Should the US be spying on its friends?

United States is the world’s oldest democracy and is supposed to be a “shinning example” to the rest of the world. Yet US has an official policy of spying on everyone whether friend or foe. So should the US be spying on its friends? Please note that this article is a blog response to an NY Times article with the same name.

For over 200 years US has been at the forefront of science and technology. A free and fair society has fostered an environment of entrepreneurship that has propelled US to great heights. But freedom always comes at a price.

US has enemies who are always intent on undermining the just and free way of life. While US has many friends worldwide, it is also the case that there are many enemies who masquerade as friends and try to destroy the great nation. Freedom and homeland security therefore go hand in hand.

But the question still remains, should the US be spying on its friends?

Thus keeping an eye on friends and foes alike should be the underpinning of US foreign policy. Today’s friend might be tomorrow’s enemy and today’s enemy might be tomorrow’s friend. The US government should, for that reason, monitor even allies to understand what is happening in these nations.

When a nation is an US ally, it means that US will defend the nation with all its resources when required, putting at stake US lives (Colby, 2013). Hence gathering foreign intelligence or spying is vital to protect the liberty and security of Americans. Spying on other countries, including allies, is thus  a pragmatic foreign policy.

On moral grounds, should the US be spying on its friends?

All nations spy. Most of them may not have the resources of the US, but they still do the same nonetheless. Spying is vital to protect American interests from the dangers of terrorism, drug trafficking and climate change etc.

If tomorrow one of US’s allies is found to be involved in dumping toxic waste, US is also to blame indirectly. Had US monitored them and intervened early on, a global environmental disaster could have been prevented.

As a superpower, should the US be spying on its friends?

US therefore has a duty and obligation to spy on and monitor the activities of its friendly allies. As a world superpower, US has many enemies some of whom are openly hostile while some pretend to be friends. Spying will help identify the fake allies and hidden enemies, help prevent real enemies from becoming more powerful and help in forging strong bonds with true allies and bring about global peace and prosperity.

Colby, E. (2013, Dec 4). Why We Must Spy on Our Allies.

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