Articles of the year 2010

Freedom of Speech
Published on December 14th, 2010

The Europeans and the rest of the world are watching, aghast at the stupidity of the attacks on the editors of WikiLeaks. Assange should be thanked for giving the most valuable insights into the mindset of American officers showing their contempt for the rest of the world

America today stands completely isolated, the supreme power, but hated, with its European allies scrambling to distance themselves from the Afghanistan misadventure. The US policy makers have been exposed as doing everything they can to further isolate themselves from the rest of the world, their allies included. WikiLeaks has also shown how highly qualified and trained planners can lead a nation into a brutal war, punishing the Iraqis without cause, with a ferocity unknown in history. Earlier Afghanistan, another defenceless country, amongst the poorest in the world, was dragged into further misery. The release of diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks and its aftermath have shown how the US had formed a deliberate policy built upon the arrogance of might. Indeed very similar to the rise of Nazi Germany and the military upturn, till it declared war on Europe thinking it was omnipotent. The Americans and the free world were lucky that the Nazi war machine was stopped before they went nuclear, otherwise the world may have been a different place.

The flawed American policies have now been exposed, and the deadly effect will soon dawn on the American people, who are already beginning to wonder how their leadership could possibly have been led astray. With leadership comes a responsibility to ensure that the right decisions are taken. But if the think tanks themselves are guiding their leaders to take decisions that are legally questionable, e.g. charges of war crimes could be framed as in Guantanamo, there is little hope for improvement.

The exposé of the American thought process will awaken the American media to the disastrous Bush doctrine of the last 10 years, amply reflected in the hitherto secret cables. The media is a highly responsible pillar of the community in most countries of the world and is always the first to speak up against evil. It has been speaking against the Bush regime, but the WikiLeaks exposures have shocked even the most liberal commentators in the media. That is why it is doubly shocking that the State Department is making desperate measures at damage control, and Mrs Clinton is making 'frantic' calls to other world leaders to soothe ruffled feathers. It must be very disturbing to shake hands with someone you have called 'dirty', and the epithet having been repeated in print throughout the world. How can she say she was misquoted when Holbrooke has confessed in the media that all the cables are genuine? In fact some overenthusiastic Pakistani newspapers (not Daily Times) published some counterfeit cables, which were supposed to have originated in India. These papers were quickly exposed and apologies were printed.

However, it is for President Obama to realise that he has inherited a 'rogue' State Department, one that should be dismantled quickly. In a uni-polar world there is no visible enemy, as all others have been eliminated, but the Bush administration has put in place new bogeymen that are punishing the American public far more than any real enemies. The body searches that have been introduced at US airports are already being resented by citizens travelling within the US. The US government has over-reacted to the security threat, much to the discomfort of the travelling public. All this shows a bureaucracy out of control, one that will be almost impossible to restrain.

The most commendable aspect is the credibility earned by the WikiLeaks staff, which is the most searched website daily. The fight for the defence of Assange has taken on epic proportions, with people like Jemima Khan offering to bail him out. Hopefully, they will all manage to mount a formidable legal battle to defend him. The WikiLeaks cables and the Americans' attacks on Assange have provoked an incredible collection of people, young and old, to rally round him, making the Americans looking ever more ridiculous. The far right in the US is calling for him to be executed! These and other statements are making the follower of Assange appear even more angelic by comparison.

We Pakistanis, on the receiving end and vilified for quite a while, should take heart that good will triumph over evil, and though it has taken a long time, the State Department has finally been exposed as being run by sleazy managers, who are still misleading the incumbent president. Mr Obama, your nation has a history of successfully defeating the forces of evil and of projecting the puritanical ethic of hard work and honesty. WikiLeaks has now made the biggest contribution to the American dream of freedom of expression. This is the most sacred of freedoms. Please do not let the contaminated and exposed State Department further damage the great American nation. The Europeans and the rest of the world are watching, aghast at the stupidity of the attacks on the editors of WikiLeaks. Assange should be thanked for giving the most valuable insights into the mindset of American officers showing their contempt for the rest of the world. This mindset of the Americans is in sharp contrast to the starry eyed Hollywood-presented camaraderie shown to the world. What would the British have thought if Churchill had been described as a drunken slob in one of the cables? The Americans have insulted all their allies in this manner.

It is not Julian Assange, but the State Department's contempt that is upsetting the entire world order. Ms Clinton must realise that no amount of glossing over or backtracking can hide the truth. It is this embarrassment that the State Department has to face from its contemporaries throughout the world.