Wikileaks posted more documents yesterday, this time, over 250,000 messages sent to and from American embassies. Last time, the big story was that the American government knew it had killed thousands of Iraqi civilians. This time, Daniel Drezner says that the big story is that there’s no big story:
There are no Big Lies. Indeed, Blake Hounshell’s original tweet holds: “the U.S. is remarkably consistent in what it says publicly and privately.” Assange – and his source for all of this, Bradley Manning – seem to think that these documents will expose American perfidy. Based on the initial round of reactions, they’re in for a world of disappointment.
Oh, sure, there are small lies and lies of omission – Bob Gates probably didn’t mention to Dmitri Medvedev or Vladimir Putin that “Russian democracy has disappeared.” Still, I’m not entirely sure how either world politics or American interests would be improved if Gates had been that blunt in Moscow.
If this kind of official hypocrisy is really the good stuff, then there is no really good stuff. U.S. officials don’t always perfectly advocate for human rights? Not even the most naive human rights activist would believe otherwise. American diplomats are advancing U.S. commercial interests? American officials have been doing that since the beginning of the Republic. American diplomats help out their friends? Yeah, that’s called being human. I’m willing to be convinced otherwise, but it strikes me that these leaks show other governments engaged in far more hypocritical behavior.