it was; this is the pre-Snowden era. Again it just signifies the lack of confidence that Americans also have in their government and in the NSA as a whole.


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.