The latest round of not very surprising revelations from WikiLeaks ("Prince Andrew a boor? Never!) is part of an inevitable transfer of power from the holders of political power to the holders of technological power. If Julian Assange and his organization had not released this information, another techie would have done so sooner rather than later. This shift in the control of information will alter international politics for ever. I for one feel fortunate to be around to welcome the new age.
This being Bonifacio day in the Philippines, I have been at home listening to BBC World Service. This has meant listening to Hillary Clinton’s fulminations against Wikileaks every half hour and she seems more out of touch every time I hear her:
"This disclosure is not just an attack on America's foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community — the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations, that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity."
A better example of the patronizing, we’ll-take-care-of-it world view of the ruling political class would be hard to find.
If Clinton thinks the world we live in exhibits “global security,” she must have been too busy asking her staff to pinch senior UN officials’ credit card details to have noticed the prospect of war on the Korean peninsula, actual wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a nuclear stand-off between India and Pakistan, to name just a few.
As for “economic prosperity,” 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day; the European Central Bank has had to step in to avert economic collapse in Greece and Ireland and may have to do the same for Portugal and Spain; and 40 million people in Clinton’s own country are living in poverty.
To preserve the serene and affluent earth of the secretary of state’s imagination, she asks us to leave the “conversations and negotiations” of international diplomacy alone so the diplomatic pas de deux can continue away from our prying eyes (and they can slag each other off in private). However, Hillary “Metternich” Clinton can long for the good old days of ententes and “cables” (incredible that they should still refer to them in this way) as much as she likes, they ain’t coming back. She and rest of her privileged tribe had better wake up to that. There are many aspects of our no longer private world that I am uncomfortable with, but exposing the shenanigans and sheer stupidity of our “betters” is not one of them. Bring it on Julian.