Another day, another set of revelations …
- The cables further revealed how the nexus of business and state interests among Russia’s ruling elite had fueled suspicions in Washington that Mr. Putin, in spite of his vigorous denials, had quietly amassed a personal fortune … “a confidential cable pointedly mentioned the Swiss oil-trading company Gunvor, as being ”of particular note” … the company, the cable said, is rumored to be one of Putin’s sources of undisclosed wealth … one estimate said the company might control half of Russian oil exports, potentially bringing its owners billions of dollars in profit.
- A cable that briefed President George W. Bush before a visit to Ottawa in late 2004 shed further light on the asymmetrical relationship with Canada — a country, the embassy wrote, that was engaged in soul-searching about its decline from middle power status to that of an active observer of global affairs … it also noted that Canadian officials worried that they were being excluded from a club of English-speaking countries as a result of their refusal to take part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The United States had created a channel for sharing intelligence related to Iraq operations with Britain and Australia, but Canada was not invited to join … the Canadian government has expressed concern at multiple levels that their exclusion from a traditional four-eyes construct is punishment for Canada’s non-participation in Iraq and they fear that the Iraq-related channel may evolve into a more permanent three-eyes only structure, the cable said.
Has the world of diplomacy ever seen anything like this? An excruciating daily drip feed of private observations, commentaries, insider gossip, speculation, insinuation, indelicacies — all written by professional American diplomats about the leaders and governments of dozens of countries on whom the US depends to conduct its global affairs.
From the day the Wikileaks “embassy cables” began disgorging earlier this week, every diplomat in every embassy from every country who writes private reports will do so with the knowledge, and fear, that their work could become public. And that will change everything.
The world of diplomacy will never be the same again.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.