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Monday, November 29, 2010

Oh, hell. This is gonna suck.

I know as a sociologist I should be excited over the sudden windfall of archival data, but as an American who has had friends serving in the U.S. armed forces... yeah. This genuinely makes me want to cringe:

A cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at back-room bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats.

Some of the cables, made available to The New York Times and several other news organizations, were written as recently as late February, revealing the Obama administration’s exchanges over crises and conflicts. The material was originally obtained by WikiLeaks, an organization devoted to revealing secret documents. WikiLeaks posted 220 cables, some redacted to protect diplomatic sources, in the first installment of the archive on its Web site on Sunday.

The disclosure of the cables is sending shudders through the diplomatic establishment, and could strain relations with some countries, influencing international affairs in ways that are impossible to predict.


It is, of course, worth noting that the U.S. is hardly unique in spying on hypothetical allies and not always saying what it thinks. But, then again, that's why we call it "diplomacy" rather than "just chilling out with our buddies". Goddamn I hope nobody gets killed over this.

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