Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemns the WikiLeaks 'attack
on the international community' as harmful to US policy goals. But
major geopolitical shifts are unlikely, analysts say.
The US intensified its efforts at damage control on Monday
following the publication by WikiLeaks of more than a quarter-
million diplomatic cables, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham
Clinton calling the massive release not just a problem for American
foreign policy but "an attack on the international community."
In a statement to journalists in the State Department's Treaty
Room before she was to leave on a four-country trip through Central
Asia and the Persian Gulf, Secretary Clinton said that both the
furthering of US national interests and the operation of the world's
international political system depend on thousands of confidential
exchanges, assessments, and conversations every day.
Far from being a "laudable" effort to make the workings of
government transparent, the leaking of classified cables, she said,
can have a chilling effect on such US foreign policy goals as the
promotion of human rights or expansion of religious freedoms by
discouraging the foreign proponents of those goals from working with
The release of more than 250,000 cables primarily from the Bush
and Obama administrations by WikiLeaks - the same organization that
released classified information on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars
earlier this year - is a cause of deep embarrassment to the US.
But it is not likely to lead to any significant geopolitical
shifts or fundamental reworkings of US relations with other
countries, many foreign-policy analysts say. And that is because
foreign partners were assumed to be acting in their own national
interest in their dealings with the US before the revelations, and
presumably will continue to do so now. "No country is going to
suddenly act against its own self interest because of this," says
Lawrence Korb, a foreign-policy expert and former Pentagon official
at the Center for American Progress in Washington.
Impact on diplomatic corps
The real impact of the new WikiLeaks release, he says, is likely
to be on the US diplomatic corps - and on the conversations with
foreigners that they depend on to do their work. "The real issue
here is whether our own diplomats now are going to be as forthcoming
as they used to be," he says, "and will the people they talk to be
as open with them?"
On the other hand, the exposed confidential communications could
make some of the US's prickliest dealings all the more difficult,
some analysts note. Two examples are Pakistan and Yemen. …