Saturday, December 04, 2010


*** Update ****

Right on cue, Ron Paul weighs in: "We need more Wikileaks. In a free society we're supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, then we're in big trouble. And now, people who are revealing the truth are getting into trouble for it."

*** End Update ***

I was thinking about how Western governments are pursuing Julian Assange after the latest Wikileak dump. I've read a lot of these leaked documents. Not many of them really say anything that we don't already know, but even more than that, I actually think they paint the US in a pretty decent light. It looks like we have a pretty capable diplomatic corps around the world who are working to advance US interests. More importantly, and someone might call me naive for saying this, but in most of the cases "US interests" happen to align with the interests of most other nations, and indeed arguably the world. The US is a hegemon, and people are naturally suspicious of such power. The great debate the world over is whether the US is more of a benign or a malignant hegemon; I think these documents really strongly support the case for the former.

In the short term, this leak is a little embarrassing, I guess. However, our long term interests definitely lie with transparency access to information for all of the people in the world. If the people in North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other repressive nations were better informed, we would all be a lot better off. While open conflict or belligerency may in the interests of politicians and industrialists, it certainly isn't in the interests of people...and better informed people are more difficult to manipulate.

To really be a force for good, I'd like Wikileaks to make a better effort to target other nations in their efforts for "transparency". They've leaked American documents what, three times now? Yet the US is already one of the most transparent nations in the world, and most of those dumps weren't particularly revealing, although the push for American transparency is always healthy. Meanwhile, Wikileaks should start turning their efforts to decidedly less transparent governments around the world. If they did that, they'd prove to me that their intentions are pure, rather than just an exercise in left wing anti-Americanism.

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