A Leak Too Far?

So, the latest massive wikileak has gone public, and now the black helicopters are out after Assange and the State Department is putting serious efforts into damage control. How will the US fare when all the dust has settled? I think, pretty well.

For one thing, those who pooh-poohed the seriousness of the leaks and said that things would soon blow over are partially right. Much of the messages contents would come as no surprise to, as one commenter said, anyone who reads back issues of The Economist. I think much of the non-government world will be surprised that the US is aware of these things. We’re not totally clueless, it seems.

For another, I think folk will be surprised by the depth and quality of the analysis in many of the documents. The professional diplomats at State, whatever the Republicans might think of them, are very smart, very well-educated, very well-spoken people. In many areas they are like lawyers – they are taking an advocacy position in support of their client, the US government, and reporting back the results. In others, they are sending back straight-shooting reports, speaking truth to power, and saying things the Executive Branch might not want to hear.

Part of what also becomes clear is that, far from supporting dictators because we feel most comfortable with that kind of regime, in many cases we are holding our nose and making the best deal possible, under the circumstances. What are the circumstances? That we are attempting to solve a multidimensional, multi-variable, multiobjective, optimization problem in a dynamic, unstable, system, with not a lot of control over most of the variables.

Is there a downside? Of course. It’s never good to have your unflattering personal opinion of someone flaunted around the world, particularly when you have to continue working with that person or government. There are delicate discussions that should be kept sub rosa until the right time. For example, who knew that the US had the foresight to start a conversation with China over what to do when the NK regime falls? Unfortunately, that’s going to make life a little harder for those who have to deal with the brat.

The upside is also that we find out about the crimes of the leadership. For example, Ron Cole points to a message that appears to confirm that SecDef, at least, lied to the public about arms flow from Iran to the Taliban, but told the Italian government the truth — not much in the way of arms crossing the border. As others have pointed out, if our mainstream media had any backbone over the last ten years, a lot of this would have been ferreted out already. It’s due to the press failing in its duty to expose the duplicity of government that we only find out these things now.

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