Researchers say WikiLeaks damaged American power

Jan 26, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- One of the first academics to study the impact of the exposure of US diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks argues that American power has been significantly damaged.

Professor Inderjeet Parmar, from The University of Manchester, says the prevailing argument that has caused little lasting harm to the US is inaccurate.

“Information brought to the world’s attention by WikiLeaks has wreaked havoc on the United States in many different ways,” he said.

“The continue to damage America’s standing and influence on the world and its relationship with allies including Britain, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Yemen, Nigeria and others.”

The damage, he said, will be acutely felt when the US State Department host UNESCO’s world press freedom day May 2011.

He added: “The success of WikiLeaks in leveraging major news outlets such as the Guardian and New York Times is a major disruption to the Government’s agenda.

“For politicians, media and opinion-management go hand in hand: policies must be sold to publics to be politically salient.

“These cables have severely impeded that ability; they have challenged the agenda-setters who are normally used to following their chosen policies and controlling how they are portrayed to a mass audience.”

On Iran

“We now know there are differences between the US and Israel over Iran’s perceived nuclear threat. The Iranians now know that Israel is concerned about this and political consequences are sure to follow. The Iranians also now know that Israel is extremely wary of military strikes on Iran’s nuclear plants.”

On Tunisia

“It’s clear that WikiLeaks cables added to Tunisian public’s sense that President Zainul Abedin Ben Ali was corrupt and out of touch with the people. The uprisings there were at least in part influenced by secret US embassy cables and could release a wave of change throughout the Arab world, most of them staunch US allies, including providing a more powerful impetus to extreme Islamist parties.”

On China

“The Chinese now know how much the US accepts that its economy - and employment - depends on them. Hu Jintao’s current visit to the US will no doubt feature deployment of such knowledge in trade negotiations. This is likely to become a key factor in the next US election and will heighten the self confidence of the Chinese, which some embassy cables described as ‘hubris’.”

On Pakistan

“The US public is better informed about Pakistan’s instability and support for terrorist acts against US forces. They also know it provides the Pakistan security services with billions of dollars of cash.”

On US prestige

“With alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning being held in solitary confinement without charge, the impact on US image is considerable, even provoking cyber attacks on US institutions, and a growing campaign for better treatment.”

On the law

“Julian Assange is not American, was not on US soil when he published the cables and did not steal the leaked documents. Any prosecution is likely to throw up constitutional issues, particularly the notion of extra-territorial application of American laws.”

On Obama and politics

“The WikiLeaks disclosures echo something of the post Vietnam post Watergate and post Pentagon papers atmosphere of the 1970s. That resulted in the election of Jimmy Carter with high hopes of restoring the US image – like Obama after the Bush years. But Carter’s failure led to rise of a new Right and the election of Ronald Reagan. WikiLeaks could very possibly lead to the rise of a more credible Republican challenger not from a moose hunting Alaskan but from a man on horseback – General David Petraeus.”

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User comments : 19

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zevkirsh
1 / 5 (2) Jan 26, 2011
they're exposing people cheating on irs taxes. apparently, us power is no longer rooted in the ability to find people cheating on their taxes?

knikiy
4 / 5 (4) Jan 26, 2011
I think the main thing that damages American power is its unchecked abuse.
frajo
not rated yet Jan 26, 2011
“the agenda-setters who are normally used to following their chosen policies and controlling how they are portrayed to a mass audience.”
Wasn't that Charly Marx who said so?
ereneon
5 / 5 (7) Jan 26, 2011
This article is phrased like it's a bad thing that politicians can't just manipulate the public's view on issues anymore. I think wikileaks is a mixed blessing. It may have caused the US some embarrassment and some international tension, but far more importantly it revealed to the public the harsh corrupt reality that they always felt was out there but rarely got to see.
bcode
5 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2011
Good.
Vendicar_Decarian
4.8 / 5 (4) Jan 27, 2011
All truthful information is good information.

Period.
brianweymes
4 / 5 (3) Jan 27, 2011
I don't see how anyone could view the fall of the Tunisian dictator and his replacement with a likely democratic system to be a bad thing.
frajo
1 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2011
All truthful information is good information.
Period.
The truth is that to tell a child it will die in some months because of cancer is unnecessarily cruel.
Benbenben
1 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2011
While writing about the loss of US prestige and credibility, the author would have done well to tend their own prestige and credibility, by fact checking.
Bradley Manning is not being held without charge. He was charged in July 2010 under the UCMJ for downloading classified information to his personal computer and for sharing national security information with unauthorized persons.

If you are going to spout off about damage from mishandled information, wouldn't it be a good idea to make sure your own info is squeeky clean??

'Pot calling Kettle, over......Come in Kettle, do you copy? over.':-)
Doug_Huffman
2.5 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2011
Correlation is not cause, least of all when the correlation is in time only, [i]post hoc ergo propter hoc[/i]. Øbama's administration are more likely causes.

Without falsifiability it ain't science.

insignificant_fish
5 / 5 (1) Jan 27, 2011
All truthful information is good information.
Period.
The truth is that to tell a child it will die in some months because of cancer is unnecessarily cruel.


that is interesting because i don't think anyone has told america the truth about it dyeing of cancer yet. It would be noble of you if you just said nothing.
frajo
not rated yet Jan 27, 2011
All truthful information is good information.
Period.
The truth is that to tell a child it will die in some months because of cancer is unnecessarily cruel.
that is interesting because i don't think anyone has told america the truth about it dyeing of cancer yet. It would be noble of you if you just said nothing.
A generalized statement like that of poster 1 containing "all truthful information is ..." can be most simply falsified by showing just one case whith "this special truthful information is not ...". Consequently "not all truthful information is ...".

If you like to see America as an allegorical child with cancer that's up to you.
Au-Pu
5 / 5 (1) Jan 29, 2011
All WikiLeaks has done is to expose the duplicity of US diplomacy.
To show the arrogance and contempt some hold towards leaders they deal with.
The US is not the only nation to behave in this fashion.
Some nations would be exposed as being far worse.
It is to be hoped that Assange remains free and extends his coverage to other nations, especially China.
GaryB
2 / 5 (2) Jan 30, 2011
All truthful information is good information.
Period.


Good for what?? The truth is, you're probably not very smart and certainly not wise. Tell your boss/wife/kids/friends every time your mood is such that don't like them as much or think they are a jerk. When working with students who are struggling, just keep telling them "you're stupid, you're stupid". Every time a chick passes by, make sure to let her know you'd like to have sex. Tell your employer every flaw you have when interviewing and you're current feelings about them when employed.

You'll go far in life dude. Lying is a highly adapted social glue that keeps us from falling apart at the seams.
frajo
not rated yet Jan 30, 2011
Lying is a highly adapted social glue that keeps us from falling apart at the seams.
We should not equate political actions of a government with social actions between individuals. Especially not if the government in question is involved in attack wars and their inevitable but tolerated (by them) killings of innocent persons.
rgwalther
not rated yet Jan 30, 2011
If thousands of years of written history hasn't taught us much or changed anything, I doubt that a few written emails stating the obvious will result in much damage.
Benbenben
not rated yet Jan 30, 2011
Why has this article not yet been corrected? Bradley Manning is NOT being held without charge (contrary to what the article states). He was charged in July 2010.
There is no shortage of unflattering things to report about US actions that are actually true. Whether willfully deceitful, or just lazy, the inclusion of nonfactual accusations makes the entire matter easier to dismiss as untrue in the public eye.
Benbenben
not rated yet Jan 30, 2011
Is it possible that the information leaked was specially selected or created intenion of being leaked? Given the 'perfect storm' of opportunity for a recently demoted specialist who retained access to sensitive data, it might not be far fetched. Throw in a little actual damaging info that was already known but very inflamitory, to guarantee publicity and believability, and the remainder is swallowed whole-hog.
rgwalther
not rated yet Feb 01, 2011
All WikiLeaks has done is to expose the duplicity of US diplomacy.

Duplicity and diplomacy both begin with the same prefix.

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