250,000 secret US embassy cables have been published by Wikileaks and some of the most influential and respected newspapers in Europe and in the US have made the choice of conveying this scoop. What can we learn? So far not a lot: “Teflon Merkel” is risk averse, Sarkozy is a “naked emperor”, Putin’s nickname is alpha dog. And many other similar futile pieces of gossip.
For the apostles of transparency this publication serves the most legitimate purpose in a democracy which is to tell the whole truth. On newspapers’ websites, most readers heartily approve of the enterprise: this is the revenge of the people on the establishment and Julian Assange (spokesman of Wikileaks) has given it a damn good thrashing. “They” cannot fool us anymore.
This is a sad and fruitless development which, again, sacrifices analysis against gross information and sensationalism.
People claim their right to know. Fair enough. But what kind of knowledge is offered today? Is it really important to inform the world about how governmental officials depict national leaders amongst themselves? Should we, as citizens, have a right and a duty to check and approve every e-mail sent by our governmental administrations? That seems absolute madness to me.
Total transparency does not necessarily mean total democracy – it is rather a result of total mistrust. This is unfortunately the situation today. The information making the headlines is not intended to help readers better understand international politics nor does it reveal some kind of massive and reprehensible fraud. It only aims to discredit governmental institutions on the excuse that “we all ought to be informed”.
I refuse this information because, sincerest apologies, I trust more the competency and professionalism of the politicians whom we elect and their teams of specialised diplomats in conducting our countries’ diplomacy than the one of my neighbours. This is what we call representative democracy.