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Wikileaks revelations: diplomatic chiaroscuro laid bare

The latest package of revelations from Wikileaks proves, at first glance, more embarrassing for the United States and certain European capitals, and in the world, as shown by the first information published by five newspapers (American, British, German, French and Spanish): the New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, El Pais. (Don’t hesitate to buy them. They are collectors’ items!)

Weaknesses of some leaders exposed

The published diplomatic telegrams (243 diplomatic dispatches sent to headquarters, and 270 directives sent to American embassies throughout the world) shed light, in fact, in a day, not very diplomatic indeed, on both the world of today and the way American politics and more generally our time is conducted. We thus have in the present what sometimes takes years (historical time) to emerge. The telegrams spare no one: the proven corruption of Karzai's power in Afghanistan – a being " weak (…) and driven by his paranoia » he does not pay attention to the facts but is very interested in anyone who comes to tell him the most bizarre facts or who has a conspiracy against him » -, the collusion of Pakistani secret services and Islamist terrorists, the desire of Saudi Arabia to bomb Iran, the direct intervention of the Americans in Yemen to crush Al Qaeda (“we will say the missiles are ours” explains a Yemeni leader), the incompetent camarilla surrounding Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the fear of an Islamist drift (see Spiegel), Putin's power undermined by bureaucracy and troubled relations between the Russian government and organized crime, the purchase of missile equipment from Iran to North Korea...

US strategic error in Pakistan and Afghanistan

But it is particularly the inanity of American policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan that emerges from this armful of telegrams. As explained byGuardian editor, Simon Jenkins, US policy in the region is a shipwreck. " The waste of money is enormous. The aid paid is never monitored, never verified, never evaluated. » He also quotes Anne Patterson whose telegrams sound like so many warnings because she denounces the policy being pursued as unproductive. She " risks destabilizing the Pakistani state, alienating both the civilian government and the military leadership, to (eventually) provoke a wider (political) crisis, without ultimately achieving the objective ».

Berlusconi, his parties and his relationship with Putin, particularly watched

Some leaders take for their rank, the " inappropriate behavior » of a member of the British royal family, Sarkozy, his vulgarity and his “ bossy style »… Berlusconi is more severely scratched. “ Irresponsible, conceited and ineffective as a modern European leader », Analyzes Elizabeth Dibble, American charge d'affaires in Rome. “ Physically and politically weak according to another report that highlights its “ frequent parties and his penchant for partying, which means he doesn't get enough rest ". The president of the Italian council is kept under close scrutiny by the State Secretariat. Because American diplomats highlight its "intriguing relationship "with Putin and his function as a real" spokesman of Putin in Europe, a function well supported by "lavish gifts " and the " lucrative energy contracts ».

The UN spied on

The United States' Allies are not spared. They set up a UN spy plan, targeting several dozen officials, particularly those working on sensitive issues (Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, etc.) but also the Secretary General of the international organization. Entourage, business cards, appointments… nothing was spared. Another strategic issue: “ internal changes and selection processes for key positions within the Secretariat, specialized agencies, committees, commissions and government programs in New York, Geneva, Vienna as well as special envoys and team leaders ". The allies were subject to identical directives. Thus the specific plans and activities of the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Russia for their policies on the IAEA.

Pressure on European countries for Guantanamo

We can also now be certain of the pressure that the Americans exerted on several European countries to accept prisoners from Guantanamo. In little Slovenia, the visit of the American president (G. Bush in 2008) was conditional on the care of a prisoner. In Belgium, he was told that taking in more prisoners was “the least expensive way to gain importance in Europe ».

When the European Union boycotts the Iranian leader

This batch of information also allows us to discover lesser-known episodes in the recent history of European foreign policy. The objective was to boycott the inauguration of the new Iranian president, Ahmadinejad. But it had to be done discreetly to avoid the invitation being withdrawn. Rather successful objective. As a French diplomat comments, quoted by a diplomatic cable published by The Guardian, who are " It's hard to keep a secret when 27 nations are in play, but we're trying“. In the end, only Sweden, holding the EU presidency, was represented by an ambassador, with the other member states sending lower-ranking officials. European solidarity held despite everything.

The Quai diplomat in charge of the Middle East, quoted in the telegram, Jean-Christophe Paucelle sums up well the dilemma facing Westerners then (and always): “ On the one hand, we want to make it known that we do not approve of this illegitimate election. On the other hand, we must be realistic, power is in the hands of Khamenei (the supreme leader) and Ahmadinejad, including the nuclear issue, and we must negotiate with those in power. You are in the same position. »

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).