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Thu Jul 17, 2014, 06:39 AM

How the US Went From ‘Older Brother’ to ‘Big Brother’


The NSA spying scandal has torn gaping wounds into German-American relations. The U.S. went long ago from being our older brother to literally being our “Big Brother,” the omnipresent watchdog - and that has produced painful consequences.

How the US Went From ‘Older Brother’ to ‘Big Brother’
Berliner Zeitung, Germany
By Holger Schmale
Translated By Ron Argentati
10 July 2014
Edited by Lau­rence Bouvard

Saying goodbye to a great love is always painful, even if both promise they will always remain close friends. That's a bit how it is with the relationship between Germany and the United States.

How greatly did we (West) Germans worship the Americans after World War II, or more recently, ever since our occupiers became our protectors first and finally, our friends. Of course, there were occasional low points in the relationship: the war in Vietnam and again with the invasion of Iraq, not to mention the whole George W. Bush administration, for example. However, a new wave of sympathy always followed these, most recently with the election of Barack Obama as president.

However, there's a difference between what the U.S. does in other parts of the world — in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Guantanamo — and when we suddenly find ourselves a victim of U.S. activities where we previously thought of ourselves as their friends and partners: That's how it currently is in Germany.

Many Germans, and most of all Chancellor Merkel, find themselves waking from a delusion. We recognize that all those pretty speeches about close ties and shared values — or simply put, the much-vaunted German-American relationship — don't count for much, except when they apply only to American superpower interests. The much-idolized great love turns out to be just a frigid, despicable egoist.

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