In their preface to the latest document release, the good people of WikiLeaks presented themselves as modern day muckrakers, striking a blow against the rotten hypocrisy of America’s diplomatic establishment.
This document release reveals the contradictions between the US’s public persona and what it says behind closed doors – and shows that if citizens in a democracy want their governments to reflect their wishes, they should ask to see what’s going on behind the scenes.
Except, I have yet to see anything in the reporting on these documents that show’s the U.S. government engaged in any behavior that would upset the great mass of the American public. In a statement to the press today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made this same point, rather directly.
There have been examples in history in which official conduct has been made public in the name of exposing wrongdoings or misdeeds. This is not one of those cases. In contrast, what is being put on display in this cache of documents is the fact that American diplomats are doing the work we expect them to do. They are helping identify and prevent conflicts before they start. They are working hard every day to solve serious practical problems, to secure dangerous materials, to fight international crime, to assist human rights defenders, to restore our alliances, to ensure global economic stability.
This is the role that America plays in world. This is the role our diplomats play in serving America. And it should make every one of us proud. The work of our diplomats doesn’t just benefit Americans but also billions of others around the globe. In addition to endangering particular individuals, disclosures like these tear at the fabric of the proper function of responsible government. People of good faith understand the need for sensitive diplomatic communications, both to protect the national interest and the global common interest. Every country, including the United States, must be able to have candid conversations about the people and nations with whom they deal.
Is Hillary Clinton wrong? Dear Swampland readers–the American ones, at least–have you read anything that convinces you American government was acting against the interests of its people? Are the wishes of the American people not reflected in the cables?