‘Time to wake up’: US will have to deal with rising powers on equal terms
In choosing Swedish company Saab over America’s Boeing for its new fleet of jet fighters, Brazil is continuing a South American tradition of viewing the “bully” US with suspicion, Curtis Ellis, executive director of American Jobs Alliance, told RT.
Brazil announced Wednesday it was rejecting a contract for Boeing’s F/A-18 fighter jets in favor of the Swedish Saab’s JAS 39 Gripens amid the global scandal over the NSA’s involvement in economic espionage activities.
Ellis said the US would do well to realize it can no longer dictate its relationship with South American countries, especially with rising power Brazil.
RT: Was the US expecting such a fallout from the NSA spying scandal?
Curtis Ellis: I don’t think they were. Otherwise they would’ve taken measures ahead of time to mend some of these fences, which have been badly damaged by America’s overreach.
RT: Do you think more moves like Brazil’s are set to follow?
CE: South America has always taken its own path. Go to Argentina, it prides itself of being the Paris of South America. Brazil has had close ties to Europe, perhaps closer than those ties with the US. Likewise, much of Latin America has always been suspicious of the United States as a hegemonic power, which was a bit of a bully-boy to the Latin Americans, the “giant in el norte.”
So any chance they have to do business with someone else, they’d be happy to do that. There’s a huge Asian influence growing in the southern continent. And the United States better wake up to the fact that it can’t…get away with whatever it wants. It’s going to have to deal with Brazil, a rising power, on the basis of equals, not on the basis of just taking it for granted.
RT: So with Boeing losing such a big contract because of the government policy, do you think there will be more private, and publicly-traded, companies pushing against the NSA policies?
CE: We’re seeing already in the tech sector, Google, Yahoo, some of the larger tech companies - which have been, perhaps mistakenly, considered complicit in the NSA’s wiretapping and hoovering of electronic records - are now demanding some kind of accountability, and some type of distance between themselves and the NSA. This situation with Brazil is a personal affront to Barack Obama, as well.
Now, the Swedish won the contract for the jet fighters. Remember, it was Sweden’s neighbor, Norway, which awarded Barack Obama a Nobel Peace Prize on the basis of creating a new international climate that had suddenly improved because Barack Obama had ascended to power. And this was going to be a new era of international cooperation. What he’s done is 180 degrees opposite of that. He is now creating an international coalition against American hegemonic power.
RT: A report has come out recommending change to the NSA. It’s not an outright dent in the data collection, though. Could we see any of these recommendations actually become legislation? And will it make any real difference?
CE: There’s a growing number of senators and House representatives – in fact, there’s a caucus within the House – calling for defunding the NSA or not paying their water bill, not giving them electricity. The Libertarian wing of the Republican Party, which has a tribune of Rand Paul in the Senate and Justin Amash in the House, are openly in opposition to the NSA. I don’t know what these recommendations are. I haven’t read them in-depth. I don’t know if they amount to, “if you like your privacy, you can keep it,” if that’s what Obama is saying here, or if they are substantial reforms.