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jlelandg's avatar

Does this make you question wikileaks usefulness a little?

Asked by jlelandg (3506 points ) January 3rd, 2011

This seems a bit troubling. If that dictator gains power because of wikileaks it will definitely be a start of major concerns about WL for me.

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10 Answers

belakyre's avatar

Well I guess that if he really did secretly support it… then he was lying when he publicly stated that he was opposed to the sanctions. That dictator did not gain power because of wikileaks, but because Mugabe was lying.

marinelife's avatar

It doesn’t change my feelings, it just cements them. Wikileaks is doing and has done incalculable harm in the world.

It is naive to believe that all government actions should be out in the open.

Odysseus's avatar

Not at all.
That news article is BS, just read the comments underneath it to get an idea of how much blame people are putting on wikileaks (virtually none)

“This is like blaming the road when the truck hits the cyclist. The US is in dire need of truth, Zimbabwe even more so.”

wundayatta's avatar

The situation in Zimbabwe reminds me of discussions regarding the strategy for health care reform. Single payer, many of us believe, is the only answer that will work. Do we oppose reform until the people hurt so much they are willing to support reform, or do we support reform because even though it is unsupportable and will cost way too much, there are people out there who need help. Now.

Do we kill this patient in order to save the next five? Or do we save this one and keep things really bad for other patients for a long time? I.e., things have to get really, really, really bad before the people will want (the right kind of) change.

The people of Zimbabwe need relief now. Yet getting that relief means an increasing likelihood that anti-democratic Mugabe will remain in power. But the opposition won’t get elected unless they support the end of sanctions because the people are more interested in food than political leaders (maybe).

What is the opposition to do? If they support sanctions, they lose because the people won’t like them. If they oppose sanctions… well, that’s interesting. If they oppose sanctions the people may like them, but how likely is it that the US will lift sanctions if the opposition wishes it?

So if the opposition opposes sanctions, they can hope that the US won’t pay attention to them, or they can make it clear (privately) that they really want sanctions to stay. They are probably bad at diplomacy and don’t know how to hint at things without actually saying them. Also, they may not behave as if someone could be listening. So they say it out loud, on a record. And got caught.

Diplomacy is so hard. Worse when the US can’t keep it’s communications private. The US was sloppy. The opposition was sloppy. They got caught. Dem’s de breaks.

There’s no certainty that if the Wikileaks revelation hadn’t happened that the opposition would have won. In fact, the outcome is still not determined. That’s why there are elections.

In any case, I don’t think Wikileaks can be stopped. This information, once stolen from the US, would get out in one way or another. I think the brouhaha about this is closing the barn door after the horse is stolen. We need to pay attention to security and do a better job. That includes being more careful about what we say as well as finding a better lock box.

janbb's avatar

Quel surprise – I’m with @marinelife on this one. I think it is terribly naive to expect that revealing dipilomatic negotiations and comments is always the best thing to do.

crazyivan's avatar

It is careless and dangerous. A real news organization would not be so careless. The supporters of wikileaks call it freedom of information or a strike against censorship. I call it careless endangerment that undercuts the effectiveness of the American government and, by extention, the American people.

tinyfaery's avatar

No lies = no problems. If governments knew they would be busted for their lies and corruption then perhaps our governments will change their ways. His lies created the problem, not wikileaks. Politics as usual is why the world is such a fucked up place. Bring on the transparency.

crazyivan's avatar

By all means, let’s allow all the world to see all the inner workings of international diplomacy… (sarcasm)... Nothing like trying to run a marathon with a knife in your leg.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Truly it is a sad day when politicians have to live their lives under the threat of being held responsible for their duplicity. ~

Maybe next time a reformer decides to play such a dangerous game, he’ll be smart enough not to put the proof in writing. Or maybe he’ll learn how to do actual work and convince people that the sanctions are necessary. And if the people want such reforms, maybe they’ll learn to accept the costs.

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