American officials are scurrying to various capitals to advise “friendly” governments that the undiplomatic, indeed nasty language used by their diplomats and officials about other leaders should not be taken too seriously. This unusual flurry of diplomatic activity comes in the wake of the announcement by WikiLeaks to release another set of some 3 million documents on the internet. While the two earlier releases — in July and October — were considered serious but old stuff because the documents simply confirmed what many people had already known about the brutality of US-NATO wars on the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, the latest batch (released after Crescent press time) have an altogether different dimension. They relate to the Obama presidency and contain unsavory comments by American officials, including generals, about people with whom they deal virtually on a daily basis and give assurances of their friendship, commitment and honesty.
The documents are also said to include bribes given to various politicians, including opposition figures, to advance US interests while Washington maintains close ties with governments there. Messages have been sent to countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Turkey, Britain, Australia, Canada, Russia and China. Clearly, US diplomats and officials have said some pretty nasty stuff about leaders and officials in these countries. Some names, both in Europe and Asia, have been mentioned in connection with corruption. Talking about Hamid Karzai’s or Asif Ali Zardari’s corruption is no great revelation. Both are reviled in their own countries but what should one make of US comments about the Saudis and the Emirates? And what about US support for Kurdish separatist groups in Turkey while assuring Ankara of friendship? What did US diplomats say about their British friends or Russian leaders? The documents may also shed light on US subversive activities in many countries. Interestingly, the US, Britain and Australia have called for censorship. How they will achieve this in the age of the internet is not clear.
Even US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, has been forced to jump into the fray saying the documents would “damage” US interests with friends and allies. Mullen has made much of his friendship with the Pakistani Army Chief, General Ashfaq Kayani. It will be interesting to read what Mullen has said about him in private.
A State Department spokesman said on November 24 the release of confidential communications about foreign governments probably will erode trust in the US as a diplomatic partner. “These revelations are harmful to the United States and our interests,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. “They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world.”
Not surprisingly, American diplomats stationed in various capitals are scurrying out of there in a hurry in case of adverse reaction. The world is beginning to see the Ugly American through his own words and deeds. Successive American governments have not only indulged in mass murder, even the smooth talking Barack Obama stands exposed as a hypocrite. He is there only to serve the interests of the US corporate elite that put him in the White House in the first place. In this dog-eat-dog environment, friendship with America is more dangerous than its enmity, as Henry Kissinger had said in jest many decades ago but it is nonetheless true.
Will rulers and generals in the Muslim world finally wake up and stop cozying up to Uncle Sam who is more dangerous than a scorpion or they will continue to delude themselves about American friendship?