This is rich. First, Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, scolded Obama and America for its interventionist imperialism in Syria. That in itself would have been bad enough. But now, the official (i.e., state-controlled) news agency for China, XinHua, has joined in the chorus of foreign powers who take umbrage at America’s indiscriminate surveillance dragnet.
In a delightfully colorful report, XinHua pointed out that the NSA’s recently uncovered habit of tapping into the phone lines of its purported allies undercuts American national security more than outright terrorism ever could:
Ironically enough, the bugging undermines the very thing it is supposed to protect – national security. As America pins its security on alliances, the tapping tale would sour its relationship with allies – and thus erode its security bedrock – more than any terrorist would be capable of.
I agree. And I find it particularly damning that the Chinese government, famous for its far-reaching censorship and surveillance programs, should be using its official media mouthpiece to rightly criticize what it sees as flagrant international hypocrisy. The U.S. has been outspoken in its condemnation of Chinese Big Brother tactics, and here we are doing far worse than China ever dreamed. China may tap its own citizen’s phone lines, and it certainly controls the information its citizens are able to receive (XinHua has itself been used for this purpose), but it claims it has never spied so shamelessly on its allies.
Perhaps we should take note. Fake freedom is worse than self-conscious slavery. The United States pretends to be a bastion of freedom and democracy. We’re not. We may resent the fact that a foreign totalitarian government and a former Soviet secret police agent are upbraiding us for our draconian ways, but we as a people need to shake off our pride for long enough to see that our country has lost its way—both at home and abroad.