The Water Cooler

No damage to India from Wikileaks so far

The classified documents released by WikiLeaks show how American leaders, who seem respectful in their diplomatic dealings, talk more candidly among themselves, and understandably, no world leader is outraged yet.

India, Iran, Turkey, Israel, and several other nations mentioned in the conversations have taken the revelations in their stride. That's a relief for now, but what's the guarantee that more scandalous revelations aren't coming up?

Not many in India are offended by Hillary Clinton calling the country a "self-appointed frontrunner" for a UN Security Council seat. Except for a TV channel, which portrayed her statement as an example of American doublespeak (the US is officially supportive of India's bid), few commentators have found the leaks hard to digest. In fact, American scepticism about India's UN seat bid is not unknown.

Though embarrassed over some disclosures, America has so far come out clean, prompting The New York Times to write a laudatory editorial:

…what struck us, and reassured us, about the latest trove of classified documents released by WikiLeaks was the absence of any real skullduggery. After years of revelations about the Bush administration's abuses — including the use of torture and kidnappings — much of the Obama administration's diplomatic wheeling and dealing is appropriate and, at times, downright skillful.

The NYT approves of the manner in which the Obama administration has dealt with the Iran question:

As the cables show, the administration has been under pressure from both Israel and Arab states to attack Tehran's nuclear program pre-emptively. It has wisely resisted, while pressing for increasingly tough sanctions on Iran.

The Times and other news media have already reported much of this. What the cables add is sizzle: Defense Minister Ehud Barak of Israel warning that the world has just 6 to 18 months to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon; King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia imploring Washington to "cut off the head of the snake"; Bahrain's king warning that letting Iran's program proceed was "greater than the danger of stopping it."

The NYT also believes the leaked cables give blunt assessments of world leaders, and reveal to the American public that their country is in safe hands:

There are legitimate reasons for keeping many diplomatic conversations secret. The latest WikiLeaks revelations will cause awkward moments not least because they contain blunt assessments of world leaders. The claim by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that the leaks threaten national security seems exaggerated. The documents are valuable because they illuminate American policy in a way that Americans and others deserve to see.

The Washington Post reported that the government could book criminal cases against Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks:

In the UK, the "cocky" conduct of Prince Andrew has become the subject of a debate. Andrew travels the world as a UK trade representative, and WikiLeaks documents reveal he spoke against his country's corruption investigators and the press. The Guardian quotes a dispatch from the American ambassador, which portrays the prince as rude and ultra-patriotic. He also discussed corruption in Krygystan.

Related:
Hillary afraid leaks could endanger lives
US soldier behind WikiLeaks
US condemns disclosure of classified records
Leaks so far show India in flattering light

Columnist Profiles

Follow Us on Facebook

Blogs