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December 14, 2010

Wikileaks and the Obama Administration

A couple days ago, I posted the following status to Facebook, which linked to a New York Times article about the Europeans criticizing the United States's response:

Obama tells China, Russia, and the Middle East to embrace democracy and transparency, but his administration is hypocritical when the same comes right back at him. -1 for Obama, +1 for Putin and the PRC

A well-intentioned friend questioned my response, and the following is what I wrote back:

Hi [_____]!

Thanks for the thoughtful reply!

As far as the cables' contents, I agree with the French position as well. I was greatly impressed with the thoughtfulness of the US diplomatic corp and how professional they are in their assessments.

Although whether the Europeans themselves are transparent or not was besides the point. If Obama wanted to take a stand for freedom of the press and government transparency in the world, he would come out and blatantly say, "My administration has so far found nothing illegal with what Wikileaks is doing acting as a press organization. They have the right freely publish leaked materials, no matter how embarrassing, as long as they do not aid in the capture of them. If we find they went beyond their right as a press organization, you will hear from the Justice Department." That is the moral high ground he should take, and it would reinforce the idea of the United States as the beacon of freedom for the world. It would also be in stark contrast to how Bush's administration conducted itself.

Like the Europeans, the +1 to Putin and the PRC is not meant to say they are morally better. It is because they have been pointing out how hypocritical American policy has become. If we are going to preach to be the beacon of freedom to move others towards, then we should hold ourselves to the same standard. We preach protection from invasive policing of the populace, and TSA authorizes virtual strip searches and invasive pat-downs. Instead of being innocent until proven guilty, they assume all air travels are guilty until proven innocent. We preach to China to let the market determine foreign exchange rates, and the Fed manipulates the currency to a scale that is only beaten by a country such as China. We preach that other countries shouldn't condone corrupt business practices, yet no high-profile bankers from the recent crash in the markets have been taken to court, even though mortgage fraud has been reported in the papers and any settlements have been a slap on the wrist.

I would love to see the United States take the moral high ground, which is why I was cautiously optimistic when Obama, became President [0]. I thought he would reverse the hypocrisy of the Bush years, but as of late, I don't see that happening.

In addition, Ron Paul made a great defense of Wikileaks, and why organizations like Wikileaks are necessary for freedom to exist.

[0] As shown in this blog post from when Obama had just been elected.

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