Most of the focus on NSA surveillance has been the domestic fallout from the Obama Administration spying on ordinary Americans and then lying repeatedly about it. The international fallout is significant, however, with key US allies like Germany and Brazil taking the revelation of systematically being targeted poorly.
Germany is particularly outraged by the NSA spying, with the nation’s substantial privacy laws aimed at preventing the sort of surveillance state the US is now imposing on them, and German officials running for cover as the revelations loom large in the September elections.
Germany has been a major target for the NSA, and continues to be so because of the nation’s status as a major economic power and its influence in the European Union. The fear of corporate espionage conducted by the US government masquerading as “anti-terror” operations is huge, as is the threat to ordinary peoples’ privacy.
The German governemnt is now focusing on getting the US to agree to a new treaty promising not to spy on one another. Since German is less the spy-er than the spy-ee, it’s going to be a tough battle to convince the US on it, and officials are going to have to leverage other pacts.
That’s probably doable, with the US hoping to secure trade deals with the EU, and Germany more than able to hold that deal up if it has to to get the surveillance deal. The question is whether they will do so, and whether German voters will trust them to make a pact that doesn’t have secret addenda that keep the surveillance going.