According to Spiegel, Wikileaks reveals that US diplomats consider Foreign Minister Westerwelle to be incompetent and Chancellor Merkel to be risk averse. So what? Most Germans think the same. Of course, US diplomats are more candid in secret cables than in public statements. Everybody is.
I refuse to join the media's hyperventilation over these revelations caused by WikiLeaks' "information vandalism." The Guardian opines that the leaks have already created a "global diplomatic crisis." They used that headline right after publishing the cables. That sounds like we are at the brink of war. All of a sudden it is 1914 and Franz Ferdinand has just been assassinated.
Okay, for a few seconds, I was hyperventilating, when I read in the September 2009 cable published on Spiegel:
According to XXXXX Westerwelle has never been able to shake his skepticism about how the United States wields power in the world. Citing an exchange with former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Burt (1985-1989), XXXXX recalls how Westerwelle forcefully intervened in a discussion the Ambassador was having on U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War to say: "But you are not the police of the world." XXXXX comments further that Westerwelle was immune to any "transatlantic brainwashing."
First I thought that the statement on "transatlantic brainwashing" was coming from a US diplomat and I was about to feel offended ;-) but then I learned on Wikileaks that XXXXX is a German journalist, who wrote a biography of Westerwelle. So, no big deal here either.
Charli Carpenter with Duck of Minerva isn't impressed by WikiLeak's "diplomatic shockers" either, but points out to one interesting revelation: Apparently, "the US State Department talks among itself far more about human rights than it does about terrorism." That's good news. "
My, ahem, "expert advice" for the US government and all its friends would be: Don't panic, keep calm and carry on, ignore the embarrassments, protect any revealed humint sources and focus on the world's biggest problems: Nearly a billion people remain undernourished. Another round of UN climate talks is likely to fail. The Koreas are at the brink of war. Al Qaeda has found in Yemen a "new Afghanistan." Financial crisis, Eurocrisis, public education crisis.
ENDNOTES: Interesting stuff: Chris Bertram suggests: "A few glasses of scotch would be a lot cheaper than the cost of intelligence and diplomatic services."
Dialog International comments: "WikiLeaks: US State Department's Spot-On Assessment of Westerwelle"
Blake Hounshell asks Has WikiLeaks finally gone too far?
Related post: Like America, Germany Needs More Sanity, Less Hysteria