It’s a bad week to be Mr. President

WEB-Obama-flickr-Joe Crimmings  copyIt’s a bad week to be the leader of the free world.

You would think that with the defeat of the Republican-led government shutdown with an eleventh hour deal to avoid the breach of the debt ceiling, President Obama would be sitting on top of the world.  Nothing could be farther from the truth, as domestic and international issues once again plague the president.

On the international front, the United States has come under heavy fire this week.  Documents leaked from the now infamous Edward Snowden have revealed that the National Security Agency was not content spying on its own citizens, as the organization has apparently also engaged in the phone and internet surveillance of French citizens. These documents revealed that this surveillance extended to the French embassy in Washington, as well as the French delegation to the United Nations in New York.

One has to wonder if the United States is tapping into Canadian phone and email conversations as well. If they are willing to violate international law to spy on the French — who Secretary of State John Kerry called their “oldest ally” — they are certainly willing to do the same for us. Consider that they have also been accused of going through the personal e-mails of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Using these weapons of terror does not reflect Obama having a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking of violations of international law, the United States has also been accused of war crimes in the past week by Amnesty International over the continued controversial drone strikes in the War on Terror. Despite claims from Obama’s chief spokesman, Jay Carney, that there must be near-certainty of no civilian casualties before a drone strike occurs, the United Nations believes that at least 400 civilians have been killed by American drone strikes in the past decade.

More importantly though, Amnesty argued that some attacked zones could not be legally classified as “war zones,” and suggested America may violate international law by striking them. Legally, lethal force cannot be used by one state against another except by UN Security Council authorization, or in self-defence against an armed attack.  

There has been no such authorization for these areas, and America would have a difficult time making a self-defence argument here, being not only the most powerful country in the world, but also summoning missiles from half a world away. Using these weapons of terror certainly does not reflect Obama having a Nobel Peace Prize to his name.

With these violations, the United States is slowly losing its footing on the moral high ground.  A morally superior country does not read the emails of their allied compatriots, they do they spy on their citizens in such an illegal manner, and they should not continue to deny any culpability in their role in the deaths of civilians in the War on Terror, which, let’s be honest, only seems to exist in the minds of Americans: we have not seen a major terrorist attack in many years.

The United States needs to own up to its actions, and stop placing itself above the international community before they lose even more respect in the world than they already have.