The NSA surveillance story usually focuses on the growing domestic outrage, and if foreign policy is discussed at all, it is usually very Eurocentric. But the backlash against NSA surveillance is worldwide, and coloring US diplomacy everywhere.
Today, a state visit by Secretary of State John Kerry to Brazil was dominated almost entirely by questions about the NSA, with the Foreign Ministry demanding a “clarification” on exactly how far the programs extend, and insisting that the US stop all violations of Brazilian sovereignty.
Brazil’s O Globo newspaper offered major coverage of NSA surveillance during the opening days of whistleblower Edward Snowden’s releases, revealing that Brazil was a “main target” of US spying in the region, with much of the focus on commercial and industrial businesses.
Kerry insisted that Brazil is “owed answers and will get them,” insisting Brazil simply needed a better understanding of what is going on. Explanations about surveillance without wholesale changes haven’t convinced many in the US, however, and probably won’t sell much better abroad.