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Thursday, August 25, 2011

WikiLeaks Internet Leaks: Damage or Democracy?

The recent documents released by the internet organization WikiLeaks have created much debate. Proponents argue that in a free, democratic society, we should all have the right to know what our government is doing. Opponents say that every government must be able to conduct some business in private. The real issue at hand is "how do these leaks hurt America?"


Foreign Relations

Diplomacy depends upon communication between different world powers. The United States remains one of the premier superpowers on the world stage, and its financial stability depends upon that status. Many of the so-called secrets revealed by the 250,000 documents are scarcely that. In fact, a majority of the memos disclose nothing that wasn't already known.
For example a memo stating that British Foreign Minister David Miliband was supporting the Tamil diaspora for votes was anything but news. The Sri Lankan media has been broadcasting that story quite loudly enough.
The problem isn't so much that suspected positions have been confirmed, but rather that someone has made public what should have been kept private: the personal communications between government officials. Clearly better security protocols are in order

There is an undeniable effect that has been noted in foreign relations between the U.S. and other nations. Since so much of international cooperation depends upon a certain level of discretion, revealing secret communications has led to a cooling of several essential relationships.

The Long Term Effect

In the long term the release of communications, memos and other documents by WikiLeaks will no doubt lead to more discretion on the part of American officials in positions of authority. What once might have been sent by email will now have to be handled by secure phone lines or other venues. It won't do anyone any harm to be more careful with what they say or write; however, there is always a price to pay for the loss of free communications.
America will certainly weather this storm, as it has many others. While the general perception is that governments should conduct all business in a completely moral and open fashion, it is also understood that such an ideal isn't realistic; diplomacy requires a certain level of chicanery. America is simply too large a player at this point for the damage to be more than temporary.

Author: Michael Rupkalvis works with the LedBulbsandLights website. The site features a number of different types of environmentally-friendly LED lamps, including PAR 20 LED spotlights and other LED lights.

This article is free for republishing

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