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November 28, 2010

WikiLeaks: The State Department Files

The SOBs at WikiLeaks are back and along with their willing accomplices in the media they are revealing internal State Department communications. So far most of the stuff seems likely to cause some mild embarrassment and discomfort.

A few highlights.

Gaming out an eventual collapse of North Korea: American and South Korean officials have discussed the prospects for a unified Korea, should the North’s economic troubles and political transition lead the state to implode. The South Koreans even considered commercial inducements to China, according to the American ambassador to Seoul. She told Washington in February that South Korean officials believe that the right business deals would “help salve” China’s “concerns about living with a reunified Korea” that is in a “benign alliance” with the United States.

Bargaining to empty the Guantánamo Bay prison: When American diplomats pressed other countries to resettle detainees, they became reluctant players in a State Department version of “Let’s Make a Deal.” Slovenia was told to take a prisoner if it wanted to meet with President Obama, while the island nation of Kiribati was offered incentives worth millions of dollars to take in a group of detainees, cables from diplomats recounted. The Americans, meanwhile, suggested that accepting more prisoners would be “a low-cost way for Belgium to attain prominence in Europe.”

...

As he left Zimbabwe in 2007 after three years as ambassador, Christopher W. Dell wrote a sardonic account of Robert Mugabe, that country’s aging and erratic leader. The cable called Mr. Mugabe “a brilliant tactician” but mocked “his deep ignorance on economic issues (coupled with the belief that his 18 doctorates give him the authority to suspend the laws of economics).”

Hopefully Obama will read that last report, he might learn something.

It'll take awhile to parse all of this out as various WikiLeaks media 'partners' (in crime), roll out their stories.

Der Spiegel has a preview of their planned stories, including the revelation that the US was apparently getting some inside information as Germany built their coalition government and some unflattering assessments of the new German Foreign Minister.

Mostly they seem really surprised that the US isn't thrilled with Turkey's lurch towards Islamic fundamentalism.

Mostly it seems this is a story about they hyper-empowerment of individuals and small groups in the modern world. How in the world does an Army PFC get access to this material. Why can't the US government shut down a cartoonish 'international man of mystery' like Julian Assange?

It seems the most likely danger is that individuals will be afraid to share information with US officials out of fear that they will show up in the next batch of WikiLeaks. In some parts of the world that will get you dead right quick. Of course Assange doesn't care about that.

Personally, I think it would be kind of fun if Assange could get a hold of some European or Asian government files and see what they think about Obama and Madame Clinton.

Added:
Via Andy Levy....Blake Hounshell, the Managing Editor of Foreign Policy magazine is "live tweeting" as he reads through the cables. He's already found some interesting nuggets.


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posted by DrewM. at 02:41 PM

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