When I explained I was originally from America, the man made a face, held his hand up to his ear like a telephone, and said, "USA? Why are you listening to my mobile phone? Why are you listening to my phone calls?" He was joking, of course, as he promptly laughed, slapped me on the shoulder, and provided directions to the field, but it really startled me to discover that in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere, the immediate reaction to an American would be to bring up the NSA.Sure, this all started under Bush. But if anything it's accelerated under Obama's "Smart Diplomacy". Just get the right sort of "Smart" people in charge, and they will realize that Chancellor Merkel would immediately think "Stasi" when she found out that the NSA was tapping her phone. The right sort of "Smart" people who would realize that the Cold War was over, and so espionage programs and goals should be re-thought to fit the new geopolotical reality. The right sort of "Smart" people who could make tradeoffs favoring the long term strategic, not the short term tactical.
And the more elite Europeans aren't blind to the opportunities presented by the scandal either. I spoke to several high-level investment executives over the last few weeks, and to a man, they see the scandal as being a reason for Europe to make a serious effort to break away from the technology chains of Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Twitter, Facebook, and other American companies that have dominated the world. The larger the corporation, the more determined they are to keep the US out of their emails and servers.
Pretty smart, right there. And Vox sums it up to a "T":
This isn't merely a diplomatic or political scandal, it is probably an economic one as well.