WikiLeak’d

Hello All,

Pseudo-exciting news! Last week I was asked to come on the WNYU radio show Earshot to talk politics, and more specifically WikiLeaks’ recent release of previously private and classified diplomatic cables from around the world. You can listen to the audio from the interview here. This is the first really interesting international relations event to happen in about year, which was a nice reprieve from all of the blah-blah-blah recession. Not only that, but these releases and the furor that has followed highlight a critical phenomena of the second modernity, and helps support several sociopolitical hypotheses that have been put forward during the past decade.

Ever since the bloom of deconstructivist post-modern social and political critique during the last half of the 20th century combined with the new social horizons of the internet, states have been pooping their pants about their loss of sovereignty and legitimacy as international actors. Power has been sucked away by global finance (largely controlled by private hands and sheer randomness), international institutions like the UN and their lackey NGOs (even if they are rather pathetic), and global corporations (biopoliticking since the first McDonalds spread open its golden arches to birth hamburgers to peripheral states). Sorry, bros, looks like WikiLeaks just upped the ante by proving that transnational social networks can play with the big boys, too.

Anyways, here are some highlights from the released cables, for the curious:

1. The US State Department ordered US diplomats to get information on UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, including biometric information, passwords and personal encryption keys.

2. President Karzai of Afghanistan was described as an extremely weak man, and having a paranoid worldview. He is apparently easily persuaded by any person who could convince him that someone was plotting to kill him.

3. China’s increasing tensions with and lack of influence over North Korea were revealed.

4. China’s Politburo was responsible for instigating the hacking of Google back in January.

5. Iran potential has missiles with a 2k mile range which it bought from NK.

6. Turkey has been pressuring the US for Predator Drones to use against Kurds.

7. The US used bargaining to get countries to accept Guantanamo prisoners by offering either economic incentives or a visit with Barack Obama.

8. French President Nicolas Sarkozy was described by US diplomats as thin skinned, authoritarian and an emperor with no clothes.

9. Netanyahu is elegant and charming, but never keeps his promises.

10. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was described as having “little understanding of politics beyond Ankara, and surrounds himself wth an iron ring of sycophantic yet contemptuous advisors.

11. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was described as pale and indecisive, playing Robin to Putin’s batman.

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