The New Wikileaks Leaks

I’ve been terribly busy doing other things today and am just now catching up on the new “leaks.” And one of the first wikileaked bits I found in the New York Times was this:

Thinking about 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.

And I’m thinking, what kind of irresponsible shithead would leak something like that? Especially when the two Koreas are as close to war as they have been for many years. The world would be a far better place if North Korea imploded, and if the Koreas could be united under democratic government without China getting bent out of shape about it, so much the better. But stoking the paranoia and instability in Pyongyang is not what anyone needs right now.

Another leak describes a “highly secret effort” by the U.S. to get some highly enriched uranium out of Pakistan, where it could fall into the hands terrorists. Yeah, thanks loads for blowing that cover, bozo.

Other stuff described in the Times comes under the heading of stuff we already knew, even if we didn’t know details. Someone thinks the government of Afghanistan may be corrupt? This is news? China’s Politburo engages in global computer sabotage. There have been several news stories about Chinese government hacks over the past few years.

Sean Paul Kelley of the Agonist points out that some of the leaks have possibly set back the effort to close Gitmo. Further,

It’s fine and well to sit on your high horse and talk *tsk* *tsk* about bribery and ethics and morals but the disclosure of these cables will harm your interests. Let me put it this way: do you want to see the US invade Yemen? How can the disclosure of President Saleh of Yemen lying to his own people (and laughing about it) do us any good? How will it do the cause of peace any good at all when it will more than likely destabilize Yemen further and subsequently add momentum to the “do something crowd” in the Beltway? Do you think a Yemen post-Saleh will be less inclined to radical Islam? Do you honestly think these disclosures are going to stop that? This is just one example.

Keven Drum writes that the fallout in the Mideast could be huge. See also The Arabist.

For once, reactions from much of the right and left blogospheres appear to be in the same ball park — that much of what has been reported from the leaks so far is either stuff everyone pretty much already knew, or else was secret for a good reason. But today’s “even dumber than Jim Holt Hoft” award goes to Donald Douglas of Right Wing News, who writes,

I continue to be amazed at the fawning credibility Assange gets on the progressive left. Anything that tears down the military — even putting at risk the lives of Americans and our allies — is totally cool with these freaks. But maybe something good will come of all this, in the end.

And I thought, who on the progressive left is “fawning” over this stuff? And it turns out the link goes to Charli Carpenter of Lawyers, Guns and Money, who wrote,

Wow. Iran’s neighbors are threatened by its rise! Many governments think Pakistan may not be able to secure its nuclear arsenal! The US attempts to use its leverage with its allies to achieve its political objectives! China has engaged in a cyber-campaign against Google and other American companies! Yemen approves of US’ targeted killings on its soil (but claims otherwise to quell domestic opposition)! Also, governments routinely spy on United Nations officials!

Who knew all this stuff, eh? Thank the stars for Wikileaks.

[cross-posted at Duck of Minerva]

Yes, it’s true. Donald Douglas is too stupid to recognize obvious sarcasm, mistaking it for “fawning.” Like I said, even dumber than Jim Hoft.

35 thoughts on “The New Wikileaks Leaks

  1. But today’s “even dumber than Jim Holt” award goes to Donald Douglas

    I think you might have to just give DD that award for lifetime achievement, then retire it.

  2. You can’t hold DD responsible. He’s a righty, and we should all remember that every single person of that persuasion suffers from an irony deficiency.

  3. I thought the plan was for the Chinese to end up with North Korea — at least, according to an NPR story the other day that mentioned China’s developing of a claim to that area as historically Chinese-conrolled.

    It is probably not possible to increase the paranoia and generally Looney-Tunes atmosphere of North Korea. What I am really amazed by is the tolerance of the South Koreans. They are playing a masterful waiting game, IMHO. And I do mean humble, because I am no expert, just an observer of the “news” we hear.

    The gaming of geopolitical scenarios is no surprise. It is just Risk at a higher level with game tokens that bleed.

  4. I just read Steve Benen’s take, and I think he says it far better than I ever could:
    “I would, however, like to know more about the motivations of the leaker (or leakers). Revealing secrets about crimes, abuses, and corruption obviously serves a larger good — it shines a light on wrongdoing, leading (hopefully) to accountability, while creating an incentive for officials to play by the rules. Leaking diplomatic cables, however, is harder to understand — the point seems to be to undermine American foreign policy, just for the sake of undermining American foreign policy. The role of whistleblowers has real value; dumping raw, secret diplomatic correspondence appears to be an exercise in pettiness and spite.”

    I don’t mind leaks that we can learn from, or that expose gross abuse or negligence by people or governments. But some of these leaks, they’re diplomatic SOP. And the Afghan goverment is corrupt! SHOCKING! Stop the presses!!! NOT…
    This seems to me to be less of a leak, and more of a data dump.
    Time will tell…

    • Susan Duclos, I assume that English is not your first language and you do not know what “fawning” means, so I will not call you a brainedwashed waste of human protoplasm. Someone’s opinion that the leaks probably won’t have any major repercussions is not “fawning.”

      awn 1 (fôn)
      intr.v. fawned, fawn·ing, fawns
      1. To exhibit affection or attempt to please, as a dog does by wagging its tail, whining, or cringing.
      2. To seek favor or attention by flattery and obsequious behavior.

      An example of “fawning” might be somebody praising the leakers for their great contribution to humanity. The blog post you linked to didn’t even come close.

      BTW, some night school classes might help you learn English.

  5. I find some of these cables reassuring. So the USA and SK are gaming NK’s implosion? It’s nice to know that people are thinking ahead. Elite corruption, cynicism and deception? Not news, but good to see confirmed and made specific. Russia a mafia state, with tyranny tempered by insubordination? Again, not news; but it’s that our diplomat’s eyes are clear. Our embassies are spy outposts? S.O.P. The Saudis want to see Iran bombed? We knew that too, but now we know that we know, and we know that we know that we know, etc.

    About that last bit; Israel and the neocons benefit from it. Could this leak have been engineered? It’s often that way with leaks.

    Their downside is “embarrassment”. Big deal. My upside is “amusement”.

  6. I’ll be outraged as soon as I can find my patriotism…Last I remember seeing it was sometime during the early Bush administration. I’m beside myself with anguish about the possibility of a set back in closing down Gitmo because the leaks have exposed how we want to release one of the worst of the worst terrorists back into society for a hefty payment to cover Bush’s folly.

  7. It seems that the real harm Bush did was take all the good to barely acceptable options off the table and leave only the horrible, disastrous and unthinkable ones for us to choose. Guess that got cut out of his book by the editors.

  8. You can count me as a liberal fawn (bad pun) of WikiLeaks, and I enjoy pointing out the contradiction that seems irresistible to its critics:

    A) We already knew all of this stuff.

    B) But it’s really dangerous now that we know it…for sure!

    I mean, are you seriously worried about the effect that public awareness of “discussions about a unified Korea” might have? If our policymakers WEREN’T discussing the possibility of a unified Korea, they wouldn’t be worthy of being policymakers, would they?

    WikiLeaks is doing what every other “journalist” in America wishes he or she could do – getting privileged, fact-checked information from credible sources concerning the hottest topics in U.S. foreign policy and then breaking that news to the public. Currently, it seems to be the most trustworthy news source we have.

    • I mean, are you seriously worried about the effect that public awareness of “discussions about a unified Korea” might have?

      Dear Dim Bulb: The issue isn’t “public” awareness; it’s “Pyongyang” awareness and “Beijing” awareness. Making such hopes public makes them less likely to happen, because the dipsticks who run North Korea and China may feel they have to save face to their publics by not going along with what South Korea and the U.S. publicly want. And the guy in charge of North Korea is genuinely crazy, has nukes, and could start a war at any time.

      Diplomacy often requires being less than candid. If we get to a place where diplomatic efforts are being perpetually undermined by some asshole who lacks the sense God gave turnips, then what is the alternative? More war? Is that what you want?

      On the other hand, as you say, what was being discussed is not exactly shocking or earth shaking to most of us, and is the sort of thing that anyone familiar with the region probably hoped was being discussed. But more than that, it’s the sort of thing that would be nice to really happen some day. Now, it is less likely to happen. Are you really too thick to see that?

      Revealing leaks is great when the leaks reveal corruption, criminality or some dangerous situation. But ruining diplomatic efforts toward peace just because one can is incredibly juvenile, reckless, and short-sighted.

      Again, it’s beyond belief that someone allegedly bright enough to speak standard English can’t see this .

  9. So what’s the news here? That elites the world over are corrupt, scheming, spying, lying fools? Not news. That the world is going straight downhill due to those elites? Not news. That diplomats say nice words but think rude thoughts? Not news. That Americans cannot keep a secret? Not news.

    Here’s some news: that Ghadafi is accompanied everywhere by a “voluptuous blonde Ukrainian senior nurse”. And that Ahmadinezhad was slapped in the face by a Revolutionary Guard chief for favoring freedom of the press. How’s that for humanizing detail? The elites knew these things, but I didn’t, and neither did you; but now we do.

    I understand the professional diplomatic issues here; damage to reputation, operations, etc. But I think that if there is political damage, it’ll be more to other nations than to this one.

  10. How is it news to North Korea that South Korea is thinking strategically about reunification? Or that China is part of their strategic thinking?

    Reunification has been a clear long term goal for many years. Do you remember the Sydney Olympics and the opening stunt of North and South Korean athletes marching under a single flag ? Seems to me that stunt says North Korea is well aware that a single Korea is desired by South Korea.

    China has been party to all of the nuclear talks. North Korea has to know that China is interested in any ultimate reunification and that South Korea has to consider China as well as Japan, US and Russia as they try to bring about a difficult process of reunification.

  11. The big lesson here is that our leaders need to get with the leaders of North Korea and Iran, and quit being so like “we won’t allow ourselves to be trapped into direct negotiations. BS, quit dancing around the problems and SOLVE them.
    The other lesson is Israel sucks, and we need to stop letting BiBi dictate to us.
    If it weren’t for the U.S., they’d be on the short list.
    I’m so tired of this crap……….

  12. I agree with wmd – there is nothing new about South Korea, the USA and China discussing what/if scenarios should North Korea collapse. It’s been discussed for years in think tanks and even published news articles, I don’t even know why it would be considered a “leak.”

    Ironically, at this very moment it’s the right-wing blogs that are fawning over Wikileaks:

    Wikileaks: It Could Take Down a Bank Or Two

  13. DON’T click on AmericanNEOCLOWN’s link!!!
    This turd pops up on the web and does this all the time, hoping to get people to go to his insipid website.
    Hey, NEOCLOWNIE, I’m sorry to see you back. I figured the cops finally had you on moral’s charges when you exposed your thimble-sized member to the JH School boys gym class.
    I guess there wasn’t enough evidence, huh?

  14. Government sycophant liberals and neocons team up to call for Assange’s head.

    China and Israel have long had their hands on these documents out of their own independent espionage. They have long since poured over and laughed at the revelations of incompetence therein. Assange is showing these documents to the American and European public, Maha what’s wrong with that?

    • non-voter: I haven’t called for Assange’s head; I merely called him an idiot, as are you.

      Assange is showing these documents to the American and European public, Maha what’s wrong with that?

      One more time: If the leaks show corruption or criminality, then good, leak away. When they potentially undermine diplomatic efforts toward a peaceful resolution of an inflammatory issue, then only an idiot would not understand why some things are better not leaked.

      As I have a minimum IQ limit requirement for commenting here, you’re being added to the twit filter.

  15. ‘Progressives and WikiLeaks’.

    The best defense is apparently a whole lotta words and links to other blogs, that never addresses the central point about sarcasm (and irony, and humor, in general) flying right over the man’s head. Either he took what Charlie Carpenter said at face value and called it “fawning,” or he didn’t. While he declares that he was right (whatever that means), he never in any way addresses his interpretation of what to most of us (and dare I say, most people, including most American neoconservative political science associate professors) saw as blatantly obvious sarcasm from Ms. Carpenter.

    • Mr. Douglas: There’s nothing substantive to argue about. You simply failed to recognize obvious satire as obvious satire. You’re not helping yourself by throwing temper tantrums all over the blogosphere because some of us called you out for being stupid. Chill, dude. Take your lumps, learn your lessons, and stay off my blog.

  16. Hey, AmericaneoCLOWNIE,
    How’s it hanging there, buddy?
    I mean, besides tiny, diseased and whithered?

    And, uhm CLOWNIE, your insispid site IS the ‘place for scintillating debate?’ I do not think that means what you think it means…
    maha doesn’t suffer fools gladly. She, and we commenters, like an exchange with someone we disagree with. Just don’t bring the usual tired old talking points, meme’s and trope’s. We’ve all read and heard them before, so why endure some more of that drivel?
    So, CLOWNIE, please contribute if you ever find something besides your usual BS to spout off about. Youre BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORING!!!

    So, bye, CLOWNIE! You have another 24 days to get better, or Santa’s gonna bring you more lumps of coal. You could probably start a plant by now. Nah, that would create jobs here. Just export. You know you want to.

  17. Gulag scored!… I award 3 points for efficacy, and 2 points for a clever put-down.

    Neo -0 Gulag – 5

    I guess there wasn’t enough evidence, huh?

  18. That would be Dr. Douglas, Ms. Barbara. Problem is, I “took my lumps” and moved on. You, on the other hand, have ignored the substantive points I’ve raised. It’s one thing to call folks “stupid.” It’s another to be willfully ignorant, as is your wont. You continually call me out, Ms. Barbara, while allowing the most vile personal invective to pollute your comment threads. You, my dear, are an enaber of hatred and an anti-intellectual. Chill that.

    • Problem is, I “took my lumps” and moved on.

      Hardly. I blocked your IP address, so you switched to another computer with a different IP address to continue to try to argue with me. That is way not “moved on.”

      You don’t have a substantive argument, sir. You have word salad. And even if I felt inclined to debate a bag of hammers, I don’t have time. So go ahead and insult me all you like on your own blog if it helps you retain whatever fig leaf of respectability you think you have. I don’t take it personally, and I have no desire to feed your delusions further.

  19. Oh, I’m sorry, it’s DOCTOR CLOWNIE!
    Now, I suppose you feel that I have to defer to you? Just ’cause you have some ‘Doctorate?’ From where? For what? George W. has a ton of them. So did Milton Berle., and Sid Caesar. Shit, I’d bet Lady Gaga has a couple. All “Honorary.” I admit, you might have earned yours somehow, because I find nothing ‘honorable’ about you ar what you stand for. I guess you may prove that even a chimp, if it applies itself hard enough, can pass the panel and get a “Doctorate!”
    I was an Adjunct Professor in a College. I met plenty of “Doctor’s” who were smarter than I was. Waaaaaay smarter. I also met a lot that I thought my dog could beat in an IQ contest. The smart ones NEVER, not once, not EVER, asked to be called ‘Doctor.” Wanting to be called “Doctor” is an affectation by the dim used to seem bright.
    So, sorry, DOCTOR CLOWNIE, you try my ‘patience.’ Maybe you could ask a real ‘Doctor’ if what I recommend you do is anatomically possible. But do keep trying even if it isn’t. That may occupy enough of your time to avoid the rest of us from having to read your tripe.

  20. Second maha.

    They’re only insults if folks respect Dr Don’s opinion… and obviously, many don’t.
    The “substantive argument” often consists of “Let’s all ignore what I said before. Instead, I’ll just go off on a tangent or two and then insult you.” Poor form, Douglas. Poor form.

    And as far as my “losing” debates on my own blog (or for that matter, your bogus “raaaaacism” charges)? It’s all available to read, and rather than taking anyone’s word for it, folks can decide for themselves who “wins” and “loses.” (Most internet readers don’t need anyone to run around declaring victory, Don… They’re smart enough to figure out on their own who makes the better argument…)

  21. repsac3
    Remember, you’re addressing a Dr., so, I’d suggest you use the word “Sir.” Make sure you make it sound capitalized if you speak to him. It’s important to him. It sends a thrill up his leg to what passes for his privates.

  22. Pingback: Did You Know That Charli Was An Uncritical Defender of Wikileaks? : Lawyers, Guns & Money

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