This weeks near-miss on the Korean peninsula, when South Korea undertook live-fire naval exercises in the face of promised North Korean retaliation, was as close to all-out war as that region has come in a generation.
The coincidence with the WikiLeaks Cablegate affair, that has been lavishly lauded by Socialists, Web 2.0 ‘reformists’, anarchist, and other hotch-potch apologists the world over, is both timely and ultimately informative.
Let’s recap: WikiLeaks fan-boys think all diplomatic cables, and just about all other government data (oh wait – unless it relates personally to them) should be open-source and freely available. They think Joe Public has the overarching right (let alone the wit, intelligence, subtlety, and experience) to read and interpret everything all governments say to and about each other, all the time. Career diplomats and politicians are to be universally derided as liars in their book, and the new custodians of truth and international peace and diplomacy are to be the butcher, baker, and candlestick maker (and after a few months of this Utopian dream the whole world will link arms, sing some John Lennon songs, and the Age of Aquarius will finally dawn).
This is of course some of the most patently dangerous totalitarian nonsense that has ever been aired as a political view since either Hitler, Stalin, or Pol Pot had their respective ‘reformist’ days.
To have entrusted this last week’s worth of diplomatic activity in the Korean peninsular to the hands of the collectivist public would have been playing nuclear Russian Roulette. It is an absurdist view that anyone other than those intimately aware of the subtleties and history of Korean politics could have resolved this situation without further loss of life. The last thing the world needs now is a nuclear-stakes war in Asia against a million-man army just looking for an excuse to press the button and prove a glorious Communist point.
‘Unofficial’ US Envoy Bill Richardson played a masterful role, and it is inconceivable that he could have completed his important work if he had to first seek general global consensus via a WikiLeaks readers’ poll before he could make statements to or conclude negotiations with Pyongyang. Thankfully he was in the right place, at the right time, talking to the right people – as he is paid to do by his constituents. Of course this is still considered unofficial, but you can bet there were background discussions had with the White house to pre-empt various outcomes (I’m sure there are even some secret cables formatted exactly as we are seeing released now via WikiLeaks on other subjects). The point is ‘so what’? Let him communicate in secret with the White House if that’s what he has to do to ensure future consistency of actions with whatever statements he can extract from either side now that do not aggravate tensions.
The impressive end result is that North Korea has stayed its hand – in fact it went even further and made concessions to allow nuclear inspectors back into the country, after a lengthy absence. Do you think that backroom deals were done? Do you think ego’s were stroked and tales told about the other side? Was the deal contingent upon arms deals, or trade negotiations, or aid money, or a few boxes full of used dollar bills being left on the side of the road at a certain place?
Of course they were. It is an infantile mind that thinks otherwise, as that is the way the world works. North and South Korea used the whole situation to curry favour with various world powers, and it was the job of our diplomats to assess this and communicate it back to their leaders in a frank and fearless manner – without the interference at a crucial time from an uninformed general public.
If the WikiLeaks dream is ever realised, then a potentially delicate international situation like this could rapidly consume millions of civilian and military lives as a result of the wrong thing being made public at the wrong time. The stakes are high, and often it is only the diplomatic structures we have in place that prevent disaster. If time-sensitive information therefore needs to be withheld from builders, waitresses, or coffee shop gossips, even for many years to come, then I’d say we are getting off with a pretty cheap bill.
Let’s not be quite so ready to throw away the functional world we have for the poorly defined Orwellian one envisaged by an unqualified man like Julian Assange, or his band of gullible followers.