The political philosopher Francis Fukyama wrote an entire book about it–and now it appears to be in short supply among Western Allies.
For Germans, it is particularly painful. We remember well the days of the Cold War, when East Germans like Ms. Merkel were spied on by the Stasi. Again, in some ways this is worse: The Stasi wasn’t our friend; America is.
In International Diplomacy 101, one learns that the most important ingredient of international cooperation is trust, easy to lose but hard to gain. How can Ms. Merkel, or anyone else in the European political leadership, ever trust the White House again?
The problem is not that countries spy on one another per se. Everybody does it (well, many countries do it) with varying degrees of effectiveness and success. But few governments do it to the extent that the Americans appear to have — the tap on Ms. Merkel’s phone began in 2002, long before she became chancellor, and apparently continued even after she was awarded the Medal of Freedom in the Rose Garden a few years ago.