Leaks also confirm that Arab states favor bombing
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last month.(Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)
The headline of the relevant New York Times article is, “Around the World, Distress Over Iran.” Well, duh. But we should pay attention nonetheless.
The quarter of a million U.S. diplomatic cables leaked through the Wikileaks organization and published yesterday in several newspapers mostly revealed that our worst fears, grounded in things we already knew, are shared by State Department professionals privy to non-public information (although over half of the leaked cables were not classified). They are the geopolitical equivalent of Kinsley gaffes, slip-ups embarassing precisely because they confirm what people already thought to be true.
The Times’s lead bulletpoint, for instance, describes U.S. concerns that Pakistan has enriched uranium that could be used to make illicit weapons for very bad people. Well, we knew Pakistan was a nuclear state; that the father of the Pakistani bomb, A.Q. Khan, is the world’s worst individual proliferator; that Pakistan maintains alliances with radical Islamic groups (like the one that murdered hundreds in Mumbai). So this new tidbit, of “a dangerous standoff with Pakistan over nuclear fuel,” is scary, but it is not shocking.
Or as Laura Rozen put it, “The classified diplomatic discussions on Iran revealed in the cables are not all that different from what one would expect from following the public comments senior U.S. officials have made on the Iran issue the last several months.” I will address other revelations, including ones touching on the Mideast peace process, Egypt, and Turkey, in a future post. The Iran stuff has been among the most buzzed-about. (more…)