An extraordinarily broad consensus has formed that WikiLeaks' latest data dump is an ambassadorial disaster for the U.S. While there are debates over how the Obama Administration should act in reply, everyone agrees that the revelations have weakened America. But have they? I don't deny for a moment that many of the "wikicables" are powerfully uncomfortable, but the sum total of the output I have read is in fact quite comforting about the way Washington - or at least the State Department - works.
First, there is little trickery. These leaks have been compared to the Pentagon papers. Which they are not. The Pentagon papers revealed that the U.S. engaged in a methodical campaign to deceive the world and the American people and that its private actions were often the opposite of its stated public policy.
The WikiLeaks documents, by contrast, show Washington pursuing privately pretty much the policies it has uttered publicly. Whether on Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan or North Korea, the cables substantiate what we know to be U.S. distant policy.