John Kerry: Government Shutdown Causing Diplomatic Problems, Not Surveillance Scandal

According to John Kerry, the government “shutdown” affected more than just those wanting to run on a national park trail or those wanting to see the World War II Memorial or view the Panda Cam at the national zoo. Apparently, the dire consequences of the shutdown we experienced recently extended internationally all the way to our numerous allies.

At a speech he gave at the Center for American Progress, he stated:

“I wanted to reflect on the damage that events like the one we’ve just been through can do to the esteem in which the United States is held in the world. The shutdown, and the dysfunction, and the simplistic dialogue that came with it, didn’t impress anyone about the power of America’s example. The simple fact is that the shutdown created temporary but real consequences in our ability to work with our partners and pursue our interests abroad.”

He went on and on lamenting the shutdown and all the damage it caused to our previously perfect and untainted image around the world.

But something was missing from his speech. Did the faux government shutdown really have such far-reaching effects? Didn’t the surveillance scandal have something to do with our failing diplomatic ties?

It made headlines recently that the NSA had spied on some 35 world leaders. Fox News reported:

Tensions between the U.S. government and its allies continued to flare amid reports that the National Security Agency monitored phone calls of 35 world leaders — this after Germany’s government summoned the U.S. ambassador to account for allegations that the agency may have targeted Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone. The latest report in the Guardian says a secret memo reveals that the NSA was encouraging top departments to share their “Rolodexes” in order to keep numbers for top foreign leaders in their surveillance systems. The document reportedly said an official handed over 200 numbers, some of which covered 35 world leaders. Those leaders were not named. 

And remember Jay Carney’s rhetorical side-stepping surrounding the wiretapping of the German Chancellor’s cellphone? He said that the “United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of the Chancellor.” Notice he didn’t comment if such monitoring had already occurred. Just that it isn’t presently and won’t be in the future. In the meantime, they’ll be working on redefining the term “monitor.”

The surveillance scandal is what is making international headlines. But you wouldn’t know it from listening to Kerry’s speech. He didn’t even mention it. He blamed everything on the shutdown, which I’m sure he’d blame on Ted Cruz.