November 29, 2010
Yesterday an historian’s worst nightmare or greatest fantasy came true. The deluge of state documents released by Wikileaks has begun to gush over the dam’s walls. No longer will we have to wait thirty, fifty, or hundred years to read them. We now have instant satisfaction. In fact, the excitement is widespread; I do not think one topic has united so many of my facebook friends. The facebook updates as the night progressed became juicier and juicier as we became enthralled by the massive amount of official gossip. Whatever the case, we all have to agree that the US has once again proved its remarkable inability to control data.
A quick review of the Middle East documents has not seemed to produce anything new. Yes, the Mossad wanted to overthrow Ahmadinejad. Is this a surprise to anyone? Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries hastily tried to convince the US to attack the nuclear facilities in Iran. Is this a surprise to anyone? Prime Minister Erdogan is at one time a religious but practical politician and no internal opposition can compete with him in elections due to the weakness of the opposition party and the love of the masses. Surprise? Hardly so.
A quick survey will show that for the most part, what is said in all of these documents have been printed or talked about “here or there.” The world today is different and with so many outlets of information nothing should come as a surprise. Along with this, for those who love conspiracy theories, no real story has been broken. In fact, I actually wonder how long it will take for those mesmerized by such theories to claim that Wikileaks is actually a plot by the US government to cover up the real stories, by diverting our attention to such mundane documents.
During the next few weeks more documents will be emerging and the process of “pay-backs” will begin. For the world politicians, and diplomats involved in these documents this indeed is quite personal. The states involved will now start the painful process of denial or will use the information to clear them of any wrongdoing, or better yet use the information as proof of good-deeds. However, we all have to remember that we only have half the story. We have the story of diplomatic accounts, which even if it should not be belittled, it only show one side of the picture.
I guess the sad part in all of this is our infatuation with crisis. We all waited to find a “smoking gun,” or something that would stir up the world more. Are the new tensions between North and South Korea not enough for us? Do we need more conflicts to erupt in order to fulfill our need for gossip and hearsay? I guess there is no denying that these documents are already creating numerous scandals however the real question is if these are the most provocative documents they have in store for us, if so we all can take a deep breath and get on with our daily lives, and let the historians do their work in thirty years…I guess only time will tell!