The True Nature of the Wikileaks Scandal: Gossip Galore!

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Wikileaks is having a field day with American foreign policy! And the media along with Wikileaks.  People who love gossip have never had it so good.

Here in Italy every newspaper put the news of the latest humongous "leak" on their first page. And humongous it is: the daily communications of American diplomatic posts, over 250,000 secret messages sent by American diplomats to the State Department

For two days before the release of the leaks, Hillary Clinton  did some damage control on a grand scale, contacting every country concerned, from India to Italy. I wonder whether she contacted Lybia too...Because the leaks on Ghedafi were pretty strong stuff, calling him a hypochondriac and worse.

The White House upon the release of the leaks immediately stated:“We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.”

Of course, one would expect the White House to do so. All this is hugely embarrassing for American diplomacy, but in truth, the leaks have NOT revealed much of anything that is new or earth-shaking (see the Daily Beast analyses attached below). Just a few amusing things, like Berlusconi's romance with Putin and perhaps a few surprising things, like the US resisting its Arab partners wishes to attack Iran.

Once the dust has settled, expect little change in international politics.

There are however two problems for American foreign policy: one, is a probable breakdown in trust. In future, foreigners - at least until they start forgetting the wikileaks scandal - are likely to avoid confiding anything to American diplomats from fear that one day all will be revealed. Many have always maintained that Americans can't keep a secret and now they surely feel vindicated. But a word of warning is in order: leaks from other countries are also possible. Who knows whether Wikileaks won't come out with Chinese, German or Russian diplomatic dispatches one of these days?

The other problem is harder to disregard. While whatever American diplomats wrote is not equivalent to American foreign policy, the trouble is that it presumably helped to shape it. And a lot of those cables betray an extraordinary low level of analysis, an ingenuity in believing anything one is told, a lack of control over data, a disregard for trying to ensure that the information is correct.

If American foreign policy is based on this kind of dispatches, God help us all!

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