Wikileaks is a sensation, providing an unprecedented view of backroom bargaining by embassies all over the world, harsh assessments of foreign leaders and insider views of nuclear and terrorist threats. Like its predecessors the Obama administration says the diplomacy must remain secret. Wikileaks says all governments abuse secrecy by hiding facts and negotiations that should be made public. Here are a few examples:
- American and South Korean officials have discussed the formation of a United Korea should North Korea’s economic and political troubles cause the North to implode.
- The US has offered political and large financial incentives to many countries to persuade them to take some of the prisoners now held in Guantanamo Bay Jail, untried and therefore unconvicted.
- When Afghanistan’s vice president visited the United Arab Emirates this year, local authorities discovered he was carrying $52 million in cash. Perhaps for a drug deal?
- China’s Politburo directed the invasion into Google’s computer systems in China. Other cables said that China has broken into US government computers, those of US allies, the Dalai Lama and American businesses.
- American officials sharply warned Germany in 2007 not to enforce arrest warrants for CIA officers involved in a bungled operation in which an innocent German citizen with the same name as a suspected militant was mistakenly kidnapped and held for months in Afghanistan.
The drama in the Wikileaks cables often comes from diplomats’ stories of meetings with foreign figures, as well as games of diplomatic poker, the raw use of US power, and US assets spent profusely on legal and illegal strategies.