Lindy McDowell: Wikileaks’ big revelation? The world is run |by mad people
They say when two people know something, it’s no longer a secret. So when you read that somewhere in the region of three million people previously had access to the restricted material which has now been Wikileaked across the globe you begin to wonder about the intelligence world’s interpretation of “secret.”
Three million people is twice the population of Northern Ireland. That’s one hell of a water cooler conversation.
The juicy bits are inevitably the revelations about who said what about world leaders. And Prince Andrew.
But that is not to say this is actually the most important, controversial or even damaging stuff. Right now, in some back room at the Pentagon, officials may well be hyperventilating over some seemingly innocuous line which has potential to wreak major diplomatic havoc.
If so their Top Secret’s safe with the rest of us. We, the ordinary punters, are only really interested in the headline stuff about household names.
Otherwise this Wikleakage is a bit like the Good Friday Agreement. Everybody accepts there’s important stuff in it. But nobody can actually be bothered to read the thing.
So what do we now know about how the US views various world leaders? French President Nicolas Sarkozy is described in papers as an “emperor with no clothes” displaying a “thin-skinned and authoritarian personal style.” (This is a man who wears shoe lifts to try to keep up — literally — with towering wife Carla Bruni).
Russian Prime Minister — the chest-baring, tiger wrestling Vladimir Putin — is described as an “alpha dog”. His simpering sidekick, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, is disparaged as Robin to Putin’s Batman.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is “an extremely weak man” who “floats along on paranoia”. North Korea’s Kim Jong Il is “a flabby old chap”. (Love that one!)
Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi is described as “feckless, vain, and ineffective as a modern European leader”. Which may be down to the fact he is “physically and politically weak” due to “late nights and a penchant for partying.” (Silvio, fair play to the boy, apparently laughed when he read this.)
Then there’s Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, who is said to employ a “voluptuous” Ukrainian blonde who accompanies him everywhere as a “nursing sister”. Elsewhere old Muammar warrants a telling one word verdict.
And given the rest of what’s apparently knocking around on the global circuit that’s saying something
Other snaps from the revelations: the Saudis wanted the US to bomb Iran — “cut the head off the snake” being the precise term. (Interesting to see how that will go down with the Arab brotherhood who try to argue that actually Israel is the Great Satan.)
The US calls Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “Hitler”. Mervyn King (Bank of England) calls David Cameron and George Osborne “political lightweights.” Hillary Clinton has encouraged spying on the UN and the Chinese are spying on everyone.
Interestingly there’s actually nothing all that new in any of this. But put it together and try to reassure yourself now that the world is in safe hands?
Especially if you throw into the mix the disclosure elsewhere this week that Sarah Palin (you can laugh, but she could end up in the White House with access to thon button) thinks North Korea is America’s ally
Strange Mr Wikileak Assange might pompously argue that he’s doing us all a favour letting us all read about things that were previously known to only a select several million.
But surely better that he’d kept it to himself. It was bad enough thinking the world was being run by the cast of One Flew Over the Diplomat’s Bag.
This week we have had it confirmed.