Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day 332- Wikileaks (with a vengeance)

Dear Mr. President,

For a casual student of foreign affairs such as myself, today is basically Christmas come early. Getting a glimpse behind the veil of secrecy that obscures much of the day-to-day unscripted intrigue of international relations can be exciting, even if it likely made the last few day (and the next few weeks) pretty rough for you. While much of the information leaked concerns only trivial possibly-embarrassing frankness, some of the information is already proving to provide a new picture of our current relations with several countries. And, while I take no pleasure at seeing you or your administration embarrassed, I do think that the right of the American people to have access to the knowledge of how we are being represented abroad is more important than the impoliteness of letting foreign leaders know what we really think of them.

Certainly this latest release of information is less damning than the previous revelations about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from Wikileaks. If nothing else, it might be viewed as an opportunity to learn about weaknesses in our government's electronic secret-keeping. We might also take a moment to appreciate the importance of not bribing or bullying other countries, (not to mention mistaking aid money for pay-offs and US diplomats for spies) unless we're cool with every one knowing about it, but even I'm not so naive as to believe your administration capable of learning that particular lesson.

As with every other letter I've written you about Wikileaks, I will conclude this by saying that no damage could be done to a government acting with honest good intentions. And maybe ours is too big, our foreign policy too complicated, for that to always be the case, but leaks like these are shameful because our government ought to be ashamed of how it represents the people of the United States. We share your embarrassment just as we share the responsibility for the foreign policy decisions you would prefer be made in secret. If we're to be represented by our government we have the right to know what it does. Should the day come that our government manages to represent us well, it will have nothing to fear from the truth.

Respectfully yours,


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