Hogan's Alley

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Wikileaks Goal, Bring Down the West?

The new dump of cable traffic from the U.S.State Department is simply the latest in Julian Assange, the Wikileaks leader's, ongoing campaign to disable the western democracies and large western corporations.  He may assert that he seeks openness in all governments and institutions, but take a look at their website.  (You'll have to find it your self because I will never link to it.)  What you will find is their promotion of themselves by listing all their important releases.  What they all have in common, except for a few leaks from African governments, is that all the released information is from American and European governments and corporations.

Where are documents that reveal the inner workings of Russia and China's worldwide efforts, not to mention the horrors of charming little terror states like North Korea.  Without noting the irony, Assange asserts on their website that one of their methods of securing documents is to file FOIL requests.  The Freedom Of Information Law is a creature of American democracy.  Similar rights to access government documents exist in other democracies.  Go try and file a FOIL request in Bejing or Moscow.  I guarantee that you will end up in jail, if you are lucky.

The resulting outcome of Wikileaks' activity is to hobble U.S. intelligence and diplomacy while leaving the other great powers to do as they wish with the assurance of full secrecy.  Given that this is the only completely predictable outcome of these leaks, it is logical to assume this as the goal of the exercise.  Were I the chief of Russian intelligence I would, assuming that he is not in fact my agent, send Julian Assange a case of the finest vodka for his contribution to damaging the West.

The other irony in this affair is that Assange and other leftists who, if their writings are to be believed, seek world peace and are attacking the U.S. as the warmonger nation they see it to be are actively seeking to damage U.S. diplomacy.  Do they really believe that if America cannot conduct peaceful diplomacy with the world that future Presidents will be then less likely to rely on the blunt instruments wielded by our armed forces?

As James P. Rubin notes at the New Republic:

By and large, the hard left in America and around the world would prefer to see the peaceful resolution of disputes rather than the use of military force. World peace, however, is a lot harder to achieve if the U.S. State Department is cut off at the knees. And that is exactly what this mass revelation of documents is going to do. The essential tool of State Department diplomacy is trust between American officials and their foreign counterparts. Unlike the Pentagon, which has military forces, or the Treasury Department, which has financial tools, the State Department functions mainly by winning the trust of foreign officials, sharing information, and persuading. Those discussions have to be confidential to be successful. Destroying confidentiality means destroying diplomacy.
As for Pfc. Bradley Manning, who claims to have downloaded all these documents and provided them to Wikileaks, he is so deluded that he says the following to Adrian Lamo, a former hacker, as reported on the Wired site:
What, me worry?

Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public.

Everywhere there’s a U.S. post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed,” he wrote. “It’s open diplomacy. World-wide anarchy in CSV format. It’s Climategate with a global scope, and breathtaking depth. It’s beautiful, and horrifying.

I hope he is enjoying the non-event that his actions provoked.  As soon as the Times has finished reporting the contents of the newest leak in a few days the event will be over.  Anarchy will not be unleashed on the world, no governments will fall and no senior officials will resign.  But the diplomatic dealings of the United State will change in very serious ways, all aimed at less information being available.  The organization will continue, but it will generate much less information about other nations to American leaders.  Less information can predictibly lead only to less informed decision making.  Not a good thing for a great power capable of mass destruction.  War, not peace, is the most likely product of Wikileaks venting its founder's anger at America.

One last thought: Isn't it interesting that so very much of what is said in the "secret" documents has been said in public by our officials?  I would love to see some Russian and Chinese cable traffic and compare it to their public pronouncements.

Labels: ,