Counterpunch’s Alexander Cockburn on WikiLeaks:
“The irony is that the thousands of diplomatic communications released by WikiLeaks contain no earth-shaking disclosures that undermine the security of the American empire. The bulk of them merely illustrate the well-known fact that in every capital city round the world there is a building known as the U.S. Embassy inhabited by people whose prime function is to vanquish informed assessment of local conditions with swaddling cloths of ignorance and prejudice instilled in them by what passes for higher education in the United States, whose governing elites are now more ignorant of what is really happening in the outside world that at any time in the nation’s history.
“The reports in the official press invite us to be stunned at the news that the King of Saudi Arabia wishes Iran was wiped off the map, that the US uses diplomats as spies, that Afghanistan is corrupt, also that corruption is not unknown in Russia! These press reports foster the illusion that U.S. embassies are inhabited by intelligent observers zealously remitting useful information to their superiors in Washington DC . To the contrary, diplomats – assuming they have the slightest capacity for intelligent observation and analysis — soon learn to advance their careers by sending reports to Foggy Bottom carefully tuned to the prejudices of the top State Department and White House brass, powerful members of Congress and major players throughout the bureaucracies. Remember that as the Soviet Union slid towards extinction, the US Embassy in Moscow was doggedly supplying quavering reports of a puissant Empire of Evil still meditating whether to invade Western Europe!
“This is not to downplay the great importance of this latest batch of WikiLeaks. Millions in America and around the world have been given a quick introductory course in international relations and the true arts of diplomacy – not least the third-rate, gossipy prose with which the diplomats rehearse the arch romans à clef they will write when they head into retirement.”