Posted on : 12-12-2010 | By : Chikodi Chima | In : Media Criticism
There are good reasons to support the actions of Wikileaks. Transparency in government is something we should all support, as our daily lives are affected constantly by the decisions that lawmakers enact, supposedly on our behalf. Our government should be accountable to the people it serves. Far too often this is not the case.
I also fundamentally believe that multinational corporations should be subject to intense scrutiny, especially where product safety, business ethics and environmental impact are concerned. When the rumored trove of Wikileaks documents about corporate malfeasance break, I will gleefully await the day corporate America’s feet are held to the fire. I think that large enterprise has too much power and should feel the heat from time time.
There are also, however, reasons why Wikileaks is an unmitigated disaster, and Cablegate is both irresponsible and potentially dangerous both to America’s national security interests and global stability.
It’s true that the contents of the pilfered cables were accessible to 2.5 million people, which hardly classifies them as “secret,” but no one had gone as far as the alleged perpetrator Army private, Bradley Manning, in undermining the classified nature of the State Department cables.
The information, suspicion and banter contained within them may have been common knowledge in diplomatic circles, but it is one thing to suspect people are talking about you behind your back, it’s another when you know it, and it’s there in official correspondence. Furthermore, now that news of the leak has circled the globe many times, what is or is not in the cables is starting to cause a bit of a fuss. In Pakistan, which enjoys a special, but tense diplomatic and military relationship with the U.S., fake cables have been circulating in the local press which paint India in a a very bad light, as an intentional instigator in Balochistan and Waziristan, conflicts which are beyond the control of the the Pakistani army and very relevant to the Pakistani people. One cannot help but wonder what other fake cables may arise, and what their impact may be. The toothpaste is out of the tube, so to speak, and it won’t be going back in.
Ultimately, I think that Cablegate is an irresponsible headline grabber because as the video above makes clear, Americans know little about the world in which we live, and they clearly could care less. Most average Americans couldn’t find Libya on a map, so why would they care about Gen. Muamar Qadafi, except that he gets botox. The tabloid nature of the revelations is the only reason why anyone cares. Juicy gossip about Saudi princess hosting lavish parties with alcohol and prostitutes makes for interesting water cooler talk, but it will quickly be replaced by the next Kanye mishap, Monday Night Football, or the suicide of Bernie Madoff’s son Mark over the weekend.