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Unconventional Wisdom: No Secrets at IPS

December 3, 2010 ·

News from the Institute for Policy Studies: Ideas into Action for Peace, Justice, and the Environment

The release of secret diplomatic cables by the whistleblower organization WikiLeaks is either a truth-seeker’s treasure trove or a massive threat to international security and diplomacy. While much of the information has embarrassed members of the U.S. Foreign Service for their snide and “undiplomatic” portrayal of world leaders, the content merely confirms what we already suspected - the Obama administration's diplomacy is more of what we have seen in the past, further evidence of the insanity of our foreign policy, conducted at great economic and political costs through either force or negotiations.

The diplomatic leaks are “an orchard of exposés over-ripe for cherry-picking,” as IPS fellow Phyllis Bennis states in her most recent article, “WikiLeaks: War, Diplomacy & Ban ki-Moon’s Toothbrush." Bennis points out, in a recent interview with the Real News Network, one of the more bizarre and frightening disclosure of the leaks is the fact that U.S. diplomats have been effectively turned into spies, tasked with obtaining biometric and other information on top world officials. IPS fellow Emira Woods, in her recent Voice of America interview, also emphasizes this aspect of the leaks and lauds the transparency and the free flow of information that the leaks provide.

While there are reasons to applaud WikiLeaks, there is also great concern that information taken and interpreted out of context could have negative and even fatal consequences. IPS scholar John Feffer points out how the current and possible future revelations exposed through leaks about South Korea, North Korea, and China can easily undermine secret negotiations in his latest article in the Institute's weekly foreign policy ezine, World Beat, “Transparency Fundamentalists.” Our hard-hitting analysis isn't top-secret but it's free and always worth a close read. Subscribe to World Beat today.

For 47 years, IPS has responsibly spoken truth(s) to power. We look forward to the many years to come.


Joy Zarembka
IPS Associate Director