Don’t get me wrong – I do think that some transparency is necessary, and that some material provided by WikiLeaks has been helpful. And I’m quite certain Julian Assange has not violated any US laws.
Bu the indiscriminate nature of WikiLeaks has again weakened global diplomacy and made the world overall less peaceful. Ecuador and the United States have each expelled the ambassadors of the other country. Why? Because it was leaked that the US ambassador to Ecuador informed her home government that the Ecuadoran police are corrupt. I’m no expert on the Ecuadoran criminal justice system, but this doesn’t sound impossible, given the criminal justice situation in Ecuador.
And here’s the dark side of complete transparency – I’m pretty sure Correa understands that his police force has corrupt elements, and that the ambassador has the right and indeed the responsibility to report that information. But, because this information is public, he has to save face and cause a diplomatic scandal.
This is not the first time this has happened – our ambassador to Mexico resigned after (honestly) relaying his impression that the Mexican government was not capable of handling the organized crime in the country.
International diplomacy cannot be effective if diplomats cannot communicate honestly with their home governments, and Julian Assange’s leaking of diplomatic cables is not having the effect of increasing transparency but in making diplomacy more difficult. Given the role of diplomatic failure in violent conflict, WikiLeaks’ indiscriminate attitude towards leaking diplomatic cables is highly irresponsible.