Whatever else one might say about WikiLeaks Americans reading cables written by their emissaries in embassies around the world back to their Secretary of State, might  start to have a clue about what Obama and his team do for a living. It’s hard work. On November 30 Andrea Mitchell on CNN struggled to come up with exactly why Hillary Clinton was in Kazakhstan, other than to be embarrassed by Wikileaks in front of  “other world leaders”.  Admittedly, even Mitchell might stumble over “Astana” as the capital of Kazakhstan, but shouldn’t she try to say it was a summit meeting of an organization of which the US is a (of course leading) member, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe?  I am told by a NYT stringer that even the Times tells its writers not to get into any acronym specifics (maybe “UN”, maybe “NATO”). State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley played along with this taboo with Mitchell, talking about how, despite WikiLeaks, the leaders at “the meeting” would pursue “security and cooperation”.  Post Cold War, the OSCE is a very important vehicle for US and global security interests, but apparently no one but those who work for the big, bad federal government need know anything about it.

And speaking of those federal government employees, in this case American diplomats. what do they do for a living? They find out, for example, what the Pakistan government is doing about keeping its nuclear bombs out of terrorist hands (not nearly enough), or how much money the Iranians are pouring into Iraq (too much), so that our government can take effective counter actions. And when those diplomats make a mistake, it matters too.  In 2008 US-Russian relations suffered an unnecessary crisis because then President Bush wanted, at all costs, to back Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili  against  Russia over a breakaway region in Georgia, Abkhazia, including backing the Georgian claim the Russians attached Georgia and not visa versa. Turns out, as WikiLeaks reveals, the Embassy did lousy reporting and accepted anything the Georgian officials said to it, even while the OSCE’s (OSCE! see above) independent military observer team backed the Russian/Abkhaz claims that the Georgians started the war.

Far right members of the incoming Congress don’t care.  The rest of the world is to be handled mano a mano, no talk, just military action; no win-win situations, just the US wins, everybody else loses. What do we need cables for?