Writing in The New Republic today, Columbia University’s James Rubin observes the recent WikiLeaks exposure of classified documents “undermines the very worldview that Julian Assange and his colleagues at WikiLeaks almost certainly support.” Rubin says of that worldview:
“By and large, the hard left in America and around the world would prefer to see the peaceful resolution of disputes rather than the use of military force. World peace, however, is a lot harder to achieve if the U.S. State Department is cut off at the knees. And that is exactly what this mass revelation of documents is going to do. The essential tool of State Department diplomacy is trust between American officials and their foreign counterparts. Unlike the Pentagon which has military forces, or the Treasury Department which has financial tools, the State Department functions mainly by winning the trust of foreign officials, sharing information, and persuading. Those discussions have to be confidential to be successful. Destroying confidentiality means destroying diplomacy.”
So the rest of us can’t wait to start the bombing, while the “hard Left” prefers “the peaceful resolution of disputes, rather than the use of military force?” What facile rubbish. The hard Left is interested in American defeat, and more broadly the defeat of a Western culture it despises. It doesn’t mind violence in pursuit of that goal, as long as the hated imperialists and capitalists of the West are on the receiving end. The hard Left thinks Palestinian terrorists are noble heroes, and terrorist enabler Rachel Corrie is a saint, Our Lady Of The Israeli Bulldozer. They weren’t deploring violence in Iraq and calling for terrorist insurgents to lay down their arms and join the world community. They were actively rooting for one side, and it wasn’t the one fighting under the Stars and Stripes. The hard Left proudly wears murderers like Che Guevara on its T-shirts, and wasn’t shy about openly displaying his image in Obama campaign offices.
Rubin is confusing Julian Assange with the sort of character Matt Damon usually plays in Hollywood fantasies about heroic leftists standing up to the military-industrial complex. Like many liberals, the New Republic writer sees the “hard Left” as gutsy, outspoken versions of himself – romantic figures whose exploits are thrilling, but require the occasional mild denunciation in mainstream magazines.
In a July 2010 Time profile of Assange, writer Eben Harrell said the WikiLeaks founder “believes that total transparency is for the good of all people,” and began publishing classified documents in 2006 “in the belief that the free exchange of information would put an end to illegitimate governance.” Really? Does that include the “illegitimate governance” of regimes like those in North Korea or Iran? Assange isn’t leaking any of their documents. The only targets of his espionage activities have been America and her allies, intelligence assets, and diplomatic connections. “Total transparency” would mean exposing some stuff from the Axis of Evil as well. One-sided transparency is akin to unilateral disarmament in the information war. WikiLeaks might as well be stealing magazines from the weapons of American soldiers on the battlefield in Afghanistan, while claiming to be against gun violence.
In a similar vein of willful blindness, Richard Lardner of the Daily Caller reports that Congress is preparing a new “whistleblower protection” bill in the wake of the WikiLeaks scandal. The bill is intended to “discourage leaks of classified information” by giving “intelligence agency whistle-blowers a way to raise concerns within their agencies instead of giving classified materials to WikiLeaks or other outlets, which is illegal.” This bill might be a decent idea on its own merits, as supporters relate stories of constructive agency whistle-blowers receiving hellish treatment at the hands of their superiors… but does anyone really think Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, the suspected source of the WikiLeaks documents, wanted to improve the intelligence services or State Department? It would be more plausible to suggest he was trying to prepare a Lady Gaga mix disc for his buddy Assange, and downloaded all those classified documents by accident.
In reality, Julian Assange is the polished and urbane face of the same forces that lurk in the hills of Afghanistan, and huddle in safe houses across Europe and the United States, choosing the next pizza parlor or Christmas tree lighting ceremony to bomb. He is an agent of anti-civilization, determined to do everything he can to destroy a democratic West he has tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. He’s not all that concerned with what will replace it, because like the rest of the “hard Left,” he’s convinced it couldn’t possibly be any worse. Along the way, he gets to pump his own ego full of hot air, and posture as a hero of the Information Age. Moral vanity is the tragic flaw of the hard Left… a flaw that rarely finds its way into their reverent portrayals on the silver screen.
As James Rubin acknowledges in his New Republic piece, the latest round of WikiLeaks documents reveal “American private communication with foreign leaders by and large reflects the same sentiments offered by U.S. officials in public. There is no grand conspiracy, no grand hypocrisy to uncover and expose. The big hypocrisies here are not being perpetrated by Americans; they are being perpetrated by foreign governments, namely non-democratic ones.” None of those foreign governments are going to be shamed into sweeping humanitarian reforms by WikiLeaks. They’ll simply stop doing business with the United States. No “constructive” result was ever possible, which is perfectly consistent with the true objectives of the hard Left, even if it doesn’t fit Rubin’s romantic illusions about them.
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