How the leak of diplomatic cables will free us (but not really)

At the time of writing, Wikileaks has released 842 of the 251,287 US diplomatic cables that it has come into possession of by way of a leak from within the US Army.

So far it has been revealed that;

  • None of the governments involved in the conflict in Afghanistan are confident that the war can be won against the Taliban or that it can be turned into a viable democracy
  • Both the current and previous US Secretary’s of State have authorised “spying” on UN officials, including the Secretary-General.

These are just two points, there have been hundreds more and still there will be hundreds of thousands more revalations.

Of course, because the Americans are so involved in almost every country in the world, these cables also include quotes from prominent figures within these countries. Such as a William Hague, now First Secretary of State in our own United Kingdom, Ali Abdullah Saleh, President of Yemen and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabi, to name but a few.

What all of this means is that over the course of the amount of time it takes to release all of these cables (months? years?) we will slowly start to see how our governments really operate and what they really think, or at least, what they have said to the Americans and/or what the Americans perceive.

Of course, we all know that governments operate in secrecy from the electorate and what they say is not always what gets done or what they really think, but for the first time we can really get a broad view of what has been going on – where it concerned the United States at least.

What we won’t see is very much insight into domestic policy; I doubt that the US Ambassador wrote back to Washington concerning student top-up fees for example. What we will see is how they actually are concerned with international policy and action – for example how it is now becoming apparent that there have been secret US air strikes in Yemen – ordered by the Yemeni government.

We will start to see a different side to the US and other worldwide governments, one that we know is true and is not just “conspiracy theory”, and we should be thankful for that.

Having said that, I can see some potentially horrendously damaging cables still to come out; otherwise why is Hilary Clinton so worked up about the whole thing? I believe that we’ll see a lot of cables that conflict directly with US foreign policy and will cause the Obama administration to have to answer some very awkward questions at a very critical time.

Of course, there will always be things that we will not know, that is going on in government and affects us, but it has been chosen that it is to be kept from us, but at least from this we can get a clearer insight to guide us in the right direction in the future.

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