Dec 15, 2010 10:58 am


Here we go again. First, the liberal columnist was surprised by the veracity of Israeli diplomats, now he wonders how the anti-American intellectual elite got it all so wrong. Rachman describes the intellectual elite's belief system thus:

For the European and Latin American left, just as for the Chinese or Russian nationalist right, it has long been all but assumed that whatever the Americans say publicly about their foreign policy is simply a cover story for some sort of secret agenda. What that agenda is can vary, according to taste – the interests of a powerful company (Halliburton!), the subversion of a leftwing government, the weakening of a rival nation. But whatever the Americans’ secret agenda was held to be, they definitely had one – only the absurdly naive could believe otherwise.

The idea that something sinister is going on behind the walls of the US embassy even became a commonplace of British films and television series, whether it was the manipulation of British public opinion (The Ploughman’s Lunch), covering up nuclear misdeeds (Defence of The Realm) or just pushing their British colleagues around (Spooks).

To Rachman and his colleagues' surprise, Wikileads has not only proved them wrong but revealed that if American diplomats were duplicitous, it was in hiding from the public the real mendacity of America's enemies.

Where WikiLeaks does reveal a gap between America’s public statements and private discussions, it tends to be because US representatives are being diplomatic rather than duplicitous. So the Americans have never said in public that they regard the Russian government as deeply corrupt, undemocratic and penetrated by organised crime. That would be needlessly confrontational and might be counter-productive – since the Russian government would portray any such comments as an insult to the motherland and a plot against Russia.

However, the revelation that this is what the Americans are saying in their internal communications actually gives these accusations far more credibility than if they were aired publicly. The barely suppressed fury of Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, is testimony to just how damaging the WikiLeaks are for Moscow. The Turkish prime minister has also threatened to sue over WikiLeak allegations that he has Swiss bank accounts.

The truth is that American diplomats live in fear that American voters will demand that Washingon be less tolerant of the mendacity of American enemies and too supportive of America's democratic friends. After all, American diplomats often consider restraining American and allied response to enemy provocations to be their top priority. In the past few years, American diplomats have been busy covering up or at least downplaying Iranian and Pakistani role in the death of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan in addition to restraining Israel from responding"disproportionately" to Arab terrorist and non terrorist attacks, India from responding to Pakistani terrorist provocations or South Korea from responding to North Korean attacks.

Exposing the real nature of Russian, Chinese, Saudi, Libyan, Egyptian, Turkish or even Iranian regimes is bound to make their efforts less reasonable and highly immoral. In short, the reason Foggy Bottom is not about to give Assange a medal is that he revealed to the American people the reality American diplomats work so hard to keep hidden from them.

None of this is news to me and my fellow Neo-conservatives. It may, however, be news to"naive" liberals such as Rachman. If the past remains a guide, some members of the liberal elite will join the Neo conservative ranks but most will not only ignore the reality exposed by Wikileaks but also help American diplomats cover it up. As the French say, plus ca change . . . .

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