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Picture Dicecca

It snowed heavily last night, and the buses were off this morning, so I walked into work. But despite this I doubt it was anywhere near as frosty as American diplomats must be finding foreign corridors of power this morning. The leaked documents are everywhere you look. There is no escape from any of the printed media or the TV. They are even featuring in the free newspapers given away on trains. So much for DA notices then! But then that was outlined in my previous post.

And as forecast there is little here of the James Bond stuff. No revealing of secret missile codes, no target parameters, no disclosure of the wiring diagrams of laser guided death stars. No list of agents behind curtains whose imminent deaths can be expected on the back of this vile disclosure. And why should it, as the release is not of “Top-Secret” documents but rather of daily traffic in diplomatic circles, comments, grumbles and thoughts, designed so we are told, solely to promote debate and understanding. Well, if that is so they have surely succeeded beyond all expectations.

In fact so hard are people trying to upload the stuff it’s quite hard to find it all in one place. Here are simply a few of my favourites.

Angela Merkel of Germany “avoids risks and is rarely creative”. Sounds like a woman being judged as unimaginative in her flower arrangements for the local church.

Mr Sarkozy of France is both “thin skinned and has an authoritarian style” and is “an emperor with no clothes”. That’s not original. C- for creative writing there.

David Cameron of Britain is called “lightweight and lacking depth”. This, was, it seems from the Governor of the Bank of England. Hmm. Well he will be off the Christmas card list then.

Silvio Berlusconi of Italy is “feckless, vain and ineffective as a modern European leader whose frequent late nights and penchant for partying hard mean he does not get sufficient rest”. Wonderful! Who got the job of wising up old Berls ahead of that one coming out?

And in a typically overblown and flamboyantly Italian way the Foreign Minister, Franco Fratti stated “it is the September 11 of world diplomacy“.  Nice to see they are taking it calmly then.

In fact they show that the US is far, far ruder about her allies than she ever is about her rivals. Vladimer Putin is described as an “Alpha Dog” who plays “Batman to Medvedev’s Robin”. Great stuff, I am sure he will have that as a plaque on the wall of his office by the end of the week, just as Maggie Thatcher took the Russian jibe of being “the Iron Lady” as a compliment . Putin will revel in being called “Batman”.

Gadaffi is just described as “erratic”. Well that diplomat isn’t worth his salary is he?

The US don’t like the way the British ran their operations in Iraq or Afghanistan. But that’s hardly news. US and British generals loathed each other in the Second World War too.

Interestingly this fiasco has knocked the administration surprisingly off beam. In dealing with these disclosures the US are trying two mutually contradictory tracks at once. One is that it is all dastardly, traitorous and lives will be lost. Which you can see won’t happen – at least not on what is out yet. The second being that its all low level stuff anyway, the random background noise of day to day diplomatic work and can be elided over. And you knew it anyway. Which might be nearer the truth.

The reason why this is actually important is that what is being revealed is no longer simply assumptions, or educated guesswork gleaned from careful reading of the political runes, but rather physically confirms that this really is what the US Administration is thinking. We have all the nuance, tone and feel of the way America is thinking right here and now – in real time – and not as historical documents thirty or forty years away from the events. With these emails and cables we see straight into the unvarnished mind of Obama’s administration. Which is why it is so hideously embarrassing for all concerned. And so funny too. Oh go on it is funny isn’t it?

There is even a silver lining (and we will have to guess how much of a lining the US think this might be) in that they do actually serve to close down some conspiracy theorists’ pet loves, such as the one that the US actively seeks military confrontation with Iran. It turns out it she has held back others in the region such as King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, and leaders in Jordan and Bahrain from war like stances. This disclosure, far from hurting American interests, may in fact assist a peaceful outcome to the current situation, and a spin to ese the pain?

And this is only Monday! What joys await the morning?

Copyright David Macadam 2010

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