Thursday, July 30, 2015

Wikileaks and Latin America

Dan Drezner writes about Julian Assange's claim that somehow academics aren't citing WikiLeaks because they're cozy with the State Department and that international relations journals won't publish articles with such citations. Drezner's point is that for the most part the revelations aren't that interesting:

Indeed, the effect of WikiLeaks’ cables on American foreign policy was pretty mild — in contrast to, say, Edward Snowden’s revelations. It was so mild that I once had a Fletcher student ask me if Julian Assange was actually a CIA agent designed to bolster America’s image in the world, because it turned out that what U.S. diplomats said privately closely matched what they said publicly.

With regard to Latin America, I agree with this. Five years ago I wrote the following:

With virtually all of the cables on Latin America, we learn relatively little but get a fairly discouraging confirmation of what we already know...There's nothing shady or nefarious; instead, the overall effect is one of cluelessness.

The "discouraging" part I referred to was the Bush administration's way of dealing with Latin America. But my discouragement wasn't caused (or even changed) by WikiLeaks. I've yet to read anything in WikiLeaks that changed my way of thinking about U.S. policy in Latin America or suggested there was a deeper conspiracy of which I was previously unaware. In fact, one of my main reactions was to note the hypocrisy of dictatorships applauding transparency. Even Peter Kornbluh, whose body of work is based on declassified documents, made the point that the cables shed more light on Latin America than on Washington, and often provided a more nuanced (as opposed to more sinister) view of how U.S. policy is made.

Incidentally, Wikileaks got really annoyed at Drezner's post.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP