We have all heard more than enough about the plethora of sensitive, as well as a few classified, United States government documents which were released via Wikileaks, an Internet network for whistleblowers, last week. While, at the moment, it appears that the nature of what found its way into the open arms of the so-called mainstream media is not so much threatening to our national security as it is embarrassing, the nature of this diplomatic catastrophe serves as a wake-up call to all major powers across the globe. It marks the beginning of a new era, one in which a lone wolf, so to speak, has the power fundamentally to alter the course of international diplomacy. With the advent of the World Wide Web, the times have changed to the point that an activist armed only with a consumer-grade laptop is capable of doing what the most cunning of villains in James Bond movies of yesteryear could only dream of: igniting strife and chaos so far-reaching that none, from the Prime Minister of Sweden to a low-level bureaucrat in Israel, is left unaffected.
The question which everyone should be asking themselves is, quite obviously, who is responsible for all of this? I am not referring to the fact that we live in a cyber-media age, of course, but rather to the mastermind behind the distribution of these documents. That individual, one Julian Assange, is a 39-year-old expatriate Australian hacker and professional flamethrower who apparently lives out of his backpack in true nomadic style while gallivanting around Europe. While many of my center-right contemporaries choose to dub Assange a flaming left-winger, I do not believe this to be the case in the slightest. He strikes me as being more of an anarchist, an individual bent on inflicting his warped ideology wherever he sees the chance. People of his ilk are notoriously difficult to manage, as they have a tendency to press on with their crusades even in the face of certain defeat. One need only look back at the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901 at the hand of Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist so radical that even Emma Goldman rejected him from her clique. I believe that he and Assange are far closer in their beliefs than the latter would be to, say, Che Guevara.
It is very possible that Assange’s actions will lead to a new wave of anarchism, inspiring an array of like-minded ne’er-do-wells to rise up and enter the ring of transnational destabilization. Let us hope not, but then again, the time-tested adage that it only takes a single person to change the world does ring true. That, as I am sure everybody can agree, is both a blessing and a curse, and in this instance, most definitely a curse of the most vile sort.