NYT: Actually, American diplomacy looks rather impressive

Via The Obama Diary comes this fascinating New York Times story:

…While WikiLeaks made the trove available with the intention of exposing United States duplicity, what struck many readers was that American diplomacy looked rather impressive. The day-by-day record showed diplomats trying their hardest behind closed doors to defuse some of the world’s thorniest conflicts, but also assembling a Plan B.

“When dysfunctional does not begin to describe our political system and institutions,” Prof. Stephen Kotkin of Princeton concluded after sampling the cables last week, “something in the government is really working — the State Department — far better than anyone thought.”…


28 thoughts on “NYT: Actually, American diplomacy looks rather impressive

  1. Yes, not all leaks are detrimental. I don’t really understand the motivation of wikileaks in releasing this information. If they thought that people would be surprised that people in our state department might have unfavorable opinions about some of the people they have to deal with or that things were done on more than one level then I think they were pretty naive. There was nothing earth shattering revealed in the leaks and as the NTY story says, what was revealed shows a pretty smooth functioning and competent state department.

  2. I believe this Administration is working behind the scenes in more ways than we will know on all the world’s problems. Also, though, you never knew the truth behind anything in the intelligence field, actually, maybe Wikileaks is a designed intelligence leak. We may have revealed some things we wanted revealed. Remember espionage is a world of mirrors reflecting mirrors. You do not know who works for us. You do not know who works against us. That is how it has to be.

  3. To raise money and make themselves rich. They trick some kid into giving up low level secret cables and release them bit by bit and then play the martyr/victim and raise money off of it. This time last year they were out of money and actually shut down at one point.

    Now one kid is in prison for 50 years and Assange is a quasi-celebrity.

    Given how low level these releases were, it could be a false flag CIA op to catch other higher up leakers.

  4. The apparent “smoking gun” was the Obama administration’s apparent pushing the Spanish not to try the Bush administration as war criminals for torture. That was the latest “daily outrage” before I left dkos altogether. Everyone was “done with Obama for good” because of that (as if they weren’t “through with him” a million times before). This was supposedly the “straw that broke the camel’s back”. Personally, I would’ve liked to see the previous administration prosecuted as well, but I also live in the real world. And, Barack Obama is still the American president, and that’s what American presidents do.

  5. It’s as if there are two realities: one in which the President is working hard and in good faith for this country and his work is paying off in important ways; and the other in which everything he does is a major fail and the country is worse off under his leadership.

    The first is true, while the latter is contrived by the media and the ideologues on both sides in this country.

    What BWD does is important, because she fights back against the “fail” meme with truth.


  6. Prosecute Bush/Cheney and you have to prosecute Clinton/Gore, Bush/Quayle, Carter/Mondale, as well as all of the top Congressmen and women of their days.

    Black Ops are illegal and every President does them.

    And the next President would prosecute Obama/Biden.

    Bush/Cheney were re-elected in 2004 even after all their warcrimes were known.

  7. As I read that article, I was thinking about how I’m sure Obama uses some of the same tactics when negotiating with Republicans (and perhaps the Ben Nelsons of the Senate as well). We don’t see how he does this behind closed doors with them either. But I suspect that in private, folks like McConnell know much better than the poutragers just how non-weak Obama really is.

  8. We have a honest president who says in public what he says in private. America is growing up and the world is watching. China seems to be adopting America’s old habits.

  9. I completely understood why Obama didn’t want to “live in the past”. He understood that present problems needed his, and all Americans energy. We couldn’t waste time trying to prosecute the previous administration for war crimes.

    We couldn’tve gotten half of what we have done if he went down that path.

    I’m sick of the “do to Republicans what they did to us!” hypocrites.

  10. NLinStpaul, those repugs know that POTUS is anything but weak. They know that his success means their demise; or it threatens their ideology. I guess they probably feel similar to how the democratic party felt when Reagan was POTUS.

  11. Andrea posted a new blog post asking What did the 5 Democratic Senators that voted against the extension of tax cuts for the middle class have to gain?

    Russ Feingold (D-WI) Phone: 202-224-5323 Fax: 202-224-2725.

    WI Median Household Income (2009): $62,638

    Joe Lieberman (I-CT) Phone: 202-224-4041 Fax: 202-224-9750

    CT Median Household Income (2009: $83,069)

    Joe Manchin (D-WV) Phone: 202-224-3954 Fax: 202-228-0002

    WV Median Household Income (2009: $47,659)

    Ben Nelson (D-NE) Phone: 202-224-6551 Fax: 202-228-0012

    NE Median Household Income (2009: $60,102)

    Jim Webb (D-VA) Phone: 202-224-4024 Fax: 202-228-6363

    VA Median Household Income (2009: $71,270) http://blog.dearmrpres.com/

  12. Exactly. They’re all upset because it turns out that the current administration was trying to prevent the previous one from being charged by foreign countries for various crimes. My reaction was “So?”

    Really, this is standard procedure, and to be honest, allowing it to happen – no matter how much I personally loathe Bush and Cheney – sets a very, very bad precedent.

    Oh, and BWD – I here Glenn Greenwald hates your site. You’re doing something right!

  13. Exactly, would we have allowed LBJ to be prosecuted by foreign governments? Really? Never mind the Civil Rights Act, Medicare and Medicaid. As disgusting as Bush, Cheney etc actions were; it’s a slippery slope.

  14. Much as I wish the Bushies could be prosecuted, prudence tells me that it would be a terrible precedent for the administration of one party to prosecute the prior administration of the other party. I can imagine an unending series of prosecutions between administrations (after all, it’s not hard to try to classify political conduct as criminal). As venal as the Bushies were, they seem to have been careful about creating cover stories for their actions (the legal memoranda authorizing enhanced interrogation techniques, etc.) that would likely protect them form every being convicted.

    The same reasoning would apply to blocking prosecutions by foreign countries of our leadership once they leave office. After all, we wouldn’t want to open it up so that the next Republican administration could prosecute members of this administration or to invite their allies to do so (except in cases of clear criminality).

  15. It’s hard to imagine the harm that would have been done if a sitting president had allowed a foreign nation to charge and….what, deport for a foreign trial? another president. Is that really what the “last straw” people would have liked to see?

  16. I think there were cases of clear criminality with Bush/Cheney. But as others have said above, that is true of previous administrations as well. Where does it start and stop is the question for me.

    It would be nice if we could have some sort of non-partisan Truth Commission for all of the atrocities this country has committed. But it doesn’t appear as though anything can be non-partisan in the US these days.

  17. I’m sure it wasn’t a surprise to anyone that the President would try to stop an allied country from trying to prosecute the former administration. I don’t like what Bush/Cheney did but prosecution could be a very big problem and a huge waste of time and money when we can least afford it.

    Every day it seems the same people are “done with him for good”, lol. I would think all that outrage would be very wearing and they would get tired sometime. Not everything can be a crisis and no one can live in perpetual panic – at least not healthily!

  18. The Bushies were clever criminals, which is why criminal charges probably would not stick to any of the top dogs. They had those legal memos authorizing various things. They blurred lines of authority to obscure culpability/responsibility. They had third parties do the dirty deeds and so on. You would need to have an unimpeachable insider willing to talk – I don’t thing that such a person has emerged or even been identified.

  19. Ain’t that the truth. For 8 years, you heard, President Bush only governs for republicans and the right, nothing for the rest of America. Now you hear, why can’t President Obama be more like Bush.

  20. They were. Cheney was an evil mofo, but he was a damn smart one. Look how much it took to convict one guy of outing Valerie Plame, with very clear evidence. It would probably take three straight Dem administrations to even get close to getting enough evidence to actually prosecute Bush or Cheney directly. An

  21. I think people shouldn’t be surprised that their government civil servants make things work much better than the way things are portrayed in government bashing blogs. And for their efforts, in addition to being bad mouthed in the press, they are having their pay frozen for two years. What best and brightest wouldn’t want to make that lot their career?

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