It may take years to absorb the Wikileaks phenomenon, and to ascertain if there was an agenda, or various agendas, behind the selection of the initial documents released. But thus far it is indisputable that those trying to ignite a war with Iran have made better use of the information released so far. First there is the neocons’ “strange new respect,” as Michael Dougherty called it, for the geopolitical views of the Gulf Arab autocrats. The media’s heavy coverage of the fears of Arab petrosheiks feeds the meme that “everyone” feels menaced by Teheran. This is not really the case, but it is now the loudest chord in the media echosphere. Secondly there is a conscious and systematic misrepresentation of what the cables do say: there’s been a lot of this. Matt Duss here catches out David Frum for falsely asserting that the cables show Arabs don’t care a fig for Palestine. Frum’s posts are contradicted by the cables, but most people aren’t going read the cables. Finally, there is material in the cables that is quite significant, but hasn’t been trumpeted: Note for instance Larisa Alexandronova’s highlighting of a document showing Israel and American diplomats conferring about regime change and the break-up of Iran, using Iranian student movements among other levers. This sort of news is devastating to the nascent Iranian democracy movement, which is rendered vulnerable to the charge that it is manipulated by foreigners. One cable I read reveals quite plainly that Netanyahu hasn’t the slightest interest in allowing the Palestinians a viable state– and so far as I can see, that hasn’t been reported at all.
What can one conclude so far? From the cables themselves , many different things, many of them in conflict with one another. From the media treatment of them: most major media platforms are as eager to lead the country into war as they were in 2002, and don’t even require a terrorist attack or a President to push in that direction.