The United States government is furious over the publication of its classified documents by WikiLeaks and in my previous post I wrote about the role of secrecy in the new world order. We have entered into a world of communication and openness where individuals are more active participants and this by itself will limit the governmental secrecy.
In this respect, policies of the western democracies, particularly the U.S., are behind the times and they need to catch up. The old hierarchical pyramid of discussion and secret decision making is not practical and will run into constant conflict with the active and more informed individuals who want to know and will know and want more participation and will participate. The old paradigms are falling off the high towers of the old social organizations. The U.S. and other western governments can spend enormous amounts of resources to fight off these realities and they will only end up picking up the pieces and they will look like anything but the old paradigms.
One senses a pernicious shortsightedness and the publication of the classified documents gives us a glimpse into its roots. According to the reports most of the documents are of no significance. Among the ones which attracted the most attention were related to the conversations about Islamic regime’s nuclear ambitions in Iran. In these conversations the central leaders of Middle Eastern countries among them Saudi King were trying to convince the U.S. to attack Iran militarily over the current nuclear dispute between Iran and the United Nations. The American officials tried to reduce the impact of these revelations by pointing out that these conversations only show that the Middle Eastern countries, covered in these documents, had the same security concerns as the U.S.
These regimes know full well that a military intervention into Iran will weaken the U.S. further if not paralyze it after the politically unclear military expeditions in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, the absence of any mention of the key issue of the Iranian society, i.e., absence of democratic rights in Iran, is indicative of awkward alliances and the U.S. political priorities in the region. These revelations, while not entirely new, weaken the U.S. standing among the Iranian people, the most pro west populations other than Israel in the Middle East. The U.S. cannot begin with how to put the lid back on its secrets but with how to straighten up its policies and alliances. In cooperation with Europe, it needs to reach out to the broad democratic segment of the Iranian society by changing the axis of interaction with the Islamic regime. The democratic rights of the Iranian people need to take the center stage and that would change the conversations in the region and they do not require to be classified.