The Politics of Fear

Edward Snowden blows the whistle on widespread surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency and its UK equivalent on American citizens, those of other countries and on friendly European governments—and no country will offer him sanctuary.

Are we to conclude that all are afraid of the United States or compromised by it?

Without Edward Snowden we would not know that America’s most senior intelligence official, James Clapper, lied under oath before Congress when he testified in March that the National Security Agency did not collect the telephone records of millions of Americans.

This is what emotional deception or lying looks like:

Snowden spoke the truth and is a fugitive. Clapper lied and faces no consequences.

In the meantime millions of Egyptians—who believe a revolution took place in 2011—took to the streets to demonstrate for and against President Morsi and all await the deadline imposed by …. the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Morsi and the armed forces are advised on a regular basis by the very people now intimidating the world. He is their man.

A bit of an exaggeration but it makes the point.

A bit of an exaggeration but it makes the point.

The moral here is that real change requires real people on the streets organizing themselves into an emotional, moral power. (Staring at a screen doesn’t cut it.) Politicians, bureaucrats and generals fear that more than tanks. Witness events in Egypt, Turkey and Brazil right now.

The politicians in those European countries which bend the knee so readily to American behests on ‘security’ and ‘intelligence’, while their citizens’ lives are surveilled in minute detail, would be well advised to watch their backs.

Much of Europe is a human wasteland. An entire generation faces a life of workless poverty. Most of these, I wager, identify with Edward Snowden, not their political masters. They’ve taken to the streets in most countries, without achieving much. But that can quickly change. Emotions are contagious. A spark from a forest fire can travel miles on the wind to start another. The emotional energy in Egypt, Turkey and even Brazil is quite capable of igniting the passions of those at the wrong end of austerity in Europe.  That’s a lot of people. That’s a lot of people to watch—and that’s why they’re being watched so closely by their Anglo-American friends.

Should that happen the ruling class of Europe—’the innocent have nothing to fear’—is going to have to decide what it fears most: America or their own people.

Either way, they are not innocent and they have a lot to fear.