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Latest round of Wikileaks shows nothing new, but changes everything

November 29, 2010
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The ongoing Wikileaks revelations have been fascinating, but the latest round, those of US diplomatic cables, are perhaps the least revealing thus far. Basically, there’s a lot of the usual personal opinion and gossip that one would expect and the unsurprising revelations that the US gathers information on its allies as well as its enemies. The only really challenging insight is that Saudi Arabia want Iran dealt with far more urgently, it seems, than Israel. But then, even that is hardly unexpected given the religious and political gulf between those two states.

The more important thing for the longer-term is the process going on here, the fact that nation-states, even powerful ones, no longer seem to be able to have complete control over the information that they generate. Potentially, this is not about international relations at all or about any one particular nation-state, but potentially challenges the asymmetrical relationship between all nation-states the their peoples. Of course, there are already right-wing US politicians scrambling to label Wikileaks as a terrorist organisation, which just shows how corrupted the use of the idea of ‘terrorism’ has become, but below this, it demonstrates the very real fear of losing control amongst the political elite. The problem is that, with the current wave of nationalism sweeping the USA, such desperate sentiments play well to the gallery…

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