More Wikileaks thoughts

It is possible, as this article suggests, that the danger from the WikiLeaks release of a quarter million State Department cables is overstated, or even that some positive outcomes from the release could occur.

But don't let this chatter fool you.

While the occasional unexpected push on some foreign leader or ambassador might cause a little extra bending to the will of the US, and while those rare occasions, if they occur, may be played up by a media still desperate to support the Obama administration, the damage from these leaks remains enormous and long-lasting.

Despite the US statements that they've changed document security procedures, foreign diplomats and leaders are going to be very hesitant to speak to American diplomats.  Perhaps more important is the likely damage to US intelligence efforts based on contact with foreign intelligence services.

But by far the biggest impact, so far, of the WikiLeaks dump is on the situation with Iran -- which is not to say I or anyone else knows yet just what that impact is.  The problem with the release of cables, especially those showing many Arab leaders pushing the US to deal with Iran, including by military action, is that it adds massive volatility to the situation.  Sure, it's possible that the reaction within Iranian leadership (despite the public assertions by Iranian President Ahmadinejad that the WikiLeaks release was actually planned by the US) is to fear a US military attack and be persuaded to engage in sincere debate about their nuclear program.

But the odds of that particular outcome are low compared to the odds that it will cause the leadership to redouble their efforts to build nuclear weapons and allow them to use the information to strengthen their own political support within the Iranian borders.

The situation that WikiLeaks put the world in as it relates to Iran reminds me of being forced to bet on a coin flip where if you guess wrong you lose much more than you'd ever willingly bet on a coin flip.

I agree with Fox News commentator KT McFarland who said the following this morning: "I think the president needs to come out, firmly, today, shut WikiLeaks down, charge Assange with espionage, charge Sergeant Manning with treason and execute him if found guilty."

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