It's a Wikid world
Diplomacy is cloaked in polite bureaucratese and Wikileaks promised to reveal its inner workings. We expected exposés on nuclear weapons and networks. Instead, we learned how much backbiting, mood pills and plain old personal hatreds matter in high places. Pramitpal Chaudhuri takes stock of wiki-diplomacy. Wikiteachingsworld Updated: Dec 05, 2010 00:53 IST
A. Hackers vs hunters
The struggle for 21st century mastery is upon us - and it's between Google and China. China it is now known launched a cyberattack on Google because one of its top leaders was enraged at the results he got when he searched his own name. Superpower versus searchpower? Brin versus Beijing? It says something about the hammerlock these two have on global information that we may never know if Google and China both decide to censor the results.
B. Spy Link
John Le Carré is presumably writing furiously a new novel in which Hillary Clinton is the new Smiley and the United Nations the new Berlin. Who would have though Hillary would be such an espionage buff? Or that anyone would believe you could find anything remotely interesting to spy on in the United Nations?
Bugging Ban Ki-Moon, one suspects, would produce unintelligible transcripts and top secret discussions on whether the UN should place World Twiddlesticks Day on Tuesday or Monday. A License to Bore. Now we know that they under orders to collect people's DNA, we should all give a fragment of hair to any US diplomat we meet at a cocktail party. Make their day but draw the line at urine samples.
C. The Bromance Connection
The new Axis of Europe, Wikileaks has revealed, is between Rome and Moscow. Silvio Berlusconi and Vladimir Putin have forged a bond based on lavish gifts, energy contracts, possibly girls and shared largish egos. Textbooks say allies need common national interests. Here's one based on expense accounts and testosterone.
If the US State Department's assessment that Putin has made Russia into a "mafia state" is right, then Moscow may also be looking for some hints from the original home of sawn-off shotgun-wielding olive-oil exporting families. So that's why Russian rulers used to say Moscow was the "New Rome".
D. Kimchi Impossible
Now we know, even the Chinese are driven mad by the the cognac-swilling and nuke-blasting inner circle of Kim Jong Il. They may shield him from attack, help him peddle missiles and acquire centrifuges, and give him money and aid, but the truth Beijing's new leadership finds him insufferable. Their present plan, it seems, is to wait for an asteroid to hit him.
E. Assange Corridor
Julian Assange, the brave and reckless head of Wikileaks, spends most of his time in airports. Thanks to all these documents and the flak he has received about them, the South American nation of Equador has offered him residency. He might take that up given his legal hassles in what he had hoped would be an all-protecting Sweden. It is less free than Ecuador it seems. But it has more blondes, so Assange, whose son has admitted "my father has a problem with women", will have a tough decision ahead of him.
F. Gitmo Getaway
Guantanamo Bay is the darkest side of the war on terrorism. Wikileaks has revealed that the only country seemingly willing to take the Gitmo detainees after they are freed is Albania. This is the final act of rendition, the most unusual act of migration in the world. We'll find out next year if any of the ex-prisoners want to go back to Cuba. After all, this is Albania and Gitmo, at the end of the day,is a Caribbean beachfront property. Reportedly Ladbrooke's is taking bets those vacant cells will be occupied by Julian Assange and his ilk.
G. The Pharma Triangle
Even as we speak, the best brains of US intelligence are trying to get the medical files of Khamenei of Iran, Kirchner of Argentina and Karzai of Afghanistan. These three are a bit off because Washington's cable traffice shows the US believes they are a bit sick - especially in the head. Khamenei, say the Wikileak files, is a suspected cancer patient.
Kirchner is speculated to be on drugs and Karzai, as a US ambassador said in another publication, makes sense depending on whether he is "on his meds or off his meds." Forget missiles and confidence building measures: world safety really depends on whether people with fingers on various buttons are popping the right pills..
H. Gulf of Hate
Forget Israel vs Palestine, Indians vs Pakistanis, even Manchester United vs Manchester City. The real global gulf is,well, the Persian Gulf. Sunni Arab leaders like King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia are beside themselves with hatred for the Shia Iranians to their north. They want someone, anyone, to nuke Tehran or at least flog the ayatollahs with a wet noodle.
They're snakes, they lie, they are the greatest danger to world peace since Warcraft World - and this is the Arab Gulf royalty while speaking diplomatically in English. Think of what they say at home in Arabic about the Iranians. Watch this space. Ahmadinejad, for once, actually showed some cool. He said Assange and his works were clearly the product of Langley.
I. Exploding mangoes in Pak
So we do know our enemy. India always argued Pakistan didn't need aid, recognition or F-16s. It needed therapy. The Wikileak cables show that the US believes the same. Pakistan is in "tatters," its ruling establishment enjoy backstabbling each other in front of US officials, and its military are ready to sacrifice their country to wild-haired militants just to use them to terrorise India.
Pakistan is not a failed state, said the US ambassador to Pakistan, but even the most rosy-eyed American admits in the cables that it is making a good job of mimicking one. So the US largely takes the same view of Pakistan that India does. But its outward policy to Islamabad is all milk and honey - seemingly out of fear, a like for khaki uniformed types and possibly Frontier cuisine. Oh, and we learnt that General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani really does not like his president. Another case of exploding mangoes?