The latest Wikileak scandal has set off a global diplomatic crisis that will see relations strained between the US and many of its allies. The leaked US embassy cables reveal in detail what America thinks about foreign leaders and shows highly sensitive information regarding international relations, particularly in the Middle East.
Revelations that the US embassy and Obama administration has little regard for David Cameron and that the Saudi government has been pressing the US to attack Iran will have major repercussions in the coming years. While there may be no immediate action, there will be shifts in policy from the respective countries that could be enormously damaging to US interests. The news that US diplomats were used to spy on foreign leaders, and amazingly the UN Chief Ban Ki Moon, also furthers the perception that the US is an imperial empire that seeks to use foreign countries and international organizations for its own interests. As the Guardian reports:
The cables published today reveal how the US uses its embassies as part of a global espionage network, with diplomats tasked to obtain not just information from the people they meet, but personal details, such as frequent flyer numbers, credit card details and even DNA material.
Classified “human intelligence directives” issued in the name of Clinton or her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, instruct officials to gather information on military installations, weapons markings, vehicle details of political leaders as well as iris scans, fingerprints and DNA.
Many on the right and in the corporate media have denounced the release of the embassy cables and are calling for the Wikileaks site to be taken down. Some are even calling Wikileaks a terrorist organization for putting US lives at risk.
While the leaks will certainly damage US interests and possibly endanger lives, the insight the world now has to the empire that has wrought immense destruction to the world over the past 10 years is invaluable. America has illegally invaded two sovereign nations, is actively engaged in a vicious cold war against Iran and has been covertly spying on its allies. It has also undermined democratic elections around the world (think Venezuela, Iraq and Palestine) and has projected its economic power to cripple competitors and destroy economic sovereignty.
No country has the power to overtly defy the US – it is simply too powerful. But revealing its inner workings gives the world a weapon against its more malevolent impulses. The US will no longer find its allies so willing to cater to its orders, and it will find a world more willing to look outside for trade and strategic political alliances. It will find a world no longer enthralled by American might and it will have to face the new political reality that it is an empire in decline.
But above all, the Wikileaks documents prove that the best weapon against power is truth.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.