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On the Media: The larger truth in the WikiLeaks revelations

America's overseas diplomats appear to be doing their jobs well.

December 01, 2010|James Rainey

Your family may note how big and fat the neighbor is getting, but that doesn't mean you rush next door to tell him. At least not if you want to promote domestic tranquillity … or play any role in improving his health. Similarly, we shouldn't assume that everyone will benefit because we can learn every instance in which a foreign regime agreed, privately, to help the U.S. Many will go running the other way if their cooperation could be revealed to the rest of the world.

Writing in the Daily Beast, journalism and political science professor Peter Beinart suggests the "real harm" that will come from some of the WikiLeaks news. Likely scuttled: Pakistani cooperation in a U.S. plan to secure loose nuclear material. Also put in danger: Yemeni willingness to take responsibility for American hits at suspected Al Qaeda operatives. Leaders in those countries can't survive if they appear to be bending too far to accommodate America.

Much harder to assess is the many bullets dodged — because U.S. diplomats appear to have held their fire in the vast majority of the 251,187 WikiLeaks memos.

We seldom stop to acknowledge it, but the biggest news can be the news that wasn't made.

james.rainey@latimes.com

Twitter: latimesrainey

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