Friday, December 17, 2010

Pimp of Darkness

The American Secretary of State in the 21st Century

Like a lot or people, I've been impressed by the frank, fearless, and literate reporting found in American diplomatic cables.

On reflection however - as also noticed by many - the State Department seems to play no role in making American policy. Its job, apparently, is to tidy up after the more lawless parts of the American executive - acting like a very suave and sophisticated pooper-scooper - and try to soothe ruffled feelings after the outlaws who actually do make American foreign policy, if it can be called policy rather than institutional temper tantrums, have trampled whatever corner of the world to say in English...diseased.

People have been reassured that American public policy and American diplomatic cables are consistent with one another. So the words match the words, but the words don't match what actually goes down, and that's why WikiLeaks - as opposed, say, to Judy Miller and the New York Times - is so important.

The pattern that emerges from these cables is that the State Department is a helpless spectator to rampant government corruption everywhere, including Britain and the United States:
  • the fixing of the Chilcot Inquiry
  • the fixing of a "marine preserve" in Diego Garcia
  • the pressuring of Germany to drop charges against the CIA
  • the blatant and frankly ludicrous subversion of diplomats to obtain credit card numbers (will they diplomatically rummage through wastebaskets in UN drawing rooms?)
  • the evidence that Somebody is still holding information on the murder of Pat Finucane
  • the former head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service confided to an American official that the Candian judiciary were proving a time wasting interference in the fight for truth (except of course nobody can say what the truth is), justice (no, hang on, that's the problem with the courts), and the American Way (which seems pretty clear as long as it's secret.)

etc. etc.

It's the pattern of criminal secret policy, at odds with public policy, that is being revealed and lyrically described by the State Department cables.