How NSA Spying On Angela Merkel May Scuttle TAFTA/TTIP Trade Agreement

from the another-good-deed-by-Snowden dept

There's been plenty of attention paid to the news of the past week or so about the NSA spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone. While some still insist this is no big deal, the eventual consequences could be a very big deal. First off, remember that it was just a few months ago that (in the wake of the initial Snowden leaks), the US and Germany had made a silly pledge, which no one believed, that they wouldn't spy on each other. That "agreement" is already being put to the test.

As we discussed last week, the real "casualty" from all of these discussions may actually be that America can't get away with being a massive hypocrite anymore, despite so much of its foreign and domestic policy being built around being able to get away with just that. And, a large part of that is how the US pushes other countries into very questionable trade agreements -- another thing that we've been following for years. And those two things may be on a collision course. For quite some time now, we've been discussing the big trade agreement that the EU and the US are working towards, called TAFTA or TTIP. But one of the lesser noticed points about the revelations of the spying on Merkel is that many people in Germany are saying that negotiations on this agreement should be put on hold:
The chancellor's office is also now considering the possibility that the much-desired trans-Atlantic free trade agreement could fail if the NSA affair isn't properly cleared up. Since the latest revelations came out, some 58 percent of Germans say they support breaking off ongoing talks, while just 28 percent are against it. "We should put the negotiations for a free-trade agreement with the US on ice until the accusations against the NSA have been clarified," says Economy Minister Ilse Aigner, a member of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to Merkel's Christian Democrats.
There are many reasons why TAFTA/TTIP is looking like a bad deal anyway, having nothing to do with the NSA spying, but if the Snowden docs lead to that agreement being put "on ice" for a while, that seems like another useful outcome.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Alana (profile), Oct 28th, 2013 @ 6:06pm

    Here's hoping they shelve it fore--PFFFFFFFFFFF yeah like that will ever happen. The motto is "Try, try again". This is the same country that allowed butthurt republicans to try to repeal obamacare over fourty damn times, each unsuccessful. And let's not forget the "Not-SOPA"'s everywhere that keep on trying to get rammed in.

     

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  2.  
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    Annie (profile), Oct 28th, 2013 @ 8:50pm

    USA, NSA and trade agreements

    What I would personally like to see (as opposed to what I think I will see), is for the world to signal its rejection of the USA's psychopathic behaviour by ostracising the USA.

    Don't buy their products, don't join their wars, don't do business with them if it can be avoided. Send a clear message that the way they behave is unacceptable and will not be accepted.

    Americans have a weakness, they (collectively) have an exaggerated need to feel loved and to feel good about themselves (hence the crap about "America ashining a light on the world" and all the rest of the nauseating propaganda they put out in the hope it will be believed). If they feel that they are unloved and un-respected, they will change. It's a Pavlov's dog kind of a thing. Behaviour can be conditioned if the right buttons are pressed.

    Stop all the obsequious grovelling to America just because the country has ripped off the world and has lots of money as a consequence. Apply the only remedy that bullies the world over understand and respect. A kick in the testicles and another in the hip pocket.

    That is pretty much guaranteed to work, make their own pathetic need to be loved work against them.

    Annie

     

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  3.  
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    anonymouse (profile), Oct 28th, 2013 @ 9:34pm

    hmmm, looks like i'm hanging out amongst the trolls here...as an american, i don't have a problem with other nations taking a shot at USA, since it seems to be common practice already. i do have a problem with double standards, like nations in trouble asking for and receiving help from us, only later to denigrate us for "interfering".
    the USA is far from perfect, or even close to good at times, but we are very generous in the amount of foreign aid we scatter around the globe.

     

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  4.  
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    Pitabred (profile), Oct 28th, 2013 @ 10:53pm

    Re: USA, NSA and trade agreements

    I think you underestimate how self centered we are. We don't need external validation for it, we've convinced ourselves so well that we don't even look elsewhere for validation. The only way you can really hurt America is in the pocketbook.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 11:24pm

    I wonder how this impacted international cooperation in security matters.

    Sure the middle-eastern countries are not happy to know that the US share raw data they collect with Israel, Europeans are angry because behind the "terror" claims they see a threat to companies sure the French know full well what happens when they try to bribe Brazilian officials to install radar systems in the Amazon.

    This will be hell to pay, even though each and every other country if they could do it on the scale the US is doing would do it on the blink of an eye.

    That "terror" claims don't cut it with others that know all to well what the spying can do not only for security but for other matters.

    Cooperation may not stop, by I am pretty sure that a lot of countries will be proposing ways to guarantee that their data is not used against them or passed along to others.

     

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  6.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Oct 28th, 2013 @ 11:39pm

    Re: USA, NSA and trade agreements

    If other countries would stop acting like wannabe states, and start refusing the demands to change their laws, or sign treaties/agreements that are designed solely to suit american corporate interests, that would be a good start, and the thing most likely to get the attention of those in charge.

     

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  7.  
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    Davd, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 12:17am

    That's actually a rather old German policy

    In the seventies when the RAF ("Rote Armee Fraktion", not "Royal Airforce") was most active, the German government after some bad experiences settled on "we don't negotiate with terrorists". Those terrorists considered their own goals more important than actually keeping their part of the deal.

    It's the same situation with the U.S. Why negotiate with somebody who is not planning to keep his side of the deal? You can only lose.

    In the long run, this will also mean to stop accepting promises on little green pieces of paper for delivering value in future, putting a natural cap of the debt ceiling (except for interest, of course). It's increasingly obvious that those promises are as hollow as all contracts the U.S. purports to heed.

    The terrorists don't consider to be bound by their word if it helps their short-term agenda.

    See where this gets you, world's greatest nation.

     

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  8.  
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    Annie, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 1:09am

    Re:

    "hmmm, looks like i'm hanging out amongst the trolls here"

    Dude, if you don't agree, then just say "I don't agree because... [optional]. No need to tell everyone you don't know what a troll is.

    "as an american, i don't have a problem with other nations taking a shot at USA,"

    That's probably just as well, the numbers are not on your side so it doesn't really matter if you have a problem with it or not.

    "i do have a problem with double standards, like nations in trouble asking for and receiving help from us, only later to denigrate us for "interfering". "

    Fair point - or it would be if it were true.

    Did Libya ask you in to poke your noses in? No.
    Did Syria? No.
    Did Iraq? No.
    Did Afghanistan? No.
    Did Vietnam? No.
    Did Korea? No.
    Did so many of the countries in South America? No.
    Did Grenada? (a colony of your 'closest ally'). No.

    So, who *did* invite you in?

    In contrast, Rwanda *did* ask you to help, and was ignored.

    The first step in discovering reality is to realise you need to stop being delusional.

    "the USA is far from perfect, or even close to good at times, but we are very generous in the amount of foreign aid we scatter around the globe."

    Philanthropy perhaps, as you would have us believe? Not really, with you people there's always a price tag.

    Consistent with what I started off by saying; disgusting imperialist behaviour from a psychopathic nation that has no appetite for navel-gazing. And which is in the process of getting its come-uppance if I'm not mistaken.

    Two questions you might ask. Who is delivering the come-uppance and why?

    Annie

     

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  9.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 29th, 2013 @ 2:16am

    Two words: good riddance. It would be the best outcome anyway.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 2:40am

    Re: Re:

    I agree with you, but. There is a silver lining here.
    By halting trade agreement talks over this whole mess the EU brings some of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington on their side. If those groups realize that "if we're beeing dicks, noone will agree to our trade terms" we might actually see real change. Well, or the appearance of real change...

     

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  11.  
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    Old Fool (profile), Oct 29th, 2013 @ 3:45am

    Re:

    By 'foreign aid', do you mean bribes and Coercion?

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 3:50am

    we all live in hope. the problem there is that in a few months time, there will be another 'Trade Agreement' instigated by the US which will have all the bad bits in from everywhere and the whole thing will start over.
    these kind of talks need to never get off the ground! they all influence the public more than anything and benefit the USA the most, with threats to other countries that dont comply. they all need to be held in the open, with full transparency, not this joke that is portrayed as such at the moment!

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 4:53am

    Re:

    "This is the same country that allowed butthurt republicans to try to repeal obamacare over fourty damn times"

    It's not like they ask for permission prior to acting like children. I am not aware of a recall process at the federal level and many do not listen to their constituents complaints. Apparently, the only recourse is election time, rather sad the turnout is so low.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 5:00am

    Re: USA, NSA and trade agreements

    The country is self destructing. With the demise of the middle class it will soon no longer be a major market and therefore of no interest to other more developed nations who will no longer feel the need to kowtow to all the silly demands.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 5:03am

    Re:

    Wow - pretty good imitation of idiotic blather ... wait, you're serious?

     

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  16.  
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    Bergman (profile), Oct 29th, 2013 @ 6:25am

    Re: Re:

    Actually the turnout was quite good -- for the Republicans running on a platform of repealing Obamacare.

    Why do you feel that politicians winning an election gives them a popular mandate to carry out their campaign promises only when the politicians are Democrats?

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Howard (profile), Oct 29th, 2013 @ 6:32am

    Re:

    The world's gold reserve Nixon snaffed begs to differ in the generousness of the US.

    Also, I wouldn't call depleted uranium rounds and explosives delivered by drones "foreign aid"

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 7:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's because the Hertitage-designed Affordable Care Act was misrepresented by those Republicans. As it is, it's been watered down to satisfy enough of its opponents to get it through Congress and the Senate. And the Supreme Court. What more do you want?

    And would you have accepted it if Mitt Romney had won? Apparently, it was his baby.

    And while we're on the subject, yeah, it's not the best, but it's better than what we had before. Would you rather have the American people at the mercy of unscrupulous medical companies that leave them either uninsured because of pre-existing conditions or bankrupt as a result of trying to pay for the treatment they need?

    It's great that you've never had to choose between the rent and your health, but please spare a thought for those who aren't as privileged as you are.

     

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  19.  
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    tctozefs, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 8:22am

    Re: USA, NSA and trade agreements

    AZW?

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    tctozefs, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 8:55am

    Come-uppance

    Annie,

    You forgot Croatia and Kosovo, where they actually did ask us in -- the US trained the Croatian military to fight those nasty Serbs.

    Re come-uppance. The same thought occurred to me. This stuff has been going on even before 2002 -- try the 1940s or earlier. Perhaps comeuppance is simply a function of one random whistleblower, and has no real agent calling the shots. The leading suspects, if there really is comeuppance, might be Russia and China. Cui bono? And who's giving refuge to the whistleblower?

    tctozefs

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Joel Coehoorn, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 10:23am

    Concessions

    I expect that the likely outcome is that Germany will try to play this into certain concessions from the US on various points in treaty.

    But as the whole thing is secret, we'll never really know.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 5:45pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Actually the turnout was quite good"

    Bullshit
    The reference to low turnout was addressing the very low percentage of registered voters who actually vote ... it's even worse if you count those eligible to vote. This is supposed to be a representative form of government, how does 30 percent represent anything at all other than an apathetic population. And then upon "winning" the douche bags bellow about how they have received a mandate. What a bunch of crap.

    The rest of your comment is completely ridiculous, please go buy a clue.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Khan, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 5:20pm

    stupid people

    You silly Europeans. Let them fuck you up your ass. You deserve that because you are the most stupid race in the world. Americans are your father and they will, one day, ban these comments. You fucking slave of Americ

     

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  24.  
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    khan, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 5:24pm

    Stupid Europeans

    You stupid ass Europeans are like a herd. Dumb ass people. You'll demonstrate? My asssss! You just buy American products and lick their ass

     

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  25.  
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    yourt, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 2:37am

    Re:

    Hoo hooh hooo... the US of A interferes, wanted or not (think Syria, Iraq,...) and then rebuilds what was damaged, and decides who gets to do that. So war economy starts off, then rebuild economy takes over (because mainly US companies and some of the friendly allies that came to help get the contracts). That, my dear USA citizen, is the reality in life. That is exactly the opposite of what you - and all you arrogant US'ers - say. Just look at the NSA debacle with Merkel (we will not spy on each other, yeah right). Or the TAFTA TTIP secret negotiations, so US companies can bring pink slime, chlorated chicken and genetically modified stuff to the EU, suing countries that prohibit those things in healthcare laws! A US comany that sues governments in Europe for profits they claim to have lost on things like pink slime. Reverse that to the USA and I don't think that would work now, would it?

     

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