Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Quote of the day - Peggy Noonan on responses to spying scandals


Peggy Noonan was, of course, speechwriter for my political hero. Here's what she wrote about the response of some pundits to phone tapping and spying scandals:

Particularly obnoxious on this question are the American policy thinkers and journalists who, when asked about the Merkel taps, put on their world-weary professional wise-guy face, looking like tragic suburbanites who once read a John le CarrĂ© novel and can’t forget the shiver of existential dread, and say that everyone does it, governments spy, get with the program, this is the way the world works.
* * *
Sorry, but tapping the private telephone line of one of your most important friends in the West is not how the world works, it’s how, once she finds out and the world finds out, it falls apart.

And frankly we're no better in the UK.



Edward Spalton said...

Of course, it's more important to know what your friends are up to than your enemies( who are a bit more obvious and predictable). I very much doubt whether anybody is the least surprised or put out by this inevitability and wonder what it is, from which they are diverting our attention,

On the other hand, Merkel (rumoured to have been a Stasi informer during her career in East Germany) may well have been feeding them duff information for ten years, knowing the line was tapped. She may just have learned that the Yanks had twigged her and decided to throw a hissy fit for the benefit of he up country voters.

Simon Cooke said...

Which attitude is precisely the sort of worldly wise response Noonan is criticising. I always take the view - if their your friends, pick up the phone and ask!

Edward Spalton said...

"Friends" are something states do not have. There are no perpetual allies or perpetual enemies - only the perpetual interests of each state and people to defend - something which our political leaders have overlooked for forty years. The Germans certainly have not. The EU is one of their more effective policy instruments. As early as 1950, one of Adenauer's ministers expressed it thus ( but only for home consumption) ." Does free Europe want to join Germany? Germany is the heart of Europe and the limbs must adjust to the heart, not the heart to the limbs" - as the Greeks and others are discovering