Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Diplomats behaving badly

kw: politics, diplomacy, leaks

It is no surprise to me that the recent Wikileaks release of diplomatic documents has put (or revealed) eggs on many faces. Of course some folks don't like one another, and of course people have unguarded moments, particularly when they think nobody is looking, and say and write nasty things about one another. This has been going on since Og and Ug began to speak, half a million years ago last Friday.

One of my first reviews was about the book Philosophers Behaving Badly. In fact, the eight philosophers limned therein behaved totally at odds with the ideals they espoused in public. So why is anyone surprised that so many diplomats, including our Secretary of State, so well known for her sharp tongue, should express very undiplomatic opinions.

While much is being made of the more salacious cables, let's step back to realize that the vast bulk of them are the more routine, banal, boring stuff that keeps any bureaucracy going. Considering the number of truly unpleasant characters out there who are titled "head of state", the proportion of "frank" statements is really rather small.

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