Wink & Nod
Wiki Update 12/1/10: 2:50 pm: MJ Rosenberg on the Saudis, Israel and Iran: ”The revelation that the Saudi royals agree with the Israeli position adds exactly nothing to the case for war. The House of Saud? Whom exactly do they speak for? Not even the Saudi people, let alone anybody else in the Muslim world. In fact, the Saudi endorsement could be the kiss of death for Netanyahu’s plans.” http://politicalcorrection.org/fpmatters/201012010009
Wikileaks Quote of the Day (Wednesday):
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates to French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, Paris, February 8, 2010: “… the Saudis always want to ‘fight the Iranians to the last American…’ “ HT: Juan Cole http://www.juancole.com/2010/12/gates-saudis-want-to-fight-iran-to-the-last-american.html
Stephen Walt who comments at Foreign Policy and is a “realist” in these matters has an even-handed and amusing take on the wikileaks. Some of the highlights, but worth reading the whole thing, especially those who are really excited about the leaks.
“It is still striking how many pies the United States has its fingers in, and how others keep expecting us to supply the ingredients, do most of the baking, and clean up the kitchen afterwards.”
“And as for the possibility that American diplomats will be exposed as less than 100 percent honest: at this stage in our history, is all that even remotely surprising? I mean, after the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, Iran/Contra, the cruise missile attack on Sudan, Colin Powell’s cooked-up testimony to the Security Council in 2002, how many people are under that many illusions about the dark underbelly of U.S. foreign policy?”
“There’s an old line from Chicago city politics: “Don’t write if you can talk; don’t talk if you can nod; don’t nod if you can wink.” Somehow, I’m not sure our diplomacy will be enhanced if our representatives are reduced to making facial gestures, and communicating back home only through secure telephones.” But maybe worth a try! http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/11/29/dont_write_if_you_can_talk_the_latest_from_wikileaks
“Most of the documents are composed of little beyond hypocrisy, gossip and invidious comments about other leaders, the normal flotsam and jetsam of diplomatic discourse. But it is also true that the level of hysteria about Iran was exceptionally high. The United States received an avalanche of free advice from interested parties in Israel and the Arab world. They wanted to make sure we understood how urgent it was for America to launch a third disastrous war in the Middle East on their behalf. According to the documents we have seen so far, Washington seemed bemused but utterly unenthusiastic.
“This may be the most important fact about the WikiLeaks documents so far. If Washington can keep its head while everyone around it is losing theirs, perhaps we need not yet yield to despair.”