A specialist on German foreign policy at the European Council on Foreign Relations has described the US as a “weak superpower” whose spying methods and surveillance on other countries is solely driven by a feeling of insecurity.

The expulsion last week of the head of US intelligence in Germany after allegations that the CIA had been recruiting spies in the country has marked the worst breach in relations between the US and Germany.

The extent of damage to these relations became very clear last week when Angela Merkel criticised spying on allies by calling it “the ultimate waste of energy”.

Germany has been accustomed to regarding the US as a friend and a powerful patron, but according to recent polls, trust in the US has faded. In the early years of Barack Obama’s presidency, trust in the US soared considerably, but Edward Snowden’s revelations, the tapping of Merkel’s mobile phone and the expulsion of the head of US intelligence in Germany have all had a negative impact on the level of trust between the two sides.

This state of affairs is a great pity, especially when one considers the important role the US played in liberating Germany from the Nazis and defending it from the Soviet bloc in the Cold War.

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