We hate to be party-poopers --
as elite media and politicians all over the world
freak out about the latest releases from Wikileaks --
but we honestly think the whole brouhaha is WAAAY overrated.
It's certainly NOT an attack on the US or any other country,
although it doesn't say much for American "security" that so much material was so easily, er, re-routed.
Wikileaks should NOT be named a "criminal" or "terrorist" organization by ANY government anywhere.
Of course, the "revelations" may make the next few days a bit stickier
for SOME politicians and officials of SOME countries
in front of SOME of their diplomatic colleagues
when it comes to SOME issues.
But it's hardly anything universal or earth-shattering --
and, frankly, we'd be a bit happier if it WERE.
Clearly, we have no problem with classified material being released to the public:
too much government work almost everywhere is routinely kept out of public hands
for a whole variety of not-very-convincing reasons,
except the comfort and convenience of those doing the classifying and their bosses.
But, as Walter Mondale, echoing a then popular tv commercial,
so memorably said about Gary Hart during the 1980s,
"Where's the Beef ???"
Aside from the potential -- hardly universal -- discomforts
for SOME in SOME circumstances noted above,
our question is simple:
What has the public learned from all of this that it didn't know before ???
We don't think very much at all.
That the main countries dealing with North Korea
a) agree it's a potentially explosive pain-in-the-rear, but
b) have such radically different interests
they can't agree on exactly HOW to handle the situation ???
Anyone with any knowledge of North East Asia has known that for decades,
Were you shocked to discover some US officials think its putative allies in Afghanistan are corrupt ???
Most people I talk to have known that since at least early 2002, if not on September 12 2001.
Did the fact the US is trying to diminish the size and strength of Pakistan's nuclear force surprise you ???
If it did, you haven't been paying attention to everything Cheney / Bush / Obama have been saying PUBLICLY for years.
Or that some people think Putin still holds the real power in Russia,
rather than President Dimitri Medvedev ???
If so, you probably haven't given much thought to the Russian colossus in the past few years --
or, even, read consistent news reports that show clearly Putin remains the "man in charge".
Perhaps you're surprised the US is ambivalent about the "modern" Islamism of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan.
If so, you must have missed Turkey's resistance to anything implicating it in the deeply corrupt US invasion of Iraq.
And speaking of the Middle East, are you surprised that the Sunni Arab leaders of the Persian Gulf --
who often rule over large Shiite populations, against whom they have often discriminated --
fear the effect on their rule of the Shiite political Islamist regime in Iran ???
Or maybe, you were -- as Claude Raines so memorably said in Casablanca -- "shocked, shocked"
that, despite this deep hostility to the Tehran regime in general, and its nuclear program in particular,
these Sunni Arab regimes want the US and / or Israel to take out that same nuclear program --
only they won't say so in public ???
Maybe you were surprised that Israel keeps telling the US
there's only a "small window" of opportunity to destroy Iran's nuclear capacity --
a window that keeps somehow receding into the distance the closer its "outer limit" gets.
If any of these things are true for you, then we'd venture to suggest
YOU HAVEN'T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION TO WHAT
THE GLOBAL MEDIA HAVE BEEN PUTTING IN FRONT OF YOU FOR YEARS ... ;-) ...
So our problem with this round of the Wikileaks saga is that
it really doesn't do anything to significantly raise the level of public discourse in any country --
during the Fall of 2001, in the immediate aftermath of
a) the crash in tech stocks in the spring of 2000;
b) the Republican judicial coup that installed Cheney / Bush in December of that same year; and, of course,
c) the shocking and unforgottable brutality that erupted on September 11 2001.
If it did something to raise the sadly degraded level of public discourse EVERYWHERE,
then we'd be perfectly happy with whatever means were used to do it.
But in the absence of that --
which will require a sustained long-term effort from many forces all over the world --
we're waiting for something MUCH bigger.
Like what ???
Well, something like the report Joe Wilson did on the alleged nuclear link between Niger and Saddam's Iraq --
a smoking gun, so to speak, that makes perfectly clear the total duplicity of the Cheney / Bush regime
towards the whole world in general, and the American people in particular --
and not for oil, but, even more scandalous, huge no-bid contracts for their past and future employers.
We'd like to see something that would have FORCED the pathetic Democrats --
who are as deeply enmeshed in the corporate take-over of US public discourse as the Republicans,
or, at least, would LIKE to be as well-reimbursed for their political favors as their "buddies" across the aisle --
to do something even now about putting Cheney and Bush where they belong:
in prison -- and not fancy golf and country clubs all over the American South / South West.
Now, the revelations are supposedly far from over.
But you have to think both Wikileaks and their global media sponsors --
the New York Times / The Guardian [ UK ] / Der Speigel - Online / El Pais / and Le Monde,
all of whom we STRONGLY praise for participating in such a massive "outing" effort,
even if we think it falls sadly short in substantive terms --
put what they thought were their strongest "gets" in the first or second rounds.
So if, as the song goes, "is that all there is ???",