General

Don't shrug off the WikiLeaks

The real damage to America abroad

There’s been a tendency as the WikiLeaks continue to flow to shrug many of them off. Sure, U.S. diplomats sometimes say harsh things about foreign governments in confidential cables. So what? Of course, when the lid is lifted, the world of diplomacy is not all that diplomatic. Big deal. But Der Spiegel reports that the impact of the flood of leaks is real and, for anyone concerned about America’s capability to influence world affairs, deeply worrying. The German magazine’s English website says leaks will do the most damage in the Middle East—already a fragile, volatile region. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, for example, are wounded by unflattering remarks in the leaked cables. “The documents show what Washington really thinks about us,” says one official in a Pakistani ministry. Former Saudi Arabian intelligence chief Prince Turki bin Faisal says that American’s “credibility and honesty are the victim of these leaks” and that he assumes people “will no longer speak to American diplomats frankly.”

Der Spiegel

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