I don’t have any idea what the general popular reaction to the latest WikiLeaks release of diplomatic cables may be. No doubt there will be polls soon, but I haven’t seen them. However, I have been kind of surprised by the personal conversations I have had with other people, not to mention the commentary in supposedly enlightened media outlets, such as National Public Radio (NPR). I even heard someone on the radio suggesting that Julian Assange be prosecuted for treason! Doubly ridiculous, since 1) he is not an American–you can’t commit treason against someone else’s country, only your own; and 2) treason is defined (in the Constitution) as giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States — NOT as giving information to the American people!
So let me be real clear: bringing this stuff to light is great, and definitely in the interest of the American people.
If our diplomats are plotting attacks on Iran, supporting coups in Honduras, and generally expressing their contempt for the other nations of the world, I certainly want to know it. Don’t you? Sure, it embarrasses them if this stuff comes out. It should! They ought to not only embarrassed but ashamed, not just because they got caught but because they have been acting against the interests they should be promoting: world peace and democracy.
One of the more interesting revelations wat that leaders of several Arab states want the US to bomb Iran. Certainly this is embarrassing to the Arab rulers in question — but why should we care? Those guys are dictators, after all, and have personally enriched themselves by keeping the people of the Middle East in poverty. The more we can embarrass them, the better. In this particular case, maybe the embarrassment will help make the US government realize that the only way to stop nuclear proliferation is by sincerely negotiating the end of all nuclear weapons worldwide — beginning with those of the United States.
US diplomats don’t represent the American people — they represent the giant corporations that dominate politics today. Bringing their actions into the light of day should be taken as the first step toward changing this.