And what the US is doing, with respect to spying and whistleblowing, compromises it.
I was following a thread discussing the benefits of having the NSA and CIA, when they didn't even stop the Chattanooga shooter who shot four marines, but not before writing about Islam on a public blog. Discussion evolved to that maybe the benefits are economic. That maybe these agencies don't stop most bad things from happening, but the US reaps benefits from stealing secrets from other countries.
I find it disturbing to talk about stealing as something acceptable just because it's done between countries instead of between people.
How would stealing from other countries benefit the people of the US? To make use of what you've stolen, you have to give it to some company. Does that really help the average American, or just tycoons with ties to spooks?
To the extent that the US is doing things right, it has been, and should continue to be, the country to be stolen from; not a country that needs to resort to stealing. If you have to steal from other countries, it means you're behind.
There's no reason to steal from various countries around the world if you can just be a nice country into which smart people all want to immigrate, and live there. You don't get to be that with an intrusive, spying government.
A principal contributor to the US being great has been attracting smart people with integrity and constructive values. Einstein, Schwarzenegger, Tesla born in Europe. Elon Musk born in South Africa. Sergey Brin born in Moscow.
You may not like some of them, but these are examples of millions of capable individuals, who would not have come to the US if the US was just like Russia. These people, and their parents, were attracted to the US because of its value system; because it's not like oppressive regimes abroad. And they go on to build the country.
Don't be victim to Dunning Kruger effect, and think that without them, you would do just as well.
The more you adopt a value system of a mediocre country, the more this engine will stop, and the more you'll become mediocre yourselves. For countries as much as individuals, stealing costs; it's short-term gain for long-term loss.
See my previous post on this topic: Whistleblowing policy proposal