Retrievers

Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This was published in the December 8, 2010 edition of the Business Mirror, page A6.

“I got a new dog. He’s a paranoid retriever. He brings back everything because he’s not sure what I threw him.” – Stephen Wright

Iran’s presidential adviser, Esfandiar Rahim Maschai, has an interesting take on Wikileaks’ “Cablegate”, the humongous docu-dump of leaked classified US State Department communications. He told the German newspaper, Der Spiegel, that the US government is behind the leak.

Below are excerpts from Mashai’s interview with Der Spiegel: (Pardon my laptop’s German-to-English translator.)

(BEGIN) “Maschai: America wants to present itself as a leader of the world, the master of the destiny of nations. They want governments in the region against each other play off. The world must think we are at loggerheads. They want presence and influence in the region legitimize their.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: But the diplomats, reports were published against the will of Washington and harm the United States. The WikiLeaks revelations are not a PR-action of the State Department.

Maschai: Are you sure? How WikiLeaks is because the documents came from?

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Presumably by a corporal of the U.S. Army, the access to a central database of government and has since been arrested.

Maschai: Do you believe that? Then you would be very naive. No, the U.S. is behind this targeted publication. You want to paint the world black and white, they underscore the differences between the people and they want to show everyone: there is only peace in working with us. “ (END)

I disagree with the Iranian official’s theory. It is simplistic and childish, from the “America is the great EvilSatanimmoralimperialistcapitalistmaterialist” construct. The reality is America does only what any other state guided by its national interest would do.

But let me add that I do sympathize with the Iranian official’s take on things. As the old saying goes, “When everyone is out to get you, paranoia is only good thinking.”

I heard another explanation for Cablegate, one that does not require a childish construct. It is plausible, yes, but only to paranoiacs like me.

It goes:

“The leaked cables contained information damaging to political and business leaders from certain countries but nothing that could do significant harm to America and its leaders. So, why did the US State Department play it up as if Cablegate were a “meltdown” and a “game-changer”? Could it be because America wanted to distract the public from the Iran and Afghanistan War Diaries, the largest-ever leak of classified US military documents?  Those war logs, unlike Cablegate, contained information that could do real damage not only to America’s good guy image but, more importantly, to its operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the war on terror.”

Anyway, enough of paranoid explanations, let’s look at the bright side of Cablegate.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not do anything wrong when she sent out those so-called “order to spy” cables. In fact, she did what every foreign minister should be doing: ask foreign posts for detailed information that the home office can use for crafting an intelligent, coherent, and realistic bilateral, regional, and global foreign policy.

I don’t have the space to itemize the data Clinton requested. Suffice it to say that not only do her memos enumerate the intelligence needed in terms of the national interest and the Obama administration’s priorities but they also serve as a tool for evaluating the performance of each and every foreign post. Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo would do well to read her cables. They might help him turn around his increasingly irrelevant department. [Read “Reporting and collection needs: (country name)” found under Secret/No Foreigners.]

The Truth Commission might also find interesting a cable from the American consul in Shenyang:

“PRINCELINGS BEHAVING BADLY”

—————————

¶5. (S) According to XXXXXXXXXXXX, the children of high-ranking North Korean and Chinese officials hijack the most favorable investment and aid deals for their own enrichment. When the child of a high-ranking official hears of a Chinese aid proposal to North Korea, he will travel to North Korea to convince the relevant official to follow his instructions for implementing the aid project. He will then use his connections to request proposals from Chinese companies to develop the project, returning to North Korea to convince the relevant official to select the favored company. At each step, money changes hands, and the well-connected Chinese go-between pockets a tidy sum.”

Finally, the lifestyles of crooked politicians and the musings of an idiot British prince would make entertaining reading for anyone with a desk job and nothing to do.

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