The much heralded release of thousands of pages of internal State Department communications by WikiLeaks has received a lot of public attention and sent WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange into hiding in Switzerland, but if you wade through the documents what you find is mostly uninteresting and even the high points are far from the shocking revelations the build-up led us to expect.
Admittedly, WikiLeaks has only leaked a few hundred of about 200,000 cables, but I fear the whole thing will be a bust if they followed the natural inclination to leak the most sensational stuff first to stir up interest. What’s some out so far is mostly information which is unsurprising and predictable and at best mildly titillating. Perhaps the most shocking aspect is the level of fascination State Department officers have with prurient trivialities and petty rivalries, reminding us that they’re just another clutch of bored bureaucrats.
One of the great things about having a worldwide network of underpaid professional journalists is that those poor suckers get to read this stuff and summarize it for us so we don’t have to. Here are some of the highlights:
• Saudi Arabia wants us or Israel to nuke Iran. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, but it does have the entertainment value of being extremely embarraasing to the Saudis now that the whole world knows just how little they believe in Islamic solidarity. But why should they? They’re Sunnis and the Iranians are Shiites. There’s only room for one big player in the Israel-hating game and Iran keeps trying to muscle in on their action. If Israel slapped Iran down it would put the Saudis back in the driver’s seat. Plus the only people the fundamentalists Iran is backing hate more than the Jews are the Saudi ruling class, a group whose main redeeming characteristic is that one of their slave-owning princes is now on record comparing Iranian President Ahmedinejad to Hitler.
• State Department analysts expect North Korea to collapse. Another non-revelation. With an economy based on slave labor, mass starvation and selling missiles to Iran, all to support a parasitic bureaucracy and ridiculously large military, it’s a miracle that North Korea hasn’t collapsed already. Why do you think we’re in no hurry to push through any kind of negotiated deal with the North Koreans. If we stall long enough they are bound to implode, leaving us and our allies to pick up the pieces.
• No one likes Pakistan. A number of the cables bring up concerns from every quarter about Pakistain. The Israelis think they’re unstable and dangerous, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia despises Pakistani President Zardari. The US has been trying to undermine the Pakistani nuclear program for years. Everyone agrees the government is going to be overthrown by radical Islamists and turn into a threat to the entire region. Again, scary and unfortunate, but not a surprise.
• The US doesn’t trust the United Nations. Only surprising because the attitude seems to have continued under the Obama administration. Reassuring in that some of us had wondered whether people inside our government realized what was obvious to everyone else, that the UN is packed with radicals and crazies from the most reprehensible governments on the planet who are up to all manner of corruption and malfeasance, and are universally hostile to the United States and our interests. We wanted our UN representatives to spy on the other UN delegations? Well, I should hope so. The best thing about the UN is that it gathers so many international criminals together in one place should we ever want to take them out as a group.
• Qaddafi likes hot blondes. Another reason to like Islam’s most user-friendly dictator. Qaddafi may have delusions of grandeur, but playing slap and tickle with a statuesque Ukrainian nurse half his age just earns him my respect. I’d rather have him doing that than hostin al Quaida training camps and chemical weapons factories in Libya.
Julian Assange promises to release more of these documents on a daily basis, at least so long as he can stay out of jail. He’s wanted for questioning in the US, for rape in Sweden, and Australia is considering revoking his passport. The blame for the release of these documents really ought to fall on his sources, not on Assange or any of the journalists he has released them to. He’s a creepy, narcissistic freak, but if the government didn’t want these documents leaked they should have done a better job securing them, and that should be their priority for the future, not prosecuting Assange.
Assange and WikiLeaks thrive on controversy and stirring up trouble. Given the unshocking nature of these latest revelations the smart strategy for the US government would probably be to just ignore him and laugh off the small embarrassments he’s bringing to light. But as the docements demonstrate, taking the high road and avoiding pettiness are clearly not the strong suit of our bureaucratic elite. Plus they can use any distraction they can get from the exploding TSA scandal.