Here’s what we know about the U.S.-Germany spying debacle so far:
1. The NSA was doing some serious spying globally.
2. This included tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phones.
3. President Obama says he knew nothing about that invasion of privacy.
Here’s what’s very easy to infer:
1. Everybody spies on everybody, allies and enemies alike. Germany might be royally ticked off with us right now. It might even have every right to fume. But you better believe it has its inside sources on us too. Though probably not quite as sophisticated.
2. Obama may very well NOT have known about the NSA’s specific targets. Heck, he may not have known about the PRISM program at all. Considering his penchant for control and unwavering commitment to dishonesty, I could very easily see him being in the thick of things. But there is the possibility he was unaware. I’m quite sure the NSA doesn’t concern the President with absolutely every single detail about its business.
Here’s the even easier conclusion:
1. It’s still Obama’s mess to deal with.
Obama can deny any knowledge of or participation in the spying escapades ‘til he’s blue in the face. It doesn’t matter one bit. He’s still ultimately responsible. The buck still stops with him.
I’m not saying that because I think the man is a creep. (Although I do, and he is.) I’m saying that because he is the President of the United States. He’s ultimately responsible for what this nation does and doesn’t do on the international stage regardless of whether he wants to own up to that responsibility or not.
That means when American teenagers murder an Australian visitor in cold blood, Obama should speak out about it, offering apologies to the wronged country and family.
And when one of our strongest allies finds out how little we trust it, Obama needs to do the necessary damage control and then some.
Is it fair how he has to take ownership for something he played no part in? No. Not really. But being President isn’t always about what’s fair any more than it’s all about plush perks.
It’s about leading. And leading sometimes means saying, “I know the people I’m responsible for did wrong. As the guy in charge, let me admit the offence and try to make restitution.”
If Obama was a real leader, I wouldn’t have to be saying this. He would have done it already instead of pointing fingers everywhere else.