Things have gone from bad to worse in German - US relations with the discovery that two low-level German officials were spying on behalf of the CIA. It is naive to think that nations do not spy on each other, but in this case the spies were caught and it came after an acrimonious year of leaks by Edward Snowden. To make matters worse, the information passed along by the spies was of little or now value.
The conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - normally favorably disposed to the US - is infuriated by this latest scandal:
Über einen Zwist zwischen Deutschland und den Vereinigten Staaten können sich nur die Feinde des Westens freuen. Denn hier streiten und lähmen sich enge Verbündete, die – bei allen Meinungs- und Mentalitätsunterschieden – auf vielen Feldern ähnliche oder gar gleiche Ziele und Interessen verfolgen. Und die immer behaupten, ihr Bündnis, ja ihre „Freundschaft“ gründe auf einem stabilen Fundament von gemeinsamen Werten und Überzeugungen. Daran aber wachsen auf beiden Seiten des Atlantiks die Zweifel, und das ist der eigentliche Sprengstoff, der in dieser Affäre steckt.
("The West's enemies are the only ones who will be delighted over a spat between Germany and the US. Because it means quarrelling and paralysis between two close allies who - despite all the differences of opinion and mentality - share similar or even identical goals and interests in many areas. And who always claim that their alliance, their 'friendship', is based on a stable foundation of shared values and beliefs. But doubts about that are growing on both sides of the Atlantic, and that is the real explosive factor in this affair.)
I am glad that the author (Berthold Kohler) wrote about "doubts growing on both sides of the Atlantic." For there are real doubts about Germany's commitment to the West, We see columnists for Germany's leading news magazine openly calling for appeasement with Russia. We see one former chancellor expressing sympathy with Putin for Russia's aggression in the Crimea, which another former chancellor travels to St. Petersburg to celebrate Vladimir Putin's birthday even as Russian troops are invading a sovereign European nation. We see Germany's largest opposition party in the Bundestag condemn Nato and the United States and pledge allegiance to Putin's ethnic nationalist policies.
So yes, the spying scandal is another self-inflicted wound by the United States. But there is a growing uneasiness with som internal trends in Germany.